Launching New Media Properties with RebelMouse

At RebelMouse we're obsessed with setting up content for success through the power of distributed publishing. We've mastered a lean tech model that lets you launch socially-powered websites that can be launched in hours, not weeks.

Still, RebelMouse is much more than just a software vendor and technology platform. The company has deep experience building and launching successful media properties that gain real traction and have a chance to become a core part of pop culture.


A significant part of the value add we provide is as a "Sherpa" to New Media — we guide you on how to build them, how to launch them, and how to grow them. Using the strengths of our global team, we can serve as a creative agency for your site launch — working with your team on product, design, content strategy + social marketing. And we do that through a refined process that sets you up from the beginning to be successful in your launch and growth phases. Let's take a step-by-step look at our battle-tested launch process, so you can see what you can expect from your partnership with RebelMouse.

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1. Conduct a Contagious Media Brainstorm

What will make your media property contagious is two-fold: understanding virality and understanding how content spreads. A quadrant of contrasting emotions, Belief/Disbelief + Love/Hate, may seem like simple ideas, but their impressive strength is what prompts new audiences to share, engage + become obsessed with your brand.

If you study successful media properties, there is always a clear mission — and that mission is fueled by the emotional quadrant of virality. For example RebelMouse's viral property Axios' mission is to provide clear, unbiased political news in efficient + snackable microposts. Their mission plays on the wide spectrum of emotion that politics provokes, most powerfully to belief/disbelief. In turn, RebelMouse powers properties like HooplaHa, which only publishes positive news, playing sharply to the love side of the virality quadrant. It's this kind of emotionally-provoking content that prompts every page view, comment, or click of the "share" button.

After understanding what makes viral content, it's crucial to understand how that content spreads. High page views are born on social and in the feeds. Putting a strategy in place so content is published everywhere (across all social platforms, but also outlets like Google AMP + Apple News) will cast a wide net for every story, building not only your audience but also a reputation of quality user experience.

In preparation for launch of your new media property, we'll use a one-hour whiteboard session to identify what makes your property contagious through positive constructive ideation. We'll identify your content's mission, where it will likely fall on the quadrant, and the best strategy to ensure it reaches the biggest audience possible with every publish.

2. Choose the Best Content Ideas for Your Brand

After Step 1 of this process, we'll be left with a handful of valid, relevant content ideas around which we can build your brand. Not all of them are going to make it off of the cutting room floor. Only the strongest should survive. To do that, we start off on Step 2 of the process, which is to put the ideas through their paces.

By relentlessly modeling the phases of the idea, we can determine how it will work on a day-to-day basis. Then, with a healthy amount of devil's advocacy, we leak test the idea to see how it might not work. This is a critical exercise in the process which will help predict future problems, help solve them ahead of time, and trim the ideas down to the one that will have the best chance at lasting success. Once we've reached that singular champion idea, it's time to build.

3. Delegate a Well-Rounded Team

While the product is built to match the brainstorm, selecting the key members on your team, RebelMouse's team, and any participating content agencies or consulting sources is the next step.

RebelMouse will identify key traits for success in the roles needed to build the idea. While everyone will have specific duties and strengths, it's important to blur the lines of expectations throughout the collective team. It's about making sure writers can also work as community managers, product can double as content strategists, etc. When everyone can provide input on every corner of the project, the more complete the vision will be.

Once the teams are finalized, there will be a training program to sync the results of the contagious media brainstorm with where the media space is at the time of launch. Once those two concepts are reconciled, it's time to determine together how the property will break through the noise. It's time for content.

4. Refine Content Selection + Tone

Your brand's slogan should also be your editorial thesis that powers your tone and content strategy. Still, getting the voice of your digital presence does not happen on the first — or even 5th — attempt. It starts by using that editorial thesis and applying it to content you discovered, remixed, and recreated to match your voice. That voice has to come through with every post.

While your product is being built, it's important that your writers + content curators are working on content ahead of launch. This can be native content, but also posts and articles from other thought leaders you wish to be aligned with your brand.

Together, we will perform weekly reviews of new content together to see how the tone is progressing. That way, your trial and errors are smoothed out before publish, and you have a hub of appropriate, on-brand content to launch your property.

5. Beta Release to Spark More Brainstorms

When it's time for the beta release of your property, our product team, your property's writers, and our publishing experts will be on the same page and excited about the property's potential. It's at this point RebelMouse will assemble internal + external focus groups to provide feedback on the property so far. These groups will be separate from the teams working on the project.

This group will give their honest feedback on if the content has a user experience built for sharing, and if the material is exciting enough to land somewhere on the quadrant of virality. It's a smart use of our combined resources to receive organic feedback before launch.

6. Revise Product + Content to Perfection

The raw feedback from the beta release may prompt significant shifts in content strategy, design, and product. It's at this time we all work together to make sure the proposed changes are executed quickly.

In addition, it's important we continue to receive swift feedback from the members of the focus groups who provided advice during the beta release. They will continue to provide honest opinions on the changes made since the beta version, continuing the feedback cycle for as long as needed.

By this time, the property will have a refined voice + style that has truly been tried and tested. After the rounds of vetting are complete, it's time for launch.

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How Axios Built on RebelMouse

The Axios founding team is composed of the industry veterans who built Politico and shaped The New York Times. They had a vision for building a next-generation media site that would not only win in the world of social, but would also build real loyalty and a subscriber base.

Industry: News Media
Headquarters: Washington, DC
Website: Axios.com

Axios is a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating, and shareable ways possible. They offer a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business, and politics with expertise, voice, and smart brevity — on a new and innovative mobile platform.



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RebelMouse founder and CEO, Paul Berry, was the former CTO of HuffPost where he led product development. Paul has managed small, agile teams for 20 years, but has also led teams of 450+ people. He understands how engineers, product, design, UX, and editorial teams can come together with chemistry that produces results.

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