It’s an exciting time to be involved in the news industry in the age of fake news, Brexit, and Trump. We caught up with Rav Singh Sandhu, founder of The Market Mogul media company, to learn how he grew his company from a blog to an over £1.18M funded team of 11 talented people.
How did it all start?
At first, it was just a blog that I built myself, and I’d write content that people enjoyed, so it’s that same idea but on a massive scale. We started back in my dorm room when I was still at uni about four years ago. I still remember making the first logo in Paint.
What’s the value for the writers?
For our writers, it’s about building their own brand within their own network – much as Instagram allows photographers to build theirs. Our Mogul dashboard gives writers more insight into where their articles were read and how they performed than any of our competitors.
How do you maintain a high volume of quality content, without falling down the clickbait rabbit-hole like other publications?
In terms of content being great quality, it’s all about curating writers, and then reviewing their work in-house. No one can just become an author for Market Mogul – there’s a proper vetting process. Then once they’ve submitted content, we check for quality, PC, grammar, plagiarism and everything else. As for clickbait, it’s driven by banner advertising, and it’s a race to the bottom. You create the most sensationalist headline you can, so that you get impressions on that banner ad that you’ve stuck almost everywhere on your site. We don’t advertise through banner ads, so, therefore, we don’t need to have clickbait-y headlines.
Most media companies have a political slant – does Market Mogul have one?
We don’t have a political or editorial stance; we’re here to empower authors all over the world. Take our Brexit coverage, for example: our stance in the run-up to the elections was just ‘go and vote, and make sure you hear perspectives from all sides of the story’. There were people in Italy writing about why Brexit was a terrible idea from an Italian perspective or ex-bankers from London talking about why Brexit is a good idea. We’re here to deliver to our readers all sides of the story – we’re a platform to understand and share debate in a way that traditional media doesn’t.
Where is The Market Mogul going next?
We’ve just launched our new platform, and the feedback so far has been amazing. Our readers love that it’s lightning-fast, the seamless reading experience and our smooth video integration. We’ve also created our Mogul dashboard for our authors, making writing about the things people have insights into easier than ever. Our goal is to be the best place on the internet to read about the things one is passionate about and write about what they have insight into. We strongly believe we are well on our way to achieving that.
Right now we’re focused on politics, finance and the global economy, but in the future, we’re going to launch other verticals into fashion, sports, tech and food. For example, one could be a Burberry fan and learn everything about that, but also a massive Trump fan and they could love cryptocurrencies. How can we give them all the content they really like? By building more of an understanding about them and serving content in a digestible way.
Hiring is a problem a lot of our founders mention as being a big one – how do you tackle it?
I think making sure that you’re asking all of the difficult questions pretty much in the first interview is important. You need to make sure that they’re truly the right candidate, there’s nothing worse than realising after interview two, or later, that they’re just not right. It’s really important to try and get to know people’s characters. The skills you can train, but if you don’t recruit for integrity and values that match your company’s, you most likely will churn new team members continuously.
As the traditional news media struggles, we have to ask – how do you make money?
We work with firms in order to create content for them to unlock their thought leadership – and we charge them a fee to do so. As well as providing quality content for our readers, this also ensures that our readers aren’t hit by banner ads of subscription requests.
If you could go back in time to when you’d just founded Market Mogul, what would you tell yourself?
Things work themselves out if you’re persistent, I think that’s the key. Ask as many people for help as possible so ask people who’ve been there and done that. Make sure your network is as strong as possible. Think bigger picture from day one as opposed to thinking bigger picture as you’re going along but that’s easier said than done.
What does success look like?
The Market Mogul becoming the most appreciated, respected and trusted media company in the world. Considering the success we’ve had so far, we fell we’re well on our way.
Enjoyed reading this? You might enjoy reading these:
How do the best startup journalists like to be pitched a story? We weren't sure...so we asked the 9 best London startup journalists we could think of, from The Times to Techcrunch to find out. Steve O’Hear, TechCrunch A reporter turned founder turned reporter again,...
With help from Brett Putter, founder of CultureGene, we were able to define our company values and see if we are living them. Are you?
Debt crowdfunding for startups: an alternative to venture funding and friendly to startups who have already got revenue coming in. Often offering lower rates and higher returns than traditional banks, we've found six companies that can be great options for UK startups...