Secrets on racking up pageviews, listicles, and how to chismis revealed at Digital Summit: Storytelling for Brands

We learn from the best.


( In this digital age, online publishing doesn't only rely on producing stories but also takes into consideration a whole lot of things in the digital landscape—from checking trending topics to adjusting headlines that'll catch the attention of a reader with a short attention span. This goes hand in hand with advertising, which has evolved from all-out and billboard-big practices to subtle and almost sly campaigns. Indeed, information technology has reached new heights and a website has become but a tiny speck in the digital universe.


This fast-tracked business was mastered by one of the country's leading publishing companies, Summit Media, owner of; so a few trade secrets were shared at Digital Summit: Storytelling for Brands, the company's second digital conference, held on August 2 at SM Aura's Samsung Hall in Bonifacio Global City.


"Hope we can tell stories together," said Summit Media President Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng in her welcoming remarks. She opened the floor for a whole day of talks on digital content creation, native advertising, and the ever-evolving Pinoy audience.



Edna Belleza, Publisher at Summit Media


First among the speakers was Edna Belleza, Publisher at Summit Media. She took a closer look at the hyperconnected consumer, the digital native who's always online in whatever gadget available, and his or her purchasing habits that are directly shaped by the use of technology. Such consumer doesn't want the heavy-handedness of straight-forward advertisement, which puts native advertising at the heart of online marketing. 


Chris Guenther of Hearst Magazines International


Chris Guenther, Vice President for Business Operations at Hearst Magazines International, seconded this thought and pointed out the best practices in creating branded content. "Advertisers invest in branded content for awareness, not for conversion," he said. For this reason, content should be placed in all digital platforms possible, even the smallest nook in the entire media delivery landscape.


This brings us to video as an emerging format in digital advertising. Amina Rillo, Director for Digital Strategy of Summit Media, shared that gone are the days when video content screams of the brand. "Your video needs to feel like more of a story than an ad," she revealed. You should customize your content depending on the platform it will appear in. For Instagram, personal content works best, so behind-the-scenes videos are most effective.

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Iza Santos and Mikey Agulto (with Editorial Director Myrza Sison) answer questions from the audience


Iza Santos of StoryLabs and Mikey Agulto of NativeLab talked more about the Filipino digital reader who has grown to hate click-baits or stories that have misleading headlines. Because "hard sell doesn't sell," it is good practice for advertisers to plan native content carefully.



Summit Media Digital Editors (Photo from


And who better to talk about content than some of the digital editors of Summit Media’s online titles—Jillian Gatcheco, Editor-in-Chief of; Isha Andaya-Valles, Editor-in-Chief of Preview magazine and; Jo Manalastas, Editor-in-Chief of; and Karen Pagsolingan, Managing Editor of


One of the key points from Gatcheco was that the “data is the boss” and Google Analytics is probably the digital writer’s best friend. Knowing what the market wants to read gives one more edge in creating evergreen content. And, more often than not, the market wants to read “listicles.” Manalastas emphasized that these bite-sized lists work because they are easy to digest by the reader who’s always drowning in information. Ranked lists (a.k.a. Top 10) also do well because they were carefully curated by editors. "All sides, all angles, all stories," Pagsolingan finally said.


In this whole universe of digital information, a story never ends with just one write-up, and it’s up to content creators to dig deep and make that speck blink a bit brighter.

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