We talk to Naran Xadul’s founder, Sara Rosenthal, to find out how a passionate and Millennial-savvy blog created the top Spanish-language parenting community on Facebook.
For a new publisher, standing out on Facebook can prove difficult. Especially if you believe in producing original content, opposed to reposting someone else’s meme or video.
We’re always on the hunt for publishers that defy the odds. Naran Xadul is one of those publishers. Based in Mexico, the Spanish-language parenting publisher boasts a community of nearly 2 million on Facebook, with almost 5 million likes, shares, comments, and reactions in the last month alone. Here’s a look at Naran Xadul’s growth in social media engagements from NewsWhip Analytics.
What’s Naran Xadul’s secret? It seems to be a mixture of heart and soul, paired with social analytics and willingness to experiment, at least according to the founder, Sara Rosenthal.
We talked to Sara to find out more.
Can you tell us how Naran Xadul got its start?
Sara: I worked for many, many years at main media companies like Grupo Imagen, developing their online platform. While I was there, I became a mom and understood that moms need something different than what traditional media is giving them.
Moms are looking for information, but information they trust. Millennial moms, we don’t want to raise our kids the way our moms raised us; there are many studies on kids these days that have different findings.
How has Naran Xadul changed since you started it?
When I started, it was only me on the team. Now we have nine women on the team and we’re all mothers. We believe motherhood is a skill that you can’t learn in books. On Naran Xadul, we really talk to the experiences of pregnant women and mothers of kids under six especially.
Last month, we had over 100 million views. That was beyond what I could expect. When we did our business plans, we had half a million views and in eight months, we’ve reached 100 million monthly views and 50 million monthly Facebook engagements. That was amazing.
We’re very data-driven. I use tools to understand what mothers like. Especially video content, it’s easy and cheap for us to produce it because at my last role, I was the director of video production. We have developed our own format and they’re very engaging with our audience, which is awesome.
How did you develop your own format? How do you know which videos are engaging?
We use formats that are fast, we always tell a story, and the stories are part of my heart. We can see what’s already working on Facebook, by looking at ones like AJ+, BuzzFeed, PlayGround Magazine.
Studying economics made me very analytical. If you analyze the big players, you can see what’s already working.
(Naran Xadul’s top Facebook video, according to NewsWhip Analytics data)
When did you start seeing success?
The community started to grow really fast with our videos. We see that every time we post a video that is engaging, we get millions of views, and then a lot of new moms will join the community.
Every time we post a new video that has a big reach, we get about 30,000 new moms to join the page that day. The most was when we got 55,000 moms that day. We have some dads, but 93 percent of our community is women.
As a Spanish-language publisher, what is your audience like geographically?
About 55 percent of our community is Mexican, and 8 percent is U.S. Hispanic. We also have a lot of moms from Chile, Venezuela, Spain, and Argentina. We’re very interested in expanding our community to U.S. Hispanics, but it’s been hard.
What’s made that market difficult?
In Spanish, there is less competition for mommy blogs. In Mexico, there are maybe ten large motherhood blogs. In the U.S., there are more than 50 large ones. It’s harder when you have more competition.
The issue in Mexico, especially in the motherhood vertical, is that the largest publishers are not digital natives. They come from print. It’s been very tough for them to go to digital.
They know they have to start doing social and video, but that’s not their main focus since they still see good revenue from magazines.
How do you differentiate yourself from those publishers?
My main focus is my community. We’ve been exploring and it’s easier for us to try new formats. We’re producing a lot of video and gifs.
For the magazines and publishers, they’re very large and have been on the market for the past 20 years. We’ve worked together and when I ask them about experimenting, they are stuck because they have to do things so perfectly that they don’t even try. For publishers coming from print, it’s really hard to try new things and I think that’s why they haven’t grown.
Our website now is larger than four out of five print publishers. The traditional publishers have had their websites for over six or seven years, and their traffic is declining and our traffic is growing. Mothers don’t want to hear the voice of traditional magazines, they don’t want to be told how to do things.
Nowadays, mothers, we like to hear from our peers, so we call Naran Xadul the community made by moms, sharing our experiences. We do have very wonderful people who work with us and really understand motherhood nowadays and the millennial way of sharing experiences.
Humor in media is kind of normal, but in Spanish-speaking publications, it’s not. You don’t get to have humor in traditional media, it’s more conservative. Everything has to be so perfect, so they don’t put humor in their publications.
For me, that’s been a key fact, having humor and laughing about motherhood. Saying, “Okay, it’s been a difficult day, but we’ll solve it.” We’ll post a lot of photos on Facebook of things like a pile of dirty laundry and say, “That’s okay. It will get done later.” That’s a key differentiator for us.
Have you branched out to other platforms?
We have Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, and our website. Facebook has been the channel. The other channels have never grown as fast as Facebook.
It will take time to grow the other channels, but Pinterest is growing nicely. YouTube has been difficult for us. For new YouTube channels, it takes a while for the algorithm to think you’re relevant and suggest your content to others.
Instagram, even though it’s growing, it’s not growing fast. Every month we get 1,000 or 2,000 new followers but it’s not consistent. We haven’t found the right format yet.
It’s very important to us to develop outside of Facebook. Our website is growing, with more views and people are spending more time per page and reading more content once they are there.
Tell us about the community, are they active, do you source them for content?
Something that is really important is to understand the community. Everyday, I spend more than an hour reading the comments on the posts. Every time a comment makes me laugh or I think we can do more with it, I write the person and ask if we can share it on a post. The mothers are happy to have their experiences shared.
A lot of them send us questions and we answer through the inbox. Once a month, we share one mother’s message to us, like if it’s a question about a baby not sleeping, we’ll share it to community for answers.
Are you experimenting with new social publishing formats?
Once a week, we produce a Facebook Live video. We’ve had two Facebook Live videos that were quite viral. The most popular ones are when we cook, and I’m not such a good chef so we don’t do so many.
Usually in our Live format, we start doing something, we ask if them if they like what we’re doing to like or heart the video, and then we’ll continue the activity. We always ask our moms to share their country or towns so we always send our regards to them. For me, it’s very important to hear what our audience wants.
Thank you so much for those insights, Sara! It’s key to know your audience and what they are interested in, along with valuing their insights and experiences. For a look into what’s predicted to go viral right now across any vertical, check out NewsWhip Spike.