HomeThe InfluencersBehind the MediaBehind the headlines - Charles Orton-Jones, Founder and Editor, Business Age

Behind the headlines – Charles Orton-Jones, Founder and Editor, Business Age

Business Age is a new magazine with the ambition to be the best publication on the internet for entrepreneurs and build builders. It’s a place where ideas and inspirational stories are shared.

The Professionals Behind the headlines speaks to founder and editor Charles Orton-Jones.

Tell us a little bit about Business Age.
I founded Business Age as a reaction to the disappearance of all the great mags of the past. They’ve all gone! Forbes is a shambles. Management Today is hanging on by its fingernails. There is nowhere for entrepreneurs to tell their stories. As a result, it’s impossible to name a famous British entrepreneur under the age of 40. So Business Age runs interviews with founders. Being online means we can go as deep as we want. It’s for anyone obsessed with startups and building companies. Oh, and there’s no paywall. I want it to be open to everyone.

Who are the readers of Business Age?
God knows. We are only a few months old and still mastering the traffic. A single story can get picked up and go berserk. Another detailed interview goes nowhere. There is zero predictability online. It’s a lottery!

What makes a good story for you and your readers?
Every story needs two things – a single message, and to be non-obvious. I get a lot of pitches. They ramble away about points they want to make. I say, hold on. Find your best point. Focus on that. Make the entire article an expansion of that thesis. And make it non-obvious! Be provocative if you can be. The best commentators say the reverse of everyone else. I remember writing about Big Data. I spoke to Clive Humby, who invented the Tesco Club Card and is pretty much the father of the industry. The ultimate expert. “It’s a real con,” he said. “Most companies can’t even do the basic stuff, let alone think about Big Data.” Genius. The only guy to take this line. Of course I led with his idea.

How else can professional services engage with Business Age?

Send me an email to editor@businessage.com. Tell me what you want to do, be it an interview with a startup, an opinion piece, a Q&A or something else. Help me understand the business a little. Ideally I want a turnover figure, staff numbers, and a bit of backstory. That’s it. No bureaucracy. If it’s a strong idea we’ll do it.

Tell us one thing you like, or dislike, about PRs?
Photos! A story lives or dies by the quality of the images. And yet, if you ask most PR companies for a picture of their client and they go into a tailspin. I regularly receive images that are pixelated, badly lit, in portrait dimensions when I need landscape, and so poorly composed they look as if someone’s auntie took it on her Nokia at a birthday party. Seriously. In the age of Instagram you absolutely need fantastic photos. Remember, each image should tell a story with emotion. Plain headshots won’t cut it. I discovered a candle brand called Ava May Aromas who built a quarter of a million followers on social media alone, with no budget, just great photos. Innocent Smoothies built a £100 million brand with their amazing photos. Newspapers adored the pics and splashed them week in week out. Hire a pro if you want, but an iPhone is more than up to the job.

Charles Orton-Jones can be reached by email: editor@businessage.com.

Matt Baldwin
Matt Baldwin
Co-founder – Coast Communications

Related articles

The Professionals Newsletter