The 'Greatist' Strategy: Derek Flanzraich on Content

Julie Davis
Marketing Health Services
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Key Takeaways

What? Greatist values deeply engaging articles written specifically to engage its core readership rather than simple page views and clicks.

So what? According to Flanzraich, consumer-oriented approach can fuel growth for content marketers in the health care space.  

Now what? "[Brands] are moving toward curating and sharing the best pieces of content, so instead of producing 50 pieces of content, you produce one, but that one piece of content is the defining piece of content for that space or on that topic," says Flanzraich.

As today’s digitally empowered patients consult Google for medical advice and use WebMD in lieu of a primary care physician, industry marketers are turning to health-focused media startups like Greatist for content strategy inspiration. CEO Derek Flanzraich discusses boosting readership engagement, valuing quality over quantity and how brand partnerships are the new sponsorships.

The abundance of health and wellness content on the Internet today just might rival that of cat memes. There’s no shortage of sites devoted to helping consumers self-diagnose their ailments or treat a recurring symptom. In an effort to make sure that their health care content—and their organization—doesn’t get lost in the fray, marketers are taking cues from new-to-the-scene yet well-regarded consumer sites like Greatist, a health-focused content provider with a well-honed, no-nonsense content strategy.

Since its founding in 2011, the site has grown to 10 million unique monthly visitors—65% of whom are the highly prized 18- to 34-year-old millennial demographic. While the site features such clickable headlines as “15 Olympic-Inspired Exercises to Try Today” and “How to Meditate When Your Mind Is Racing,” there are more important metrics than tracking eyeballs on content, says Greatist founder and CEO Derek Flanzraich. The site values deeply engaging articles written specifically to engage its core readership rather than simple page views and clicks, and that strategy isn’t specific to consumer-oriented content, Flanzraich says.

Marketing Health Services touched base with Flanzraich to discuss the startup’s content strategy and learn how a consumer-oriented approach can fuel growth for content marketers in the health care space.

Q: At Greatist, you aim to focus on quality, targeted content instead of copious articles that lack actual medical knowledge or meaningful information, and your site includes several ‘listicle’-type articles, but also personal essays, in-depth reported pieces and scientific studies. What is the site’s overall content strategy, and how do you work to make sure that both writers and advertisers stay true to Greatist’s mission?

A: Ultimately, if I were to distill our content strategy down, I would say it is an almost extreme embracing of quality over quantity. We think there is an enormous shift in the media space, and we believe that this enormous shift is actually tied to each of these platforms—the new distribution platforms that have continued to grow—like Facebook and Pinterest. Each of them is increasingly rewarding great content over fine content, and we think Google is rewarding that, as well. From our perspective, our job is not to write good articles, but the article, and so we try to write the best piece of content on the topic. That means going to extreme lengths, so in every article we write, every fact is cited by PubMed. Every article is approved by multiple experts. Each piece of content is exclusively ours, so we’re not sharing anyone else’s. We’re aggressive about the legitimacy and the amount of evidence that is backing up our content. That’s part one.

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Author Bio:

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Julie Davis
Julie Davis is a freelance writer based in London. She can be reached at jsmarie@gmail.com.

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