When it comes to health and fitness, content farms rule the Internet. Try to search for something like “how to lose weight” and you’ll get a long list of anonymously-written, poorly-sourced articles. So Derek Flanzarich is trying to build something better with Greatist, where he’s founder and CEO.
If you go the site, the differences may be too subtle to notice at first. There’s lots of general how-to content, divided into three categories — fitness, health, and happiness. But when you read the articles, there’s a difference. They’re not covered in ads, they seem to have a genuine editorial voice, and wonder of wonders, they even have a work cited section on the end. This article about how to never be late again? Genuinely useful. (Though let’s be honest: I’ll probably be late again.)
Flanzraich says his goal is to “build the first trusted health- and fitness-branded business” that’s targeted at young, Web-savvy readers. To that end, there’s a team of four full-time editors, plus a larger network of contributing writers. Content has to be approved by an expert, and every fact has to be cited. There’s even a manifesto urging people to “join the Greatist movement,” which is about making one healthy choice a week, rather than fixating on whether you’re ridiculously fit.
The approach seems to be working. In the last five-ish months, traffic has grown from 65,000 to 800,000 unique monthly visitors. Thirty percent of those visitors return, and 65 percent of the traffic comes from social networks (rather than search engines), so people must like the content.
As for making money, Greatist is running ads right now, but Flanzraich is also looking into a model where readers could become Greatist members and get access to special deals.