The Odyssey, a social-content platform that employs a crowd-sourced approach to discovering writers and exposing their work to new audiences, has hired Lisa Shalett as chief marketing officer.
Shalett, who previously served as a partner and head of brand marketing and digital strategy for Goldman Sachs, will be responsible for raising the profile of the millennial-focused platform. It has been growing below the radar with viral stories, like one celebrating the slightly pillowy male physical archetype now known as “Dad Bod.”
Other content distributed on the site includes breaking news and editorial-type articles on topics such as gender and racial equality.
Shalett’s responsibilities will include outreach to brands and agencies looking to reach millennial and “Gen Z” audiences with national, regional and locally targeted campaigns. The Odyssey, which raised $3 million in May of this year, has built out capabilities spanning video, native, and programmatic advertising. To date it has worked with advertising clients including Verizon Wireless, Monster Audio, Mountain Dew and State Farm, among others.
Founder Evan Burns launched The Odyssey as a print publication while a student a student at Indiana University, then brought the crowd-sourced model online in June 2014.
It has subsequently grown to include over 3,500 writers in 250 communities, focused on locally produced content. The platform projects that number will increase to over 450 communities by the end of this year.
All content published by The Odyssey is edited and optimized for distribution and sharing through proprietary content management technology called Muse, which measures content quality and guides algorithmic and human editing.
According to the company, 87% of is traffic comes from organic social referrals, and 82% of its content is consumed by readers on mobile devices. The audience has a distinctly youthful skew, with 58% of its readers ages 18-24, and 21% ages 25-34.