Greatist's Flanzraich Discusses Site's Millennial Success, Future

Some publishers have found the secret recipe to attracting millennials. Greatist, a digital publisher focused on healthy living, uses a concoction of high-quality, relevant content and search.

In January, Greatist, raised $4.5 million and plans to use the funding to create custom, high-touch programs with sponsorships from Kind, FitBit and other advertisers.

Publishers Daily spoke to Greatist founder and CEO Derek Flanzraich to find out how the brand has been able to reach profitability in four years since their launch, without dipping into click-bait.

Publishers Daily: What’s your secret for reaching millennials so successfully?

The way we reach millennials is starkly different from how other next-generation media companies are going about it. Search makes up such a large percentage of our traffic. Search is thought of often as bad. But for us, it’s completely organic. We write high-quality content in an authentic, fun voice. How we package and frame it is doing especially well in social and search.



It’s quantity over quality, as we produce far less content. People are actively searching for healthy recipes and workouts at a high rate. The growth of search for us was a happy accident .. and it does well on Google search.

We are a site for millennials by millennials. We speak their language. That’s empowering and accepting. Millennials prioritize health over wealth. When they turn to find the information they are looking for, they are turning to search.

Publishers Daily: Why do you think brands are so eager to attract millennials?

Functionally, millennials are the largest demographic in the U.S. They don’t spend the most, but they clearly will -- in sheer numbers and size [they are] impossible to ignore. Millennials have also been under-served and misunderstood by your typical publishers for a long time. You have to be genuine and authentic.

Publishers Daily: What do you think is different about Greatist that has allowed it to grow so rapidly?

Google is functionally a platform -- people go and search and pick from a feed of suggested content. We believe Google is better at this than people give it credit. We don’t do SEO; we just write great content that is packaged smartly for our audience, like “81 chicken recipes that aren’t boring as hell” instead of “81 chicken recipes.”

Publishers Daily: What is in the works at Greatist this year?

We are heavily invested in video. We just want to get better. We’re ready to spend some of the funding [we got in January]. We are still a young, new brand, so we are going to take it one Google search click at a time and one article at a time.

Publishers Daily: Will there be a focus on native advertising or branded content?

We monetize by creating engaging campaigns that resonate with millennials, shaping the way they think about our brand partners. It’s pretty amazing that we get to work with amazing brands like Kind, FitBit and other advertisers and help them shape their message with millennials. We are very selective about brands we work with, and when we work with the brands, we work to tell their story convincingly.

Publishers Daily: Tell me more about Greatist’s newsletter.

It’s the most direct relationship with our most loyal readers. That is such an extraordinarily important relationship and we try to engage our readership so much that they are willing to hear from us on a regular, daily basis. And once we get them to do that and are willing to share their personal email address with us, then we have this awesome relationship and share interesting things with them.

We had a fun thing happen recently where at a meeting the other day this person asked whether we were listening in on her conversations because our newsletter every day was referring to something she had just talked about. Our content is so successful that sometimes our readers think we are reading their minds.
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