Trusted Media Brands’ Reader’s Digest has launched its first digital vertical, a wellness-focused site called The Healthy. "Given that it’s National Public Health week and the COVID-19 outbreak is raging, “The Healthy” is hoping to provide reliable, well-reported information.
“The editorial vision and strategy for ‘The Healthy’ was developed around the premise there’s no shortage of health information — any Google search will yield millions of results. But actionable health information isn’t necessarily in abundant supply,” Theresa Tamkins, editorial director of The Healthy,” told Publishers Daily.
“We see The Healthy as a problem-solving and storytelling site for people who care about health — their own and others. We aim to use simple, friendly language sourced from experts and real people to provide solutions to health questions or problems.”
Reader’s Digest saw a need for trusted and personable health journalism among consumers after conducting a survey in 2019 that revealed its audience was frustrated by its inability to glean clear answers and solutions to their health-care problems. About 30% of women and 38% of millennials expressing frustration with a medical condition.
To meet that need, The Healthy combines authoritative and science-backed health information with personal stories from health providers, patients and caregivers “to get a more holistic and solution-oriented view of a health condition or issue,” said Tamkins. “Self-care is more important than ever before. Our audience can expect content that is well-reported, deeply engaging, and squarely focused on helping them solve problems.”
Tamkins noted the health section of RD.com is one of the largest sections of the site and would be a top 20 health information site according to Comscore data, if it stood on its own.
She says the early content strategy for The Healthy was focused on updating existing content — the site had a wealth of it, but much didn’t meet new Google standards, like author profiles and medical review dates. Following those updates, the team broadened the site’s in-depth information across over 130 different sections.
Those sections include information on chronic conditions, such as heart disease, and health topics like nutrition, hydration and vaccines.
After the content was pulled together, “it made a great business case to launch a dedicated health information site leveraging all the strengths of the existing content and the satisfaction of visitors to that content,” said Tamkins.
The Healthy features what Tamkins calls solution centers, created to solve specific health problems. Right now, the site has centers about depression, anxiety and coronavirus that include information about symptoms, risks and treatments, empowering readers to take actionable steps toward solutions.
The Healthy has also produced more than 70 new and updated stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing tips and advice on personal hygiene, home cleaning, working from home, mental health and healthy eating during quarantine.
“Given the urgency of the current COVID-19 outbreak, trusted and authoritative health coverage is more important than ever before,” said Tamkins. “We’ve produced in-depth explainers of complicated topics related to the virus, such as a comparison of SARS, MERS and COVID-19, as well as personal stories, including an exclusive interview with a nurse in Wuhan whose boyfriend died of the disease."
Before launching The Healthy, the Reader’s Digest team saw an opportunity. Brands were already examining the data coming out of the health content section of its site.
“We saw that many advertisers were looking to be in more of a specialized health content environment, rather than an environment that covered many different topics,” said Tamkins. “This demonstrated there was the potential for incremental advertising revenue in a dedicated health site.”
While The Healthy was running in beta, Reader’s Digest developed cross-brand content programs for advertisers, said Lora Gier, senior vice president of sales at Trusted Media Brands. “Now out of beta, we are actively talking to partners in the pharmaceutical and CBD space to create opportunities that leverage the authority of The Healthy and our clear cut approach to conditions,” she added.