Brands

Thrillist Keeps the Excitement Flowing with Targeted Content

This post is part of the Branded Blogging Series, which features tips on how to learn from the successes of some of the most innovative and successful brand blogs.

Email marketing, daily deals, and now content strategy. Internet companies like Thrillist seem to be always adapting to trends.

Thrillist started as a daily deals site that focused on one target: young urban males. This focus carried through their brand voice, curated content, and the creation of Thrillist Media Group.

The media company combines the men’s lifestyle brand Thrillist, members-only shopping club JackThread, and local experiences platform Thrillist Rewards.

Thrillist found quick success since it’s start in 2004 by focusing on their editorial strategy. Any content marketer can learn a lesson or two from its content strategy, along with great suggestions of where to find a craft beer café.

Curate content for your audience

Thrillist has kept an attentive male audience by serving up content guys want (bar openings, parties, gadgets, and sports) for the city of their choice, says Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer.

“We reach our guys through expert editorial and keep them around through curated commerce,” Lerer said in an interview with Digiday. “That wouldn’t be possible without really understanding what our consumers love, what they don’t love and how the services of Thrillist and JackThreads fits into the rest of their lives.”

Don’t trash email

Lerer told Digiday that email as the core of Thrillist’s distribution strategy. With Thrillist Media Group, advertisers have the option to offer branded content through “allied” emails.

These emails still speak to Thrillist’s guy audience while calling out they are sponsored.

“Email means personal — a one-to-one connection — that we spent a bunch of time fostering, and we have seen a lot of business from it,” says Lerer.

Provide value

Thrillist has provided its audience added value from the very beginning through deals and custom curated content.

By doing so, they have kept a loyal fanbase, which provides value for advertisers who want to reach Thrillist’s guy-centric audience, says Thrillist Media Group Vice President Shane Rahmani in an interview with Custom Content Council.

“As a leader at Thrillist I try to preach two things: (1) compelling editorial that engages our audience and fulfills our brand promise and (2) innovative advertising solutions that enable our partners to connect with our audience in an actionable and compelling way,” he said.

Content can only go so far

To generate revenue, a publisher has to think beyond ads, says Lerer.

“In today’s world, where everyone wants to be the biggest and the best and something last-able, you can’t scale content far enough,” he told Digiday. “For certain kinds of commerce, content is a natural place to be. Media companies have always thought about readers and tried to monetize them. Commerce companies think about buyers.”

Thrillist started as a content company and it’s still a media company at heart, Lerer said told Betabeat. “People are drawn to media companies and the excitement of content creation.”

Thrillist is a case study on how through content and curated commerce, a publisher can become a revenue generating business.

Thrillist is the male counterpart to DailyCandy, now in a partnership with NBC Universal. By focusing on a core audience, both companies have evolved from providing deals with fantastic editorial to media companies and lifestyle brands whose niche audiences have attracted numerous partnerships.

The success of these publishers not only shows how content marketing can lead to generating revenue for an individual business, but the creation of an entirely new business model.

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