In days gone by brands were promoted via glossies and newspapers to get their stories told and products sold. But now, as consumers become more media-savvy, the old techniques of advertorial and copy with heavily-laden PR messages no longer hold the same appeal.
So brand-owners are wising up and realising that consumers, who are increasingly using the internet to buy products, want something different from their online experience. Companies have seen the potential to improve a site’s stickiness with the addition of relevant editorial. Alongside this, no brand can ignore the potential and importance of social media platforms to promote (or in some cases destroy) their product.
The evidence of this, over several months, has been a series of career moves where journalists have jumped ship to join online (fashion) brands. Jeremy Langmead, former editor of Esquire magazine moved to online editorial site Mr Porter – owned by net-a-porter.com. Elleuk’s digital editor director Melissa Dick moved over to Asos and most recently Grazia’s former editor-in-chief Fiona McIntosh has joined my-wardbrobe.com.
Using journalists with a print and broadcast background allows these sites to offer substance which will encourage visitors to stay, and buy products. Interestingly it demonstrates a blurring between marketing and journalism - it’s not just about selling but understanding what customers want and ultimately satisfying that. Cleverly this is all in an age when customers are more cynical about how they are being sold to. So is it having the desired effect?