Flipboard has been building out its magazine app with features that let anyone create curated magazines. The app is attracting marketers who see custom Flipboard magazines as another channel for reaching customers with branded content. There’s a role for publishers too: supplying that content.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media and OMD this week announced the launch of a branded Flipboard magazine for Estée Lauder. The Estée Lauder Beauty Book includes original and curated content from Hearst’s Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire brands, along with custom content developed by Hearst’s newly formed Connected Content group.
OMD, an integrated communications agency, brought the idea to Hearst as part of an integrated program it was pitching to Estée Lauder. “They saw it as a different approach to bring the brand to life, telling the story through the lens of editorial content,” said Kristine Welker, chief revenue officer of Hearst Magazines Digital Media.
The Flipboard magazine is one of several new custom media projects coming out of Hearst Digital’s new Connected Content group, headed by Elizabeth Shepard, general manager of Hearst’s Food and Home group. The content is vetted by Hearst to ensure that it is authentic and in sync with the three fashion titles.
“The editorial content provides value to the consumer – it’s not thinly veiled advertising,” said Shepard. “We chose content that aligns specifically with the voice of each brand.”
Hearst gets a licensing fee for the content, but any advertising is handled directly by Flipboard. The first issue does not include any direct commerce links to Estée Lauder products from the editorial, though Hearst acknowledged that would be an option.
With more than 2 million titles created since Flipboard announced the custom curation feature in March, discovery can be a problem. To drive awareness, Hearst is promoting the magazine via ads on the three participating brands’ desktop and mobile websites.
The partnership with OMD and Estée Lauder runs through October. Shepard said there are no specific plans for Flipboard collaborations with other brands, but that the new Connected Content group will continue to explore new ways to partner with brands on content-driven programs.
“We were attracted to [the Flipboard opportunity] because it’s a new model,” Shepard said. “We’re trying to create better engagement across all of our platforms. Our content-driven strategies may not always look like this, but they will be true and authentic to both our clients and our brands.”
The Connected Content group, which Shepard said has informally come together over the past 4-6 months, has two main areas of focus: custom created or curated content for advertisers that can live on their site or Hearst sites, and native ad solutions. The goal is to help advertisers meet consumer needs “in very authentic ways,” she said. “There’s no church/state weirdness, no bait and switch, just full transparency.”