On Wednesday, skin-care brand Murad debuted a digital vertical called Well Connected on Murad.com.
Well Connected will publish 12-14 stories per month on various topics within wellness, such as stress reduction, self-care and nutrition. The Unilever-owned brand has focused on aligning itself closer to wellness for at least the last three years, spotlighting its founder Dr. Howard Murad and his principles of combatting stress-related skin-care issues. Well Connected is expected to further help achieve this goal.
Murad is searching for a full-time editor-in-chief to oversee Well Connected, but otherwise, it will rely on a network of contributors including experts, doctors and well-known figures like Sophia Amoruso of Girlboss. Michelle Shigemasa, Murad CEO, said in a previous Glossy interview that the brand expected to reach a 50% DTC sales goal by the end of 2020, off the heels of its customized formula success in Oct. 2020.
“The pandemic accelerated the importance of giving people an elevated digital experience,” said Shigemasa. “All signs were already pointing this way, but it’s clearer than ever [that we need] to emotionally connect with our consumers online, especially with authentic purpose-driven storytelling. An editorial lens changes the environment from e-commerce to e-experience.”
Brands have been adding digital publications and blogs to their DTC websites over the last decade. Those that have successfully leveraged their editorial platform into massive sales and brand-building opportunities include Glossier and Goop, though both of those began as editorial publications prior to launching products.
Well Connected is arriving later than most on the storytelling front. However, it can serve as a valuable traffic driver with robust search engine and keyword optimization strategies, and ongoing paid ads to promote its articles. Shigemasa said that the brand is beginning with unpaid strategies such as repurposing the content for its social channels and linking back to the website. The metrics of success will also be “soft,” at first, she said — Well Connected will focus on engagement, reader traffic and time spent on the website. She declined to share current values for those metrics.
“[A digital publication] is definitely not novel, but it is valuable,” said Dontae Mears, director of digital strategy for marketing agency Lemonade. “For a while, it’s not going to offer a direct ROI. [That] takes a strong editorial approach and network of contributors. In order to break through, you do need to have consistent content; you can’t have one blog post a week, but more like three to four posts a day.”
In the future, Well Connected could be used in brand partnerships, launch a podcast, or act as a launchpad for conferences and events, like Goop, Shigemasa said.
“It does require investment and concerted effort, and it’s definitely not going to be an overnight success,” said Mears.