What Groupon Academy says about editorial strategy 1.4.11 0
by in Industry

You’ve probably heard of it.

If you haven’t cashed in on one of its half-off coupon deals, read about it in the New York Times business section, or witnessed a local copycat jump its bandwagon, we’ve got news for you.

Groupon is all the rage.

The startup, which showcases daily deals and coupons most times offering more than 50 percent discount at local retailers, ain’t your momma’s Coupon Clipper.

In less than two years, Groupon has grown fast enough and perfected a business model so well that it in November, Google attempted to acquire it to the tune of $6 billion.

Believe it or not, Groupon pooh-poohed the cash, focusing on bigger and better things.

Like it’s editorial strategy.

Ask a content strategist what makes Groupon valuable and they’ll tell you it ain’t the deals. It’s all about the content, baby. More and more, the company is looking less a Web 2.0 startup and more a news agency.

Parse words from the venerable The Atlantic magazine:

Forty percent of Groupon’s writers have prior journalism experience, 70 percent were creative writers and 20 percent wrote marketing or business copy. As of this writing, there are 59 writers, 16 editors, 15 image designers, 24 fact-checkers, 11 copy editors and four editorial recruiters. They’ve hired 40 writers in the last six months.

Those 129 staffers are enrolled into the company’s Groupon Academy, a recruiting and training process that teaches how to write compelling content for the web, a process which makes its deals and coupons sing.

In early December, a peek at the company’s editorial guide “leaked” to the public. What it tells us—journalists at heart—is that traditional journalistic style, like using an omniscient third-person narrator, avoiding marketing cliches, and writing beautifully, are tenants that drive a successful web editorial strategy.

Or as BusinessInsider put it, in its 18 Most Innovative Alternative News Stories of 2010 roundup, “its short daily narratives … allow buyers to gain a more in-depth understanding of the products they are purchasing versus traditional advertising.

“Groupon represents a revolutionary way of spreading information about a company’s products and services.”

How is your organization preparing for that revolution?

TL:DR: Groupon has 129 staffers dedicated to its editorial strategy. Who's managing yours? | Tweet This

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