Hearst and female-focused site network SheKnows.com will announce a content syndication deal on Wednesday, marking an evolution in the magazine company's online strategy. The deal will give SheKnows exclusive access to certain articles each month from several of Hearst's mag sites, including Cosmopolitan.com, MarieClaire.com, HouseBeautiful.com, Redbook and GoodHousekeeping.com. The arrangement began quietly last month, when Hearst placed 50 articles on SheKnows. It will begin sending SheKnows roughly 30 articles each month.
-- Where the women are: Back in February, I spoke with Chris Johnson, VP, content and business development for Hearst Magazines Digital Media, about the company's web strategy, which relied heavily on syndicating its content on portals. Speaking with Johnson again this week, he emphasized that Hearst Digital's relationships with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and MSN are still important. But they're looking beyond portals to partnering with individual sites or networks that have brands that are singularly aimed at young women.
-- Traffic first, ads later: In particular, being able to target demos more narrowly is something Hearst feels it needs to improve on. Johnson: "Our strategy is constantly being refined. Portals are great for reaching a mass audience, but we're looking to get to our sites a more narrow-targeted audiencespecifically women between 21 and 30. And that's why we're working with SheKnows." So right now, the main goal is to drive traffic back to Hearst's sites. If all goes well, the next step will involve a joint ad sales arrangement, Johnson said.
By David Kaplan