Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic recently wrote an article about Amazon’s acquisition of GoodReads. In it, he questions why many are calling this a brilliant move, and then astutely observes that, “...there's a more fundamental issue at play here, too. Today, the publishing industry survives on super fans.”
I agree. In our new media world, a book’s success hinges on word of mouth. The more ways Amazon can provide passionate readers with a platform for their recommendations, the more books it will sell.
The magazine industry is undergoing a similar shift, with a slight difference. Magazines are amplifying the voice of super fans who write about topics their readers care about most. This organic content will drive word of mouth, and contribute to a magazine's success.
In its relaunch, which took place on April 3, FashionIndie changed its format so that nearly all of the contributions on the site now come from fashion ‘super fans,’ e.g. the industry’s most influential bloggers and influencers. These are contributors like Patrick Robinson, Creative Director at Armani Exchange, and people who live and breathe the world of style and design, and champion the fashion world through their own independent writing.
Daniel Saynt, who launched Indie in 2004, said the goal of the publication has always been discovery. “When I acquired the site I wanted to be able to showcase talents we believe in, making it easier for brands to connect to top fashion bloggers and consumers to follow compelling fashion stories.”
Through this relaunch, Fashion Indie is doing just that. It’s moving even closer to fashion super fans, giving them a bigger stage to share their opinion, and a better chance to be discovered by brands. Brands like Gap, Macy’s, HTC and HP have all signed on as Indie launch advertisers.
FashionIndie’s approach is not unlike what Lucky Mag, Details, Epicurious and other publishers have done by embracing their network of contributors via dedicated community sites. However, Daniel Saynt and his Indie team have taken a very bold step to go ‘all in’ with this relaunch. Nearly 90% of all content on their site will now come from independent contributors.
And it’s not just a change in the content. Editor-In-Chief, Beca Alexander will receive a title change to Curator-in-Chief, developing original editorials featuring members, and selecting the best incoming content from bloggers and select industry contributors such as celebrity stylist Nick Arrojo, Vogue photographer Benjamin Kanerek, and DJ Becka Diamond among others.
At the heart of all this is the Tidal platform, helping Beca and her team review, approve and publish content as it comes in. The Indie team will be using the platform to add new contributors to the network, review the performance of each contribution, and ensure that the best content from the best contributors appears on Fashion Indie.
This is a truly radical step, one that we’re proud to be a part of and one that we believe more publishers and brands will soon follow. In today’s new media world, companies must learn to engage contributors, influencers, super fans - whatever you want to call them - because crowd-sourced and contributed content is guided but ultimately more organic. It’s what a consumer is passionate about. It’s more insightful and objective. It’s content written by the fans, for the fans, which will in turn benefit both the publisher and advertisers involved.
If you haven’t already, have a look at the brave new Indie and let us know what you think.