Kylie Bamberger appeared on my radar during an Instagram hashtag campaign around body positivity and inclusivity. Kylie has alopecia universalis, an autoimmune condition that attacks hair follicles and causes total hair loss all over the body, including the head, eyelashes, eyebrows, and all body hair. And she hasn’t worn a wig or covered up her head in over five years.
I contacted Kylie through Facebook and arranged for Health.com’s editorial assistant to interview her. I also secured photos and commissioned a Facebook-friendly video.
The end result: A powerful profile that showcases Kylie’s sparkling personality and confidence, and inspires women to be who they are, no matter their circumstances. This story gained more buzz than any other piece the brand commissioned in my four years on staff, with pickups from Refinery29, People, Huffington Post, Fox News, the Today Show, Allure, Cosmopolitan, Inside Edition, and more.
'This Is Us' Showed How Debilitating and Scary an Anxiety Attack Can Be
At Health.com, I often thought about ways our content could connect the brand to the broader conversations out in the world around entertainment, politics, and other subjects. So when NBC’s “This Is Us” blew up the 2016/2017 television season, I began paying attention to storylines on the show to see how we might be able to cover it in a way that made sense for the Health.com brand. Randall Pearson experiencing a panic attack was the perfect tie-in, so I assigned the story the morning after the episode aired. This piece not only recapped what happened on the show; it also provided context about panic attacks that served the reader. This story went viral, with more than 165,000 social shares and pickups from HuffPost, Refinery29, and more.
Moringa is a trendy powdered supplement that health-minded people are adding to smoothies, breads, muffins, and more. I assigned this piece because moringa is big on Instagram, and is also picking up steam in natural search.
The story came in as a pretty standard explainer that goes over the basics of moringa (what it’s made from, how to use it). But the end result is an example of how story packaging can take the ordinary to extraordinary. Two pseudo-sidebars provide additional information about where to buy moringa and other powders to try, and Instagram embeds show how people are using this powder in their own recipes.
What Causes Migraines? 13 Reasons Your Head Won't Stop Throbbing
This piece is an extension of Prevention’s Migraine Condition Center (read more about Condition Centers here). Migraine is a complex subject with causes that range from genetics to foods you eat, and in the wrong hands, this subject would completely overwhelm a reader. But in editing this piece, I took great pains to ensure it was written in plain, friendly language that anybody would be able to understand. I also packaged the story with scannability in mind, including plenty of visuals and section breaks.
Kate Spade’s Death Sheds Light on Suicide Myth: It Peaks in the Spring, Not at the Holidays
Kate Spade’s death really shook me up—here was a successful woman who seemingly had it all, and she still fell into the deepest depths of depression. I wanted to cover her death on Prevention.com in a way that would be respectful, and also serve as a teachable moment for our readers. So I assigned this piece about an all-too-common misconception about suicide: Most people believe it spikes around the holidays, but in fact, more people kill themselves in the spring than any other time of year. On social, our readers responded with gratitude, thanking Prevention for letting them know they should check in on loved ones at times they might not expect.
Prevention.com: Condition Centers
It's difficult to create in-depth explainers about health conditions that aren't scary, intimidating, or really boring. But that's a challenge I wanted to solve—not only is there a huge appetite for this information (the search volume is sky-high), but nobody's presenting it well. So, Prevention has an opportunity to connect with an audience in a meaningful way while also increasing traffic to the site.
The solution: Prevention’s Condition Centers, which provide a broad overview of a condition and serve as an index that paths readers into more in-depth content about symptoms, causes, treatments, and more. Custom illustrations and section-header animations provide warmth and levity to difficult topics, while infographics add additional context. And the text itself is written with a conversational tone—it’s like your friend who happens to be a doctor is telling you everything you need to know.
I oversee all aspects of Condition Center production, including assigning text to freelance writers (or writing it myself), ensuring the accuracy of the content, and commissioning illustrations.
I led a cross-functional team with stakeholders from product, design, and marketing to develop Health.com’s Challenges tool. It grew out of a few needs:
1. Create a sales-friendly product that would be flexible enough to repurpose multiple times across the brand’s core topics, including fitness, food, and weight loss
2. Acquire new email addresses at scale
3. Engage our social audience and attract new followers.
The MVP version of Health.com Challenges tool launched in January 2015 with 30 days of weight loss tips repurposed from existing content. Later, after Health.com completed its responsive redesign, the offering was transferred to a new template that incorporates custom infographics, videos, and daily email reminders.
Between 2015 and 2017, Health.com launched more than a dozen challenges. The three most successful (and most comprehensive) were the Love Your Strength Challenge With Emily Skye, the 30-Day Core Challenge With Tracy Anderson, and the 30-Day No Takeout Challenge With Giada De Laurentiis. I managed all aspects of their production, including setting social and email acquisition strategy, writing (site display copy and 30 daily emails for each challenge), and working with talent to coordinate photo and video shoots.
These three Challenges were among Health.com’s most-shared pieces of the year, and acquired more than 100,000 email addresses total. Sponsors included CPG brands and pharmaceutical companies.
When I started at Health.com in 2013, the brand was creating virtually no video. By the time I left in 2017, we were producing about 100 per month. I developed a production and distribution strategy that divided videos into five buckets:
About 65% of Health.com’s traffic arrived through natural search to evergreen content about the brand’s core topics (weight loss, workouts, health conditions, etc.). Adding related videos to the top of historically high-performing flat content was a way to ensure high ROI.
Using found footage and images, these videos were created to engage our Facebook and Instagram audiences and grow our following on each of those platforms.
Health.com joined the hands-with-pans-style video craze. About a third were made for a Facebook-first audience, but the rest were tied to SEO winners, which meant longer shelf life and more CPM revenue potential.
A few times a year, we tackled more ambitious documentary-style storytelling to further our mission and generate buzz.
5. Longform fitness repurposed from Facebook Live
In 2016, Facebook paid subsidies to publishers to create video for Facebook Live. All videos had to be a minimum of 10 minutes. To maximize the ROI of this opportunity, we focused on creating video that could later be edited and repurposed on Health.com and YouTube. Follow-along fitness videos were most fruitful. We had no shortage of fitness trainers willing to shoot workouts in our studio, and they could easily be edited for users who wanted to follow along later at home.
I joined Rodale in May 2017 as Director of Special Projects, where I was tasked with driving the ideation and execution of cross-brand editorial projects for a network of brands that included Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Prevention. Rodale was put up for sale shortly after I started and acquired by Hearst 9 months later, so I only had the opportunity to fully execute one project—but it was a very successful one: Launching an affiliate e-commerce content strategy across the portfolio. I brought this project from mere concept to material, high-margin business within six months, managing a centralized desk that created commerce content for all the brands while also training brand editorial teams on strategy and best practices.
Across Rodale’s six titles, I identified dozens of existing stories that could be optimized for commerce. For example, a Men’s Health gallery was midway down the first page of a Google search for “best men’s underwear” (18,100 searches/month) and the article was driving upwards of 50,000 monthly page views—but the story had originally been published in 2015 and never updated, so many pairs of underwear featured were no longer available for purchase. By simply updating the story with optimized metadata, a more robust introduction, and up-to-date products, the story moved up to the top SERP spot and started generating tens of thousands of dollars in gross revenue for our affiliate partners.
Additionally, I found new areas of opportunity around high-volume search keywords. Women’s Health, for instance, now holds the number-one SERP slot for “best yoga mats,” while Prevention is in the top slot for “walking shoes for women.”
Amazon Prime Day 2017
Amazon Prime Day is a 36-hour shopping event held annually in July. The retailer offers thousands of deals on a range of items, including electronics, housewares, sports and fitness equipment, clothing, shoes, and much more.
I organized a content plan for Amazon Prime Day for all six Rodale brands, using previous affiliate purchasing data to determine which products and categories each brand should cover, how content could cross-pollinate the brands through syndication, and social and newsletter distribution strategy.
The result: Prime Day was Rodale’s third top affiliate revenue-generating day of 2017, behind only Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Revenue on Prime Day was roughly 800% higher than a normal day.
My team wrote deal-of-the-day content for all of Rodale’s brands, and the Runner’s World audience was among the most receptive. To maximize this revenue stream, we did two things: first, we dedicated a slot in the daily Warmup newsletter to a daily deal; and, we created a Facebook Group called Runner’s World Deals, where we promoted exclusive deals and encouraged discussion around running gear in general. Deals coverage helped increase Runner’s World’s monthly affiliate revenue by about 30% on top of other optimizations my team executed.