As the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) Co.-owned About Group continues its turnaround efforts in the face of weak display and cost-per-click ad sales, the flagship guide site is hoping that its placement within the social reader app Flipboard will help bring in new readers and advertisers.
As of this afternoon, About.com began providing content from its main Twitter feed, its homepage and six content categories: Health, Travel, Style, Parenting, Food and Home & Garden. It expects to have around 50 new articles each day on Flipboard’s editor-selected Living and Travel sections.
Flipboard has been striking a number of high-profile content deals over the last few months, with features from Condé Nast’s The New Yorker and Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, while About has been syndicating its RSS feeds for years. But in a lot ways, this one is different for both media companies.
For Flipboard, the addition of About.com’s lifestyle content helps build out its general news and feature offerings, with much of it directed towards women. That is also designed to open the app up to more advertisers, especially as it plots its expansion to the iPhone.
The main difference with Flipboard’s deal with About.com as opposed to previous ones is that the guide site is not exactly a destination that users generally seek without a purpose in mind. Traditionally, About has gotten 80 percent of its site traffic through search, from users who want to know how to cure a headache or how to make french toast.
If About has any fans among web users, it’s likely that its focused on the guides themselves as opposed to About.com. In September, the company’s new CEO Darline Jean reorganized its guide teams, which oversee its individual guides. At the same time, the site has added roughly 115 more guide sites for a total of nearly 1,000 by the end of this year.
The Flipboard deal could put more focus on the About brand, something that the company has tried to do through marketing campaigns. Flipboard is still relatively new and by planting About’s lifestyle content within the app, it’s conceivable to think that users will be more favorably disposed towards it and its content (though About is by no means trumpeting this move as some sort of game-changer, of course). With competition coming from the likes of Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) and others, this deal is a small, but potentially positive step in About’s attempt to reverse its revenue declines.