Groupon’s pen makes for mightier marketing

The New York Times last month published a five page article about Groupon, noting in the second page that the online marketer’s writing/editing staff is close to passing the size of the editorial staff of the biggest name in the same city it’s headquartered in, the Chicago Tribune.

Groupon has “more than 400” writers and editors, The NY Times reported; however, Groupon’s IPO filing counts 925 editorial staffers. (The Tribune has 484).

These writers and editors do more than create ads, according to Groupon, which aims to be viewed not as a marketer, but rather an “impartial guide” for a city, much like the weekend or leisure section of a local newspaper.

“People have grown numb to the elements of advertising that pander to their fears and hopes, that insult their intelligence with safe, bland approaches at creativity,” Aaron With, Groupon’s editor-in-chief, told The NY Times. “We’re mixing business with art and creating our own voice.”

The 29-year-old With does not have a journalism or marketing background, and previously worked for a non-profit; he was, however, in a band with Groupon’s chief executive, Andrew Mason.

In the beginning, With said mistakes were made, but “over time we figured out this style of humor that worked really well and that we liked writing.”

Now that the company has grown so much, keeping a consistent style is the biggest challenge.

“We’re writing enough copy to fill a 190-page novel every day,” he told Social Times in September last year. It’s difficult “maintaining that kind of excited vibe and ownership.”

Writing is one of the main factors in Groupon’s success, the company has said, according to CyberJournalist. It is also hiring an average of two editorial employees each day. Groupon touts its “vigorously fact-checked editorial content,” and if the company continues to grow, it may likely become a noteworthy employer for writers, Mediabistro pointed out.

Image via Social Times: Humor is important at Groupon, says Aaron With, editor-in-chief

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