Introducing: Sidelines, the newest methods in content marketing where the expert consumer is the voice of a product. The great minds behind Sidelines are former Microsoft employees Arka Ray and Marios Assiotis. They had a vision and they set out to build it; a method where honest and valuable content marketing would take over spam advertisement. Readers often tune out ads in their current format, so Ray and Assiots created a way that helps brands reach their audience directly through original discussion from experts and super fans and thus replace spam and sponsored ads with a scalable, community-powered content marketing platform.
Sidelines: Influencer Marketing
The concept is straight forward: Instead of companies putting their products out there in the traditional manner, Sidelines has created a community of 1,000 carefully curated, expert contributors to discuss brands and their products. They then publish the discussions on apps, blogs and sites. The method is comparable with the age-old, but most effective way of advertisement: Word of Mouth. They have been working on Sidelines for a while and it seems that the idea is being picked up. It makes total sense really. Think about it: when you want to buy a new phone/car/fridge/pair of running shoes or whatever, would you put more faith in A: the brand telling you how amazing their product is? or B: a direct recommendation (or the opposite) from an expert user? Bit of a no-brainer, isn’t it? I am wondering though how they prevent brands paying these expert users big bucks in order to promote their products, regardless of quality and value.
Arka Ray says Sidelines is on a mission to elevate publishing and marketing through such a community. We are replacing ads with a network of real, knowledgeable people, and they’re already running with the big boys. Sidelines are currently running sponsored campaigns for The Walt Disney World, ESPN, Amazon, The Honest Company, The Bouqs Company, Star Wars: Commander, and the Disney Imagicademy.
At this point in time Sidelines reaches over 13 million readers through its publisher network. They are growing fast and the end is not in sight. Publishers hosting Sidelines’ discussion-oriented short-form content see their retention and engagement increase 110% and see 2x the average eCPM for their inventory.
Sidelines was a popular investment opportunity that trended on Zirra and Crowdfunder and quickly reached its goal, over-funded by 50% and closed the round. Hot investment opportunities move fast. Keep an eye on these guys, you may get another chance in the future to be part of the conversation.
Is influencer marketing a growing trend?