In just a few years, Craig Gibson has built a database of 200,000 subscribers for online marketplace company, hipages Group. Imagine what Gibson, who is the content editor for the company, can do with his share of the six million dollars his company raised from private investors in May this year!
Mind you, put up your hand if you are not interested in home improvement. Gibson is in a great market, which his CEO, David Vitek, estimates as worth $90 billion every year! Cool.
Vitek started hipages Group 10 years ago (then called Viteknologies), and has since added more online marketplaces: natural therapies and pet breeding.
But hipages is the moneyspinner and the biggest opportunity and takes up 95% of Gibson’s time.
What’s a nice guy like you …
Gibson’s background is in the environmental movement. Born in Botswana, Gibson worked in the solar industry in Africa and then moved into environmental campaigning in London. “That is where I really got my teeth into content creation,” he says. “Briefing documents to lobby Members of the European Parliament, donor reports … the whole gamut associated with lobbying.”
In Australia, he escaped from the department of environment as the tide turned against serious environmental action, and he met David Vitek at a barbecue. He invited Gibson to take control of content creation for hipages.
Content creation, curation and repurposing
Before Gibson joined, hipages used photos from its many suppliers to inspire home renovators. It was cheap, smart content. Gisbon has added text, producing bi-weekly newsletters that feature the pictures, plus a snippet of home improvement wisdom with irresistible themes such as Seven ways to wake up a tired bathroom, and 10 best kitchen renovations on a budget.
The website allows us to curate our own inspiration boards – collections of images and ideas from the content provided – and Gibson has Corrina B, his head of social media and “community”, to curate some of her favourites – a clever repurposing of the website content.
I criticised hipages recently in a post I wrote called, Why your content sucks (and how to fix it) on the grounds that these snippets were spin. I was wrong, Gibson points out. All the content is written by him or other hipages writers.
My apologies, but the bylines confused me (see where the arrow is pointing below). Gibson says this refers to the photo, but you can see the problem. (He’s taken the feedback on board.)
Back to that six million
Top of Gibson’s wish list was a data scientist; a new kind of geek who is up to date with the latest “decision-management” platforms. These crunch big data into bite-sized chunks, allowing marketers such as Gibson to set strategic goals – such as lead conversion – and achieve them with highly personalised interactions with clients (it’s new, complicated, and very powerful).
Hipages already lured data scientist Eugene Van den Bulcke away from BigCommerce in April (they must have been pretty confident about the money coming through).
Next up, Gibson is keen to create more editorial content and become more of a “thought leader” in the home improvement space. He can use the data that Van den Bulcke crunches to give insights into the marketplace and identify trends. “We have 1,100 categories, our tradie clients, and the consumers using the tradies that give us powerful insights into what people are doing and what they want. We have to use that data.”
Hipages is on the highway to somewhere big, and now it has the big bucks and technology grunt to achieve a helluva lot more with its content and its data. Gibson’s already surpassed my personal goal (to have 200,000 subscribers – c’mon everyone! Gimme a hand, will you?).
For content marketers, here’s a guy who’s worth watching.