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News Corp Australia: Building an Audience First Commerce Content Strategy

Posted 4 months ago by Debbie Gainsford

In the second of our five part series, Jade McDade, Head of E-Commerce – Audience and Partners at News Corp Australia, talks to us about how they built their Commerce Content strategy and why it’s important to have an audience first approach.

What approach did you take when building your Commerce Content Strategy?

Jade: There were three stages we went through when building our strategy.

The first one was monetising our existing content. We started with a trial across bodyandsoul.com.au and kidspot.com.au as those sites were writing the most relevant content already. We installed the Skimlinks JavaScript across those sites so that we could understand what was working with our existing content. We wanted to answer a number of questions during the trial:

  • What content is converting?
  • Which referral sources convert well?
  • Are we converting from search?
  • Are we converting from social?
  • Are we converting from email?
  • What’s resonating with our audience?
  • Which retailers are converting well?
  • Which products are converting?

We spent about six weeks just looking at what was working within our existing content. One of the really big learnings from that period was just how much existing evergreen content we had and how important it was to update it. It was actually something that we’d underestimated, just how much content requires updating, the content performed really well though and updating it was worthwhile.

That was the second stage, updating our archive, or evergreen content. You can have one article that’s generating revenue year after year, week after week, month after month, just with a small amount of updating.

And the third stage was to start producing new dedicated content, which was a whole new strategy.

We hired dedicated shopping writers and we built out new shopping environments news.com.au Best Of, Kidspot Shop and Body+Soul Shop. And that’s when we really started to scale.

When we produce new content, and because what we’re producing is service journalism, we start with the audience first because we have a relationship with them. We know what they like, we know the retailers that convert well and we now know from experience, which products and deals our audience will be more likely to purchase.

When we were six months in, we looked back and couldn’t believe how far we’d come with and the fact we did it during the midst of a pandemic with an entirely new and remote team!

What impact did the pandemic have on your Commerce Content strategy?

Jade: We were fortunate that we already had the wheels in motion and we’d been formulating the strategy before the pandemic hit, it actually allowed us to accelerate our plans.

We were already looking at new incremental revenue streams and which ones could scale quickly. So we were able to gain a lot of traction internally for our ecommerce strategy and ensure that it was a priority for the business.

The only thing really that changed, was the type of products we wrote about. More products that would increase your level of comfort at home, and more fitness and activewear. Aussies love their activewear! The rest of the content we produced during that time was already in our plans.

News Corp Australia has multiple sites, how does your strategy change across each site?

Jade: We have some elements of our strategy that are the same across all sites, including ensuring we have a strong call to action in all articles so the reader is aware the content is shoppable.

With our audience first approach, the strategies for each site are quite different.

We are always thinking about the audience, what do they like to read, what do they click on, which retailers do they shop from and what’s their budget? Which means that what we produce for Vogue is different to Kidspot which is then different to news.com.au and so on.

Tell us about how you structure your team and writers.

Jade: My role as Head of E-Commerce across audience and partnerships is centralised supporting all of the News Corp Australia websites who produce content that has shoppable links.

We have dedicated writers, content strategy managers and audience growth roles also.

The writers who produce the content are dedicated to each brand as they understand the audience and content proposition best. So we have dedicated writers on Vogue.com.au, Kidspot.com.au, BodyandSoul.com.au, news.com.au and the rest of our brands that produce content.

News Corp Australia: How they made the decision to invest in Commerce Content

News Corp Australia: Identifying the best retailers to work with

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