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News Corp Australia: Distribution is key to building a Commerce Content revenue stream

Posted 6 months ago by Debbie Gainsford

Part four of our five part series with News Corp Australia covers their Commerce Content distribution strategy. Jade McDade, Head of E-Commerce – Audience and Partners, takes us through the importance of building a solid distribution strategy and how they get eyes on their content.

Tell us about how you distribute your Commerce Content?

Jade: The distribution strategy is the most solid strategy you need to have. It determines how and where you are going to attract an audience to read your content. You can produce all the articles that you want but if you can’t scale them to a sizeable audience, then you’re never going to have a decent revenue stream.

So for us, it’s about how do we scale?

We aren’t reliant on just one channel to distribute our content. It needs to be a blend, and it has to be something that will work long term. We utilise a mix of search, social, email, content discovery and also homepage placements.

We’ve found that not all content and products will work across all channels. Often, what a reader purchases from social versus what they purchase when they come in via search are going to be two different things.

The news.com.au homepage has a really high proportion of direct traffic. We find putting articles on homepages can work really well for us. The channels that have that large scale, like the news.com.au homepage, can also deliver a large volume of new customers to retailers as well.

Do you use a specific report that helps you determine your distribution strategy?

Jade: We use the Skimlinks Revenue Source Report to see what’s selling on different channels.

An example could be where we have a retailer that we want to deliver a higher order value for and we have available inventory in our content recommendation channel, then we look at the Revenue Source Report to see which articles have converted in the content recommendation channel before, which products converted and we then make the decision about which article to promote in that specific channel.

Homepages are premium placements, how do you decide which Commerce Content articles to feature?

Jade: The homepage is always about news, so it’s generally at the writers or editorial discretion as to what is featured. We can never guarantee that content will appear on the homepage and if it’s a big news day, we’ll be bumped off.

It’s usually a very compelling deal that will work well on the homepage. We’ve had great success during key sales events with discounts on well known Australian brands. One particular example was a brand that very rarely goes on sale and even people in our building outside of our team were overheard talking about it. So that was really newsworthy for the homepage. Whereas evergreen content isn’t always as newsworthy.

Generally our approach to content distribution is very focused on data, analytics and seasonality. When it comes down to referral sources like homepages, and social, it’s really the art and gut feeling of a writer or a homepage editor rather than the science of numbers. They have enough experience to say with confidence ‘Yes, yes. That will work. We know our audience will like that’.

Your audience-first strategy seems to not only be important in Commerce Content production but also distribution as well.

Jade: Yes, Exactly. An example of that is where we had two pieces of content about two different retailers, and both pieces of content went on the news.com.au homepage so they both received the same amount of exposure. One drove a lot of sales and the other didn’t.

We’re looking to solve those kinds of challenges, just because you can get a lot of readers to an article, to click and then read it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to purchase. We look for that combination of an item we know our readers are going to click on and read, and is going to be an item that they’re very likely to go and purchase as well.

So it ties back to ensuring the retailers and products that you write about provide your readers with a great experience so that you see a high conversion rate from all the traffic you are driving them?

Jade: Yes, exactly. At the end of the day, if our content and the retailers and products featured aren’t resonating with our audience, then our distribution strategy isn’t going to yield any returns.

News Corp Australia: Identifying the best retailers to work with

News Corp Australia: What we’ve learnt in the first 12 months of Commerce Content

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