The 5 R’s of your new year content marketing audit: retain, refresh, retire, relaunch and repurpose

The beginning of any new year provides the opportunity to invest the time to undertake a content marketing audit. You’ve already spent a lot of time creating numerous pieces of content and now is an opportunity to step back and look at the big picture.

The Honner infographic Turning Content Marketing into Conversations details the key steps to executing a winning content marketing program. The content audit represents the last stage of this continuous process and provides the opportunity to retire old content, relaunch some of your best content and identify gaps in your overall content marketing efforts.

The idea of a content audit might sound onerous. But you need to remember how much effort it often takes to write one new piece of content. Investing time in a content audit not only provides an opportunity to improve your future content marketing efforts but can also provide the opportunity to relaunch existing quality content pieces with minimal effort.

Here are some simple steps to follow when conducting a content marketing audit:

First – gather all the data in your content audit spreadsheet

The first step is to set up a simple content spreadsheet. This allows you filter all the content by topic, target audience, date published, format (blog, video, infographic, e-book, image etc), customer journey stage (i.e. awareness, decision) etc. This should also allow you to rank all of your content based on performance metrics or customer engagement.

Free Content Marketing Audit Spreadsheet: If you would like a free copy of Honner’s Content Marketing Audit Template contact Craig Morris.

Second – allocate your existing content into one of these five buckets

Once you’ve got all your content in the spreadsheet, start to allocate each content piece into one of these five categories.

  • Bucket 1 = Retain: Identify your evergreen content that still has long-lasting value.
  • Bucket 2 = Refresh: Uncover outdated content and update it. 
  • Bucket 3 = Retire: Look for content that has limited engagement or is just plain  irrelevant now – and retire it
  • Bucket 4 = Relaunch: Discover the star content and promote it again. Assess your content metrics and identify your top 10 pieces based on customer engagement. Consider updating these content pieces and relaunching the piece again. 
  • Bucket 5 = Repurpose: You can also take your star content and package it into different formats. You also might want to consider turning these content pieces into videos or infographics or even a podcast. Also consider taking a series of content pieces or blogs and packaging them together into an eBook that could launched and promoted via paid media.

Additional communication strategies to consider during the audit process

  1. Look for content gaps in your content spreadsheet. The reviews should not only provide you with a view of what you have – but also what you don’t have. Are there areas of strategic importance to the business that have been neglected during the content marketing process?
  2. Publish a blog on your most read pieces of the year. This will drive more traffic to these key pieces and highlight the strength of your content marketing efforts.
  3. Identify technical flaws and find broken links that may be impacting your customer experience.
  4. Boost SEO: Find ways to improve some SEO such as ensuring you are using the right keywords or proper sub-headings tags.
  5. Spy on your competitors: Also consider tracking the performance of your competitors’ content for additional fresh ideas. Look at how they optimise their content and how many keywords they used.
  6. Use the insights to inform your future content strategy: Capture all the insights from this audit process, taking into account your successes and failures. It is probably true that 20% of your content is generating 80% of the results. It makes sense to learn what is performing and feed these insights into your strategic content plan.

 Want help conducting a Content Marketing Audit? If you would like help or support conducting Content Marketing Audit please contact Honner’s Head of Marketing, Craig Morris on

What can financial institutions learn from fintechs?

It’s safe to say that the Australian banking sector is at a huge crossroads. Traditional banking institutions have run the gauntlet with the Royal Commission and are now picking up the pieces. 
At the same time, new and nimble fintechs are popping up around them, with bright and flashy logos and branding, suddenly becoming attractive to consumers because of what they can offer and their fresh approach.
There has been a wealth of challenger banks breaking into the Australian market over the last two years. Brands like Xinja, 86 400, and Up Bank, are all gaining traction with consumers.
So, what exactly is it that they’re offering that consumers can’t get enough of?
It all comes back to the way these businesses are set up. These fintechs focus on technology-led banking, not banking-led technology.
They only operate digitally. They push hard on the things that ‘matter to millennials’, like no fees on overseas purchases. They offer complete transparency on which vendors you have paid through an auto-detect, allowing for more effective budgeting.
Perhaps more importantly, they can talk to consumers in plain, jargon-free language. They seem to make the banking process simple and offer value above and beyond what consumers perceive to come from the incumbent banking giants.
What do we want?
According to a KPMG report, by 2030, millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce. The report also states that 70% of consumers are looking to consolidate their financial relationships, to have them all, or most of them, with one provider.
A changing workforce coupled with a change in how consumers want to organise their lives means that financial institutions need to start working on how they can meet the needs of this shifting demographic.
To say that it is the end for the traditional banking institutions would be naïve. They are far from out of the game. They still have appeal with consumers, and still resonate well with certain demographics. But as technology continues to evolve, they need to keep pace with the fintechs.
So how can they do this?

  1. Don’t make assumptions about your audience

Assuming that people under 40 live off avocados, and that people in their 50s like sudoku puzzles and long walks on the beach, might be a little off. Making incorrect sweeping assumptions about your audience may alienate them, so try to keep stereotypes to a minimum when you’re talking about your customer base, or potential customer base.

  1. Embrace social media to communicate

Most businesses and brands are active on social channels, but there’s still some reluctance to actually engage with people through it. We all know that engaging with customers on Facebook as a platform can very quickly turn into a mud-slinging contest, but for consumers, knowing that they have a way to reach the brand is half the battle. How they are communicated with on their issues is the sticking point.

  1. Value your customers

Ultimately, consumers want to feel valued by their bank. We don’t want to feel like we’re being ripped off, like we’re being taken advantage of by our bank because we’re being loyal and sticking around. Offer us competitive products, help us save money, and make us feel like we’ll be missing out if we move on to another institution.
At the end of the day, it’s not just how you reach out to your customers, but how you keep them.
Traditional financial institutions won’t stop the fintechs growing or sweeping up unhappy consumers. Instead they can look to how they interact with and treat their existing customers. As much as we love technology and things being made easy for us, we also like trusted and historical brands – there may well be room for both.

It’s a wrap – Honner’s quarterly media roundup (Q419)

What’s news?

Media empires unite over press freedom

In a rare moment of unity, Australia’s biggest media companies came together to campaign for freedom of the press and protections for whistle blowers.  A coalition of news organisations including Nine, ABC, News Corp, Seven West Media, Ten and Bauer joined the campaign, which spread across the nation in print, digital, radio and TV.

National mastheads including The Australian and The Financial Review ran special covers with heavily “redacted” text to argue the media is subject to a regime of intense government secrecy.  As part of the campaign, Your Right to Know, a TV commercial was also produced to raise awareness about the lack of transparency from governments.

The coalition is pushing for stronger protections for media freedom after years of perceived deterioration that the outlets say has left journalists restricted in their ability to hold the powerful to account.  The campaign follows two police raids, on the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC’s Sydney headquarters, last year, which drove the issue of media freedom to the forefront of public consciousness.

Australia’s press freedom protections are weaker than other Western democracies. Unlike the US, which enshrines free speech and a free press in its constitution, Australia has no strong legal protection for journalism and free expression.  Reporters Without Borders ranked Australia as 21st in the world for press freedom in 2019, down two places compared to last year, warning that investigative journalism is under threat from “draconian” laws.

Your Right to Know coalition’s demands include better protections for whistleblowers, exemptions for journalists from laws that would put them in jail for doing their jobs, and the right to contest the application for warrants for journalists and media organisations.
Rainmaker acquires Industry Moves

Rainmaker Group, published of the Financial Standard and Money magazine, has added to its growing media portfolio with the acquisition of executive recruitment and leadership title Industry Moves.  The move is the latest in a round of acquisitions for Rainmaker which in September purchased The Sustainability Report and Audacious Investing.

Crikey launches new investigative unit

Crikey’s new investigative unit INQ launched with a series of stories including revelations of partisan stacking of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal  and an exposé of the debt-collection industry chasing billions from people on government benefits.

Bauer Media buys Pacific Magazines, catches the eye of private equity

The media decks continue to be shuffled with Woman’s Day publisher Bauer Media buying its long-time rival Pacific Magazines, home of the New Idea, from Seven West Media for $40 million. It seems someone likes the look of the combined entity with the Australian Financial Review reporting that Mercury Capital is in advanced talks to buy Bauer for $150 million.

Warburton makes first acquisition as Seven CEO with Prime Media deal

It’s out with the old, in with the new at Seven West Media which a few days earlier, agreed to buy regional broadcaster Prime Media Group  the first acquisition by the group since James Warburton came on board as chief executive announcing a $444 million loss. Warburton says he remains on the hunt for deals as he works to turn the group around.

Nine lowers forecasts, points finger at lending restrictions

The weak advertising market caught up with the Nine Network, which told shareholders at its annual general meeting that full year earnings will be in the low single digits versus 10% previously forecast. The profit warning comes after Nine completed its acquisition of Macquarie Media and began integrating the AM radio newsrooms it acquired in the deal in an effort cut costs.

Report recommends media rules shakeup, after lobbying by regional owners

A Department of Communications commissioned report has recommended the wind back of media laws, which could allow for a wave of mergers and acquisitions in regional TV, radio and print. The Australian Financial Review reports that the recommendations include the removal of the one-market rule, which presents TV broadcasters from operating more than one TV license in a market. The recommendations follow lobbying by regional media owners cautioning squeezed earnings could force more job cuts.

Thomson-Reuters rebuffs suitors

Thomson-Reuters has rebuffed takeover interest in its newswire from suitors including KKR-backed German media business Axel Springer and a group of individuals including former Reuters editor-in-chief and ITN boss Mark Wood, according to a report in the Financial Times. Instead, the company is backing deal-making executive Michael Friedenberg, president of Reuters News, to give a jolt to the business that reported organic growth of just 3% in the third quarter.

Facebook unveils new logo, launches news service

Facebook unveiled a new logo and branding to distinguish the corporation from its social network with the same name, and launched a test of its news service Facebook News for select users.

Advertisers abandon Alan Jones

Alan Jones’s radio show has lost hundreds of advertisers since his comments about New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern.

ABC flags more job losses

Budget cuts are about to impact the ABC boss David Anderson warning there will be job losses due to reduce funding.

Insights & Opinion

‘Deepfakes’ for audio? Experts are worried, but podcasters are excited, writes Nick Bonyhady of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Youth broadcaster JJJ is undergoing its most significant shake-up in years as high-profile hosts may way for the new guard, writes Meg Watson in The Guardian.

With federal and state attorneys general set to discuss a major overhaul to Australia’s defamation laws, Josh Taylor and Paul Karp at The Guardian discuss what the proposed changes could mean.

Quotable Quotes

“The changes have been constant and meteoric.” – Media entrepreneur Eric Beecher on the “maelstrom” that has hit Australian journalism.

“I wouldn’t expect a huge effect in the short term, but ultimately when you’re selling newspapers … the ability to report is very important.” – Nine Chairman Peter Costello warning there could be a financial impact to the media sector if the government doesn’t safeguard press freedoms.

“This decision begins to change the content equation.” – News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson arguing the relationship between digital giants and traditional media is beginning to shift, after Facebook agreed to pay a significant premium for Wall Street Journal content.

“The category is in crisis.” – Australian Community Media Executive Chairman Antony Catalano on the state of regional media in Australia. 

“This is a pretty sad thing. And the greatest casualty has been, and will continue to be, the 6pm news,” – Prime Chairman John Hartigan arguing that without government intervention, regional news ‘will fail’.

“If you are old and white and wealthy and you live in Mosman, the ABC does a lot for you. But if you are not those things and you live in the outer suburbs of our cities the ABC is much, much less relevant to you on a daily basis.” – ABC director of news Gavin Morris admitting the public broadcaster has a “perspective” problem that has seen it focus on the rich, white and wealthy.

“We could’ve sold a long time ago if we wanted to sell.” – Seven West Media Chairman Kerry Stokes denying speculation recent deals, including the sale of Pacific Magazines and the merger with Prime Media, are part of a plan to boost the company’s balance sheet in preparation for a sale or merger.
Movers & Shakers

Charlotte Grieve is now at The Age, covering business. Charlotte formerly worked at The Citizen as a cadet journalist.

Laura Chung is now working at The Sydney Morning Herald as a journalist, after previously working at Nine Entertainment as a finance producer.

Eliot Hastie is now at as a business reporter. He was previously at Momentum Media, where he wrote across ifa, Investor Daily, Fintech Business and Wellness Daily.

James Hall is also at as a finance reporter, having previously worked at Australian Associated Press where he covered a broad range of desks including state politics in South Australia and the stock market from Sydney.

Mathew Dunckley has taken up the role of Digital Editor for The Age, having previously worked in the role of Business Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Journalist and presenter Jan Fran is the new host of The Pineapple Project podcast.

Tharshini Ashokan is now at Self-Managed Super as a cadet journalist.

Sybilla Gross is now at Bloomberg sitting in the cross-asset team.

Kristi Cheng has left Financial Standard. 

Gerard Cockburn has moved to The Australian as online business reporter. He was previously writing for The Courier Mail.

Glenda Korporaal will relocate to The Australian’s Sydney office to continue her role as a senior writer on business and corporate Australia.

Sarah Jones is now at Investment Magazine as Deputy Editor. She was previously in London for 12 years writing for Bloomberg.

Laura Daquino and Ahron Young are both now at Ticker TV—Laura as a business journalist, Ahron as presenter.

Can financial services firms save the world?

In recent weeks 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has ignited the global debate on climate change, taking a zero-carbon voyage to America and delivering an impassioned speech to world leaders at the UN climate summit in New York on September 23.

Media coverage in the weeks following shows Thunberg has become a figure who is almost as polarising as Donald Trump.  While her calls for greater action by leaders have gained her many allies, everyone from Pauline Hanson to media figure Piers Morgan and football identity Sam Newman has waded in to decry her message.

But love her or hate her, it is clear that the young activist has made the world sit up and take note. Millions of people from over 150 countries joined the Global Climate Strike to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels, showing Thunberg is inspiring young and old to push for change.

The importance of standing for something

Thunberg’s UN speech highlighted the need for an authentic and pro-active approach to solving the climate change issue, rather than just “empty words”.  

Locally, recent research by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia also found that Australians want the nation’s big businesses to speak out on issues such as the environment. For businesses, this means taking action not just as a branding exercise but as a way to effect real change.

In Australia’s financial sector, some key players have been taking a stance on environmental issues for decades. Responsible investment manager Australian Ethical, for example, recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Balanced Fund, and regularly speaks out on a range of climate-related topics.

Australian Ethical also recently pledged to protect five acres of Amazon rainforest for every new and referring super member, an innovative and groundbreaking initiative for the industry.

Product innovation

More broadly, an increasing number of local fund managers are routinely incorporating ESG issues into their investment decision-making, driven by increased investor demand, with ESG funds under management up 37% on last year.

One trend that has been gaining ground in the financial sector recently is the use of green bonds to help solve the climate crisis. Green bonds, also known as climate bonds, are specifically earmarked to be used for climate and environmental projects such as energy efficiency, pollution prevention, clean transportation and sustainable water management.

An example of how this is playing out locally is NAB’s partnership with TCorp in Australia’s largest ever green bond issuance, which will fund sustainable transport and infrastructure for the people of New South Wales. NAB is also leading the way in the banking sector by using green bonds to finance low-carbon residential housing, green commercial office buildings, electrified passenger rail projects and renewable energy.

In addition, TCorp recently flagged plans to launch a sustainability bond in the coming weeks, where proceeds are earmarked to finance a combination of green and social assets.

It is heartening to see that corporates and investors are taking their role in addressing climate change increasingly seriously. However as extreme weather events become the new normal and sea levels continue to rise, it is clear that there is more work to be done and the time to ramp things up is now.

Trick or treat? Time to shine a lantern on open banking

February 2020 will be the stroke of midnight for open banking in Australia.  From this time forward, banking, and in the longer-term the broader Australian economy, will be transformed as the control of personal financial data moves from data holders to consumers.  But despite a tremendous amount of work by government and other stakeholders to build a robust and secure framework, whether open banking is seen by consumers as a trick or treat may hinge on effective communication.

Open banking is the sharing of personal financial data between consumers and financial institutions.  It has been presented as everything from an apocalypse for banks, with fintech beasts ready to strike, through to a wonderful new dawn for consumers. 
In May 2017, the Federal Government initiated a review into the potential introduction of open banking in Australia after its adoption in the UK, Japan and other countries.   A year later, all recommendations from the review were accepted.  These included the introduction of open banking from February 2020 starting with the big four banks, with eventual implementation across the entire banking sector, and longer term across other industries such as energy and telecommunications.

Importantly the recommendations also included the establishment of a consumer data right (CDR).  The CDR enshrines in law that consumers own their data, thus giving Australians the ability to obtain their financial data from institutions they currently deal with and share it with other providers.

CDR legislation was passed by parliament in August and the big four banks, as well as other institutions who want to participate in open banking from the outset, are now preparing for February 2020 when customers will be able to access the first tranche of their financial data.

The CDR is unique to Australia’s open banking model and paves the way for services that are tremendously rich in personalisation.  People increasingly want products and services that are highly tailored to them and open banking promises to be a thriller in this regard.   

From the overseas experience of open banking, we can see it has led to innovation in banking services and the emergence of new solutions.  Open banking was introduced into the UK at the beginning of 2018, and it has been estimated that it could realise £18 billion in value a year for consumers and SMEs.  However, take-up has been hampered by a lack of customer communication and education, and it is broadly viewed that much work still needs to be done in this area. 

Publics are also highly sceptical about the security aspects of open banking with many spooked by recent high-profile global data breaches.

Compounding this for Australia is a backdrop of distrust of financial institutions as the media continues to recall ‘horror’ stories that emerged during the Hayne Royal Commission.  Also, the CDR presents additional complexity to effectively selling the Australian open banking story to a wary general public. 

It is likely Australians will need to be convinced about the merits of open banking and then guided as to how to effectively leverage the CDR.  The onus will be on open banking providers to play this role and to earn an open banking ‘social license’. 

Open banking – and particularly the CDR – presents a great opportunity for Australian financial institutions, fintechs and consumers alike.  But the key to success will be to ensure people understand and embrace open banking rather than seeing it as something scary lurking at the front door.  It will be up to Australian financial institutions and fintechs to get stakeholder communication about open banking right, starting way before midnight.

Is your ‘story good to tell’ in an evolving marketplace?

Four companies announced their intent to list in recent weeks and at the eleventh hour, all four IPOs had been shelved. In the days and weeks to come, we will no doubt see countless explanations about why these companies – that are heavily advised by some of the country’s most eminent listing experts – have failed to secure sufficient demand and support for their respective bookbuilds to take their stocks public.
tony boyd says in his article this week – that “fund managers have been happy to rush into companies with good stories to tell”.
These recent failed IPOs reinforce the need to address the nagging question that financial communicators have no doubt tried to push to the top of the agenda in those endless company-advisers transaction meetings. The question is what makes an equity story compelling and good to tell prospective investors in this evermore noisy marketplace?
It goes without saying that companies considering going public should focus on the presentation of their current operations and financials as well as their future growth options in their investment proposition and equity story.
However, considering the Latitude IPO for example, the financial attributes and performance indicators alone were not sufficient to address the valuation gap related to the potential growth opportunities and overall future sustainability of the business. This gap between the company view and the market view effectively led to a breakdown of communication between the investors and bankers on the case despite earlier positive signs of commitment.
In the case of WeWork, doubts were cast regarding the operations and financials of the company which affected its overall equity story. But it was the softer non-financial matters related to the credibility of the management particularly the CEO and the quality of business processes that ultimately kicked the bucket for the company.
The undeniable fact is that the Australian capital market is undergoing a watershed transition period where softer non-financial attributes have taken centre stage for institutional and sophisticated investors. At the same time foreign investors have made clear their positioning on alignment of ESG and other components of responsible investment strategies that look beyond the financials of companies.
In this new market reality, a ‘good story to tell’ should be by design.
Companies intending to list, or to engage the capital market, need to up their game and present a better narrative and equity story that consists of all the traditional financials but also clearly covers its non-financial attributes. These may be the long-term vision for a sustainable business, the quality and credibility of its management, its people and culture strategy and succession planning, as well as innovation, scalable capabilities, quality of business processes and execution on corporate strategies. The story should also address clearly and definitively the influences that affect the sector and market overall.
This type of holistic equity story is what investors want to hear to help ease their process of separating the wheat from the chaff when committing capital to IPO suitors.

Why pursue a career in financial communications? – Thoughts from a PR grad

Picture this: I am eight months into my graduate position at Honner working as an Account Coordinator in Sydney’s bustling CBD. One weekend, I’m visiting my family and friends in Brisbane, attempting to explain to them (yet again) what my job actually is.

The top three responses thrown back at me are:

  1. “I don’t actually understand what you do.”
  2. “Your job sounds intense!”
  3. “Can you please clarify – isn’t PR the same as marketing / advertising?”

These almost automatic responses have led me to believe that a) my family and friends have not been paying attention to my detailedpost-work-debrief-phone-calls as I walk home, or b) it’s difficult to articulate to those outside our industry what we do on a daily basis. The latter conclusion is not helpful for all those university students and almost graduates who may be interested in working with us but just don’t know that such a niche field exists.

If you are a PR student or grad reading this, you might think you have a pretty good understanding of what a job in PR will involve, but you might not have thought of specialising in financial services PR, and what that would be like.

In light of this, for all those reading wherever you are in the world, let me break down these questions for you.

How I found myself working in financial PR and what the Account Coordinator role is.

After getting through the struggles of university, I completed a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Public Relations and Economics. It was a pairing a lot of people were sceptical about, and at times I thought the goal of marrying both disciplines would be unattainable.

My worries subsided when I was offered a position at Honner. I was discovered on LinkedIn through a mutual connection (and realised the platform really is a form of resume in this digital age) and was soon embarking on an exciting new chapter in “the big smoke”.

For those on the brink of entering the workforce for the first time, I implore you to appreciate the (what can seem mundane) tasks that you are given each day, as they can be a stepping stone to a bigger lesson down the track.

Some examples of this would be compiling media lists, clipping coverage or completing a media search for a new business client.

From these tasks alone, you learn the following things:

  • Which journalists are currently at different publications (something you need to stay on top of as this changes frequently)
  • What beats those journalists are writing on
  • Timely industry announcements and news
  • Activity that’s happening within the business outside your scope

My role has expanded over time as I have gained more experience. I now attend regular client facing meetings, write media releases announcing executive appointments, assist with drafting posts for the social media channels of my clients and Honner, take part in presenting PR campaigns and have a role in creating new business projects.

Since beginning my career journey at Honner, I have grown immensely (both professionally and personally) and continue to increase my skillset and knowledge with the support of my peers, mentors and senior leadership team.

Financial PR might sound intense, but it isn’t as scary as you think!

So you’re thinking PR (enter thoughts of Roxy Jacenko) and finance (and now Wolf of Wall Street). That’s a whole lot of intensity meshed together in one job. Working at Honner opened my eyes to how not scary financial PR is.

If fashion and makeup is the extent of your knowledge of PR, then you would be glad to know that it’s possible to incorporate that into working in a finance related job that might not seem so glitz and glam. Dress to impress!

The most intense part of the job is having to keep up with the fast paced, high performance industry that leaves little room for errors. However we’re all human, so when you do make those errors, it’s a steep learning curve.

As much as it is intense, it is exciting – think chasing stock market prices moving, crisis communications, having coffees with some of the country’s best journalists, client anniversary events, roundtable media lunches with high level executives… my heart beats faster just thinking about it all.

Our clients include some of the world’s biggest asset managers and top Australian banks and superfunds, as well as innovative fintech companies that are transforming the landscape. This is an industry where our clients are doing mutli-million dollar deals, responsible for making sure that hundreds of thousands of retirees are able to have a secure financial future, and even engineering financial products that have the capacity to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems, like climate change.

On top of this, Honner has a great team culture. In fact, we recently celebrated our team quarterly social event at ten pin bowling.

Why you should specialise in financial public relations and how they work together with marketing and advertisings

The three areas of communication are largely separate but often cross paths with each other. Unlike advertisers and marketers, in public relations we aim to persuade our audiences through the spectrum of owned and earned media and digital channels. This Forbes article sums it up quite nicely. Honner is a great example of how public relations can work alongside the other two specialities as we expanded our services to be an integrated communications firm with the addition of a marketing expert.

Each day working in financial public relations brings something new to the table.

If working at Honner sounds interesting to you, email with your resume and get in touch!

It’s a wrap – Honner’s quarterly media roundup (Q319)

What’s news?

Seven West Media changes CEOs, reports large loss, goes hunting for acquisitions

The precarious state of free-to-air TV in Australia was highlighted by Seven West Media’s announcement that it recorded a full year loss of A$444.4 million. The loss was due to a dramatic write down in the Seven network’s TV licenses in the wake of recent advertising market declines.

The announcement came just days after new CEO James Warburton came on board following the surprise resignation of CEO Tim Worner. Warbuton said FY19 was a tough year in the economy and advertising markets, which impacted Seven West Media’s performance.

“But we have incredibly strong assets, and our focus moving forward is to speed up the rate of transformation while exploring opportunities for growth in our core and adjacent markets,” he said.

“We will be a hunter and explore M&A opportunities in both traditional media and non-traditional adjacencies that are positive for our shareholders.”

Despite the significant loss, Seven delivered a 13th consecutive year of ratings leadership in Australia. The network was also the number one network in the advertising demographic of people aged 25-54 across the day.

Nine bids for Macquarie Media

Elsewhere, Nine is continuing its acquisitive streak, announcing a bid to take the remaining stake in the Macquarie Radio business it doesn’t already own.

Nine has made an offer to acquire the remaining 45.5 per cent stake in Macquarie Media, which it gained majority ownership of through the Fairfax Media merger in late 2018.

The move would see Nine gain the Macquarie Radio business, which includes stations 2GB, 3AW, 4BC, 6PR and Macquarie Sports Radio.

Macquarie Media responded by recommending its shareholders accept the $1.46 per share off-market bid.

Former Sky News bureau chief launches Ticker TV

Former Sky News Bureau Chief Ahron Young has launched Ticker TV, an online business, technology and aviation channel.

Breaking news and highlights will appear across Ticker’s social channels, while a paid subscription model costing “a dollar a week” will offer users unlimited access to live programming via an app. Ticker will not feature ads, but programs will instead be sponsored.

New regional publication takes on Antony Catalano’s Newcastle HeraldIn regional media news, a new online only publication from News Ltd. is taking on the Newcastle Herald, one of the key publications acquired by Anthony Catalano in his purchase of australian community newspapers in April. The digital masthead Newcastle News is the latest title in a strategy by News Corp Australia to grow local audiences.

Rainmaker expands into ESG

Rainmaker Group, publisher of Financial Standard, has acquired sustainable investment specialist publications The Sustainability Report and Audacious Investing.

Effective October 1, Rachel Alembakis, founder of both publications, will join Rainmaker Group as editor of the titles.

Commenting on the acquisition, group managing director Christopher Page said the business had been looking for the right opportunity to expand into the ESG space:

“We have been following the sector’s development because of its growing importance to Financial Standard readers and Rainmaker Live’s diverse client base of institutional and wholesale investors,” he said.

The acquisition comes six months after Rainmaker Group purchased Money magazine, the longest-running personal finance publication in Australia, from Bauer Media.

Tech giants reject plan for fake news code of conduct

The industry body representing tech giants Google, Facebook and Twitter has rejected proposals for an industry code of conduct on fake news, warning that the recommendation would turn Australia’s media regulator into the truth police.

The Digital Industry Group made the warning in a submission to the competition regulator’s digital platforms review, arguing against eight of its 23 recommendations.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recommended new codes of practice to ensure fairness and transparency in the digital advertising market and to govern handling of complaints about inaccurate information, to be enforced by an independent regulator such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

But Digi has argued against a “one-size-fits-all” code, arguing that what might be considered appropriate in one forum – such as the removal of a public post containing disinformation – “may be considered as intrusive and inappropriate on a private messaging platform”.

Google changes the way it presents news

Original news reporting will get new prominence and stay at the top of searches longer as Google addresses a major concern of publishers and reporters that their work was being swamped by copycats.

The changes follow sustained criticism from traditional media organisations that helped spark the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission inquiry into digital platforms.

Insights & Opinion

Australians young and old are consuming much more video, according to  Zenith’s Online Video Forecasts 2019 report. The average person will spend 100 minutes each day watching online video in 2021, up from 84 minutes this year, the report found. That’s the equivalent of watching 25 continuous days of video in 2021.

Takeup of newer media tech is also rising, with nearly one in five Australians now owning their own smart speaker, according to research from Nielson.

Ever wonder why you never got a reply back from a journalist? Overt marketing and irrelevant content are the two key reasons why journalists avoid PR emails, according to PR Newswire’s recent Asia Pacific Media Survey.

Most people consuming information online in Australia take no steps to verify its accuracy, writes Katharine Murphy, political editor at The Guardian.

Amanda Meade, also at The Guardian, analyses the role that philanthropy could play in changing the journalistic climate in Australia.

Quotable Quotes

“We have always supposed we have a free press. That belief has been shaken to the core in recent times.” – ABC Chair Ita Buttrose told the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, adding that police raids on the ABC’s Sydney offices and the home of a News Corp journalist had “tarnished” Australia’s standing.

“For us it’s really declaring that we’re open for business.” – Seven West Media CEO James Warburton on his plans to seek out a partner to launch a streaming business.

Movers & Shakers

Sarah-Jane Tasker has been appointed Business Editor at The Western Australian. Sarah, who started her career at The Sunday Times in Perth, has spent the past 11 years as a senior business writer at The Australian.
James Hennessy has been appointed Editor at Business Insider. James was formerly Deputy Editor at Pedestrian Group.
Ben Butler has moved from The Australian to the The Guardian Australia as Senior Business Reporter.
Rachel Alembakis, founder of The Sustainability Report and Audacious Investing, is joining the new owner of the publications, Rainmaker Group, as editor of the two titles.
Simon Thomsen is the new Editor of Startup Daily. He was previously Associate Editor of Business Insider Australia.
Hannah Wootton has moved from Money Management to the Australian Financial Review, where she is reporting on professional services and legal affairs.
Aleks Vickovich has moved from Business Insider to the Australian Financial Review, where he covers banking, wealth management and financial services.
Grace Ormsby left Lawyers Weekly and started at Momentum Media sister publication Nest Egg.
Jassmyn Goh has returned Money Management as a News Editor after working as a financial journalist in London.
Kylie Purcell from Your Money has joined Finder as Investment Editor.
Karina Barrymore has left News Corp to pursue freelance writing and editing, including authoring crime novels. Her new novel Where the Truth Lies, published by  Simon & Schuster, is due out in March 2020.
Effie Zahos and Maria Bekiaris have started at Canstar, as Editor-at-Large and Editorial Campaigns Manager respectively after leaving Money Magazine.
Elise Shaw, formerly Digital Content Editor at Commonwealth Bank, has been appointed Digital News Producer at The Australian.
Eliza Bavin, formerly a producer at Your Money, has started at Financial Standard.
Laura Daquino has moved from InvestSMART to Ticker TV, the new online channel started by former Sky News Bureau Chief Ahron Young.
Malavika Santhebennur joined Momentum Media as features editor for the mortgage titles The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
Cliona O’Dowd is back from maternity leave covering financial services and superannuation at The Australian.
Kristi Cheng has left Financial Standard, where she held a journalist title.
Sarah Kendell joined as SMSF Adviser as Deputy Editor.
Lachlan Maddock joined Investor Daily as a reporter.
Elliot Hastie has left Momentum Media, where he wrote across ifa, Investor Daily, Fintech Business and Wellness Daily, and is now writing for D’Marge.
Nicholas Grove is taking a break after leaving Livewire.
Hrishikesh Joshi has left SelfManagedSuper magazine
Pat Commins has left Australian Financial Review and is moving to The Australian.
Mia Kwok has left ASFA, where she wrote for Superfunds magazine.
Jason Clout left the Australian Financial Review where he was special reports editor. Mark Eggleton will take over the role.

Ten strategies to ignite your content at the publishing stage

You’ve researched your audience, looked at all the different forms your content can take and created a bank of killer content. Now it’s time to package it all up and hit publish. But before you do, there are a few steps you can take to maximise your content’s cut-through.

The Honner infographic: Turning Content Marketing into Conversations details the key steps to executing a winning content marketing program and how to nurture a conversation with your customers.

In this week’s blog we focus on the fifth stage of the process – Publish. Organise. Here are our top tips.

  1. Remember – think like the media industry – this is a crowded space. One of the biggest pieces of advice we give our clients is think like the media industry before you push out content. Put yourself in the shoes of media outlets such as the Australian Financial Review or Money Management. Would they be pushing out this content?  These organisations’ readership rests on the ability to consistently deliver quality, relevant content and you should be doing the same.
  1. Serialise your content. Stop thinking of your content as a single event. Quality content can be turned into dozens of different content pieces and staggered over a period of weeks or months. This process is called serialisation. Just like your favourite Netflix series.  US insurance company Allstate, for example, runs a series of blogs on car accident scenarios – from hitting a deer to a friend totalling your car. It also offers a video series, which is carefully curated into playlists on youtube, so users can find a range of content for their needs.
  1. Follow the leader: Publish content under your CEO’s name to increase engagement. People like hearing from leaders – not big brands. So consider if some of your content can be published under your CEO’s personal brand (or via other senior leadership). In 2018 LinkedIn named the “20 must-know influencers driving the global business conversation” – this includes Ray Dalio from Bridgewater Associates and Ian Bremmer. Characteristics of these leaders in communication (which you can use as guide) were; the content was authentic, it was used to influence employees as well as customers and shareholders, it was visual and in video format sometimes, they posted regularly. This was particularly important during a ‘crisis’ where a high level of authenticity and honesty was paramount.
  1. Commit to A/B testing to optimise your content performance. A/B testing is a tool for identifying which version of something helps an  organization meet a business goal more effectively. When you test a variable in your content piece, you can see if these are having an impact on engagement rates – and use this intelligence for future pieces. So pick one variable and experiment with different headlines, images or incorporate a testimonial. See if these influence engagement rates.  You can even A/B test the time of day you post on your social media channels.
  1. What is trending/popular? Let your readers know. Publishing firms are increasingly using their data (such as google analytics)  to highlight what are the most popular stories. Rather than ordering your content by date, you should also be allowing your readers to see what other customers are finding interesting. For example, we all love a good end-of-year financial year roundup, so publishing an article that summarises your ‘Top 10 most read content pieces in 2019’. Check out the Harvard Business Review’s curated reading lists and visual library for inspiration.
  1. Break up content visually. There is nothing more off-putting than being faced with a wall of text. Add subheadings, numbers and bulleted lists and highlight important information to keep your content punchy and engaging. Use engaging images that incorporate the core proposition of your content. Tools like canva give you a lot of flexibility to create bespoke visual experiences. Take a look at these great examples from firms like Expedia.
  1. Pick the best time of day to publish. Knowing exactly when to publish is essential to maximising your content’s cut-through. Social media management platform Sprout Social, which has over 25,000 customers, recently analysed its customer data to see what time and day their customers’ social media posts generated the most engagement.  Overall the best times to post are Tuesday to Friday from 8am-2pm, with peak engagement times on Wednesday at 9-10am and 12pm. If, however you are looking to engage your readers with a larger piece of research, we’d suggest trying to target them on a Saturday.
  1. Make it mobile friendly. 80% of sponsored content clicks come from mobile. So ensure your content is optimised for small screens. Consider using larger font sizes and shorter paragraphs to make your content easy to read and help your readers to find important information. It’s also important to regularly test your site out yourself on your own mobile devices.
  1. Don’t fall into the trap of having ‘dead-end content’. What is your call-to-action? What do you want your reader to do after they have read your content? Is this an opportunity to capture leads so you can nurture the relationship further? You could simply ask readers to leave a comment, or maybe download a free guide or register for a webinar. Also try to include dynamic links to other content on your website to encourage people to read on.
  1. Organise and optimise. Each piece you push out should be viewed as part of your broader content ecosystem. Consider where you will house and organise all your content to make it easier for your different customer personas to find what they are looking for. This is also a good time to ensure strong search capabilities by tagging, adding in key words and making sure your headline is searchable. Some brands that do this well include accounting software firm xero, which offers a range of guides, stories and resources for accountants and bookkeepers. South African bank capitec also offers a well-organised content hub, featuring topics from travel tips to buying a house and fraud prevention.

Tools to help you publish and organise

  • Inbound-marketing platform hubspot offers social media analytics and message-scheduling, so your content can seamlessly publish to your social channel when it is ready.
  • google search console is a collection of services you can use to figure out how the search engine views your website. This service provides you with a wide array of tools to use, covering many different aspects of SEO.
  • Once you have published a piece, check out linkody, which allows you to find out who is linking to your website and learn what key words they are using. You can also ‘disavow’ any links you don’t like if you think someone is linking to your website as spam.

Nine strategies for creating winning content

Generating content that will resonate with the target audience is one of the biggest challenges facing content marketers. With the internet becoming increasingly cluttered, we know that and consumers are bombarded with up to 10,000 brand messages a day.
One of the theoretical cornerstones of marketing used to be to create as much content as possible. However, even the more traditional marketers are now recognising the need to work smarter not harder when it comes to generating and reusing engaging content – and not add to the clutter of irrelevant messages.

The Honner infographic: Turning Content Marketing into Conversations details the key steps to executing a winning content marketing program and how to nurture a conversation with your customers.  In this week’s blog we focus on the fourth stage of the process – Create. Curate. Multiply. Here are our top tips.

1. Images and visual story telling are starting to dominate the content landscape: One of the key takeaways from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2019 report – which provides insight into what is going on in digital channels – is consumers are increasingly embracing visual content, primarily on mobile devices. The report highlights the importance of financial services firms using images and stories to engage consumers. Traditional text-based platforms like Twitter are now dominated by story-telling via images. Instagram has up to 1 billion monthly active users and Meeker’s report estimated that over 50% of Twitter impressions come from tweets that include images, video or other visual media. The report also highlights that for the first time, more than half of the global population were identified as internet users.

Visually interesting photographs of executives speaking at industry events, team building activities or images of your team undertaking community engagement programs can all make powerful content pieces to support your brand – particularly on social media. Among finance companies, American Express is seen as a leader by many in its Instagram outreach. Rather than focusing on product, its content is an assortment of high-quality food and travel photos, which has amassed a following of over 350,000.

2. User Generated Content (UGC) can be a real winner. There is a wealth of authentic content sitting at your fingertips – and it is largely free. UGC is any type of content created by your audience. In a recent interview the CMO of Salesforce proclaimed that The age of the marketing campaign is over and they believe more content will be co-created together with customers, “In the future, the content won’t come from the brands, it will come from the communities”. Another great example of generating content from your communities is the #mymintmoment Instagram campaign that asked customers to share ‘special moments when your life and finances aligned’.

3. Write a killer headline. Your headline is the most important piece of any writing as it grabs the reader’s attention and encourages them to read on. Don’t put your reader off with a waffly, vague headline. Keep it short, relevant and exciting. You can get some inspiration from free headline generator tools from Portent and SEO Pressor.

4. Use data and research as the foundation of your content. Adding some numbers to your copy adds weight to your argument, particularly if it is something new and sheds light on consumer sentiment around a particular issue. Consider commissioning a piece of research on a hot topic, surveying a customer segment, analysing your own customer data to uncover some new content angles or crunching data such as returns of the major asset classes. Russell Investments does a good job of using asset class data to create their annual Russell Investments/ASX Long Term Investing Report.

5. Infographics experience high engagement rates. Love them or hate them, infographics are much more likely to be read than text articles and are one of the most shared forms of content. Creating an infographic doesn’t need to be complicatedSee our tips below for some great tools from around the web that can help. Canva now have a dedicated area to help you easily build infographics. We think The Honner infographic: Turning Content Marketing into Conversations is a good example of an engaging infographic.

6. Leverage influencers. Consider joining forces with a third-party influencer to co-author or co-brand a content piece. This could be an industry body or industry institution like the ASX. This is highly effective with research-style content and is likely to both extend the reach of your piece and add credibility.

7. Look outside of your organisation. Content curation – the process of gathering information from outside sources – is currently huge. Curating content is not only more cost-effective but allows you to offer a broader selection of content to your customers and position your business as a thought leader.  Once you have determined topics of interest to your audience, identify relevant and trusted sources of content as candidates for your curation. Sources can include research firms, industry bodies, news sites, trade publications, social media and influencers. As a rule of thumb Honner recommends 80% of your content should be original, and 20% of content should be curated.

8. Build out content on topics of importance to your customers: Brands need to act more like a news agency when producing content. Boston-based Santander Bank, for instance, has a hub for millennials who may be a couple of years away from applying for loansBupa’s Health Link is another good example as it provides broad tips on topics like family, pregnancy and mind and body.  These content hubs engage customers with quality content on financial tips but also extend the conversation to lifestyle pieces on health, travel destinations, fashion and pet ownership.

9. Multiply. If you have put in the effort to creating (or curating) a great piece of content, don’t fall into the trap of simply pushing it out in a blog or newsletter. You can use a core idea in many different ways. Videos, podcasts, case studies using real people, checklists, webinars and testimonials. Lots of work goes into producing quality content – so look for every opportunity to reproduce it.

Tips from Honner:

  • Knock up your own bespoke images with ease using canva, one of the most design tools on the market.
  • piktochart is a good entry-level tool to create infographics, with easy to use, customisable templates and visme allows you to create an infographic in minutes using its 100 free fonts, quality images and thousands of icons. If you are more interested in video, biteable gives users the opportunity to create video infographics for free.
  • For content curation, take a look at platforms such as feedly and netvibes, which alert you to breaking news in your industry and region that you can share with your audience.

Next week we’ll publish the fifth in the eight-part content marketing series, Publish. Organise.
If you’d like help creating a well-researched content marketing strategy, or more information on Honner’s 8-Step Content Marketing Model, contact Honner’ Head of Marketing Solutions Craig Morris.