When you look at some of the impressive work Netflix is doing with publishers to promote its shows, and the type of content that brands are creating themselves, the growing appetite for—and, according to some, impressive results from—content marketing is quite a promising trend for magazines.
“It’s about content creation and we’re experts at that. So those conversations have increased,” says Anna Magasiva, who has recently taken on the job of sales director, women’s weeklies.
Subtleties are also important in marketing and for a company like Unilever, which often repurposes international material in different markets, the risk is that a message tailored to an Australian audience might not resonate in the same way with a New Zealand audience. So she says this kind of content-led campaign is a great way to create a local connection that’s relevant to this market.
But in an era where accountability is demanded, Gardiner says brands, agencies and publishers need to know what the measureables and deliverables around the content are.
“It’s a murky area. What are the expectations? There are so many variables attached to content marketing. How many times do they want their name mentioned? Or do they want their name mentioned at all?”
And when it comes to editorial endorsement, where does the line get drawn?
“If it’s relevant,” says Hurley. “Sido was very enamoured with the whole [Moments that Matter] thing because it resonated with her readers because they’re mothers and they’re time poor.”
And she says editorial integrity plays a big part.
“It might not seem that way, but it does. [Kitchin] wouldn’t have let us partner with a client that didn’t add value to the readers. There was all that rushing woman research coming out at that point, so it all just fell into place and it worked within the context of the magazine.”
Bauer recently conducted some research into influencers based on a presentation The Listener’s Pamela Stirling gave to Carat. And because a lot of briefs are coming in asking to work with columnists, it did more research into that realm and presented the results to the market recently.
Editorial endorsement might not work with all titles and news and current affairs is always a tricky one. But in some sectors, and primarily in what Bauer chief executive Paul Dykzeul called service journalism around topics like houses, food, fashion or beauty, it can work well for all parties.
“Everyone wants reassurance,” says Magasiva. “They want someone to tell them it’s the right thing.”
And because people are being bombarded with information, she believes magazines can be a great filter.
So what about the rising popularity of bloggers and vloggers, particularly in the beauty space? Is that concerning to traditional media outlets?
"The thing in magazines’ favour is that we’ve already got the credibility of those editorial staff members. People know them, they know their names," Magasiva says.
Hurley says it has tried to commercialise its social audiences through giveaways and competitions (it has around 57,000 Facebook fans), but, just like the Persil campaign, she says it has to work to each channel’s audience and it has to be something they want.