In keeping with the subtle approach, the kicker was a discreet sentence at the end of the story that gave an explanation of its purpose and said it was developed in conjunction with It’s not OK.
Given readers use Home as an escape and a place to dream about their ideal places, Hansen was worried they may not have wanted to be confronted with some of life’s harsh realities.
But the team trusted its readers were smart enough to go on that journey and, as a result, the campaign was well-received and generated positive feedback.
But things don’t always go so well. As evidenced by the Atlantic’s decision to run a branded post on the gloriousness of Scientology a few years ago, even well established publications can misstep when it comes to branded content.
The point here is that publishers—whether traditional or new age—need to choose their partners carefully.
Bauer works on a case-by-case basis, because the more it tries to develop rules around what brands to work with, the more exceptions to those rules emerge. Hansen says for content marketing to work for the clients it has to work for the readers, and the clients it chooses to work with understand where Bauer is coming from and respect its views and take on its recommendations.
“We're happy to talk to clients about their objectives and then we work with them on a really tailored basis to create something that will work for them in the environment of the magazine,” Hansen says.
As magazines expand and develop a 360-degree multimedia offering, their audience is following them. Where they once simply read a magazine over a cup of coffee, now they’re reading their e-newsletters, following them on social media, going to their events, listening to their podcasts or watching their videos. And this has seen an opportunity open up for brands to tap into the influence that extends beyond the printed magazine.
Tangible Media put this to the test when it created the ‘De-Longhi Multifry challenge’, with Dish food editor Claire Aldous tasked to achieve it.
She created six recipes with the Multifry, and the videos of her making them were then posted on Facebook. There, they were viewed more than 280,000 times, liked, shared and commented on by 6,600 people and over 18,000 people clicked on the posts.
Shelley Ferguson, editor-in-chief of Your Home and Garden, Taste and Nadia, and the reigning supreme editor of the year, has also used her significant influence the advantage of clients like Spark when she fronted a campaign to promote its home security offering Morepork.
Kitchin has also found a great joy in engaging with readers and whole new audiences through social media and the Woman’s Day website. Between Facebook and Instagram, Woman’s Day talks to about 90,000 people every day.
And with numbers on that scale, magazines have the same online audience as some of New Zealand’s biggest social media stars, who have also been used by brands to reach an audience. So why should brands try to harness the influence of magazines and their editors, rather than cheaper social influencers?
For Hansen, it’s again about having an editorial authority. He was in front of the camera for ANZ’s Designs for Living campaign, which was a finalist in the content marketing category, and says having the editor of the title present creates a closer connection to the magazine, as well as maintaining the editorial authority.
“When you get content marketing right and you have the editor of a publication fronting that, that integrity also translates onto the screen of whichever device people are watching this sort of content on.”
He adds in the new media environment, it’s important that those who work primarily as print journalists are not wedded to that medium and those storytelling skills can be applied across a whole range of mediums.
That knowledge of an audience and making branded content appear seamless is something social media stars often lack when sharing content, and it’s evidenced when the star promotes a product that doesn’t fit. As mentioned above, reality TV and social media star Scott Disick showed just how unnatural paid posts can get when he shared the wrong caption under an Instagram photo. Rather than saying “Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!”, he included the full instructions given to him, including what to say and when to say it. Not particularly #authentic, not particularly #cheap and particularly #ephemeral.