Investing in longform journalism helped independent publication Man of Many become a leading men’s lifestyle site in Australia.
The publication overtook subscriber-supported GQ, which is published by News Corp Australia, to reach 317,800 unique readers for the month compared to GQ’s 269,644, according to Nielsen’s May 2020 Digital Content Ratings.
The result is part of a growth trend for Man of Many which launched as a gear and tech site in 2012 before expanding to cover men’s lifestyle. The title, with an 80% male audience primarily aged 25-34, has since grown its Australian unique audience by 270% over the last year, and its global audience by 71% in April.
“We’ve been the number one in the weekly figures for a while, but being the outright number one monthly has been a big goal for us for a couple of years now as we've grown,” Man of Many cofounder Scott Purcell tells AdNews.
“So it's really exciting to see that momentum, and for that to continue in recent weeks as well.”
Purcell and cofounder Frank Arthur quit their full-time jobs to focus on the publication in 2016, bringing in editor Nick Hall. As part of the change, they shifted from short product reviews to more longform editorial, how-to guides and opinion pieces more than a year ago.
“When we first started it was a lot of short-form, easy to consume articles, and we really found that men in particular are looking for longer form content,” Purcell says.
“So anything we do that's educational, such as how-to guides, buyers guides, interviews with personalities, has really resonated with our audience and we’re finding really long time on site on those longer form pieces as well.
“The other thing that's been good for us is writing some regular series across the site, such as an entertainment column with what to watch on Netflix, and many people have come back as recurring visitors as well.”
The founders are committed to keeping Man of Many “free and accessible”, despite the growing trend for publishers to turn to reader revenue as advertising dollars flow to digital platforms. Arthur remains confident in an ad-supported model even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put further pressure on advertising revenue, saying the publication has a diversified revenue stream, including affiliate advertising.
“One positive thing about having that revenue stream has been even during the pandemic we saw an increase in affiliate sales,” Arthur says.
“Which was good because it showed that people are actually buying things that they see recommended on our site.”
Purcell says this was aided by more people shopping from home during the months-long coronavirus lockdowns.
“We have also seen a bit of a decline in the programmatic CPM rates over the period with COVID, that was counteracted by the growth in revenue we saw, so it wasn't too much of an impact on our bottom line,” Purcell says.
“But it’s certainly something that we're trying to address going forward focusing on growing our audience is how we see we can counteract the decline in overall spend.”
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