We are in an age where journalism’s value is being questioned. It feels like every other week another publisher is being forced to lay off journalists as consumers add more screens to their lives, their attention span dwindles and they flock to social media to get their clickbait news fill.
Yet at the same time every media owner is desperate to be a “content creator” because they know that great content always connects with consumers. Fair enough, given the plethora of briefs that inevitably ask for advertorial, branded content or sponsored content.
But be warned - there is vast difference between blogging and experienced, trusted journalism that brands want to be associated with and consumers want to engage with. A huge difference in fact - and audiences are smart enough to instantly spot the difference.
Investing in journalism
It’s been three years since the Domain business was split out from Fairfax’s publishing division. You could say we’ve undergone a complete renovation, or even a rebuild. But the one thing we knew would never change was the protection around our trusted journalism heritage. This is the gold dust in our product mix and it’s played a big role in our audience growth.
Instead of outsourcing our content or reducing our news output we doubled the size of our editorial team and brought it front and centre of our commercial proposition. Melina Cruickshank, our chief editorial and marketing officer joined the business from Fairfax Media and recruited a team of young, hungry digital specialists. This team now produce and amplify more trusted property content than any other publisher in the country. Domain is now front and centre of Australia’s home and lifestyle conversation.
Social is an important channel to allow us to have this conversation. We are always analysing and optimising our messages for different audiences. This approach has helped us turbo-charge our social reach – now just shy of one million people per month across all platforms. It’s the largest and most engaged property audience on social platforms in the country and it offers us an incredible connection with our audience for our clients. It allows us to target specific stories to audiences our advertisers want to reach and that combined with the 6.2 million person reach we have across our digital and print platforms gives us serious weight as a publisher.
Building a vibrant ecosystem
So by creating a vibrant ecosystem of audience and content, we are able to understand the fundamentals of the property lifecycle using the one material essential for building lasting value in the digital space - data.
It feels like we have been talking about the importance of data forever and most people are weary of the conversation. Unfortunately there are still many brands and plenty of media owners who don’t understand its value, or are unable to unlock it.
Domain is fortunate in that not only do we have an incredible wealth of data built up over years of property searching activity, but it’s also the kind brands want – serious intention data. Buying, selling or renting are important life stages that tell us a huge amount about our audience. These moves trigger obvious purchases like finance, insurance, whitegoods, furniture and connections.
More than that they also drive less obvious transactions like buying a car. People are twice as likely to purchase a car within 12 months of buying a home.
These insights are exciting but when we combine them with other data points we can capture that is when things get really interesting. We have a team who are solely focused on this and the data we are able to cross pollinate to segment is great news for brands. In my team we have programmatic traders, data analysts, research and insights and lead generation specialists.
Domain is now so much more than the property listings business it once was. We recently invested in a number of seriously interesting players which complement our traditional listing model. Homepass, an inspection check-in tool, Oneflare, an online market place for trades, Compare & Connect, a residential connections business and Beevo, a commercial connections business, are just a few.
And yes while they provide valuable tools for our consumers it’s the data that really gets me excited. Understanding how many times a person has enquired on a property, where they live, if they have finance, and if they are a pay TV subscriber.
That’s powerful stuff.
I’m still a sucker for a well written yarn. I don’t even mind if it’s branded, just make sure the data used to reach me made it relevant.
By Domain Media group director, Simon Kent