“We’ve always been a content company that has inspired,” Are Media’s head of affiliate partnerships and business development, Lauren Leisk, tells Mediaweek.

In an industry that thrives on relationships, Are Media has been pushing its content commerce strategy, using it to guide decisions about everything from the ad sales strategy, to the people the company is hiring.

Through building strong relationships with brands including Myer, Freedom, Sephora, Koala, Air BnB, Amazon, Temple & Webster, The Iconic, and Priceline, Are Media is already generating sales for a wide range of products.

Leisk came to the business two and a half years ago, and has worked to build Are Media’s affiliate marketing channel in three main ways. The first was to expand the company’s relationships, networks, and clients.

“Before I was on board, we didn’t really work with Amazon, or David Jones, or Temple and Webster directly,” Leisk said. “We had some brands through sub-networks and things like that, so my aim was to create one-to-one relationships with all the top e-comm brands in Australia that do have an affiliate campaign and are willing to engage with us on performance marketing. Expanding that portfolio was really key to start with.”

The second step was to invest in technology to “bring all that resulting data together and make sense of it all to make inferences and data lead decisions to inform our content.”

“Taking insights from search engines, keyword research, and the information that we’re getting from our brands about what people are buying enables us to inform our content strategy.”

The third was the upskilling of editors, with many coming from journalism and newsroom backgrounds. 

“That pivotal point was training them on how to write content that has a lot of longevity – SEO-informed evergreen content, helping people find the best dishwasher or the best wine fridge,” Leisk said.

What’s important to look for when you’re in the market for those things is a very different story to writing an editorial piece. Training them to flip it on its head and think about how we service our readers from a shopping angle was key to driving revenue.”

All of these changes are working towards what Leisk describes as Are Media’s main goal to “always be servicing our audience.”

“Our aim in content commerce is to take the trust that our audience already has in our brands, and deliver them the information they need to make a choice about a product to help them along that journey.”

Helping readers involves finding them where they are – “as our audiences change, we need to follow where they’re consuming that content,” Leisk said.

“It doesn’t really matter what platform it’s on. Whether it’s in print, digital, social media channels, websites, or through an EDM, we want to be where audiences are and we want to help them make that next decision.”

For brands, Leisk said that the strategy will make them “a lot more tangible” for readers of Are Media’s titles.

“We’re delivering to advertisers and our brands – especially our big e-commerce brands and clients – readers who are already in the market to buy that product or research further, to take them further down the sales funnel.”

Originally published on Mediaweek 10th April 2024


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