APN regionals hit mark with content marketing

APN News and Media’s Australian Regional Media has launched a premium content marketing solution that aims to help brands kick-start conversations with local communities.

The strategy, called Brand Amplify, is modelled on a successful campaign with outdoor retailer BCF earlier this year, which saw product suggestions from the brand integrate with editorial on boating, fishing and camping.

Australian Regional Media editorial director Bryce Johns described the campaign as a “win-win”, “hugely successful” for both publisher and brand.

Across six weeks and five selected markets across ARM, the BCF campaign registered high engagement with readers, sparking lively discussion on social media and marked growth in connection with the brand.

“We wrote a lot of engaging stories about things we knew our readers cared about – like the best places to go fishing, the best camping spots in our patch,” Mr Johns said.

“And then you had BCF around those environments telling you what was the best tent to go camping or the best fishing rod to take.

“Some of the posts were getting tens of thousands responses on Facebook and online – so you know you’ve created a conversation that people want to be involved in.”

The editorial reached almost twice the average levels of engagement, with readers typically staying on an article online for three minutes or more. This led to a jump in brand awareness for BCF, with a 68 per cent improvement in unprompted ad recall, 47 per cent of readers more likely to consider BCF, and a 37 per cent jump in brand preference.

The results were felt at BCF cash registers too. Forty-three per cent of people who saw the campaign took action, with transaction growth up a huge 142 per cent and revenue up 63 per cent in campaign markets, compared to year on year growth in non-campaign markets.

BCF was pleased with the campaign’s success, with BCF marketing manager Ben McConnell saying: “This really credible, localised content was just so effective in driving reader engagement, and best of all we achieved better sales results.”

Mr Johns said the campaign retained editorial integrity because it was created to be valuable to readers.

“It was done in such a way that we really believed the material was of high reader value. BCF didn’t have sign-off rights on the story; they didn’t see the stories before they were published. It was really on trust that we would get it right.

“If you run an advert that says ‘Buy my chair’ the click through rates aren’t that high,” he said. “But if people are interested [in the content], in the right context for an advertiser, it can be really successful.”

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