A new age of royalty for content and context

Every day we reach around three in four New Zealanders across our different platforms. Daily. It’s no secret people return because every day – every few minutes even – we have new content for people to engage with.

Being in the business of telling news gives us a distinct advantage in attracting large numbers of people, but they’ll only keep returning to where they like it being served up. The obvious here is the shift from print to digital. Sixteen years ago we created Stuff – a new destination with its own brand and content sections that provide audiences meaningful context for their content.

Fast forward and social media changed the game again, pulling publisher content into their platforms which people return to to engage with in a personalised, social context. This weakens a publisher’s advertising model based on an engaged audience exposed to ad impressions.

So we look to new recipes for engagement – recipes that blend content and context, the king and queen of engagement, into something audiences will enjoy. Enter: the growth of content marketing.

When content becomes the advertisement, the content also becomes the context. It’s a union we’re excited about at Fairfax – especially by the potential it holds to drive purchase behaviour. When you can put the right product in the right place and support it with storytelling over and above boring old product descriptions, people will buy it.

We know because we tested it.

A buzzword for my team at the moment is ‘contextualisation’ – and that’s about removing friction from the entire process that a consumer engages with us. What it looks like is fantastic content that doesn’t just make a reader want to buy something, but offers it up right there and then to be bought in a transaction process so simple and fast it captures people ‘in the moment’. It becomes too easy for someone to buy what they just got excited or inspired by.

The formula gets even better when data is used to target certain content and products to those more likely to be interested in it. Youth publisher Vice Media has done well in this area already, take a look at this article on the history of black lipstick for an example of what they do.

Meanwhile our very own online commerce platform is fresh out of development. We’ve called it ‘popshop’ in a nod to how products will be sold – in a pop-up fashion with transactions made on our platform and fulfilled by partners.

Is the marriage of content and context in this way set to hail in a new age kind of royalty?

Robert Hutchinson, Product Development Director, Fairfax Media