Australian businesses are embracing technology to keep their freight moving during the Coronavirus crisis with leading freight marketplace TruckIt.net reporting a lift in the use of ‘contactless delivery’.
While multiple states and territories have announced the closure of their borders, the freight and logistics industry has been deemed an essential service and are therefore exempt from border closures.
“These are tough times for everybody,” TruckIt founder Robbie Russell said. “But it is essential we keep goods moving around the country to keep our shops stocked and our businesses moving.”
“Spreading those goods around the country, without spreading COVID-19 is critical, which means our providers and their customers need to keep their distance.”
Contactless delivery allows TruckIt transport providers (truckies) to pick up and drop off a load without ever coming into contact with people. Adherence to contactless delivery means any touching between customers and drivers is strictly limited.
“A few simple steps and open communication means freight can be picked up and delivered without risking anyone’s health,” Mr Russell said.
“Both customers and providers on the TruckIt platform are encouraged to utilise contactless delivery wherever practically possible.”
TruckIt.net is at the forefront of Australia’s rapidly-growing on-demand freight industry that is becoming an increasingly important part of the overall $100 billion a year freight industry.
The digital marketplace matches people wishing to freight items (cars, furniture, pallets etc) with transport operators that include sole operators with one vehicle up to large multi-vehicle businesses.
Customers simply list their item on TruckIt.net for free and receive competitive quotes from interested vehicle operators. The booking, transaction and delivery process is managed directly between the freight owner and the operator.
Since it was first established 2012, TruckIt has taken nearly 500,000 listings with deliveries covering more than 50,000,000 kilometres. At any one time there is about $1.5 million worth of freight projects posted on the site and available for truckers to quote on.
The freight industry is one of the fastest growing in Australia with the volume of freight carried expected to grow by over 35 per cent between 2018 and 2040, an increase of 270 billion tonnes (bringing the total volume to just over 1,000 billion tonne kilometres), according to Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
The speed and reach of the Coronavirus crisis will be felt for decades. While we are all struggling to assess the impact on us personally, we also have organisations that have obligations and responsibilities to staff, customers and other stakeholders.
Establishing and maintaining clear lines of communication with these stakeholders is one of the most important roles of leadership and management during this crisis. Conveying a sense of calm and control will position your business to return to normal as quickly as possible when (not if) the crisis ends.
Here are some simple things to remember while communicating.
Health & Wellbeing Is Your First Priority
While the long-term economic impact of the crisis is occupying a great deal of people’s thoughts, we are still in the middle of a major, global health emergency. Your first obligation is to create a safe workplace. The number of cases of COVID-19 in Australia is still rising and we must do everything possible to reduce the spread to save lives. ‘Flattening the curve’ is our collective responsibility.
Until we have the virus under control, all your actions and communications with stakeholders MUST put health and wellbeing first. Always provide the information and resources your stakeholders need to meet their social obligations to stopping Coronavirus.
Don’t be an Expert
The Federal Government, State Government and health authorities are moving quickly to provide detailed, authorative information about Coronavirus to the public. Do not rely on your own experts, your ‘sister’s brother who is a GP’ is not an expert. When advising staff and customers about how to respond to the crisis utilise the range of free information available.
Don’t be afraid to remind your stakeholders that there are still positives. The virus is under control in many countries and Australia has a strong, resilient economy with the capacity to absorb even the biggest shock.
The current health crisis is TEMPORARY, and we are days or weeks from getting on top of it. People need reminding that there are reasons to be optimistic so don’t be afraid to talk up your recent successes or the underlying strength of your industry.
The situation is changing on a daily basis. The last thing your stakeholders need is an information vacuum, which they will fill with information from unreliable sources and their imagination.
Create the systems, processes and disciplines to communicate on a daily (or twice daily) basis. Send an email to staff at the same time each day, either first thing in the morning or at 5.00pm each evening. Assign responsibility and make sure this communication comes from a trusted, senior executive who has the primary responsibility for managing the crisis.
Create a Dedicated Blog or Webpage
This crisis could go on for weeks or months. Creating a dedicated ‘warehouse’ where you can host and share information is one way to bring some order to the chaos. In a quickly moving situation, having a centralised location where updates and the latest information can be compiled is key to avoiding confusion. Many organisations have already created landing pages dedicated to providing information about the coronavirus and their mitigation efforts.
We recommend that clients place a link to this dedicated page on the homepage of their website. Key information to include on the page:
Information about whether or not any of your employees or locations have been exposed to the virus. While you should not identify employees, it is important to communicate whether there are any active or monitored cases tied to your organisation or facilities.
Details about your contingency plans. If you serve clients in-person, include information about whether your locations are open or not and how you will or will not serve clients if you close.
Preventative measures that are underway. If your organisation is encouraging employees to work from home, reduce nonessential travel, implement additional cleaning procedures or take any other precautions to minimise the risk of exposure, share these details.
Links to external resources like those listed above.
A statement that the webpage reflects the situation as it currently stands and as this is a rapidly evolving situation, your organisation will continue to evaluate the best course of action and update the page with the latest information as it is available.
Contact information for your primary media spokesperson and leadership team member overseeing Coronavirus preparedness.
Equip Your Staff
Successful communication starts with employees and internal stakeholders. They are always your best public relations people, and public relations people always do best with a good briefing.
Now is the time for CEOs and top executives to communicate with employees and stakeholders and reassure them by stating the steps the organisation is taking. He/she should record an organic (not highly produced) 60-second video—on a current model smart phone—describing the current state of affairs, steps being taken (to disinfect surfaces and protect people), what is planned next and why.
This video can supplement such written communications as direct mail pieces, emails, texts, and social posts.
Assign People to Create Content
You should quickly appoint a dedicated person or team to take charge of creating and updating your response content, including fact sheets, media statements, Q&As and EDMs
In a rapidly changing environment, it is vitally important all your communication is time stamped. What is true now, may not be tomorrow, so treat all communication as a ‘point in time’ exercise.
Don’t fuss too much about style guides or templates. Your stakeholders will forgive you if your documents are not up to your usual high standards of design and presentation. It is the substance that matters. It is OK to compromise on these to ensure timely and consistent communication.
Prepare for Media Enquiries
Consider the immediate development of media statements for key events/risks that you may be faced with. These statements can be provided to media who make an enquiry, be posted on your website and social media channels. They are important too for your employees and other stakeholders.
Consider the communications needed for the closure of an office or facility, staff member(s) contracting the illness, or unavailability of a key product or service.
Clear communication is necessary, as is the provision of updates as required. Ensure consistency in the nominated spokesperson and tone of voice.
Be Reactive and Engaged on Social Media
In the confusion of managing a business during a crisis, some of the simple things often get forgotten. Monitoring and responding to social media enquiries is sometimes the first victim of threat assessment.
It’s vital that your team are focused on social monitoring during a time of crisis. Any negative social media mentions should be dealt with immediately and with consistency. Any questions should be answered quickly and respectfully. There should be sections of your plan dedicated solely to social media crisis management.
We are all entering a new world, but many of the old rules for effective communication remain. Be open, honest and proactive. Your stakeholders will reward you for it.
Writing great content that generates traffic, engagement, backlinks, shares and leads is the holy grail of content marketing.
While there is still no simple recipe, one of the great benefits of the massive amount of content produced and the growth of analytical tools to review results has been a much better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
We now know with more clarity than ever how to write great content.
The results were not great for lovers of short articles. It showed pages and blogs of more than 3,000 words getting 3x the traffic, 2x the shares and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length. Short articles (less than 200 words) are not shared at all 4.5x more often than long reads.
The length of headlines is also critical to engagement. Articles with long headlines (14+ words) get 3x more traffic, 2x more shares and 5x more articles with short headlines (7-10 words).
The reason for the popularity of long reads is contested by it is safe to assume that as the sheer number of content pieces grows, readers are increasingly being more selective and taking deeper dives.
The length of a ‘long’ article continues to get longer as well. In 2014, HubSpot tallied the averages of all of its 6,000+ blog posts and derived that there is a “positive correlation between high performing pages within organic search and word counts over 2,250 words”. Just five years ago SEMRush’s sweet spot rested right between 2,250 and 2,500 words.
If the thought of writing 3,000 (or 2,500) words makes you draw a deep breath, thankfully there is an alternative view.
According to research done by popular blogging platform, Medium, the ideal length for blog posts is 1,600 words (or seven minutes of reading). This result is based on an analysis of the “average total seconds spent on each post and compared this to the post length.” Their research found that up to the seven minute/1,600 wordmark, readers average time spent looking at the post increased, plateauing at the seven-minute mark, and quickly declining after that point.
While length is important, how you use it is also critical. The most important thing to remember is that quality content is what really matters. 5,000 words of dribble will not get anywhere near the result of 500 words of highly-targeted, useful content.
Are Listicles Still Important?
There is a reason listicles have spread like a rash across the internet. They work. According to SEMrush, listicles get the most shares and traffic (up to 2x more than other blog types), followed by guides and “how to” articles.
Why do they work? They allow our brain to digest information in a very digestible way. Modern media assaults us with a never ending stream of content. Our brains simply do not have the capacity to sort through the massive volume of information and store in a useful place for easy recall later.
“With the tsunami of incoming stuff, our brains will automatically try to find a sorting mechanism and try to make sense of it. So we naturally gravitate to the listicle. Finally! the brain says. A writer who has actually organized thoughts into some semblance of order. The brain sees organization and says, Right, let’s read it.”
Think About Structure
The structure of your article is also critical to understanding, as well as having incredible SEO value. SEMrush identified that well-structured articles with h2 and h3 are more likely to be high-performing. More than one in three articles with h2 and h3 tags have high performance in terms of traffic, shares and backlinks.
Header tags are an important on-page SEO factor because they’re used to communicate to the search engines what your website is about. Search engines recognise the copy in your header tags as more important than the rest. This starts with your h1 and works its way down in importance to the h2, h3 and so on. These tags will help support the overall theme or purpose of your page.
The content of your tags is just as critical as actually using them. Make sure you are stuffing your header tags with short-tail and long-tail keywords. As search engines crawl your site, they will pick up on the headers and recognise the keywords you are using as important.
This article has been structured to index for search traffic that is using the search term “Tips For Writing Great Content In 2020″
My h1 = <h1> Top Tips For Writing Great Content In 2020 </h1>
My h2 = <h2> Writing Great Content Means Lots Of Writing</h2>
My h3 = <h3>Are Listicles Still Important</h3>
As you can see, I used my h1 to capture the overall theme of the post since it represents what’s most important. I then used my h2 as a subheading to reinforce my h1 and overall theme. The same can be said about my h3 and how it relates to my other headings and overall theme.
The most important tip for writing great content (keywords!) is to give yourself plenty of time to write plenty of words, come up with a great headline, make it a list of something and use your header tags.
Leading Australian-owned book retailer Booktopia has celebrated its 16th birthday with a $20 million capital raising to enhance capacity and efficiency at its Sydney distribution centre.
The $20 million raise underscores investors’ confidence in the future of the e-commerce book industry which continues to grow strongly.
Booktopia posted revenues of $131m in FY19 and is currently on track to deliver revenues of $175 million in the 2020 calendar year.
The company’s market share by revenue is on track to edge ahead of the number one book retailer in Australia, Big W.
The equity was raised from a consortium of private investors led by Su-Ming Wong, Co-Founder & CEO of Champ Ventures (who will join the Board of Booktopia) and John Sampson, Founder & CEO of JBS Investments.
The founding shareholders retain majority control and Booktopia will continue to be an independent Australian-owned business.
The capital raise, completed with the assistance of AFSG Capital, also included a portion of long-term debt.
Mark Paton, Managing Director of AFSG Capital said Booktopia’s track record of rapid, profitable growth made for a compelling investment opportunity.
“The capital raised will go exclusively toward funding growth over the next few years and establishes a solid foundation for future capital market engagement,” he said.
The funds will be used in three key areas.
– Further investment in automation to scale its inbound and outbound capacity from 30,000 individual books per day to 60,000 per day; – Holding more titles at its 13,000 sqm Sydney Distribution Centre, growing its in-stock range as well as holding more units of the popular titles so they are ready-to-ship; and – Working capital.
Tony Nash, Booktopia’s CEO said: “Booktopia has come so far and the team is rightly proud to have built this 100% Australian owned business to scale from within our own internal resources. We are thrilled to have this round of funding in place. The Funding will allow us to accelerate our growth in a controlled and measured way by investing in our ability to deliver to Australian book consumers through expanded distribution infrastructure and stock. This has been a proven high growth and predictable model for us for 16 years and we are not about to change. We know that’s what our customers want from us.”
“It was very important we brought investors on board who can add value to the next phase of our journey. We are delighted to have such an experienced group who understand e-Commerce, retail and capital markets.”
Mr Nash said the recent acquisition of the University Co-operative Bookshops was fortuitous and was entirely separate from the current capital raising.
“We were already very well advanced with our private investors before The Co-op went into administration and as Tertiary Academic Sales were already a significant portion of our revenue it was deemed that if the numbers worked then we would purchase it from within our own financial capacity,” he said.
Brisbane-based, family-owned food manufacturing business Trisco Foods has been recognised for its commitment to taking locally developed products to the world.
Trisco was recently named Premier of Queensland’s Exporter of the Year 2019 at the annual Queensland Export Awards.
Trisco Foods produces world class food ingredients, such as syrups and sundaes, that are used here and abroad by leading food companies. It has a strong presence throughout the Asian region and has been exporting for many years. This year, Trisco opened a factory in Colorado Springs to service demand in the United States.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the award was a deserved win for a family that was always innovating and always striving to provide high quality products and service to clients here and overseas.
The Premier said the company’s production and warehousing facility is located in Brisbane with many of the raw materials grown and processed locally.
“The first factory was a small building of two rooms attached to the rear of the family home in Hope Street, South Brisbane,” she said. “From these humble beginnings the business has grown into a huge success story and we’re extremely proud of this Queensland business from Brisbane taking on the world.”
Tristam Foods CEO Mike Tristram said the company had worked tirelessly in recent years to expand its international footprint through new product development and innovation.
“It is a cliché, but this is a genuine team effort with many people contributing to our success,” he said. “Our goal is quite simple. We want to create unique and innovative food solutions and take them into new markets, both in Australia, the US and across the globe.”
The Tristram family is well known among older Queenslanders as the name behind the soft drink with the marketing slogan, “Say Tristrams Please”. The brand and soft drink business were sold to Cadbury Schweppes in 1970 when the Trisco Foods company began and the family concentrated on the ingredients business.
After more than 140 years manufacturing a range of food and beverage products in Brisbane, the company earlier this year unveiled plans its first offshore facility in Colorado Springs.
The facility will allow the company to aggressively pursue greater market share for its highly successful Precise Thick-N range of instant liquid thickeners that help maintain the health of people suffering from swallowing problems and neurological-related dysphagia.
The plant will initially produce products from the Precise Thick-N range with up to 75 people to be employed as production ramps up. Over the next five years the company plans to develop and manufacture new products.
The Precise Thick-N range of instant liquid thickeners make soft food and liquids easier to swallow without impacting the nutritional benefits or taste. After just two years the product has achieved strong market penetration and displaced traditional powder-based thickeners in many aged care facilities and hospitals around the country.
Trisco’s global headquarters will remain in Brisbane. The Colorado Springs plant will be used not only to serve the current domestic market, but also have the capability to supply potential new export markets in Europe and South America in the near future.
Privately-owned developer Orchard Property Group has completed the acquisition of a prime 34-hectare development-ready site at Ripley, in the heart of the Ripley Valley Priority Development Area (PDA).
The acquisition takes Orchard’s total pipeline of lots owned and under control to more than 2,000 across five different projects around South East Queensland.
The property at 160 Daleys Road, Ripley, was acquired from a group of investors for $11 million. The company has had the site under contract for more than 12 months and completed settlement in late August.
The site includes an existing Development Approval for a new masterplanned community with 426 lots. Orchard intends to reconfigure the existing approval to increase the yield to 440 lots ahead of a launch in 2020.
The sale was negotiated by Ray White Special Projects’ Tony Williams and Mark Creevey.
Orchard Property Group Managing Director Brent Hailey said the company had long-held ambitions to acquire a site in the Ripley PDA.
“The Ripley Valley is one of the largest urban growth areas in Australia and will eventually be home to a new city nearly as large as Toowoomba with a population of 120,000 people and 50,000 new homes,” he said.
“The PDA has been incredibly successful since it was declared in 2010 and our expectations are that it will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.”
Orchard has also secured a $7.2 million Catalyst Infrastructure Program grant from Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) to undertake a major upgrade of Binnies Road, Ripley, to not only provide access to their site but to provide a much-needed access to a number of properties at the western end of the Ripley PDA.
Construction of the new road is due to begin by the end of the year with the project expected to commence marketing early in 2020.
The new project will be Orchard’s second largest, following the launch earlier this year of the 650-lot, $120 million Pebble Creek project at South Maclean. The company recently completed sales at PineVue @ Maudsland (110 lots) and has other active projects at Ormeau, Narangba and Caboolture.
Ray White Special Projects Tony Williams said Orchard had secured a very strategic site after successfully navigating a range of issues to unpack the development potential of the opportunity.
“The property provided one of the few remaining parcels in the Valley which offers scale and with the benefit of negotiating the catalyst infrastructure agreement, Orchard have fast tracked their entry to the Ripley market,” he said.
Mr Creevey said land parcels with scale that had approvals already in place were in high demand throughout South East Queensland.
“The interest levels we’re witnessing for approved development sites are at the highest we’ve seen in a long time due to the scarcity of quality offerings,” Mr Creevey said.
Mr Hailey said the company remained optimistic about the south east Queensland land market.
“With low interest rates expected to continue for the foreseeable future and continued steady population growth in the south east, the fundamentals for the land market remain quite strong,” he said.
“There is plenty of competition but with the right product, in the right place at the right price there is plenty of demand and opportunities for success.
“As with all our projects, we will be focused on creating a vibrant place to live by providing exceptional amenity, connectivity and urban design.”
News organisations and their journalists have been competing for consumers’ eyes and ears for hundreds of years. While the media industry has been turned on its head in the last 20 or so years, many of the principles that underpin competitive journalism have remained unchanged.
Understanding these principles and applying them to your brand’s content strategy will dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your content.
The concept of a ‘brand newsroom’ is not new. However, unless your newsroom lives and breathes traditional newsroom values it is merely a content production studio. Here are five principles you can apply to your content strategy.
1. Deadline Discipline
While the news cycle for daily and weekly newspapers have changed significantly since the proliferation of online news sites and a digital-first approach, the tyranny of deadlines remains.
Regardless of whether you are the newest cadet at your local weekly paper or a senior columnist at the biggest paper in the country – your day is ruled by deadlines. Some are hourly, some are daily, some are weekly (Saturday editions) and some monthly (liftouts).
Newspaper deadlines are immovable, intractable and policed by irascible editors.
The best content, like news, is fresh. A piece of content that’s not timely can quickly become irrelevant. Building a culture of deadline discipline to your brand newsroom will greatly improve the consistency and timeliness of your outputs.
2. Understand Your Audience
Newsrooms have got creating quality content en masse down to a fine art because it’s their raison d’être. They know that to really get people reading, their content needs to be audience-centric.
A few years ago the Financial Times launched a new digital data dashboard to help journalists and editors in the newsroom better understand their audience and how people interact with stories on the website.
The tool, called Lantern, integrates audience data collected across the entire organisation, which already exists but usually serves business or commercial purposes.
Using Lantern, anyone in the newsroom will be able to find out how their story is doing in real time, but also how the audience engages with it in the longer term.
While developing custom monitoring software is beyond most brands, building a system to monitor traffic, engagement and feedback is critical to understanding your audience and constantly evolving your content to reflect the needs of your audience.
3. Employee Journalists
With so many of the skills and disciplines required to develop highly engaging content learnt in the newsroom, it is little wonder journalists often make the best content producers. Only journalists who have spent a considerable amount of time in a newsroom understand the agility and flexibility required to produce great content on a consistent basis under tight timelines.
Journalists also have specific training in writing great headlines, undertaking thorough research, prioritising accuracy, separating content from fluff, building relationships, writing in news style and understanding complex issues quickly. All of these are invaluable to a brand newsroom.
READ MORE:10 Skills That Make Journalists the Secret Weapon for Your Content Team
4. Apply News Values
Journalists commonly use six values to determine how newsworthy a story or elements of a story are. Knowing the news values can help a journalist make many decisions, including:
– What information to give first in a news article, and in the lede (the lead paragraph)
– Which articles to display on a newspaper’s front page
– What questions to ask in an interview
The six news values are:
Timeliness- Recent events have a higher news value than less recent ones.
Proximity- Stories taking place in one’s hometown or community are more newsworthy than those taking place far away.
Prominence- Famous people and those in the public eye have a higher news value than ordinary citizens.
Uniqueness/oddity- A story with a bizarre twist or strange occurrences. “Man bites dog” instead of “dog bites man.”
Impact- Stories that impact a large number of people may be more newsworthy than those impacting a smaller number of people.
Conflict- “If it bleeds, it leads.” Stories with strife, whether it’s actual violence or not, are more interesting.
The newsworthiness of a story is determined by a balance of these six values. There is no set formula to decide how newsworthy a story is, but in general, the more of these six values a story meets, the more newsworthy it is.
Not every piece of content needs to win a Pulitzer. Volume counts. Recent research by HubSpot found a clear and direct correlation between the number of monthly blog posts and inbound traffic.
Sometimes your job is simply to act as a gatekeeper and curator of other people’s content. Too many brand newsrooms put too much emphasis on creating ‘original’ content.
Sometimes finding and reconextualising a third-party’s content is just as valuable to toy your audience, but infinitely less time consuming and onerous.
For most brands, relying on the product alone is not enough to sustain the ongoing volume required to build and engage with an audience. They need to establish a rich extrinsic brand narrative that can be continuously refreshed.
An effective content strategy is build on the continuous development and broad-based publishing of highly engaging content that builds awareness and drives action.
Delivering an effective content strategy, particularly on a constrained budget, is all about consistency and quality. Learning how newsrooms do this is the first step to creating your own brand newsroom.
Park Ridge’s newest masterplanned community has marked its official launch by hosting the first Carver’s Reach Home Expo on Saturday (10 August).
The Carver’s Reach Home Expo, proudly presented by Golden Gate Property, will provide home buyers with an opportunity to meet Queensland’s leading builders, discuss finance options with RAMS and see a range of landscaping solutions on display.
Since the Carver’s Reach pre-launch marketing campaign commenced, which coincided with the start of construction in mid-June, nearly 30% of lots have been contracted, mainly to local buyers. The Jarrah release, being the first 67 lot stage, includes homesites priced from $203,000 and house and land packages from $398,800.
WATCH THE NEWS REPORT
The Expo includes a range of family entertainment and kids activities. Builders in attendance on the day include Metricon, Brighton Homes, Bold, Coral Homes, Simonds and Porter Davis.
David Whiteman, Director of Development at Golden Gate Property, said the launch of the Carver’s Reach project was well timed given the change in sentiment towards property which has been prevalent since the Federal election.
“There has been a renewed sense of positivity in the market over the last few weeks with lower interest rates and a greater willingness for banks to lend money for quality property,” he said.
Research undertaken by Oliver Hume, whom is running the Sales and Marketing for Carver’s Reach, shows while the market has been subdued over the last 12 months, the Logan land market remains one of the best long-term performers in south east Queensland.
Over the last five years the median lot price in Logan has increased 23.2%, including 4% over the 12 months to the end of June this year. The average lot size in the region is 422sqm, with Carver’s Reach achieving an average of 440sqm.
Oliver Hume Queensland General Manager Matt Barr said Park Ridge had emerged as one of the most popular suburbs for new residential development over recent years.
“Logan is one of the top performing markets in South East Queensland over the last few years and Park Ridge is the hottest suburb in the city,” he said.
“We have had hundreds of enquires over the last few weeks since we turned the first sod and would expect to continue a brisk rate of sales now we are fully live.”
The first homesites are expected to settle in early 2020 with first residents due to move in mid 2020.
The project is well connected to the local area, and the rest of south east Queensland with easy access to the west via Mt Lindesay Highway, east via Chambers Flat Road, and north via the Logan Motorway.
The Park Ridge area, which is inclusive of Boronia Heights, has a forecasted population of 29,987 by 2036 representing an increase of over 20,000 residents since the 2016 census. Increasing the current population by 137% over a 20-year period.
Mr Whiteman said the masterplan for the site would have a range of features and amenities including a corridor park, recreation park, childcare centre, and integrated passive recreation opportunities within adjoining biodiversity areas.
“It is a true, multi-stage masterplanned community where we have the scope to be creative in terms of the open space and connectivity with the local community,” he said.
Name: Carver’s Reach Address: 140 Park Ridge Road, Park Ridge Price: Homesites from $203,000 and Home & Land from $398,880 Size: First stage homesites available from 313-808sqm Web: carversreach.com.au Phone: 1800 514 883
The proliferation of fake news and social media platforms’ inability to stamp it out is driving more Australians to engage with online news in private spaces like closed, curated interest groups.
The fifth annual Digital News Report (DNR) produced by the News and Media Research Centre at the University of Canberra was released this week and showed that while Facebook remains the most used social media platform for news, but there has been a small drop in its use for news from 39% in 2017 to 36% in 2019. On the other hand, the use of YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram for news has risen and messaging apps are becoming a popular way to access news.
Using Facebook for news has decreased since 2016 (-9), while YouTube (+4), Snapchat (+3), and Instagram (+4) have risen.
There has been a drop in online news engagement across all sharing, commenting and liking activity.
The most popular mode of sharing news continues to be talking face-to-face with friends and colleagues (37%).
The report showed there has been a slight decline in most types of online news engagement from 2016 to 2019. While 63% of Australian news consumers have engaged in one or more online or offline news-sharing activities, there has been a slight overall drop in the past few years.
SOCIAL MEDIA BRANDS FOR NEWS (%)
SOURCE: The Digital News Report: Australia 2019
This corresponds with a decline in Facebook use for news which the report authors said was possibly due to increased concern about the unreliability of the online information environment. Most online news consumers in Australia (62%) remain concerned about what is real or fake on the internet, which is higher than the global average (55%).
This lack of trust in the quality of news combined with a lack of confidence in expressing views publicly is also leading to lower engagement with ‘sharing’, ‘commenting’ and ‘liking’ of news all falling on recent years.
However, behind closed ‘doors’ where membership is often restricted and comes with community-defined rules of behaviour, it is a different matter.
More than half of Facebook users (59%) say they have joined and participated in a Facebook group and 68% of WhatsApp users says they are involved in a group on WhatsApp. Popular public groups on Facebook and WhatsApp are related to hobbies and local community issues, whereas public groups about news and politics are less popular (7%: Facebook; 6%: WhatsApp).
The rapid growth in the use of social media platforms for accessing news is continually creating an environment where social endorsements or so-called social signals such as comments, ‘likes’, or shares play a key role in the sharing and consumption of online news.
Younger news consumers, Gen Z and Y are more likely to engage with these social endorsements, while sharing a news story via email is more popular among older news consumers.
Key Report Findings
NEWS MEDIA PERFORMANCE
Two thirds of Australian news consumers (66%) agree the news media keeps them up to date.
Less than half (45%) agree that journalism is holding the powerful to account.
44% agree the news media are often too negative.
28% agree the topics chosen by the news media do not feel relevant to them.
POLITICAL ORIENTATION AND NEWS
Two thirds (65%) have low interest in politics.
Left-wing news consumers are much more likely to fact-check than right-wing.
More than half (53%) of right-wing orientated news consumers perceive the news to be too negative compared to 41% of left-wing consumers.
News consumers who “don’t know” their political orientation use the fewest number of news brands.
PAYING FOR NEWS AND DIGITAL CONTENT
Paying for online news (14%) is close to the global average (13%).
More Australians would rather subscribe to video streaming services (34%) than online news (9%).
There is a gender paying gap; 17% of men pay for online news compared to 10% of women.
83% of news consumers encounter unwanted paywalls at least once a month.
FAKE NEWS AND FACT CHECKING
62% of Australian online news consumers remain concerned about what is real or fake on the internet.
36% of news consumers say they have checked a news story for accuracy.
26% of people concerned about fake news have started using more reliable news sources.
People who access five or more news brands are the most likely to fact-check.
TRUST IN NEWS
Trust in news has fallen globally, including in Australia.
Distrust in social media has risen from 45% in 2018 to 49% in 2019 and trust in social media has fallen from 24% to 18%.
Those who trust news avoid it less and are less worn out by it.
Trust is much higher among those who access online brands directly (65%).
Increasing pressure on resources and the insatiable need to produce ever more content for more channels means many publishers are looking at creative ways to source high quality articles.
The traditional op-ed pieces has emerged as an important way for these publishers to provide their audiences with great content while providing brands with a great new avenue to generate brand awareness and credibility.
An op-ed is short for ‘opinion editorial’ (or opposite the editorial) and were first used as a form of content for newspapers looking to publish narrative articles which went beyond traditional, objective journalism and instead focussed on the subjective opinion of the author. The first op-ed page of the New York Times appeared in 1970 and was created as a dedicated space for outside contributors. The ‘editorial’ section of newspapers remains reserved for in-house writers or editorial boards to provide the opinion of the publisher.
The op-ed harks back to a time when there was a clear distinction between editorial and opinion and it was important to segregate opinion from news, lest the sky fell in.
As more publishers open their pages and sites to third party content the ability to craft a great op-ed that achieves the right balance between thought leadership, branding, marketing and engagement is becoming more valuable.
Writing a great op-ed that has the ability to not only attract and engage an audience but also achieve marketing outcomes is emerging as one of the most important tools in the public relations arsenal.
Have an opinion
It may seem obvious, but the first step to crafting a great op-ed is to have an opinion. The more contrarian the better. In the digital age where views, even sensible ones, can attract a crazed horde of online trolls forming an opinion and arguing it can be a daunting experience.
An op-ed should challenge prevailing thought and provide a new line of thinking about a traditional problem. The best op-eds throw out the prevailing wisdom about a topic and introduce truly disruptive thinking.
Your op-ed should always start with a hypothesis that you set out to prove or disprove. The best place to start is with a simple statement. A thought. An idea. A quick scan of the op-ed pages of major newspapers will provide a good insight into how to create a great piece. The headline should always be a dead giveaway and critical to attracting a reader.
You don’t need to start with a perfectly formed 600-word piece full of prose and nuanced analysis. That comes later. The premise of your piece will dictate the entire narrative so be sure to get it right.
There can be no doubt that some of the best ideas in history have ended up on the cutting room floor due to lack of coherence and basic writing skills. Thankfully, the very best op-ed pieces are marked not by their complexity, but their simplicity.
Columns are most typically conversational in tone, so you can imagine yourself have a conversation with your reader as you write (a short, focused conversation). But the range of voice used in columns can be wide: contemplative, conversational, descriptive, experienced, informative, informed, introspective, observant, plaintive, reportorial, self-effacing, sophisticated, humorous, among many others. These simple tips should get you on your way.
– Use third party data and research to justify your arguments or background. – Assume your ready knows little about the topic so explain any complex ideas or terminology. – Give context and background to help the reader see how your idea developed. – Stay focussed and avoid narrative tangents or sub plots – Use, strong active language and a plain English writing style (save your creative writing skills for your novel)
Most op-ed pieces will be written specifically for a publication. If you have convinced the editor to give you some space, make sure you take the time to understand their audience and their editorial priorities.
Write using a tone and language that reflects the audiences’ level of understanding about the topic. If you are writing for a specialist trade magazine it is probably fine to use industry jargon. If you are writing for a wider audience, assume the reader knows little or nothing about the topic.
A good way to perfecting your voice and tone is to get in the habit of reading your column or op-ed out loud. Doing so gives you a clear sense of how your piece might sound – what your voice may come off as – to your intended reader.
An op-ed is not an opportunity to write 500 words about your products and their incredible features and great pricing. That’s called advertising. Integrating product references, branding or marketing messages into your piece requires certain degree of subtlety and sophistication.
Not just because your piece may get spiked, but because readers have finely-tuned detectors and can tell the difference between insightful, inspired thinking and a thinly-veiled product flog. Any value from the piece from a commercial perspective should be driven by a desire to establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader.
If thought leadership is part of your ongoing marketing strategy please feel free to get in touch to discuss how RGC can make it happen. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 415 743 838.