How The Pandemic Has Changed How We Consume Our Media – And Why It Matters to Getting Great Results

How people consume media has changed since the onset of the pandemic and it’s a complex battleground out there for content creators and advertisers to reach their target audience.

Introduced factors like increased time at home and lengthy lockdowns have significantly influenced how, when and what people listen to, watch, read or play.

All the research shows people are streaming more content on-demand. They are consuming more digital news.Fewer people are going to the cinema. Less people are listening to the radio on the way to work.

To understand whether the industry needs to shift the way we think about content production, distribution and consumption, lit’s important to understand the different types of content consumption.

    • Routine consumption  – content consumed habitually
    • Spontaneous consumption – content consumed usually while filling time and requiring low concentration.
    • Planned consumption – at least 30 minutes is set aside for the consumption of specific content

The amount and type of content that people consume spontaneously are emerging as a key point to consider for the industry.

Spontaneous consumption describes things like short-form video content on YouTube, scrolling through Instagram, or turning the pages of a magazine on the table at work.

Research by PWC shows spontaneous media consumption is beginning to dominate the landscape and some of the numbers are extraordinary.

Spontaneous consumption accounts for 66% of the video content on social media, 44% of the content of streaming platforms, 62% of content read on the internet, 56% of digital media listened to on devices, and 52% of video games on a mobile device.

The amount of spontaneous consumption means led PWS to make the case that reaching the core audience may be getting more challenging as the opportunity to reach them with a message has to compete with a more fragmented, and increasingly non-advertising supported, range of choices.

Gaining a share of attention in this space requires us to look at a multilayered planning approach that balances the critical nature of reach, with the need to obtain frequency across a multitude of channels.

At RGC, we are keenly aware of changing consumer behaviours and are capable of producing a range of content that gets in front of people, no matter where they are.

Our in-house production studio can deliver high-quality webinars and podcasts to reach audiences when they go to watch or listen to media.

We can create websites and implement digital marketing strategies with SEO that engage audiences when they’re Googling.

And we produce compelling content for traditional and digital media to get in front of audiences online and in print.

The fight to gain and maintain attention has become even more complex since the pandemic and understanding where and how our audiences are consuming media is crucial to great results.

facebook defamation

Facebook Admins In Line Of Fire Over Defamation Proceedings 

Many Facebook users and page administrators are hoping a review of Australia’s defamation laws will bring the country in line with other jurisdictions following a dramatic High Court ruling last month.

Even big publishers are reeling following the decision by the High Court of Australia to grant former youth detainee Dylan Voller the right to sue major media outlets including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and Sky News. 

Voller launched defamation claims against the publishers following what were claimed to be defamatory comments being posted on the Facebook pages of these publishers. Voller was a central figure in the ABC Four Corners program of 2016 on the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin, with images of him being restrained in a chair helping to prompt a royal commission into his alleged mistreatment. 

The court said in a statement following its decision to uphold a NSW Court of Appeal ruling in favour of Voller in 2020:

“…the liability of a person as a publisher depends upon whether that person, by facilitating and encouraging the relevant communication, ‘participated’ in the communication of the defamatory matter to a third person.

“The majority rejected the appellants’ argument that for a person to be a publisher they must know of the relevant defamatory matter and intend to convey it.

“Each appellant, by the creation of a public Facebook page and the posting of content on that page, facilitated, encouraged and thereby assisted the publication of comments from third-party Facebook users.”

Also read: Using ‘Branded Data’ To Grow Your Media Profile And Feed Your Content Machine

The decision means that a person running a Facebook page could be liable for defamatory comments made by others on the page. This doesn’t just include large media businesses but all page owners including community Facebook page owners. Media companies had argued that they weren’t responsible for comments posted by the public. 

The ruling puts those on notice that want a presence on social media that they’re also responsible for moderating it.

It hasn’t been decided yet whether Voller has been defamed, but the ruling puts those on notice that want a presence on social media that they’re also responsible for moderating it. 

Potential plaintiffs will now be able to pursue the owner of the Facebook account – the publisher – as well as, or instead of, the user making the comments.

The ABC in its reporting of the decision spoke to Chris Berkeley, the Facebook page administrator of the NSW country town of Canowindra’s What’s On Page, who wondered in light of the court decision whether it was all worth the effort and risk if some defamatory comments snuck through on his page. It’s a question many are now asking. 

Many admins including those for a number of our MPs are now deleting the comments section to avoid the risk of liability. US media giant CNN has made the decision to prevent Australians from accessing its Facebook page as a result and has decided that an Australian presence is just not worth the risk. 

facebook defamation

Australian visitors to CNN’s Facebook page are greeted with this message denying entry

Government And Legal Response

Meanwhile, Australian defamation law reform is hoped to bring our defamation laws into the modern era, hopefully providing a balance between protecting reputations and enabling free speech. 

A review into whether existing rules are appropriate for the internet age, and whether the rules fairly take into account whether or not a person has been harmed has been widely welcomed. 

Australia’s politicians are also promising action with prime minister Scott Morrison promising to force tech companies to take more responsibility for content posted on their sites.

Mr Morrison said to his colleagues this week at a Coalition joint party room meeting, “The global tech giants know we will set the pace and lead the world in ensuring what happens in the digital world has the same responsibilities and same accountabilities that apply in the real world.

“We are going to do more because we are seeing lives destroyed.

“We are seeing people fall apart.

“We are seeing cowards triumph at the expense of good.”

Young woman traider working at night modern office.Technical price graph and indicator, red and green candlestick chart and stock trading computer screen background. Double exposure

Using ‘Branded Data’ To Grow Your Media Profile And Feed Your Content Machine

Every business now has access to mountains of data about their customers, their products and their industry. Mining that data and using it to create exciting and engaging content has become one of the most important ways to supercharge your media outreach strategy and build your reputation as an industry leader.

Branded data is any form or data you use to share with an audience to demonstrate your understanding of your customers’ needs, industry trends or product effectiveness. It can include almost any type of quantitative or qualitative data like customer surveys, market reports and product performance information.

At RGC, we work closely with brands like CartonCloud to develop branded data opportunities like the CartonCloud Logistics Index and real estate services group Oliver Hume on their Quarterly Market Insights report. On a larger scale, you can look at the success of things like the ANZ Job Ads survey or NAB’s Monthly Business Survey to see the value of branded data as a brand-building exercise.

Create News Flow

Increasing media consolidation, networking and the ‘pay to play’ attitude of niche publishers makes building a media profile harder than ever. Stories and ideas that were newsworthy five or ten years ago now routinely end up on the digital spike in newsrooms. As a result, identifying and executing earned media opportunities with a consistent cut through is the greatest challenge of any PR campaign.

The greatest challenge of maintaining an ongoing earned media campaign for many brands is generating a consistent flow of newsworthy stories.

Looking inwards at your proprietary data and compiling it into a tool for media outreach is not just a great way to fill holes in your PR plan but can be the foundation of your entire efforts.

Feed The Machine

The CartonCloud Logistics Index is a great example of using survey data to build effective branded data.

Even through the relatively narrow lens of earned media, branded data, done well, has an extraordinary ability to grow brand awareness and affinity. When you couple its earned media potential with other channels, the return on investment in quality branded data is well worth the extra effort required to do it well.

Effective marketing strategies have a voracious need for content. Your newsletters, social platforms, blogs, and website require a continuous stream of new content to keep them fresh and engaging. Breaking your data down to bite-size pieces can turn one piece of content into many. Turning a detailed report with seven data points into seven (or 14) different social media posts doesn’t require too much effort.

Go Beyond Surveys

When companies consider data as an earned media tool, most don’t get past a customer survey. These surveys are great for targeting specific audiences and investigating particular themes, but they can also be expensive, particularly for brands with modest marketing budgets.

It is well worth mining your proprietary data to create media outreach opportunities. Proprietary data is the information you already have on hand to tell a story about your business or industry. Australia’s largest real estate listing sites realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, are great examples of using their proprietary data to create valuable insights for their audiences.

Proprietary data is powerful because only your company has access to it, so insights drawn from it are inherently unique. Moreover, there’s also no additional investment required to collect this data because it’s already on hand.

That said, engineers don’t necessarily design their platforms for the purposes of data collection for the media. As a result, it can sometimes be challenging to pull standardised proprietary data that supports the story your brand wants to tell. This data can also be limited by the scope of a company’s platform.

While there can be challenges, crafting a story from proprietary data remains an excellent PR tool. The use of data in media relations is becoming more common, so it’s important that data is positioned correctly to the media and provides real value to journalists to stand out.

There are four key steps in generating media coverage that leverages proprietary data:

  1. Imagine your perfect headline. Start where you want to finish and work backwards from a great headline. Beginning the branded content process with the result in mind makes it easier to sift through data to uncover relevant insights that can tell that story.
  2. Understand your audience’s needs. Once you’ve identified the significant conversations in your industry, you can evaluate where your company’s data can support reporting on these trends and provide a new perspective or additional context.
  3. Mine and simplify your data. Data can be complex, and breaking it down into easy to understand terms is essential to amplifying its value. A great way to make data more understandable is to present it visually, so infographics, tables and graphs can be valuable tools.
  4. Understand your target media’s needs. Then, once you’ve built a story supported by your data, identify media contacts who would find these insights interesting and relevant to their reporting and determine your outreach plan.

Of course, the key to using your branded data, like all media outreach, is ensuring you are telling stories or imparting insights that are interesting to your audience. Creating or mining data is a waste of time unless you can package it into “news you can use”. This can only be achieved if you understand your audience and the problems you need to solve for them.

what-is-public-relations

What’s the difference between public relations and publicity? Think planes and roads

For many people there is little distinction between public relations and publicity and the terms can be easily interchanged. The fact is they are vastly differently fields that require their own unique skills developed over many years.

The easiest way to draw the distinction is to think of roads and planes. When you want a road built you call a civil engineer. When you want a plane built you call an aeronautical engineer (or two). They might both be engineers but you wouldn’t get the civil guy to build a plane or the aeronautical girl to build a road. The same should go for your communications.

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations has never been easily defined. For some it encompasses anything that involves talking to people that aren’t customers. For others it’s organising parties and inviting celebrities along.

I have been using the same definition for many years*.

PR is the strategic crafting of complex stories and interactions with a range of publics. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people ‘talk’ about you. It addresses issues and it takes time and resources.

Under this definition, the process of public relations is complex, time-consuming and more often than not, expensive. It involves formative research, strategy development, tactical thought and ongoing evaluation and program re-setting.

The goal of public relations is to complete this sentence with as much detail as possible.

 In order to (insert objective) we will (define a strategy) by (list creative tactics that solve the problem)

 You could end up with something like:

 “In order to drive preference with buyers during the consideration phase, we will activate the online voice of existing customers by creating a game that requires multiple reviews on Facebook and Yelp and that focuses on the reliability of the product.”

A good public relations person is strategic, thoughtful and research-focused. They can stand back and look at the big picture and break it down into small actions that get you to your goal.

 publicityvpr

What is Publicity?

Publicity is another beast altogether. Generally, when smaller companies say they want to do some public relations, they really mean they want some publicity. They want their name in the paper, on television and on the radio. They want a profile and they don’t want to spend millions of dollars on buying advertising.

Publicity is getting unpaid media (radio, TV, press) to pay attention, write you up, endorse your products, point to you, run a picture, make a commotion. Good publicity is always good for your brand.

From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion which is one component of marketing. Other elements of the promotional mix can include advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling.

Good publicity does not necessarily require a lot of strategic thought. It is about identifying good stories and pushing them out to the media on a consistent basis. Publicity shouldn’t get bogged down in the minutiae of messaging, it shouldn’t be over analysed. You don’t get to craft a ‘perception’ in the media, the goal is simple brand awareness.

The best publicists always have an intimate understanding of the media. Their time is best spent on the phone, talking to journalists, looking for opportunities and chasing them relentlessly.

So next time you have a communications issue be clear on what you want and make sure you get the right person. The last thing you need is to take off in a plane, designed by an expert road builder.

* I am unsure where this is originated and happy to provide reference links if anybody can find the original source.

 

HAMBURGERS-ExtraBurger-1

Design So Bad, It’s Good?

Yep, it’s another article shamelessly inspired by Reddit, but here’s the kicker – the above sign front was discovered on the r/CrappyDesign subreddit – however, this sign is anything but that.

At first glance, the exterior of this Toronto burger joint appears poorly conceived, with the same vibe as a beat-up old van with “Free Candy” scrawled on the side in shaky text.

Not only that, but it looks like someone took a note out of John Mulaney’s guide to signwriting.

“Sure, I don’t need to trace it. I know how big letters should be.  Let’s start with a Big ole H, a Big ole A, a big ole M and… Oh No…”

But when you look closer you realise these choices are deliberate. The signwriting and internal artwork is a collaboration between Extra Burger (the actual name of the burger joint) and local artist Justin Broadbent.

Source: @extraburgerto

Broadbent’s design is clever, capitalising on the idea that little holes in the wall always have the best food. (Either that or you’ll be in hospital after the first bite – there is no middle ground).

Plus, it’s eye-catching, many people will do that initial double-take – wondering what kind of business owner would let their alcoholic uncle Bob have a go at the signwriting. As one commenter put it: “A $10 marker pen or a $1000 professional sign… You decide.” And it’s that’s a second take that most other dime-a-dozen burger joints will never get.

Even their website follows that same “handmade” feel. It’s big, it’s loud; but it further succeeds in tying together the whole theme and is reminiscent of Broadbent’s own website. On its own, it’s not one of those websites a developer would regularly make for its clients, but it’s a perfect example of being fit for purpose.

Source: @extraburgerto

The interior is simple, modern industrial. Yep, it’s another one of those grungy hipster joints with interesting combinations – in this case; pairing fine wine with fast food.

Somehow, when you take everything into consideration, there is synergy here. All the slightly sketchy elements that go into making HAMBURGERS, are together, a fantastic example of something being “greater than the sum of its parts.”

Quality Content Will Help You Survive Another Google Algorithm Apocalypse

Quality Content Will Help You Survive Another Google Algorithm Apocalypse

It’s happening again, June will herald the beginning of another significant change to the Google Search algorithm. News of this broke in November 2020, in which Google announced that the ‘page experience update’ would roll out as early as May 2021, but a recent post on April 19 has walked that release back to mid-June.

Algorithm changes like the page experience update are always spun as the literal end of the world by every single SEO blogger. The lynchpin of this update is to improve the user’s experience on the page they are visiting. It applies pressure to website owners to improve three Core Web Vitals scores: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

While a constant algorithm would make for a predictable playing field, it would ignore shifts in search trends, device usage, network infrastructure and software/hardware improvements. Take a moment to examine what search would look like if we were still using ranking strategies from 2005, when only 56% of the Australian population had internet access, and 16% had broadband. Nearly all of that internet access would have occurred on a desktop device at that time, as opposed to being primarily mobile in recent years.

In this piece, I’ll cover what you need to know about the newest update, and give you one simple tip to keep your head above water.

 

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Largest Contentful Paint is the time taken for the largest object above the fold (be it an image or text box) to be fully rendered within the device’s viewport. Google say that this is reflective of the time taken until the user can actually decide whether the page they are loading is useful or relevant to the reason they are on the page in the first place. LCP shouldn’t be confused with a 90s clown-themed horrorcore hip-hop duo that somehow still exists today.

We’re all guilty of leaving a slow-loading page before the LCP. You’d probably be surprised at how many people do the same thing; or are more impatient than you! A page load time of up to 10 seconds increases the probability of a bounce by 123% – scary stuff.

 

Where is the LCP in relation to a page’s fully-loaded time? On a handful of websites I analysed it often occurred around 1 second after the First Contentful Paint, and 2-3 seconds before the fully-loaded time.

On a less-optimised page, it occurred much later than the (already slow) FCP, 1 second before the fully-loaded time.

There are a few reasons why it would occur so late, on a WordPress website with a third-party page builder, bloated theme, Google fonts and plugins aplenty, it has to download a lot of different scripts, stylesheets and images. By default, those assets are downloaded one-by-one in a queue, with each asset relying on the successful completion of the last.

Google’s ideal LCP score: 2.5 seconds or less.

 

First Input Delay (FID)

How many times have you been on a website, clicked a button, and it just hasn’t done anything. So you click it again, and again, until it responds like you’ve just dropped a whole sleeve of Mentos into a Diet Coke bottle.

Unlike LCP, First Input Delay is a measure of user experience when interacting with an element on your page after you’re able to interact with it. FID is the time delay between when a user clicks a button, link or JavaScript control, and when the browser begins to process the event as a response.

Casual gamers will draw an immediate parallel to lag, the leading cause of broken controllers worldwide. This input delay can mean the difference between a game-winning headshot and a being on the receiving end of an impromptu tea leaf infusion.

The biggest cause of increased FID lag is other processes holding up the main thread queue. Think of it like when your boss tells you that he’s got a quick 5 minute job for you and doesn’t realise you’ve got a backlog of 89 other 5 minute jobs already – something just has to wait!

This is exacerbated if you’re trying to click something before the page has fully loaded, the main thread is busy doing other things like trying to get that page served, but you’re here trying to speedrun the website like a sub-5 minute 36 second playthrough of Doom. Because you’re interrupting the browser while it’s busy, it will only respond AFTER it finishes the task it’s currently working on. That delay/lag is the FID for this page.

Google’s ideal FID score: 100ms or less.

 

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

How nice is it when you load a website, and all the elements show up in the right place without unfolding like some sort of demonic digital origami in front of you. This is Cumulative Layout Shift, and Google thinks that it is just as annoying as you do, and will now start penalising offenders.

If your CLS score is higher than you’d like, then the first place you should look is your images. If they don’t have defined height and width values then they will contribute to your CLS score when they load and push elements out of the way, or expands the size of their parent container. The more elements you have on the page that contribute to the shift, the worse your score will be.

I’ve found ad placeholders are especially bad for this, particularly if you’re using the Google Publisher Tag (GPT) script for your banner ads with collapseEmptyDivs set to true. I found this setting grossly inflated the CLS on two of our websites, resulting in a CLS score of around 0.63 on one. What it appeared to be doing was collapsing the ad slot divs prematurely, before it had a chance to load the ad creative. The div had a minimum height of 90px, which would then collapse and shift all content up by 90px. It would then shift it back down by the same amount once the GPT script realised the div wasn’t actually empty.

Setting collapseEmptyDivs to false resulted in the CLS dropping to 0.2 – while still not the best score, it represented a huge improvement. Leaving it set to true was ultimately useless, as we’re always serving ads, so there is no point in having that functionality, particularly if it affected a major Google ranking factor so significantly. Easy wins are the best kind.

I performed the same change on another website using an identical GPT snippet, and it yielded a similar result, 0.67 down to 0.37. Worth noting that while that website is similar in structure (WordPress, same theme, same GPT snippet) it does have different elements that I’ve discovered are contributing toward a higher CLS score.

Google’s ideal CLS score: 0.10 or less.

 

SEO Talk Is Un-bear-able

As you can see, Google are trying to reward businesses who actually care about user experience. Simply put, this update is about prioritising how quick a page loads something of value, how quick a site can respond to a user input, and how well structured the page being loaded is. COVID has taught businesses that they need to readily adapt to change, and an algorithm update is no different.

I’ve covered a lot about performance metrics above, but the one constant that will get you through any significant Google algorithm change will always be good quality content. You might have a lightning-fast website with incredible metrics, but if your content isn’t up to par you’re not going to rank for anything.

The perfect example of this is the speed test I did on the RGC website in the CLS section above. Despite being slow as hell, my McDonalds Monopoly Gamification story I wrote over a year ago consistently ranks number 1 for several search term variants based on it’s title. This little SEO engine that could rakes in hundreds of pageviews every month. I’m lovin’ it.

The sooner you realise that SEO is like running from a bear, the better. Remember, you just have to be faster than the guy behind you to avoid getting eaten.

webcasting

Expand Your Engagement Through Webcasts and Podcasts

An important consideration in building your brand is to engage with your audience in varied and creative ways. These days, your brand persona is needed to be replicated across multiple mediums and not just in static formats. Your customers are looking to engage with you in different ways than in the past.

With the power of audio and video, connecting with customers and a broad audience in an informative and intimate manner is possible on a regular basis, inexpensively and from the comfort of your own office or home.

Webcasting has accelerated over the past 12 months with the interruption brought on by the pandemic. With it not being possible to be physically present in many instances, webcasting has proliferated, offering an opportunity for brands to engage with their audience from a digital perspective. 

Services such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Teams have proliferated, not just as a means of hosting internal meetings, but as a way of presenting information and insights to audiences.

Webcasting has proven popular with event organisers to live stream events, where the audience can be opened up to many more people than can likely attend in person, and at a greatly reduced cost. 

This type of rich content can be used to build loyalty between a brand and its customers. The ability for interaction is also very important, with viewers able to interact during the webcast and also via social media platforms. 

The Power of Audio

With low production costs and few barriers to entry, podcasting as a medium is available to nearly everyone. The popularity of portable music players and smartphones has only made accessibility to podcasts easier.

Audio is still a very powerful medium, and smart brands are using it in creative ways as a powerful marketing tool. It is also a good alternative to video. Not everyone is comfortable using video, so an audio recording can be a viable alternative. People often listen to podcasts because they have an affinity to the speaker and are willing through subscribing to receive regular episodes. 

Leading Australian podcaster, Mamamia, has recently launched its latest bespoke podcast series in partnership with Westpac to help women navigate the financial side of everyday life.

What The Finance’ is an eight-episode podcast co-hosted by ex-accountant and financial educator, Melissa Browne, and actress, author and advocate Pallavi Sharda. From Savings and Debt to Housing, Investing and Relationships, the series will assist young women looking to make more informed decisions about their finances. 

There is easy to use software to help you record, create and host your podcast and will help you distribute it to multiple podcast platforms.

RGC’s Fixed Income News publishing platform has used Anchor to host its new podcast series, Fixated, which has provided access to other popular hosting services such as Google Podcasts.  

RGC Media & Marketing has its own digital studio available for Podcast and Webcast recording. If you would like to talk to us about how these opportunities can help reach new audiences please contact us on 1300 854 502 or info@rgcmm.com.au 

Australian Podcast Rankings

Australian podcast downloads hit 50 million in March, up from 43 million the previous month according to Triton Digital’s Podcast Ranker.

The Ranker provides insight into the Top 100 Podcasts in Australia as well as the Top 10 Publishers in Australia for March 2021, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service.

Casefile True Crime remains ranked in the top spot, cementing the popularity of the true crime format.

Here is the Top 20 – for the full list visit Triton Digital’s Podcast Ranker.

 

news media bargain code

What Does The Facebook Settlement Mean For The News Media Bargaining Code?

Now that the dust has settled somewhat on the Australian Government’s stoush with principally Facebook and Google, what is the state of play of the highly charged News Media Bargaining Code?

In action which was closely watched around the world, the Australian Government’s code has now been brought in as law after passing through both houses of parliament. 

Both Google and Facebook have been negotiating, and in many cases signing deals, with Australian publishers with Facebook being later to the party, and after sensationally dropping Australian news from its feed in what was seen as a tough protest and negotiating tactic. Facebook returned news for Australian users after getting some changes from the Australian Government following its dramatic decision to drop news.

The news media bargaining code was introduced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in an attempt to force Facebook and Google to pay for the news content they publish on their platforms.

Facebook had asserted that the value in the news chain for its platform was strongly in favour of news publishers, saying, “… last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million to the news industry.”

The code allows eligible Australian media organisations to bargain with Google and Facebook to secure fair payment for their news content. The code isn’t mandating how much should be paid, but rather providing a compulsory negotiating process in the absence of direct deals being struck. 

A statement from Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the code “provides a framework for good faith negotiations between the parties and a fair and balanced arbitration process to resolve outstanding disputes.

“The Code will ensure that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia.”

What deals are being done?

On the 15th March 2021, News Corp announced that it “… has reached a multi-year agreement to provide access to trusted news and information to millions of Facebook users in Australia through its Facebook News product.”

The agreement involves News Corp Australia and includes The Australian national newspaper, the news.com.au news site, major metropolitan mastheads like The Daily Telegraph in New South Wales, Herald Sun in Victoria and The Courier-Mail in Queensland and regional and community publications.

News Corp also said Sky News Australia has reached a new agreement with Facebook which extends and significantly builds on an existing arrangement. News Corp also has news payment deals with Google and Apple.

The News Corp agreement follows Facebook deals with Seven West Media, and private publishers Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.

It is understood that Nine Entertainment Co also has signed a letter of intent with Facebook with an announcement expected soon.

Google has been far quicker to negotiate deals than Facebook. Google announced a deal worth A$30 million with Seven West Media in February for news content for its Google Showcase product. 

Seven West Media managing director and chief executive officer, James Warburton, said: “Both agreements are a significant step forward for Australian news media and are a clear acknowledgement by all parties of the value and importance of original news content.”

Google also has announced deals with Guardian Australia and a $30 million deal with Nine. 

Why is Facebook more reluctant to make deals?

Quite simply, competition. Google has more, especially in search, and Facebook as a giant social network has less, argues Peter Martin, visiting fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. 

Facebook has said that only about four per cent of posts on the platform are works of journalism. As the pre-eminent social network, it really doesn’t have a significant competitor. Google’s service relies a lot more on news articles, and Microsoft has indicated it supports the legislation and would commit its Bing search service to remain in Australia “and that it is prepared to share revenue with news organizations under the rules that Google and Facebook are rejecting.”

One could also surmise that Google and Facebook could see that by doing the deals now it would save them much money, especially when under the code an independent arbitrator would determine the final value of a deal.

For now, a number of our publishers are getting some much needed additional revenue. It is not known, however, how much of this will be channelled back into journalism and newsrooms. The code does not mandate this.

Update 6 May 2021

Seven West Media has now signed agreements with both Google and Facebook which will see the two companies pay Seven to publish news from Seven. It has signed on for a three-year deal with Facebook and five years with Google.

Australian Community Media has signed a letter of intent with Facebook to provide news and information through Facebook News. The deal will involve over 40 ACM regional, rural and suburban mastheads and publications. Some of the publications include the Newcastle Herald, Bendigo Advertiser, Canberra Times, and the Illawarra Mercury.

Beauty blogger demonstrating how to make up and review products on live broadcast use smartphone, life of an influencer

The Power Of Video Marketing

In 2012 a startup subscription razor service called Dollar Shave Club launched with a quirky and hilarious video filmed in their warehouse. The video quickly went viral, propelling the company to massive growth and 2016 it was acquired by Unilever for $US1 billion. Not a bad ROI from a low-cost piece of video content.

While the power of video content has been known for many years, it has been brought into new light over the last 12 months. With face-to-face communication either banned or extremely limited, businesses have had no option but to embrace video for a range of communication, both internal and external.

In 2021 RGC launched its own video studio to help clients create high-quality, cost-effective video content.

Why Video?

Video is a versatile and engaging content format that not only gives us a real-life picture of what is going on; it’s also easy to share across multiple platforms. Consumers like it because it’s easy to digest, entertaining and engaging, and marketers like it because it can give a potentially huge return on investment (ROI) through many channels.

Video is also very accessible to anyone with internet access, both to watch and to produce. While there is certainly a trend towards higher quality video on a professional level, anyone can hop onto their laptop and create their own video in under an hour.

Need more evidence of the power of video? Here are a few stats.

  • Demand for Video Content is Increasing – The preference for video content is not just limited to entertainment purposes. Video extends to brands. Studies show that 54%of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support (HubSpot, 2018).
  • Videos Are Consumers Favorite Type of Content – Users are seeing videos increasingly on every platform. Whether it’s on blogs, Instagram videosor simply YouTube, they are expecting more video content. Videos are a consumers’ favorite type of content to see from a brand on social media (Animoto, 2018).
  • Videos Deliver Great ROI – Nearly 90%of video marketers are satisfied with the ROI of their video marketing efforts on social media (Animoto, 2018). The same report shows us that 80% of marketers also claim to be satisfied by the ROI of video ads that they have posted to social media.
  • Videos Helps Consumers Understand Brands – About 97% of marketers claim that videos help customers understand products (Hubspot). Consumers and businesses don’t’ need to be sold to; instead, they’re doing a quick internet search to find the best product in their neighbourhood or even in the world where they’ll proceed to order it online.
  • Videos Is Great For SEO – Over 80% of all traffic will consist of video by 2021. (Cisco) Search engines love videos because they see them as high-quality content, so to this end, using videos in various types of content as well as on your main web pages can work wonders for your SEO — as long as the videos themselves are optimized properly as well. This means incorporating the right keywords, a solid meta description, and also a strong title.
  • Videos Drive Conversion – 90% of consumers claim a video will help them make a purchasing decision. (Social Media Today). Wyzowl claims that 74% of people who get an opportunity to see a product in action via an explainer video will buy it. And landing pages are great places to place videos, too. — supposedly boosting conversion rates by up to 80%(just be sure to keep autoplay off so as not to scare the customer away with loud noises).

Types of Video

There are lots of different types of videos out there and part of creating an effective content marketing strategy is having a solid understanding of your purpose before you sit down and create the video (or any other type of content, for that matter).

You want to make sure the both the type of the video and the channel purpose (if you’re posting on social) fit the purpose of the video itself. Here are some of the different types of videos that your business could use to grow awareness and engagement.

  • Explainers can help educate people about your product and can be used in conjunction with instructions, customer service activities, and a whole other range of applications.
  • Interviews can help to encourage conversation between sides, or showcase a special guest or influencer. If you are creating videos featuring guest experts, for instance, you can always re-use the audio and market it as a podcast. Below is a video RGC created for its MBA News site and promotional partner the University of Queensland Business School

  • Product reviews and demo videos can be created by brand ambassadors in exchange for free products. If you can find people in your industry looking to boost their social following, this can be a great way of essentially getting free advertising.
  • Live video is the best chance to get up close and personal with your audience, and it works well on social channels in particular.

If you want to make video part of your 2021 please feel free to contact RGC Media & Mktng on 1300 854 502 email us at info@rgcmm.com.au.

scomo-andrews-hybrid

Australia’s Media Masters Shine Under Pandemic Spotlight

One of the defining moments of the 2019 Federal election was Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s heavily publicised showdown with Ten Network journalist Jonathan Lea.

Shorten was riding high at the time and cruising towards victory. Just a month out from the poll, his confidence was on full display as he sparred with Lea over the undisclosed cost of Labor’s emission reduction target to the Australian economy.

It did not go well. After initially berating the journalist about his sources, Shorten jumped into a 90-second monologue about the economic failures of the Morrison government, railed against corporate profits and his gave another forceful rendition of his campaign mantra about the Coalition’s imaginary cuts to service.

He completely ignored the substance of the question and when the Lea demanded he answer, Shorten simply scoffed and demanded another journalist be given the opportunity to ask a question.

Lea was having none of it.

“Answer the question. When can people know? When can people know, Mr Shorten, the cost to the economy? You didn’t answer the question.” Lea demanded.

The exchange led news bulletins for a full 24-hour cycle (an eternity in a campaign) and it did not play well with voters. For many, it was confirmation of the underlying questions they had about Shorten and his lack of substance. It was the first crack in Labor’s armour, which had, to that point, been impenetrable.

History tells us despite the stumble, Shorten still took a lead into polling day. But it was not to be, with Morrison leading the Coalition to victory on May 19. In the wash-up, many pundits rightly pointed to the dust-up, along with Bob Brown’s disastrous convoy of anti-coal activism into the heart of Queensland’s coal mining regions, as the turning point in the election.

Politics and the media

Shorten and Lea’s stoush was a prime example of why managing the media is critical to political success, particularly during a campaign. Despite the focus most major political parties put on raising and spending money during an election, there is a far greater correlation between positive earned media sentiment and success than money spent and success.

If money was the key to political success, we would have Prime Minister Clive Palmer overseeing the nation’s pandemic response strategy.

The ability to joust with a hyper-partisan media, without flinching or stumbling, is the most critical skill of any modern politician. It is why so many clearly incompetent people, with great media management skills, can rise to very high positions in politics. Where is Nick Xenophon these days?

While they have been a fixture of politics in most large democracies for many years, the rise of 24-hour news channels has fundamentally changed the way Australian politicians, public servants and other community leaders must deal with the media.

Dealing with the pressure of a live-to-air press conference, sometimes lasting more than an hour, has added a new plank to the required skillset of people seeking high office.

Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, most Australians’ experience of these live press conferences was their post-spill introduction to their new Prime Minister. Gillard, Rudd, Turnbull and Morrison all made their way straight to a podium after their successful party-room ballots. Each of them knew it was critical to define the narrative of the change of leadership. Some were more successful than others.

However, as the coronavirus swept the world and populations were ordered to stay home, live updates from leaders have become compulsory, and fascinating, viewing. We have seen our leaders under pressure like never before.

My office has the benefit of a television that streams news throughout the workday. This gives me an opportunity to see leaders fronting up day after day to live press conferences and a strong sense of the strategies they deploy to keep the media focussed on their leadership qualities, not mundane distractions like their governance and policy failures.

Throughout the crisis, two leaders – Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews – have been head and shoulders above the rest in managing the narrative and keeping their respective press packs under control.

The Bridge and the Shield

Morrison’s extensive experience dealing with the media from a relatively young age as the Head of Tourism Australia through his elevation into Federal Cabinet, oversight of the ‘turn back’ immigration policy and as Treasurer was great preparation for the cut and thrust of daily briefings.

Most of his media conferences have a fairly predictable ebb and flow to them with a long-winded introduction to the topic of the day followed by some gentle follow-ups to clarify data, government strategies or any inconsistencies. It’s after this initial parry that the real fireworks begin. It is in this environment, being peppered by tough questions on uncomfortable topics, where Morrison comes into his own as a media master.

In recent weeks, the overwhelming majority of questions relate to the perceived shortcomings of the government’s income-support initiatives to deal with the economic fallout of the States’ decision to shutter economies.

The Prime Minister’s go-to tool for handling difficult questions is the primary tactic media trainers have been teaching their clients for many years – bridging.

Bridging is the cornerstone of dealing effectively with the media and an essential tool to control a media interview. It is the linguistic tool that allows the interviewee to move the conversation seamlessly from a negative or unhelpful question on to safe ground.

Done well, bridging provides the ability to transition from uncomfortable territory to safety. Bridging is essentially about reframing an issue and refusing to acknowledge the narrow frame the reporter has built around it.  The structure of a linguistic bridge is relatively simple:

  • A – acknowledge the question
  • B – bridge to your new narrative
  • C – concentrate on your preferred content

It can take dozens of forms, but here are just a few bridging statements you might hear if you listen to enough media conferences.

  • “That is an important question, but what matters in this situation is..”
  • “We understand the issue well and your concern, but I think the more important thing is…”
  • “They are great government talking points, but I think it would be more accurate (or correct) to say…”
  • “This issue has been covered extensively., here’s the real problem…”
  • “We have looked extensively at this issue, and what it comes down to is this..”
  • “It is wrong to focus on that, for the benefit of your viewers let me emphasise again..”

The most common, and most serious, mistake when utilising bridging is to not acknowledge the question of the journalist. This acknowledgment of the question requires a good deal of precision, intelligence, practice, and dexterity to get right.

Whether it was arrogance, or a lack of focus, Shorten’s critical mistake in not dealing with Jonathan Lea, was his failure to address or recognise the substance of the question. Nobody, particularly journalists, like to be treated with contempt.

Acknowledgment shows that you take the question seriously and that you admit that the question is legitimate. If you do not acknowledge the question, you risk the journalist making you the focus.

The pandemic’s other greater media performer has been Dan Andrews. While his Government’s policy failures have resulted in dozens of deaths. His tactical approach for placating a hungry media pack comes down creating ‘shields’ and utilising them with extreme discipline.

Anticipating and neutralising media questioning by establishing independent enquiries and the refusing to comment on them, lest you be accused of interfering, is a tried and tested tactic of the modern Labour party and the careerists who have risen to control them in many jurisdictions.

Andrews’ creation of a ‘judicial enquiry’ to investigate the failure of his government’s hotel quarantine program has allowed him to effectively avoid any public scrutiny for one of the greatest failures in Australian political history.

The tactic only works if you put the perspicacity to anticipate the issue and put the shield up, and then have the discipline and control to use it without lowering it, even for one moment.

To watch Andrews stand in front of numerous press conferences and bat away literally hundreds of questions with the same answer is indicative of a man who understands the full ramifications of his failings, and knows any acknowledgment of them will mean the end of his political career.

The ‘shield’ requires a strong understanding of how the media operates and the ability to anticipate weaknesses. Andrews has learned that once the media acknowledges they are not going to get him to admit his failings, they will move on to the next topic.

Both Morrison and Andrews have finely tuned their skills over many years and whether you believe their motivations are benevolent or malicious you can’t but admire their capacity to go into battle for every day for what they believe.