Content drives engagement in property and real estate

You may have seen or heard of the hilarious and super successful video series 'Avalon Now' – a parody of residents and their lifestyles in the Northern Beaches suburb of Avalon.

If you haven't, watch the first episode now!

Now that you've got the picture, you may be surprised to note that the series was created by Domain, the property and real estate group.

Sporting a newly created content division of 55 staff, including journalists and audience marketers, Domain's content and audience team is headed up by Melina Cruickshank, Chief Marketing and Editorial Officer.

A new perspective – mobile and content

Cruickshank brings a fresh approach to Domain's table: A people-led, data-driven approach, with editorial content and a mobile-first focus.

"We are building Domain into a confident and trusted brand reflecting a vibrant home related marketplace. Mobile and content are central to our communication and growth strategy," says Cruickshank.

With a clear focus on mobile, building relevant channels for customers has been key to Domain's success.

"Property is an obsession for so many people, whether buying, selling or just keeping abreast of the market. The more information people can obtain around news, data, insights and stories, the more they engage with the brand. The success for me has been around the channels that now engage with Domain when not actively in that market," she says.

Producing and delivering the right content via these channels has been instrumental for Cruickshank and her team. Authenticity has been a key player in building the property and real estate media group into a publisher.

Enter the above-mentioned video series, 'Avalon Now'. It was a risk, different to anything that had been done in the industry. And it paid off.

"The first series went crazy and delivered incredible results organically. The second series was higher budget and went even better," she says. The success was around capturing people to think of Domain as much more than a property site. We do view ourselves as a publisher," she adds.

The value of editorial and content for the group is undeniable, delivering some astonishing results: Increasing unique audience figures by 92 per cent in 18 months, as well as audience growth of between 167 and 180 per cent.

In an interview with CMO magazine last year, Cruickshank commented:

"We're also producing content every hour. A year ago, we were producing one weekly print piece; now we have a team coming in and living and breathing what's going on in the market."

Skills, skills, skills

One of Cruickshank's first moves as Chief Marketing and Editorial Officer was to develop the content and audience division and source talented and highly skilled journalists and audience marketers.

"Some people have left the business, and we don't take a traditional marketing approach to what we do – almost all of our people have a significant digital background," she told CMO.

Cruickshank focused on hiring progressive journalists with a deep understanding of the audience and separated the audience marketing team into performance, social and traditional above-the-line channels – seeking out experts in each area.

Pioneering the industry

Cruickshank's experience spans over 16 years of experience in the digital media industry with a focus on digital publishing, covering audience acquisition, content marketing, custom and display commercialisation, mobile and social marketing.

In 2015, she was named among CMO's Top 50 Leaders in Diversity and has achieved truly incredible results for the Domain Group. By all means and measures, Melina Cruickshank is a true pioneer in her field.

She's also very excited about what the future holds for content.

"Quality content will always shine through. Smart journalism is the way businesses can reach new audiences. Video is where we are all at of course, but great content should be tailored for all mediums. There is so much more to come."

A Chair at the AMYs

She has now also added the 'AMY Awards Chair of Judges' title to her many positions, looking forward to seeing fresh new talent and innovative ideas around editorial and content.

When asked what she will be looking for among the entries, she commented "I hope there is boldness and relevancy to the target audience. Social and content can inherently encourage silliness. I'm looking for sharp production, the use of different platforms and a huge following."

For successful social and content marketing campaigns she suggests, "Be bold, be funny. Ask yourself would you want to share the campaign publicly yourself. Can it develop an active cult following?"



Join us at the Digirati Party on 7 July 2017 in Melbourne as we celebrate the digital brilliance of our industry, while enjoying great entertainment, music, laughs and food.