Ethical Buying Tips and No Celebrity Gossip Paying For Primer
Saunders said the dedication to improving the company has helped the young startup gain a foot in the door with customers. But they had to provide high-quality lifestyle content and news coverage to accompany its social responsibility efforts.
“More and more people want to invest in brands – and that includes the media – that share their values and stand up for something,” says Saunders.
Primer produces fashion, beauty and current affairs journalism. It covers everything from style hacks to model agencies changing the face of fashion to social housing.
It has around 40,000 unique users each month, with a weekly audience of 5,000 newsletters and an open rate close to 40%. Earlier this year, Primer was accredited by the Australian Community and Media Authority under the Australian News Media Trading Code as a news media organization earlier this year.
But he faces competition in his area of expertise. There are many media specializing in female content; Mamamia, Refinery29 Australia and Popsugar among them. There is also competition from traditional magazines like their former employer, Marie Claire, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Saunders and Robinson use what they’ve learned in various journalism roles in the UK and Australia, but have made several changes to the way they handle things that they believe set them apart. Primer chooses not to post celebrity gossip and its fashion stories do not use models. He also writes solely on ethical purchasing choices. And for an online publication, its functionality is long – sometimes thousands of words. Contributors are an important part of the publication’s coverage.
“We have fashion and beauty, but we also have these really strong news-based features,” Robinson said. “It was very important to us because if you are interested in fashion and beauty, that does not prevent you from being interested in current events.
Unlike many online publications that rely on display advertising or subscriptions, Primer doesn’t make its money that way. Instead, it generates revenue from what it calls “embedded editorial,” which is when brands pay for content to appear. This month, the publication will also launch a content marketing studio, which will focus on creating campaigns for premium and luxury brands.
With six children between them and living interstate, Saunders and Robinson struggled at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to find a way forward. They thought about cutting costs and doing more of the work themselves. But with news consumption reaching historic highs during extended lockdown periods, Robinson and Saunders are now confident that they are ready for the future.
“It was super stressful because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” says Saunders. “The initial instinct was to cut expenses and try to do as much of the editorial ourselves. But in fact, we did very well. People are now hungrier for content and people are on their devices all the time. “
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