Brand Tales speaks with the co-founder of Australian content agency Storyation.
Former senior magazine writer, editor and executive Lauren Quaintance started Storyation with commercial director Mimi Cullen in 2013. The pair have used their vast knowledge and experience at Fairfax Media and other major Australian publishers to produce quality work for clients, including Tourism Australia.
Brand Tales: What’s your current role, Lauren?
Lauren Quaintance: I’m the co-founder and Head of Content for Storyation.
BT: What’s your career background, in brief?
LQ: I studied journalism at Columbia University in New York and worked at London’s Sunday Times and The Sydney Morning Herald as a journalist, editor and publisher.
BT: How did you get into content-based marketing?
LQ: At Fairfax Media, where I was Managing Editor of the Magazines division and then General Manager of Travel, I worked at the intersection of editorial, strategy and commercial and I loved the strategic challenge of helping to win (and execute) major campaigns for Tourism Australia among others. When I launched Storyation, we pledged to bring publisher-quality content to brands that wanted to connect with audiences on their own platforms.
BT: What have you learnt about it since then?
LQ: When I worked at Fairfax Media we had the luxury of an audience who trusted us. Brands need to find an audience – and build that trust – so they need to work twice as hard at creating content that is useful, inspiring or entertaining to an audience. What I’ve learned is that it can be hard for some marketers to set aside the sales pitch and put the audience first and to take internal stakeholders on that journey.
BT: Which international company is doing content really well, and why?
LQ: I really love what The New York Times’ T Brand Studio is doing in content. It’s rich immersive, multi-media storytelling. One of the first pieces they did was for Netflix’s Orange is the New Black on women in prison, and they published a brilliant piece for Infiniti about five Olympic athletes. It’s just great storytelling that aligns with a brand message.
“People with a background in media … are incredibly important to the future of content marketing.”Storyation's Lauren Quaintance
BT: Which Australian business is doing a great job? Why?
LQ: I think Tourism Australia has been incredibly forward-thinking when it comes to content. They’re masters of social media with 7 million fans on Facebook and another 2.3 million on Instagram making them one of the most followed travel and tourism brands globally. And australia.com has just been named as one of the top tourism websites in the world by Skift. They’re creative but everything they do is underpinned by data so it’s an incredibly well interrogated approach. We’ve been working with them for almost three years and we’re in the middle of a huge digital transformation project to take australia.com to the next level.
BT: Is there one specific content execution (not necessarily created in Australia) that you think works really well? Why?
LQ: As per above, I think the type of immersive, multi-media content experience from The New York Times that was first used for a gripping piece of editorial called “Snow Fall” is an example of using all of the digital tools we have available to enhance great storytelling.
BT: What advice do you have for business owners/marketers thinking about using content as a prominent part of their marketing mix?
LQ: Get buy-in from the C suite. You will not succeed without it.
BT: What does the future hold for content-driven marketing in Australia?
LQ: I’d be foolish to try and predict the future but as more and more content is published there is a growing competition for people’s attention. So if content marketers want to succeed they must have an even greater focus on quality. And that means well-researched pieces with a compelling angle that are as good anything as anything run by a publisher. People with a background in media who know how to create content that connect with large-scale audiences are incredibly important to the future of content marketing.
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