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Deep Dive: ANZ BlueNotes Content Strategy
Deep Dive: ANZ BlueNotes Content Strategy

The content strategy applied by ANZ, through their Bluenotes publishing venture, seemed to be going from strength to strength - so we thought it was time to get under the hood and see how they were really doing. 

To undertake this deep dive we looked at the last 3 months of public domain data available; including web traffic data, audience analytics and a detailed breakdown of their published content. So what did we find?

TLDR; just after the highlights? Check out the full infographic here instead.

Audience Engagement

When we looked at the audience engagement breakdown for Bluenotes, there were some pretty interesting results.

We saw that they have unique reader visits averaging out at 10,000 per month (over the past three months). Their total audience visits seemed to have dropped from their 100,000 announcement back in Nov 2014, to an increase from 20,000 to 60,000 in July 2017.

But as we all know traffic is not the 'be all and end all' when it comes to audience engagement - when we look a little deeper we found that readers spent an average on 1 minute on the site, and read approx. 2 articles per session.

Interestingly the readership was pretty evenly spread by device type, with mobile web just edging out desktop by 57% to 43%.

Their readership is still heavily focused on the local market with over 50% of readers coming from Australia.

Marketing Channels

When we analysed the marketing channels that Bluenotes gets its traffic from, we found a real surprise - Bluenotes does not appear to do any paid content distribution through Paid Search or Display Ads. 

With many content marketers focused on the concept that "Content is king, but distribution is queen. And she wears the pants." it was an insight we had not expected to find.

However this does not preclude all paid distribution - Bluenotes may be leveraging native content ads through publishers, and with 60% of their referral traffic coming from one publishing source (see below) this could be likely.

Organic Search

Currently the majority of readers are coming from Organic Search, and when we break that metric down we see that only 14% of those search results are for the brand - the remaining 86% are searches that are bringing up content articles published by Bluenotes.

This is a fantastic search result and shows that they are clearly on target with the content they are producing for their audience.

Social 

As all brands know, success in social is critical for any publishing venture and Bluenotes looks to be doing fairly well here with 23% of their readers coming from social.

The winning social platform for Bluenotes, by a fairly big margin, is LinkedIn at 62%.

The success of Bluenotes content on LinkedIn is likely tied to their editorial focus on financial and economic news, and it's no surprise that their target market prefers to consume this kind of content on a 'professional' platform like LinkedIn as opposed to Twitter.

Referrals

While referral traffic is definitely a minor channel for Bluenotes (when compared to search or social) it still holds some valuable insight. The data showed that of the 13% of readers that come from referral sites, 60% of those came from businessinsider.com.au.

Unfortunately there is no way to know for sure if this is due to Bluenotes using native content ads on businessinsider.com.au, forming a content partnership with them, or simply due to popular articles that have backlinks to the Bluenotes site.

What this does prove however is the importance of building relationships with the right referral channels, as they can drive strong and reliable traffic to help grow your audience.

 

Content

And now we get to the meat in the sandwich - the breakdown of Bluenotes content delivery.

With a dedicated editorial team of seven, headed up by Andrew Cornell (previously Associate Editor of The Australian Financial Review), and a list of over 500 content authors on the Bluenotes site - the number of articles produced each month is relatively small.

The team publishes an average of 37 pieces of content each month, and 78% of all content produced is written by either Bluenotes/ANZ staff - showing a strong focus on proving thought leadership and demonstrating skills from within the ANZ landscape.

There is also clear focus on quality over quantity, with 73% of all content produced taking the format of articles, many of them long-form.

Bluenotes does have a slight media mix, with 15% of content produced being video - but it is very light in respect to infographics or podcast style content. This demonstrates that either the editorial team, and/or the target market have a preference for detailed written content in this space.

And let's be honest, it's a formula that's worked for many years in the finance industry.

In regards to content scheduling, the team maintain a fairly even spread of content - with content distributed evenly across both the month and the days of the week. If anything you see a very slight increase in content over the weekend period, but this is a marginal increase.

In Summary

So to sum it all up - whilst their traffic may not be miles ahead of where they were back in 2014, Bluenotes is proving itself strong in the content space, especially in regards to organic search.

They know their target market well and the data reflects that - with a strong focus on in-depth industry specific content (powered by the ANZ knowledge bank of industry specialists), and a steady flow of readers coming from professional platforms such as LinkedIn and businessinsider.com.au.

ANZ Bluenotes are proof that you don't need to publish tonnes of content, and drive distribution with paid search or display ads to have a successful publishing venture.

Though I sure would like to see what results they would get if they did so.

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