Managing the content strategy for Kidspot was like strapping in for a rodeo ride. The site grew fast and the content strategy remained agile from when I joined in 2009 to when I left in 2014. The strategy was to build organic traffic through low competition keywords, augmenting that traffic with a daily and monthly email while building a loyal community through Kidspot Social, a database of around 75,000 mums who came together to ‘chat’ about everything from how to cure nappy rash to what they should cook for dinner that night. The content Kidspot produced included:
We had to change our content creation as digital consumption changed, moving from weekly content planning to ‘moment by moment’ planning as digital evolved to include social media as well as search for content discovery.
When I began as editor, Kidspot wanted to serve mothers as people, not just parents. The business strategy was to monetise through display advertising and brand sponsorships. Kidspot needed to keep growing site traffic and bundled content offerings to brands – the more we created content that spoke to mothers as ‘real people’ rather than perfect parents, the traffic kept growing. In the early days, this was easy as very few lifestyle magazines were publishing content online but it quickly became competitive as more magazine mastheads, niche influencers like bloggers and platforms like Ninemsn and Yahoo tried to attract the parenting market.
The first content section I launched upon joining Kidspot was MySpot, a lifestyle section designed to speak to women about life beyond parenting. We then quickly launched Family Health, Kidspot Weekend and improved the food offering by launching Kidspot Kitchen and a Meal Planning section. We also focussed on seasonal content, like Easter, Back to School, Christmas and Halloween to build audience. As Facebook, in particular, grew and evolved, we were publishing daily on social media, too.
Kidspot regularly surveyed its audience to gather deep insights to inform the type of content strategy we would continue to invest in. For example, before we launched Family Health, we knew we could never be number one in health (Mayo Clinic was already live and there were simply way better health content providers online). But Kidspot research showed just how often mothers were turning to “Dr Google” for their health answers and we knew that as we built our trusted content in other areas, mothers would come to Family Health as long as we were on the first page of the search results. This bespoke research also helped us adjust our content strategy. When we discovered that mothers were definitely on Facebook, we dialled up our content posting on the platform. When we discovered mothers were not on Twitter, we stopped publishing daily to Twitter.
Kidspot launched a mobile app and a Kidsbook photo sharing app as mobile became a more important audience driver.
Once Kidspot was bought by News Corp, our strategy evolved again with a plan to launch Parent Exchange – a new media version of the old parenting bible. This was the first platform that covered all age ranges for parents, from pregnancy through to teenagers, and united community-building with search-led content, built on WordPress (instead of our old bespoke .asp platform) and monetised with premium sponsorships.
We had to keep evolving our content as social discovery was forcing more visually-led content to rise to top-performers. We quickly adapted and started producing infographics, and visual ‘how-tos’ to make sure we remained engaging in a digital environment that was being flooded with other text-based content from traditional media moving online to compete in the parenting space. This made Pinterest a more important platform to drive traffic to Kidspot.
Kidspot also evolved to provide print content for News Corp newspapers.