“A Year Of Contrast!” Man Of Many’s Scott Purcell And Frank Arthur On 2021

“A Year Of Contrast!” Man Of Many’s Scott Purcell And Frank Arthur On 2021

It has been a complex year for publishers trying to navigate how to connect with audiences who are battling lockdowns. Man Of Many founders, Frank Arthur and Scott Purcell are sharing with B&T what they have learned during 2021. 

Man Of Many is a publication aimed at connecting with men. The publication’s main audience is primarily metropolitan males aged 25-44, with high disposable incomes. 

Man Of Many strives to offer aspirational insights on luxury, high-end products and experiences. But the goal is always to do so without elitism. They want the publication to be both accessible and desirable. 

Of course, this year the lockdowns lasted the longest in our metropolitan areas. This led to the creators at Man Of Many working from home and finding new ways to connect with their audiences who were also likely experiencing a shift in routines. 

Co-founder, Scott Purcell, said: “It’s been a year of great contrast for us. We achieved a lot in 2021 in terms of growth and industry recognition but despite learning a lot from 2020 on how to handle the pandemic restrictions and working from home, I think we found the impacts from COVID in 2021 to be a lot more challenging both personally and as a publisher.

“This was also from a team perspective and in terms of the impacts on our local traffic when particular cities or regions went into lockdown. 

 “Luckily as a purely digital publisher, we had systems in place to be able to work flexibly and we also ensured all of our staff were fully set up to be able to work productively from home with proper monitors and equipment.

“We did, however, have some new starters in the team over that time and found it is a lot more challenging to build a strong team culture over Zoom.

“That’s why I think we have all enjoyed being back in the office so much, in being able to throw ideas around the table and easily have discussions amongst the team. 

“In 2020, we saw a huge boost in traffic over the initial lockdowns as people were spending more time browsing for things to do online, but I think most people were fatigued by it all in 2021.

“Interestingly, we saw fluctuations in our lifestyle content in each of the cities as they went into lockdown but this has since bounced back strongly as people are returning back to normal life, entertainment and holidays. 

“Through it all, we’ve tried to stay focused on what stories and topics would be of most interest to our audience over those times and also backed those decisions up with research, surveys and data. That’s where we can add real value for our readers.”

Of course after the initial shock of another prolonged lockdown, 2021 also allowed for the founders to take a comprehensive look at what they want Man Of Many to be. The publication really focused on shining a light on men’s mental health. 

Man Of Many debuted its Mental Health Hub – which was largely put together by editor Nick Hall, who champions having frank and honest conversations about mental health between men and getting rid of the stigma surrounding men’s mental health issues. 

Arthur told B&T: “As publishers, you can really get caught up in chasing growth, but we believe there is real merit in taking a step back to look at the bigger picture.

“If one person can take these strategies on board and learn from them, The Mental Health Hub has all been worth it.” 

But, besides Man Of Many putting some good out into the world, it was also a year of learning and evolving. 

Purcell told B&T, “A major strength we’ve displayed this year has been our branded content team’s ability to conceptualise and execute innovative, engaging content-led campaign ideas that deliver true value to our audience and clients alike.

“A stand out example of this is our recent partnership with The Balvenie whisky. The project dubbed ‘The Makers’, documents local creatives as they conceptualise, develop and craft a limited run of bespoke products inspired by the spirit of The Balvenie.

“The concept takes our audience beyond the surface, showing the value earned when creatives pour their heart and soul into what they do.”

However, amongst the wins, not everything went to plan. Arthur told B&T: “I think Facebook’s reaction to the News Media Bargaining Code in banning all news pages on its platform was a pretty big learning curve for us all as digital publishers, as it had broad-reaching implications for those who have been courted by and become reliant on the tech giants to generate traffic.

“While the decision was ultimately reversed, as a publisher, we have always focused on mitigating this risk or any reliance on any one platform by continuing to partner with a diverse range of tech platforms outside of just Apple, Google and Facebook, diversifying our sources of social traffic, as well as growing our ‘owned’ audience such as our email newsletter. “

“We also have plans to further diversify our multi-media content and revenue streams next year all of which I’m sure will be a steep learning curve for us with the launch of video series, podcasts, events, Man of Many merch and product collaborations including the launch of our very own single-malt whiskey in partnership with Westward Whiskey in early 2022. “

2021 also proved to be a huge year for the advertisers and brands that work with the mens’ publication. Arthur said: “Successful advertising relies on one thing, authenticity. For Man of Many, we’ve managed to embrace this through collaboration, both internally and with partners. Our branded content production arm works in unison with our editorial team to create holistic campaigns that are engaging, creative and most importantly, successful. 

“More than simply offering access to our audience of loyal Aussies, our native content captures ideas and harbours connection, creating a unique outcome that generates conversation, drives organic traffic and creates authority in the market. We aim to do this across multiple touch-points with our audience including our website, newsletter, socials as well as through videos, in-person events and through product collaborations. This is why over 85% of our readers consider a product more favourably after reading about it on Man of Many.” 

Still, despite the disruptions 2021 was a huge year for Man of Many and saw the publication continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Purcell said: “As we’ve continued to bolster our sales team, we’ve had some pretty impressive revenue growth during 2021 which led us to be recognised in both the AFR Fast 100 List and SmartCompany’s Smart50 List for 2021, while our own Tim Fernandes won Salesperson of the Year in the Mumbrella Publish Awards, up against teams of 50-100 people. 

“But perhaps what we’re most proud of was the recognition from the industry awards which were independently judged by our own peers and industry experts. Some highlights include winning Brand of the Year, Consumer Publication of the Year and Newsletter of the Year in the Mumbrella Publish Awards as well as Nick Hall winning Journalist of the Year in B&T’s Best of the Best Awards.” 

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