The future of global journalism and freelancing

What does the future of journalism look like? How are the world’s leading publishers adapting? How are freelancers operating in this globalised world? We spoke to researcher and Assistant Professor, Lea Hellmeuller, to delve into these questions and more. 


The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps


Rakhal Ebeli: What do you say is the future of journalism, particularly for freelancers?

Lea Hellmueller:  That’s such a big question. I also have to mention here that in the past, when everybody would do research on foreign reporters, we would traditionally go by the organisation. That might have something to do with our journalism theory so that we theorize journalism as being part of an organisation. There’s almost no research, at least that I know, that’s focusing on freelance journalists because they were just not part of the organisation traditionally. 

Now that, for example in the United States, the number of traditional newspaper foreign correspondents dropped from 307 in 2003 to 200 in 2011 – that’s a fall of about 25% and when we look at TV network coverage of global news. It’s less than half in 2013 compared to the late 1980s. There is some space that is opening up because on the one hand, we see an increasing need for being more informed about global issues, such as ISIS or the Zika virus right now. 

On the other hand, we have fewer people covering it within that traditional framework of news, talking about the traditional news organization. I think the future is really about connecting those foreign reporters that are increasingly operating without an organization, so without a safety network, connecting them to audiences globally. On one hand, of course connecting them to traditional news outlets, but also to audiences and engaging them.

Rakhal Ebeli:    You have studied CNN, in particular their iReport service, which is something I’ve been keeping an eye on for a few years. It’s really interesting, this user generated content versus professional journalism and even networks like CNN releasing or essentially firing 50 of their best reporters. This is a highly profitable news enterprise, supposedly, and we’re seeing this again and again right around the world. What do you make of that circumstance? Are we going to be seeing more user generated content or unprofessionally curated content or does it just not matter as long as the story is in the content?

Lea Hellmueller:    It’s again filling something that is not being filled by traditional reporters anymore because we see that CNN iReporters, they peek at a time when really CNN didn’t have access or the resources to send reporters or when there was no access, like let’s talk about the elections in Iran, right? I think in 2009, so there was no access for foreign reporters. CNN iReporters filled a very important gap for journalism in itself. I know there is a lot of criticism among the concept of user generated content, especially from the journalism field, like from journalists themselves. They do not believe that this is real journalism because they do not have the education. 

We’ve seen that, for example, CNN responded to that and organized boot camp to train those CNN iReporters. In a way, as I said, I think they’re filling a need for the organisation and on the other hand, I think it’s also an engaging technique for CNN  iReporters themselves so they start caring about their community and actually seeing it with different perspectives.

Rakhal Ebeli:    What do you make of the rise of content marketing agencies and brands essentially becoming publishers around the world and really dipping into, as Newsmodo admittedly and unashamedly, engaged the professionalism of journalists right around the world to create content. Where do you see all that heading from a brand publishing perspective?

Lea Hellmueller:    I think it’s an important thing for the future to break the Chinese wall of the marketing department with the journalism department so that we really work somehow together, more collaborative in this network society, and I think it’s just important not to forget about the journalistic values and norms. If we sell it as a journalistic product, it should really be of benefit to a larger public’s interests rather than to a corporate interest.

Rakhal Ebeli:    That’s really important, too, and we advocate the transparency of the content that we create for brands.

To find out more, listen to the full podcast or drop us a line via the contact box at



The best Australian marketing events in 2016


We are entering the busiest time of year for marketing events in Australia. With so many options across so many different aspects of marketing, it can be difficult to determine which events you should put your pennies towards. 

If you work in content production or marketing, the following events are where you need to be. They provide invaluable networking opportunities and are one of the best ways to learn about the most successful businesses and people in the industry. These events take place around Australia, predominately in Melbourne and Sydney (plus a few outstanding overseas additions). 




The Brand Forum 2016

When: February 24 – February 25

Where: Sydney


The Brand Forum 2016 is a two-day essential brand marketing event, bringing together 350 in-house marketing executives from all sectors of the economy for a forum discussion about the importance of brand strategy and marketing in business strategy.


MediaSocial 7 – Featuring Jeff Bullas

When: February 25

Where: Sydney


An exclusive event for marketing professionals to grow their networks and stay on top of the latest developments in digital media, technology and marketing. This event is for any professionals in the fields of public relations, marketing, advertising, media, technology enthusiasts and media relations. MediaSocial 7 will showcase a presentation by industry marketing thought leaders giving their insight into different technologies, media channels and how to best utilise them.




Interactive Minds: Marketing to Millennials

When: March 3 – March 4

Where: Brisbane, Melbourne


Millennials are causing marketers around the world to sit up and pay attention. Already the largest demographic by size and dominant in the workforce, this group is accountable for over a trillion dollars in purchasing power worldwide. Join Anne Gherini, Head of Marketing at StumbleUpon, to discover why the millennial audience is vital and how you can reach and engage with them online. 



Content Strategy Masterclass

When: April 19 & 20

Where: Melbourne


This 2-day practical & interactive masterclass is designed to offer unambiguous & clear steps to designing, documenting, implementing and improving a content strategy. Facilitated by Progress Media. 


ADMA Data Day 2016

When: April 27 – April 29

Where: Sydney, Melbourne


Data Day 2016 will bring you a stellar line-up of global and local speakers, covering themes that focus on how to streamline automation to painlessly deliver best-performing results. It will also explore ways of using technology in new and innovative ways.




The World Business Forum

When: May 25 & 26

Where: Sydney


For eleven years the World Business Forum has been a source of inspiration, learning and transformation for leaders looking to build better businesses and a better world. In events around the globe, business icons, global leaders, brilliant minds and legendary CEOs gather  to discuss the issues and trends that are shaping the future of business.

Richard Branson will be the headline speaker for 2016, leading an expert line-up of guests and topics: 

Chris Gardner – Perseverance
Mauro Porcini – Marketing
Nicholas Negroponte – Innovation
Robert Kaplan – Performance Management
John Mattone – Leadership
Tamara Erickson – People
Rita McGrath – Strategy
CEO Panel Discussion – CEO of NAB, CEO of CSR

To receive an exclusive 10% discount on tickets, use the promo code newsmodo10 at the checkout! 





When: June 7 & 9

Where: Sydney


Mumbrella360 is the national conference of media and marketing publication Mumbrella. Mumbrella360 offers an intensive two-day immersion into the latest thinking and best practice across the entire media and marketing landscape.




Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium

When: July 26

Where: Sydney


With inspiring keynotes and breakout sessions presented by digital marketing leaders from around the region, you’ll gain expert insights into the fast-moving world of digital marketing.




ADMA Global Forum

When: Dates TBC

Where: Sydney


ADMA Global Forum is the two-day conference that brings together the global leaders that are changing the world of data-driven marketing, media & advertising and the leader brands and case studies on: Content, Customer Acquisition, Customer Retention, B2B Marketing, Data-Driven Marketing, Tech Trends and Media.



iMedia Brand Summit

When: Date TBC

Where: Brisbane


The iMedia Brand Summit is an intimate environment for senior brand marketing executives to converge, debate and discuss the major strategic issues they face in marketing.


Content Marketing World

When: September 8-11

Where: Ohio, US


Content Marketing World, established by the Content Marketing Institute, is the biggest content marketing event of the year. Here you can learn from the biggest and brightest in the industry. 



Annual Brand Leadership Summit

When: October 6 & 7

Where: California, USA


The Annual Brand Leadership Summit is all about brands that are influencing culture as we know it. Working with the world’s top brand marketers who reveal their real-world learning and insights, you’ll discover how to harness the power of strategic storytelling, community architecture, and the latest social and mobile technologies to lead business, shape culture and better our world.




When: November 5

Where: Sydney


Australia’s only branded content and entertainment festival, BeFEest will bring you the best branded content of the year. Learn about the brands or agencies who cre
ated it, and why they were successful. 


World Marketing and Sales Forum

When: November 8 & 9

Where: Melbourne


The World Marketing and Sales Forum aims to provide you with an update of the most relevant topics delivered by experts in marketing and sales. Disrupting your business enables revolutionary changes across industries and throughout every sector of business.

The place of content within your marketing plan

In episode 54 of Brand Storytelling we bring forth the marketing knowledge of Darren Woolley, founder of TrinityP3. He joined Newsmodo’s Rakhal Ebeli to talk about the place of content within a broader marketing plan. Darren also gives some advice to brands who complain of poor return on investment.

Listen to the full podcast or read below for some of Darren’s tips.

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps

Rakhal: I think a lot of marketers mistake advertising production or advertising outputs for content. That’s understandable. They think that if you make a 30 second TV ad and you put the 90-second version on YouTube, that’s a content exercise. I think that number is true from the perspectives that they feel that they’re creating some content. In fact, correct me if I’m wrong, but in that same survey, the number that have a content marketing strategy to define the content they’re producing and the channels that they’ll distribute it through is actually relatively small, isn’t it? 

Rakhal:    It’s about 33%. 

Darren:    Yeah. In actual effect, why using a content marketing technique if you don’t have a strategy for it? 

Rakhal:    We talked about that with Joe Pulizzi, it was number one on his recommendations for 2016 is have a plan. Even if you have to write it on a napkin, he doesn’t care. Just have a plan. It’s an important footnote for any of these conversations. 

What do you think is the percentage that content is playing in an average marketing output at this point in time in Australia? Are you seeing more of it? Do you think that it should be less, should be more? Is it giving ROI, or brand is pushing out so much content as an expense and starting to get content for fatigue?

Darren:    Ok, going back to the previous point. I think the danger is the ones that are producing content without a strategy are the ones that end up complaining about the poor return on investment for their content spent. When I see especially in the B2B space, people that do content really well are getting up on the personal budget of spending more than half of their budget on creating content, because they’ve got a very strong content strategy. They’ll spend half their marketing budget or more on producing content. 

    The difference is that a lot of the B2C brands will produce content, but it’s really more around customer support or customer service than it is around building engagement. Yet that’s still part of it. In those cases, it’s relatively small and you’re talking less than 10%. It varies greatly across categories, it varies greatly by brand. 

    What I’d like to see and the only way forward is for people to build a content strategy that sits within their overall marketing strategy and has a particular role, because then they’ll be able to see growth and measure results and be able to get a sense of the return on their marketing investment. 


Is video the best ROI for business today?

Sometimes we hear things so often we forget they’re actually rooted in reality. In the business and marketing world, the effectiveness of video for communicating a message is one.

Yes, we hear it all the time: video is a growing beast. It’s one of the most effective ways to engage an audience; to hold their attention, earn their trust, and lead them down the sales funnel.

But we forget just a few years ago, consuming video content online and on mobile was not the norm. When the iPhone became popular around 2010 we weren’t watching a lot of high-quality video on our phones let alone on the way to work, or while waiting for a coffee.

But these days half of all mobile traffic is video – with almost half of all internet users watching at least once a day.

Video has continued to grow and evolve – and the brands that get on board will be way ahead in the customer engagement and acquisition stakes.

One of the brands who is leading the way in video is Facebook, who last year made a number of moves to lock down their ownership of video content. By the end of 2014 Facebook launched the 360-degree video with an exclusive clip from Star Wars. This move cemented them as a video content leader, and ensured they’d continue to be a leading video consumption platform.

What is so good about video content? 


If the idiom is ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, then video is worth 10 thousand, at least.

It shows body language and concepts, and it has movement which captures attention. It can easily convey comedy, action, love, tragedy and more. It gets us emotionally involved and it touches a chord within.

What do we all like to do when this chord is struck? Share of course. Out it goes to potentially billions of users via, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or anywhere else you like.

How will video benefit my business?


Are you using or creating video in building your content and community? If not then the stats show, you’re missing out.

A new study, based on survey results from 350 B2B marketing, agency and management professionals confirms that 73% of respondents believe that video positively impacts marketing results and ROI.


And it’s not just you and I that watch video. Over 75% of senior executives watch work-related videos at least weekly – more than two-thirds saying they prefer to watch video than read text tat is on the same page.  

More than half of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI – equating to 81% of people that using videos on their brand’s websites.  

Check out more impressive stats here

So get to it – make a mark in 2016 and create great video content to grow your community to love and use your products through all the power and emotion of video.

Every bit of content you create for your business you own forever. It’s your own real estate. You’re actually building a long-term asset that you can keep on using, which is a major difference between using traditional advertising methods, where you pay for a campaign and then it’s done.


Ask Newsmodo about video content today. 


How to get through the content slog

Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures – a content and SEO company in Arizona. He joined us on Brand Storytelling to talk about this thing he calls the content slog. You might’ve had the feeling that there is a lot of content marketing overkill out there. Or, that your content simply isn’t effective. This is part of the content slog – and we will discuss what it means and what you should do about it.

Listen to the full podcast or read below for a taste of Arnie’s advice.

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps


Rakhal:    And as we start to wind down, Arnie, just on the subject of storytelling – it’s such a big deal now, it’s such a buzzword in content marketing. Last week we had Johnathan Crossfield on the show who is a very passionate storyteller. But not everyone, in my opinion, is successfully telling branded stories. Do you maybe you have a different concept of storytelling over in the States and what it means. What do you think? Is there something about brand storytelling that, you know, people are doing really well? What can we really focus on just to finish off here for our listeners?

Arnie Kuenn:    First of all, everything we do in the States apparently is different than what you do there in Australia.

Rakhal:    Yes and better, you might say! I would love to travel forward in time to find out what we’re going to be doing next year.

Arnie Kuenn:    Right. Well, you know, actually, maybe I’ll give you a different response than you’re anticipating, but as much as we’ve talked about storytelling and as important as it is, I would not put the pressure on the average business to say that it’s the end all and be all of content. In fact, honestly, I don’t even think that I’m a very good storyteller. It’s kind of hard to know yourself that way, but I wouldn’t say that that’s what people know me for.

    I think actually people know me, and what I tend to preach and educate on is probably a more practical approach and everybody at our company, and hopefully our clients by now, I just keep hammering home this idea that this idea: create content that people are searching for, and in fact, when we were talking about fighting through the slog, you know, the first few minutes of this podcast, and that’s one of the things I keep telling them is to stick to it, fight through the slog by creating content people are actually searching for. If you’re guessing what they want or you’re going to try to write the coolest story, you know, something that you think is really, really shareable and people are going to love this, you might miss the mark by guessing. Because what you should be doing – and I mean it has to be good content – but the subtle difference is, especially in the beginning, ask yourself this. Can you actually envision somebody searching for the title of what you just created whether it’s a video, blog post, article, free guide, or whatever it is? 

    What I always say to people is if you have not been successful at content marketing for 12 months in a row, I wouldn’t get too clever. I would be practical and create content that people are searching for that might end up that you’re telling a story in that piece of content, but I wouldn’t get too creative until you’ve started to see some success.

Rakhal:    Arnie, that is fantastic advice, and a fantastic way to end our show for this episode of Brand Storytelling. Arnie and the team at Vertical Measures are doing incredible things with SEO, but not just SEO, layering that over content and brand storytelling so check out their website and also, Arnie, I know that you’re really a popular speaker right around the world and all of Arnie’s speaking dates are on his website now as well. So, I’m hopeful that I’m going to be able to catch up with you in Cleveland in September for Content Marketing World. I really can’t wait to see what’s going to be talked about and unveiled later in the year, but until then, let’s keep in touch and thanks for joining us on Brands Storytelling.


If you need assistance with a content plan or creating more effective content – get in touch. 


Challenges for Australian content marketers

In episode 52 of Brand Storytelling, we speak to Jonathan Crossfield – one of Australia’s leading content marketing experts.  In the podcast we discussed the CMI’s latest report, and what the results mean for Australian marketers and content creators. 

Learn what Jonathan had to say about what CMO’s should consider before spending a dollar on content marketing, how they can finance a content budget, and why content marketing ROI is so commonly misunderstood. 

Be sure to look through the full Content Marketing In Australia 2016 report here. 

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps



Rakhal Ebeli:    Let’s hone in on the Australian  market for a while. As we know the CMI published a fantastic report regarding the benchmarks, some budgets and trends in Australia for the year ahead. I saw a piece on your blog actually, Jonathan that continues to look at the stand out implications for from this report the blog pace, I think was called, why content marketing ROY is actually back to front. Can you explain what you mean by this and what were the stats in the report that led you to think about it this way.

Jonathan :    There’s been this regular discussion every year that the report has come out about how not enough marketers claim to have a documented content strategy. This has been an on going debate about the importance of having a documented strategy, documented goals and documented work laws and so that you can appropriately measure and optimize what it is you’re doing. What was interesting in this report was while Australia’s marketers claim the right of people who had said they have a documented strategy had gone up quite considerably I think. I think we’re more than the US now.

    The other stats on the reports were the biggest challenge they were claiming or I think was the second biggest challenge they were claiming was being able to measure and prove the ROI. Now to me those are not mutually exclusive things. If you have a content strategy, being able to measure the ROI should be a natural extension of that because your content strategy should state what your goals are, it should state what the targets are, you go retrieve and therefore you know how you’re going to measure to get those.

    You should know whether you content has failed or succeeded because if the strategy tells you, you see should that’s part of what the strategy is. Just to use a wartime analogy, it’s like you can’t say you’ve got a strategy because you’ve just sent your troops in one direction. You’ve actually got to know which area you’re trying to take and then you know whether your strategy succeeded, whether you took home or not the hill. This is exactly the same. The fact that so many people were saying that they had trouble measuring ROI or proving ROI rather. That’s an important word there, proving ROI and also of and conveying this to management versus the number of people who said “Yes but we actually do have a documented strategy”. Those 2 things really worried me that people don’t understand what the strategy really should be.

Rakhal Ebeli:    You mention goals. Just to recap Australian content market is in your view should be measuring what exactly. Goals is very broad, could you narrow that down into some  ROI?

Jonathan :    Well, probably isn’t going to be the same goals for every strategy for obvious reasons otherwise it will be the same things. But for example if you look inside your business at what could possibly benefit from the use of content marketing. More of this are social, whatever it is you want to implement otherwise why are you doing it to start with. For example you know if we decided that we want to reduce the number of supporter quest that come through our phone call lines because obviously that’s a cost to our business in maintaining cost and so on, we can save times or we can reduce call time or whatever if we have lots of knowledge-based content that people can easily find and solve the answers for themselves that might be you know, that you’ve got a goal there which is you know we want to reduce the cost of telephone or email support.

    Content Marketing or the content strategy of using content so people don’t feel a need to call because the answer is there is the way of trying to meet that. If you’ve decided to target about how much you want to achieve the call flow by, then that’s your goal and your target. I think there should always be that what problem are we trying to solve internally. Are we’re trying to reduce costs, are we trying to acquire more customers, are we trying to whatever it may be. It’s not always about sales of course. But in some ways it should be at least related to your bottom line whether in revenue or saving money or greater efficiency et cetera. Otherwise why would you replace what you’re already doing if it’s working. It’s got to be a better way of achieving whatever it is that your business needs to achieve.

Rakhal Ebeli:    It’s a new year, or at least well, I couldn’t about 10% of the way through it, so if you haven’t got your budgets and your plans in place, this is a good one for you. What should see most marketers be looking to invest in within their content marketing this year, what do they need to consider before they get started? What would you say the real pillars for focus there?

Jonathan :    To have pillars I think. I think the biggest challenge of the moment is standing out. Now that almost every brand you can mention has some form of content marketing. It’s no longer enough just to do content marketing. Your content marketing actually got to be really really good. I think therefore a better allocation of budget is to just spend a little time thinking what are the standout pillar pieces of content that we can produce this year that we know we will produce of a higher quality or of a more exclusive nature than anyone else to produce that no one else could do it in this particular way. With it showcases the expertise of your business in some way or uses a particular channel in a highly focused way. Then develop the budget to that a bit over the whole content, matters of content every day approach because that’s going to work for increasingly few brands.

    I think it’s probably in far more effective if you say, “Well I’m having doing all of that which is a lot of work and a lot of resource”. Why don’t we just work out. What would be the 4 great eBooks that we could release at each point of the year that will reach our target audience and persuade them to do whatever we want them to do. Why don’t we just produce 2 or 3 fantastic videos and 5 blog post no one’s going to read every week. I think it’s working out what you guys already do well if there are particular channels that your brand has already worked out what to do that you do really well and doubling down on those, you know taking money away from areas that are less effective. Reallocating it to where it’s more effective and you may produce a lot less content this year but the goal is to actually make it far far more effective.