News Corp Australia's SMARTdaily reaches beyond COVID-19

By Louise Roberts

News Corp Australia

Sydney, Australia

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In March, News Corp Australia launched a lifestyle lift-out, called Hibernation, to help readers cope with life in lockdown. With stories on how to eat, how to educate our children, how to stay mentally and physically fit, what to read + do + see + watch, it was a daily guide to living in the coronavirus time.

The plan was never to continue Hibernation forever. The new section was launched in spring from our winter to reflect reader appetite for content that would help them re-evaluate their lifestyles. Our research suggested our readers now needed help with the next stage of their lives.

At the same time, we too were looking to the future beyond COVID-19. That desire to move forward gave birth to SMARTdaily.

SMARTdaily was born out of the popularity of the pandemic-inspired Hibernation section.
SMARTdaily was born out of the popularity of the pandemic-inspired Hibernation section.

Creating a third pillar

SMARTdaily is a new digital destination and eight-page print lift-out focusing on lifestyle topics. This includes everything from money advice to entertainment to parenting advice and puzzles. It now forms the company’s third editorial pillar, the other two being news and sport.

It is designed to offer short, practical advice and information combined with expert advice and compelling news audiences can use in their daily lives. To determine what topics to cover, we conducted audience research to find out what their audience concerns were, then combined this research with what topics were trending with readers in our internal system.

We strive to always be responsive to what our readers want and SMARTdaily is very much an audience-led initiative. Their feedback is critical in shaping the type of content we’re producing, such as cost of living.

We noticed there were a lot of searches around topics like: How do I manage my budget? What do I do if I lost my job? How can I feed my family cheaply but healthy? There were also topics like, how do I cope with things like my kids are stressed, how do I reassure them, and how do I get a good night's sleep?

SMARTdaily will help people navigate those kinds of questions.

Reaching readers where they live

SMARTdaily is a very audience-led publication. Our readers let us know what they want help with, and this is our place to respond. Cost of living is a key issue with people having lost their job, or worried about job security, or working four days a week.

Readers take an active role in selecting what content they want to see in the section.
Readers take an active role in selecting what content they want to see in the section.

It also appeals to readers who are keen on a daily menu featuring food, health, fitness, money, entertainment, travel, shopping, home, pets, brain training, and more. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone has experienced the same thing. Oftentimes, newspapers report on a story from afar. But we have lived these changes with them and been through this together, and now it is a bit of an evolution with this new section.

It isn’t just readers who have embraced this new content. SMARTdaily has already attracted significant support from major retailers and supermarket chains.

About Louise Roberts

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