Congratulations to Emma-Louise Pritchard, Country Living at Hearst Magazines, who is the winner of Digital Editor of the Year 2019
Your Elevator Pitch
Despite having a team of just 1.5 members, Emma-Louise has grown monthly unique users to Countryliving.com/uk by 720% in just three years in the role of Digital Editor, from 135k (March 2016) to 1.1 million (Jan 2019). In the last 12 months alone, by employing a refined content strategy that celebrates the title’s niche topics, Emma-Louise has grown unique users by 60% year-on-year; doubled the CL Instagram following to exceed 200k; increased on-site video views from 0 to 80k a month; and increased search traffic by 164% year-on-year. This diligence has seen commercial gains, with year-on-year website revenue up 65%.
Set The Scene
Emma-Louise has a small but plucky team of just 1.5 – herself and a hubbed writer – which demands extra agility and creativity at a time when algorithms change constantly. While her writer covers news and some features, Emma-Louise strategises and carries out all SEO, social media, newsletter creation, commissioning, video, campaigns and editing. Where Country Living excels in brand extensions (events, hotels, holidays), Emma-Louise also provides digital support across the accounts, raising their profile and increasing sales. This requires Emma-Louise to have a constant command over the entire brand and an advanced attention to detail to ensure all areas are high-quality.
Tell us the story
Emma-Louise has used her team size to her advantage, adjusting the strategy to focus on fewer, more impactful wins. She has championed a select number of on-brand pillars, capturing the zeitgeist to leverage her users’ passion for the environment, animals and property. Emma-Louise has continued to break new ground in these areas, arranging the first annual Country Living Beach Clean in August 2018 which put CL advice into practice. In addition, Emma-Louise polled users to reveal their shopping habits, as part of a print/digital campaign to #KeepBritainFarming, and found that 91% avoid plastic packaging. These findings have helped inform an upcoming feature on how to live waste-free. With imagery at the heart of the brand, Emma-Louise has developed a video strategy to celebrate this. Engaging content – including an exclusive tour of the Emma Bridgwater factory (61k total views, Instagram) and a flower arranging masterclass with a royal florist (17k total views) – has maintained the Country Living Instagram as one of the most engaged profiles within Hearst; increased Pinterest referral traffic by 12% in the last year; and grown on-site video views from 0 to 80k per month, in 12 months. With a sharp understanding of her audience, Emma-Louise successfully serves their needs, increasing ecommerce revenue and maintaining a seasonal SEO strategy which has snowballed search traffic by 164% year-on-year, utilising the brand’s trusted expertise. Emma-Louise also collaborates with the print team, bringing their authority to life, as seen in her plastic-free Secret Santa video from December 2018.
Emma-Louise has, almost single-handedly, transformed Country Living from a print-focused brand into an engaging digital offering, with numbers to prove it: unique users up 58% year-on-year (Jan 2019), 10k Instagram followers a month (on average), and increasing return users by 7% year-on-year. Qualitative data confirms this, with BBC radio coverage on a commissioned feature challenging a journalist to live plasticfree, and Emma-Louise talking about eco-anxiety on Radio 1Xtra. Emma-Louise also runs regular paid-for digital workshops at Country Living fairs and events and has been recognised by both colleagues and peers, winning a PPA 30 Under 30 Award in 2018. These headlines have helped shape Countryliving.com/uk as an increasingly attractive commercial opportunity, with digital partnership revenue up 74% year-on-year. Having taken the website from 135k to 1.1M users already, Emma-Louise plans to elevate the brand further this year with a Scotland tour, a therapy animal video series and clever print collaborations.