Popular lifestyle brand Sitchu has offered a quality selection of local stories, suburb profiles, and insider guides on everything “eat, drink, play and stay” for affluent young women (75% of whom are millennials), since 2017. Editor-in-chief/co-founder Holly Perks, and publisher Georgia Tomaszewski spoke to Mediaweek about what gives Sitchu that unique value as a lifestyle brand, Sitchu’s partnership with Belle Property, and their business and editorial plans for 2020.
Perks told Mediaweek Sitchu was founded on a vision to create an inspirational online platform and resource for people interested in Australian lifestyle. “Through a hyper-local lens, we wanted Sitchu to celebrate the Australian lifestyle and connect people and communities,” said Perks. “Since we launched the brand, Sitchu’s content offering has evolved rapidly, and we’ve hit some incredible milestones.”
Perks said that last year alone they launched a number of new initiatives and innovations including a new interactive website. “We also launched a Living vertical made up of inspirational home design content, property advice and entertaining ideas; an industry first suburb search tool; and a partnership with premium real estate company Belle Property, which allowed us to launch a new print magazine end of last month, Sitchu Living.”
Tomaszewski told Mediaweek Sitchu’s partnership with Belle Property is unique and has truly allowed them to solidify their point of difference in the market. “For us, the partnership allows our brand and content to sit in the hands of people who are regularly making major home purchasing decisions, opening new and exciting avenues for audience growth, plus providing exclusive advertising pathways for our commercial partners,” said Tomaszewski.
“It shows our audience that the homes and property content we produce is backed by industry experts, so they can be confident when considering our opinions and advice.”
Tomaszewski mentioned they’ve worked with some amazing commercial partners via articles, videos, bespoke sections, display, and sponsorships since Sitchu’s relaunch in 2019. “Some of these partners include AMEX, Grey Goose, Rockpool Dining Group, west elm and Bannisters (just to name a few) – to create cross-platform, content-led campaigns.
“In addition to these collaborations, we’ve successfully worked with affiliate and referral partners that have driven additional streams of commercial revenue.”
When it comes to that unique value that makes their brand stand out amongst all other thriving, like-minded businesses in the lifestyle space, Perks said it’s that they’re concise, confident and know the areas they cover inside and out, so therefore they’re trusted.
“It’s our reliable and friendly voice which keeps our loyal readers coming back again and again. We’re not interested in clickbait methods; we want to attract an audience with integrity and authentic content.
“With the launch of our new Sitchu Living magazine we can now consistently touch our readers on more channels than before. Launching a magazine is definitely going against the grain, however it was the right move for us and allows us to broaden our reach and expand our audience set.”
Perks said the brand has a highly engaged community across all channels. “Instagram is an important social platform for our brand, and while we have less followers than some of our competitors, we have a much higher engagement rate, and our follower growth rate is consistently above the average.”
Tomaszewski said on Instagram, their most saved and shared posts are of homes/interiors, design and travel, and their most liked and commented on are food and drink venues. “On Facebook you will typically see our ‘things to do’ city guide content yield the best engagement, or profiles of new places to go.
“The Food & Drink pillar on the site is certainly our most popular, however this is very closely followed by our Destinations (local travel) and our Living section which has seen audience sessions increase by more than +480% since the pillar’s launch.”
Perks revealed that onsite their average page depth sits close to 7 pages per session, which has increased over 116% year-on-year. “I believe our intuitive suburb search tool has contributed to our overall engagement, allowing our audience to search and find suburbs to live, based on what’s important to them.”
When Perks was asked what her personal favourite highlight for the brand is, she revealed how they’ve recently compiled an article to highlight local Australian getaways that need support. “Now that towns and communities are starting to re-open and welcome visitors after the devastating bushfires, it’s our turn to do our bit by driving tourism dollars their way.”
Perks and Tomaszewski shared with Mediaweek their editorial and business plans for this year, starting the new decade on a strong note. Perks said: “Based on the results of our recent reader’s survey and with the launch of our fortnightly magazine, we will be creating more content that focuses on home design, styling trends, product and shopping guides plus property tips and advice that reflect the life stage of our millennial audience.”
Perks said they will continue producing highly personalised local content and grow their popular pillars. “‘Destinations’ is also a huge growth pillar for us, so based on our local expertise, we are planning on curating even more beautiful city and area guides, to uncover all our go-to hidden gems in every corner of the country.
“Although our brand is well established in Sydney and Melbourne, this year we are expanding our presence in other states to ensure that we can offer a truly national content offering.”
Tomaszewski, without giving away too many secrets, said one of their core business focuses will be driving the commercial success of Sitchu and continuing to partner with like-minded brands. “Another is content personalisation – growing our database of subscribers and working with new tech suppliers to offer our most engaged audience a more personalised and tailored email experience.
“Content growth into new cities (Brisbane and Adelaide) is also important to ensure our brand provides our audience with a deep content offering across all cities. We’ll also continue to evolve our real estate partnership with Belle Property.”
Top photo: Sitchu editor-in-chief Holly Perks, speaking at the Sitchu Living launch event.