In a time when people seem to be thinking about their financial choices more often, and with a growing financial sector, Livewire’s financial content is loved by their audience, acting to educate and inspire.
We spoke to James Marlay about creating content for a fast-changing industry like finance, Livewire’s future goals, and their experiences working inside Hub Australia’s coworking space.
What is the origin story of Livewire?
Investing is a daunting task for many of us.
Done well, it can set you and your family up to live the life that you choose. However, one of the most significant issues people face is not knowing who to trust and where to get reliable information. So, Livewire was established to address that problem.
The business is five years young, and I’ve been working with my business partner Tom McKay for ten years now. Like most startups, we fumbled our way through the early years but now have great momentum.
We’ve grown the team quite rapidly in the past two years, and we’re fortunate to have high-quality people that share our vision for the business.
What’s your aim?
The aim is to connect investors with new investment ideas. That could be a single stock idea, a new ETF, or maybe they learn about a fund manager that specialises in an area that the investor wants to access.
So, we’re focused on making the connection between the investor and the investment, but our mechanism for doing that is through content as opposed to a list of products.
What are your three most popular pieces?
We run a weekly video series called Buy Hold Sell. Two fund managers go head to head, giving their views on a selection of 5 stocks. They don’t know what the other person is going to say, so it creates a nice dynamic. Short, sharp and to the point.
We also run a deep dive Q&A series with the fund managers that contribute to our website. It’s quite incredible the information they are willing to share, and the series is a rich source of great ideas.
Where do you see Livewire Markets in the future?
We value substance over vanity metrics. We track engagement very closely, and our experience has been that it is easier to build a sustainable business with an audience that is highly engaged.
Our growth to date has primarily been organic and driven by very high-quality content. Having said that we’ve just appointed a new head of marketing and there’s lots of work that can be done to communicate better what we stand for and the value proposition for potential Livewire members.
I think one of the big opportunities is to allow our users to customise their experience on Livewire based on their own needs and goals.
Read more: Fox & Hare are Changing the Face of Finance
What’s the key to reaching Australian investors and finance-savvy readers?
There’s a network effect that exists in financial markets. If you become known as the ‘go to’ destination for premium finance information, then word of mouth does a surprising amount of the heavy lifting for you.
However, to earn that reputation, you need to make some tough calls. Achieving a premium product requires you to say no on a regular basis and be willing to draw a line when it comes to the content you’re willing to publish on the platform.
That’s not a fun thing to do, and we have strict guidelines around content.
It comes back to the end user, and we always need to be asking, ‘is this good for our readers?’
The upside to having high standards is that we get access to Australia’s best investors. If the best investors are publishing their latest ideas on Livewire, that’s where the eyeballs are going to be.
Why do you think the market has responded so well?
We always put the user first – that’s fundamental.
We also created formats that were relevant to the way people consume content in 2019. A lot of publishers are trying to put walls up around their content, and we’ve done the exact opposite.
Our content is easy to access, it is easy to share, and it works on all devices. We’ve been willing to challenge a few of the ‘traditional’ approaches to media, and it seems to have worked.
What have you enjoyed about working in Hub Australia?
My first experience was the onboarding – all online, easy to do and very professional.
The space is beautiful, which makes a big difference for the team and how they feel about coming to work.
Location is also crucial for us and being on Collins Street means we are just minutes away from our clients. They are typically busy, so any efficiencies we can get are a bonus!
We have also found the staff at Hub to be very helpful, friendly and professional. It has been a good experience.
What led you to choose a coworking space?
There’s undoubtedly a cost-benefit until your team hits a certain scale, and flexibility to grow or shrink as your needs change.
It also allows you to import ‘culture’ to a small team, and we think having our team surrounded by other innovative and hardworking teams is positive.