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Scott Purcell: Navigating the Men’s Lifestyle Landscape with Man of Many

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Scott Purcell: Navigating the Men’s Lifestyle Landscape with Man of Many

Welcome to an interview with Scott Purcell, the co-founder of Man of Many, Australia’s premier men’s lifestyle platform. In this engaging conversation, Scott shares the inspiring journey behind the creation of Man of Many, its evolution from a modest WordPress site to a thriving digital publisher, and the invaluable lessons learned along the way. Get ready to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, SEO strategies, and the secrets to building a beloved brand in the digital age.

Meet Scott Purcell, Co-founder of Man of Many

SBS – Hi there! Can you introduce yourself and the venture you embarked on?

Scott – Hi there! I’m Scott Purcell, co-founder of Man of Many, Australia’s largest men’s lifestyle site and the nation’s first 100% carbon-neutral digital publisher. Based in Sydney, we specialise in technology, finance, whisky, fitness, lifestyle, and tech content, catering to a young, ambitious audience. Our platform blends informative content with an engaging narrative, focusing on in-depth reviews, the latest tech gadgets, and lifestyle trends.

With a Finance and International Business background from the University of Sydney and seven years at Westpac Institutional Bank, I helped Man of Many become a leader in the Australian media landscape. We’re recognised for excellence, winning awards such as Best Media Platform at the B&T Awards and Publish Leader of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards in 2023.

Man of Many stands out for its dedication to quality content, innovative strategies, and commitment to authenticity. We reach over two million monthly global readers and 750,000 social followers, maintaining our self-funded and independent status since 2012. Our partnerships with brands like Nike, Samsung, and Netflix demonstrate our influence in the men’s lifestyle domain and our ability to engage a style-driven audience.

Man of Many team

Inspiration Behind Man of Many

SBS – Share with us your journey leading up to this idea. What inspired it?

Scott – Our journey to creating Man of Many was inspired by a desire to explore products and topics we were passionate about. As co-founders, we realised we were our target audience, aiming to fill a gap in the Australian market for a men’s lifestyle and technology platform. Influenced by sites like Cool Material and Uncrate, which didn’t have an equivalent in Australia then, we saw an opportunity to introduce something unique.

My background in Finance and International Business from the University of Sydney and a seven-year stint as a Senior Financial Analyst at Westpac Institutional Bank gave me insights into the financial and tech industries. These experiences were crucial in shaping the vision for Man of Many. The concept was not just about creating another media outlet but about building a lifestyle platform that resonated deeply with a discerning, modern audience.

Frank Arthur, my co-founder, and I embarked on this venture to create a platform that would stand out by catering to various interests — from tech gadgets to whisky reviews. The initial phase involved thorough market research and content experimentation, balancing our full-time jobs while growing the platform. Fueled by personal savings and cautious investments, we gradually saw our efforts come to fruition as our audience engagement increased. This positive response reinforced our decision to fully commit to Man of Many, making us a leading lifestyle site in Australia.

Man of Many Website

From Concept to Creation: Launching Man of Many

SBS – Walk us through conceptualizing, creating a prototype, and bringing your website to life.

Scott – Starting Man of Many was about creating a platform for products and topics we were passionate about, essentially making ourselves the target audience. We built our original site using a basic WordPress template and customised it to fit our needs. Our goal was simple — publish one product daily with a short 50-word description. Although not optimised for SEO, we set realistic goals and expanded gradually.

Our inspiration came from sites like Cool Material and Uncrate, which didn’t have equivalents in Australia then. The first version of Man of Many was modest, focusing on consistent content delivery with daily product features. This approach helped us to build a loyal following who appreciated our curation quality and product choices.

Initially, our content was designed to cater to men interested in tech, fashion, autos, and lifestyle trends, aiming to keep them ahead of the curve. We operated part-time for four years, slowly expanding our content and increasing our advertising sponsorship pricing.

My background in institutional banking and Frank’s design expertise were pivotal in curating content, managing finances, and steering creative decisions. We started with modest ambitions, hoping for a few freebies, but as we filled a significant market gap, we realised the potential of our venture. We transitioned to full-time, focusing on premium content for a male audience, which led to a substantial growth in traffic.

By December 2016, we generated over 500,000 page views and 250,000 unique visits per month, with a substantial social media following. Our growth was bolstered by enhancing our production quality, taking photos, producing videos, and partnering with brands for storytelling beyond standard product reviews.

Going full-time allowed us to diversify into video production, lifestyle pieces, how-to guides, and more. Today, Man of Many collaborates with global brands, produces engaging content, and hosts reader events, marking our journey as a blend of creativity, strategy, and learning.

Putting Man of Many on the Map

SBS – What was your strategy for putting your website on the map?

Scott – Launching Man of Many involved a strategic blend of digital presence and audience engagement. We started with an essential, user-friendly website offering tech reviews, lifestyle articles, and finance tips. Our initial audience engagement was driven by organic search and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Our approach to funding was cautious, using personal savings and avoiding loans. This allowed us to grow organically, reinvest profits, and maintain low operational costs. Though simple, the initial website and early social media posts effectively attracted visitors with high-quality images and consistent content.

Our strategy was to post one exciting product daily, giving our audience a clear and consistent offering. This approach quickly gained traction, especially as many traditional men’s lifestyle magazines were slow to move online.

In the early days, we focused on building a solid online presence across multiple social media platforms. We engaged with our audience through regular posts, discussions, and direct interactions, using automation tools for efficient content sharing.

Financing was primarily bootstrapped, with Frank and I managing most tasks like web design and content creation. We kept costs low, focusing on website hosting, domain registration, and essential marketing.

Reflecting on this journey, the key lessons were consistency, patience, and an approachable tone. This strategy helped us build a strong connection with our audience, allowing Man of Many to grow and evolve over the years.

Attracting and Retaining Visitors

SBS – After your initial launch, which tactics stood out in attracting and retaining your readers?

Scott – After launching Man of Many, we employed a diverse strategy to attract and retain customers. Our approach included leveraging social media, SEO, email marketing, partnerships, and high-quality content production.

On social media, we produced original short-form videos tailored for platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts, supported by a dedicated team. This strategy led to a 75% increase in our social following and a 1,230% surge in engagement rates. We also expanded our presence on LinkedIn and Pinterest, with Pinterest becoming our second-largest traffic driver.

Social Media Growth of Man of Many

For SEO, we focused on understanding Google’s guidelines, engaging with the SEO community, and emphasising E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). We used tools like AHREF reports, Semrush, and Google Search Console to fix technical site errors and employed an external agency for a comprehensive SEO audit.

Our email newsletter, sent to 150,000 subscribers, features top-performing stories and products, driving engagement and repeat traffic. We’ve grown our subscriber base by strategically placing sign-up forms, offering exclusive content, and running giveaways.

We partnered with brands like Google’s SHIFT News Consumer Insights for actionable data on reader behaviour. Our retention strategies include personalised email marketing and innovative tools like the AI ChatGPT plugin for content discovery.

Man of Many Today: Snapshot and Future Plans

SBS – Give us a snapshot of your business today, and share your plans.

Scott – Today, Man of Many is thriving, marked by a 16.4% increase in revenue over the past year and healthy gross margins. Our growth stems from controlled costs, diversified revenue streams, and efficient customer acquisition. Our site engagement is high, with record-breaking monthly traffic and a 72% increase in social media following compared to last year.

We’ve achieved over $1.7 million in sales through our online store and affiliate partners, bolstered by exclusive deals with tech giants like Microsoft and Apple. Our operational team has grown by 67%, and we’ve scaled our processes effectively, focusing on increasing operational efficiency and improving best practices. We’ve also expanded our product offerings with our content production studio, Man of Many Media.

Our short-term goals include relaunching our e-commerce store with a broader product range and enhanced user experience. We’re also working on improving customer acquisition strategies and content production capabilities. In the long term, we aim to solidify our position as Australia’s largest men’s lifestyle site by consistently producing high-quality content, expanding our product range, and pursuing strategic partnerships.

Valuable Lessons from Building Man of Many

SBS – What key takeaways or beneficial lessons have emerged as you’ve built your business?

Scott – Building Man of Many has taught us several key lessons:

  1. Diversifying revenue streams: Initially, we relied too much on ad revenues. Learning from this, we diversified into affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and direct product sales, which stabilised and grew our financial base
  1. Investing in SEO and content marketing: Our early focus on SEO and content marketing drove organic traffic and established our authority in the niche
  1. Social media for engagement: Using social media for community building, not just promotion, helped us foster brand loyalty and repeat traffic
  1. Adapting to market trends: Benefiting from the surge in online media consumption and interest in men’s lifestyle content was crucial for our growth
  1. Importance of adaptability: Being adaptable and staying true to our core values has been vital in the fast-paced digital world
  1. Learning to delegate: As we grew, learning to trust our team and delegate tasks was essential for managing workload and sustaining growth
  1. Balancing self-funding: Self-funding meant a more deliberate approach to decision-making, focusing on long-term growth over immediate gains
  1. Brand rediscovery: Launching a brand rediscovery project helped us refine our purpose, vision, and values, guiding our future actions and decisions
  1. Commitment to staff well-being and responsible journalism: Implementing comprehensive HR policies and aligning with the Google News Initiative and The Trust Project emphasised our commitment to our staff’s well-being and trustworthy journalism
  1. Carbon neutrality and ethical standards: Working towards becoming carbon neutral and joining the Australian Press Council highlights our commitment to sustainability and high media practice standards

These lessons have been integral to our growth, shaping our values and guiding our decisions as we evolve as Australia’s largest men’s lifestyle site.

Essential Tools and Platforms for Running the Business

SBS – Which tools or platforms have been of great value for running your business?

Scott – For running Man of Many, we rely on a range of tools and platforms that are vital to our operations:

  1. WordPress is used for our website’s backend, it offers extensive customisation and easy content management
  1. Shopify powers our e-commerce operations with its powerful features and integrations
  1. TickTick is a task management platform that helps in organising and prioritising tasks
  1. Trello is an Atlassian product used for team project management with user-friendly boards, lists, and cards
  1. Calendly simplifies meeting scheduling by syncing with our Google Calendar, eliminating back-and-forth emails
  1. Insightly is a CRM tool that’s cost-effective and simple, used for managing client relationships and campaigns
  1. Looker Studio by Google serves to generate custom reports across metrics like traffic, sales, and email newsletters
  1. Hype Machine is our choice for discovering new music, offering a selection of tunes and contemporary artists
  1. Google Analytics is crucial for understanding our audience and their behaviours
  1. Semrush and Ahrefs are essential for SEO efforts, optimising content, and tracking search engine rankings

These tools cover different aspects of our business, from content creation and marketing to customer relationship management and operational efficiency, and are integral to our growth and success.

Influential Books, Podcasts, and Mediums

SBS – Are there books, podcasts, or other mediums that greatly influenced or motivated you?

Scott – To stay ahead in digital marketing and SEO, we’ve been greatly influenced by:

  1. Search Engine Roundtable by Barry Schwartz: Provides crucial updates on search engine marketing and SEO, vital for our business’s visibility
  1. Marie Haynes’ Newsletter: Offers in-depth insights into Google’s algorithm updates and search engine penalties, essential for our SEO strategies
  1. Lily Ray’s Expertise: Her social media presence and articles provide fresh digital marketing perspectives and strategies
  1. Additionally, the book Traction on the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) has significantly influenced our strategic approach and business growth

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice can you offer entrepreneurs gearing up to launch their first business?

Scott – Starting a new business is an exciting yet challenging endeavour. One of the most important things to remember is that success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires patience and persistence. We began Man of Many as a part-time project and only transitioned to full-time after years of hard work and building our base. Sometimes, progress seems slow, but it’s important to remember that every small step brings you closer to your goal.

Another crucial aspect is building a brand that aligns with your values. We undertook a brand rediscovery project during our journey, helping us define our purpose, vision, and values. This was not just about making business decisions but about creating an inclusive culture that resonated with our readers and staff. Authenticity is crucial, and lasting success often comes from staying true to your core values rather than merely chasing trends.

A common pitfall for many new entrepreneurs is rushing to monetise their business before establishing a solid user base and engagement. It’s essential first to build a loyal audience that trusts and values your content. This approach ensures that when you introduce monetisation strategies, they are more likely to be effective and well-received.

Finally, leveraging technology and data is crucial in today’s business landscape. For instance, we used Google’s SHIFT News Consumer Insights to understand our audience better and maximise our content reach. Being an entrepreneur means having a learning mindset. Be prepared to make mistakes, learn from them, and continually refine your strategies. Adaptability and a willingness to grow are what lead to success. So, embrace the journey with passion and resilience, and let your audience’s needs and feedback guide your path.

SBS – If our readers are eager to delve deeper into your business, where should they head?

Scott – For those eager to delve deeper into Man of Many and our offerings, here are the links to our platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter/X, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

Feel free to explore these links to get a better understanding of our content, style, and the community we’ve built at Man of Many. For any inquiries or collaborations, you can contact us via email at [email protected]. We’re always excited to connect with our readers and potential collaborators!


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Scott Purcell: Navigating the Men’s Lifestyle Landscape with Man of Many