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Man of Many – the carbon-neutral, quality-focused, independent men’s lifestyle magazine picking up awards left, right and center

Man of Many is a proudly independent Australian digital media for the latest in products, technology and style with over 4 million+ unique visitors and 6 million+ page views per month. From the growing list of awards and recognition received, conversations with the team and the publication itself, the brand's core values focusing on quality, trust, innovation, collaboration and diversity are clear.

We spoke to Co-founder, Frank Arthur, about the company's success, their revenue model and in particular how they balance an ad-revenue model with serving quality content and an engaging user experience.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and why you founded Man of Many?

Profile photo of Frank Arthur

Man of Many is Australia's largest men's lifestyle site featuring the latest in product, culture and style. Just over a decade ago, it started as a passion project between myself and Co-Founder, Scott Purcell, who was my roommate at the time, as a space where we could share exciting new consumer product releases that piqued our interest. I've always had a strong enthusiasm for design, , fashion, and innovation, and my background as an industrial designer gave me a unique perspective on how to bring these stories to life.

After nearly five years of running it as a hobby, we both quit our full-time jobs to focus on Man of Many. It was a leap of faith, but with our combined passion for business, marketing, and creativity, we had faith in our vision and believed in the potential to achieve something special.

My career has always been a blend of creativity and strategic insight, which I try to bring to the table every day to help Man of Many thrive. I've consistently tried to apply this experience to drive growth and set new standards of excellence, establishing the publication as a leader in men's lifestyle content.

What began as a simple blog between two friends has now evolved into a team of 15 full-time staff, setting new standards in content quality and innovation. We're proudly independent and have been recognised as Australia's Best Media Platform in the B&T Awards and the Website of the Year in the Mumbrella Publish Awards in 2023. 

Additionally, we're the first 100% carbon-neutral publisher in the country, reflecting our commitment to quality and sustainability.

Our journey is a testament to staying true to our values while constantly striving for growth, innovation, and results-focused creativity.

What sets you apart from other men's lifestyle brands on the market?

Our purpose is to empower people to make positive investments in themselves and their communities. To do this, we've established 5 core values:

  • Quality: we produce, perform and service to the highest standard of quality. It takes careful and persistent effort. It's not always the fast lane, but it is always the shortcut to doing great work with impact. It's about making and keeping measurable promises, and often over delivering. It means we don't just do things for the sake of it—we step back, consider and then proceed with intention.
  • Trust: we believe trust is earned and not just a given. How do we earn ours? By being experts in our fields'. Through reliability and transparency— doing what we say and saying what we mean. Accuracy. Accountability.
  • Collaboration: expanded creativity, shinier awards, increased productivity and superior results. When we take an ‘in it together' approach to everything we do, the health and harmony of our team—both internal and external—increases tenfold.
  • Innovation: for us, it's about more than executing the most creative and original ideas (although we do that on-the-regular). It's also about the way we think—outside, ahead, differently. It's present when we ask “what else?” and “what's next?”. It's shown when we break fresh ground. Try something unexpected. Don't settle. Believe we can do better than the status quo. Our everyday innovation is what makes us leaders in our industry, experts in our fields, and the first place our readers click in the morning.
  • Diversity: we know something special happens when a variety of voices with broad perspectives come together to think, solve and create. That's why our team is a combination of people with diverse ideas, experiences, thoughts, cultures, approaches and expertises.
Man of Many values

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Turning to revenue models, you were recently awarded a Gold prize for Best Native Advertising at the WAN-IFRA Asia awards (congrats!) – can you tell us a bit more about this revenue model and how you've made it a success? 

Our success in native stems from our ability to seamlessly integrate native content into Man of Many's platform. Our audience trusts us for our informative stories, inspirational content and product recommendations, and we ensure that native content aligns naturally with our premium brand. This resonance allows us to highlight how a partner brand or product fits into our readers' lifestyles.

Every piece of native content is crafted by our in-house journalists, who have a deep understanding of what resonates with our audience. We emphasise the elements that best suit the brand and campaign goals, creating authentic storytelling that drives meaningful connections. We see no difference in metrics between sponsored and content, which is a testament to the engaging nature of all the content we create.

While native advertising is the cornerstone of our revenue model, we strengthen each campaign with a comprehensive media package, through the inclusion of deliverables such as banners, social media, photography, video, database acquisition, and events. This diversified offering, combined with our highly engaged audience, makes our native advertising offering truly exceptional.

I'm very appreciative of your “quality” core value, but this often doesn't align with ad-revenue models and the search for clicks. Can you explain how you balance the two?

To balance our quality core value with an ad-revenue model, we adhere to the best practices set by Google and the Coalition for Better Ads for display ads. We also work closely with our developers to continuously improve user experience, ensuring that we strike the right balance between revenue generation and a seamless, user-friendly platform.

Our commitment to quality extends to our content and the platform itself, which is crafted to provide a premium environment that attracts advertisers. We recognise that maintaining this quality is crucial for both audience satisfaction and long-term revenue growth.

Which KPIs are the most important to your business? 

Integral to our success are a number of KPIs. Naturally, revenue and profit are top priorities, serving as fundamental measures of overall business health. However, we also rely on other KPIs to guide our growth.

Client is a crucial focus area, as we strive to deliver seamless experiences and foster long-term partnerships with clients. By prioritising dollar-based retention and increasing the average deal size, we ensure value beyond a single campaign. Our aim is to cultivate strong, ongoing collaborations that benefit both parties, promoting enduring relationships that reinforce mutual growth and success.

Traffic metrics, such as unique visitors, page views, pages per visit, and dwell time, are vital indicators of the platform's popularity. Higher visitor numbers directly influence display advertising and affiliate revenue, while metrics like pages per visit and dwell time demonstrate audience engagement. This combination of helps us gauge not only how many people are visiting, but also how deeply they're engaging with our stories and exploring additional content.

In addition, we focus on converting casual readers into dedicated followers who consistently return for our premium content. This metric is crucial for building a loyal audience base and maximising engagement across all our channels.

I notice your “Subscribe” button leads to the newsletter sign up – can you tell me about your newsletter strategy, its value to your business and how you're measuring success?

Our email has been a cornerstone of Man of Many since the early days, and its significance continues to grow. This direct communication channel is crucial because it represents an owned audience, independent of third-party platforms or social media.

Our daily newsletter provides a curated roundup of the top stories of the day, driving significant traffic back to the website. We also monetise it through programmatic ads and sponsored solus newsletters for brand partners. Additionally, we share Editor's Letters, promote key content, and run ad hoc promotions to keep subscribers informed about exciting developments.

We're incredibly proud of our 150,000 email subscribers, and a 45% newsletter open rate, which demonstrates how much our daily newsletter resonates with our audience. It's become an integral part of our subscribers' daily routines, making it a valuable asset in maintaining a loyal following.

To ensure we're reaching the right audience, we regularly clean up our subscriber list by removing inactive users. The remaining actively engaged subscribers represent our most dedicated followers, reinforcing the newsletter's importance to our overall strategy.

Man of Many newsletter

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Are you considering launching a registration or subscription model in the future? If yes, why and how or, if not, why not?

Over the past few years, subscriptions and reader revenue models have been a hot topic in the media industry for good reason. They offer reliable, predictable income for businesses, providing appealing stability and control over revenue. However, successfully implementing these systems requires thoughtful planning.

Although we do not currently have a model in place, it's on our roadmap for the next 12 months. We see its potential to support the growth of Man of Many while complementing our existing revenue streams to build upon a diversified, resilient business model. We don't anticipate that reader revenue will become our primary revenue source, however we recognise that it could play a significant role in our future growth plans.

A successful model hinges on a compelling that prioritises our readers' interests, ensuring that we give them something valuable in return for their investment. Whether it's exclusive content, special events and experiences, discounts, or other benefits, we want subscribers to feel that they're receiving more than their money's worth.

We're currently in the process of our crucial first step: directly asking our audience what they value most so we can align the offering with their preferences. By listening to our readers and understanding their needs, we'll be able to design a subscription model that genuinely empowers and benefits them while supporting the sustainable growth of Man of Many.

First-party data will also play an important role in this strategy, both in response to Google's deprecation of and to help us better understand and own our audience. By collecting and utilising this data directly, we can refine our subscription model and deliver more personalised content that aligns with our readers' interests and needs. This approach will enable us to create a stronger, more meaningful connection with our audience while supporting the sustainable growth of Man of Many.

You mentioned a “3-year picture” strategic tool – can you explain what this is, why you established it and how it's integrated into your team's work? 

Our three-year picture establishes targets across our financials, people, and operations. Defining overarching goals and metrics in each area, clarifies our desired business trajectory and guides us in planning the necessary steps while effectively aligning our resources. This approach ensures we measure progress consistently and adapt swiftly, keeping our strategies relevant and fully aligned with our longer term objectives.

Thank you to Frank for his time, and congratulations to the Man of Many team for this impressive work!