A weekly Q&A with interesting people in the Australian Media Industry
Nick Smith
  • Name Nick Smith
  • Company News Life Media
  • Position Lifestyle Publisher
  • Interviewed by Social Diary on 4/3/2016
  • Q
    Describe your career path to date?
    A
    I worked through the ranks of research and marketing at ACP Publishing (now Bauer Media) then jumped into editorial after working alongside some phenomenal editors like Nene King, Deborah Thomas & Neale Whitaker. I always loved GQ and through timing, or ambition, ended up editing GQ for 5 years. For the last four, I've been publisher across News Life Media's lifestyle brands including Vogue, Vogue Living, GQ, Inside Out Country Style, Sunday Style, Homelife & Bod+Soul.
  • Q
    What do you love about your job?
    A
    My team members and the incredible brands they lead. Everyone, be they in editorial, digital, marketing, finance or advertising is so passionate about delivering to their audience, building their brands and striving for success. I'm pretty lucky that everyone shares that vision.
  • Q
    And what's not so great?
    A
    Not much.
  • Q
    Describe your typical day?
    A
    Get up, check the digital audience figures for our sites from the day before, and try and do some exercise. Most days I'll get a call from Edwina, the Editor of Vogue, at 6am with a new idea or project she wants to do. This makes it hard to shower and get dressed. The working day might consist of an exec meeting with my CEO and the other publishers to discuss the business as a whole, then it may be individual brand meetings to discuss monthly progress and forward planning, approving covers, checking in with teams and meeting with advertisers. The evening will sometimes call on me to attend an event or do a speaking engagement for a brand. It's a challenging, but mostly fun and exciting day.
  • Q
    You are a renowned Editor and Publisher, how would you say the two compare?
    A
    The main difference is that as an editor you are focussed on driving the best content to build and engage your audience and creating a vision for a brand. That's what I think led to our success with GQ. We took the idea of wanting to turn ambitious young Aussie guys into successful gentlemen and everything flowed from that. I became an ambassador for that and the brand grew through taking that vision past the magazine, to a website, to social media and of course to our GQ Men of the Year Awards. As a publisher, you look after all functions of a brand, editorial, digital, marketing and advertising and lead teams to grow a group of brands and of course their profitability.
  • Q
    What is the best experience you've had in your career?
    A
    There's been so many memorable experiences from the day Nene King told me to get the 'F' out her office (same day I realised I wanted to be an editor), to being torn to shreds by Alan Jones for exploiting sport stars in ALPHA, to my first GQ cover shoot with Hugh Jackman when my pants caught on fire (literally), to meeting so many talented and successful people, and the recognition our brands and teams have got over the last 4 years while I've been in the publisher role. This will sound totally schloppy, but the best experience is now, trying to respond and grow with the dynamics of the market.
  • Q
    What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry today?
    A
    Be prepared to get your hands very dirty. Be nice to everyone. Humility is a virtue. Arrogance gets you nowhere. Love what you do. Obsession isn't a bad thing. Think about your consumer first and foremost and you will succeed.
  • Q
    What do great PR people do?
    A
    They form relationships and they know what is right to pitch to you and what fits for your brand and audience. They also know your teams and what department they look after. (No point pitching a feature on a new grooming product to the editor, when it's the grooming editor's job. You'll get a quicker response.)
  • Q
    What do bad PRs do...
    A
    The opposite.
  • Q
    How do like to be contacted and when?
    A
    If it's a great PR offering the right pitch, I'm happy to be contacted by phone. Though with email you can reach me at any time. When you get close to 1000 emails a day and most of them are press releases, sometimes snail mail can be more effective.
  • Q
    How has social media altered your job since the days when you started out?
    A
    Social media for brands has been wonderful to build and refer audiences. I have to admit, I'm glued to my phone, but my dedication to uploading is inconsistent. I'm more of a social voyeur. Social media has definitely made it easier to deliver editorial mentions for brands.
  • Q
    Do you enjoy attending industry events, and if so - which are your fave kind?
    A
    When I started on GQ, I used to hate walking into a room of people I didn't know, now, that's the most interesting thing about events. I probably have less time now, so a sharp succinct presentation is the best. It's always good to give people a new experience while they are hearing your brand story. Becomes more memorable. An instagram moment or set-up works a treat.
  • Q
    The media landscape is going through a period of dramatic change - where do you see it in 5 years?
    A
    More consolidated due to media reform, further rationalisation at publishers, increased channel complexity of brands as they build audiences off platform. Strong brands will get stronger.
  • Q
    If you weren't an Editor/Publisher, what would you be?
    A
    Game show host.
  • Q
    Your Instagram/Twitter:
    A
    @nick_Smithgq