Dani McAllen develops paid media startup for SME’s

Tech Watch: Dani McAllen, WE ARE ANTHOLOGY

  • Computer: Macbook Pro 15″
  • Tablet: iPad Mini (white)
  • Phone: iPhone 5 (white)

Many new companies rely on earned and owned media to communicate messages about their products, and when they do use paid media, it’s often in the form of display advertising. This is rarely an effective use of precious marketing dollars. In the past few years, prices for display advertising have dropped significantly as consumers have become more and more immune to advertising messages, and subsequently, click-through rates have, in most cases, halved since 2006.

A relatively unexplored method of communicating messages is through native advertising, where a company pays an influencer a sum of money to spread messages about its product through the influencer’s mediums. Pioneers of this practice in mainstream media include organisations like Mashable, Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed, but the budget required to create a native advertising campaign with those companies is out of the question for most small to medium businesses.

Dani McAllen, the 27 year old Australian PR entrepreneur behind WE ARE ANTHOLOGY, has built a company that specifically addresses that need in the market.

“WE ARE ANTHOLOGY is a digital agency that creates and implements social strategies and influencer strategies for brands in New Zealand,” Dani said in an email.

“From a social perspective, it means we create strategies for brands and help them implement those strategies and manage their own communities over a three month period.

“We believe brands and businesses get the most effective results this way.”

From an influencer perspective, this means meeting and greeting bloggers and influencers, finding out as much about their blogs and audiences as possible, and pairing them with the right brands.

“We help them to create engaging content about our clients, and we get them paid for creating that content! We also get them talking about our clients through their social channels and newsletters – two-way conversations is what social media is about after all!

“It’s similar to PR, however it is paid media.”

It’s a win-win situation for all those involved, and this has led to over 150 influencers become part of Dani’s pool of candidates for campaigns.

Clients of WE ARE ANTHOLOGY can expect a well-planned 3 month process, with influencer campaigns being conducted over that period of time. The first step is to determine a social strategy for the client, which focuses on both long term and short term results. Dani the selects a group of influencers who have the right audience and similar values to the client. Finally, the influencers create content on different types of media for the client, engage their social audience, and get paid.

The relationship between paid and earned media can be outlined in the infographic below.


The foundation for WE ARE ANTHOLOGY was laid two years ago when Dani, a PR and social media marketing guru, created the NZ Blog Collective with her two best friends.

“We wanted it to be a place where PR [firms and] brands and could find bloggers and vice-versa.

“We wanted to monetise it, but we realised pretty quickly that PR [firms and] brands wouldn’t pay to access a list that exists in a variety of forms online already.

“After many whiteboard sessions and lots of input from friends and connections in the comms industry, I realised I needed to switch around what the NZBC was and come at it from the opposite angle.

“The way for me to truly help the blogging community here in NZ to become more professional, and help the bloggers get paid – was to stop focusing on the bloggers. Makes sense now when you think about it.”

WE ARE ANTHOLOGY, launched in April 2014,  is Dani’s first startup of her own, although she has been involved with other small companies in the past. It’s different, she says, and it has taught her that honesty is paramount, to not over-promise in excitement, and to shut the laptop at a decent time each night for some self-time.

“My final lesson,” Dani explains, “is a trait I’ve always had anyway (thanks Mum!) but it would be to treat everyone you deal with, with respect – whether they are above or below you in the food chain. Not only because you should treat everyone with respect anyway, but also because it will come back to bite you on the arse later!”

Be it from the lessons she’s learned, the service she’s offering, or both, Dani is clearly doing something right as WE ARE ANTHOLOGY has taken off at a startling rate. Two years into the business, Dani says that they’re working on expansion plans, and although she can’t detail what exactly those plans are, she can say that there are some exciting new developments on the cards for the next two years.

For now, WE ARE ANTHOLOGY is focusing on growing the business and reaching out to as many influencers and clients as possible.

“Our ideal clients are people who understand the importance of social media and online influencers, but don’t know to effectively utilise them,” Dani says. “Our clients are in bricks and mortar fashion, health and nutrition, jewellery, technology, luxury water, soap, online fashion – we’re even working on promoting an accounting company!

“Anyone who has a brand who wants to use social media to connect with fans, advertise their businesses and use bloggers and social media influencers to talk about their brands online (electronic word of mouth!) should get in touch.”

If you’re so lucky as to have a meeting scheduled for a Friday, be prepared. The WE ARE ANTHOLOGY office dresses up in intricate costumes, causing the author of this post to be hilariously surprised when Madonna, complete with the beauty spot on her lip, began talking to him over Skype.

Get in touch with Dani today to discuss your next PR campaign, or to register as an influencer. WE ARE ANTHOLOGY is also an official NZE Services partner.

Bullet Points

  • Dani McAllen is the Australian PR entrepreneur behind WE ARE ANTHOLOGY.
  • WE ARE ANTHOLOGY is a digital agency that pairs brands with influencers for paid media opportunities.
  • The business pays bloggers to write about brands and engage with their social media audience around your brand.
  • WE ARE ANTHOLOGY is two years old and is considering an expansion.
  • WE ARE ANTHOLOGY is an NZE Services partner.

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