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AAP Publish - A process of reinvention

AAP Publish - A process of reinvention

It's not very often that you get to work with your heroes, but that's exactly what happened when we first met AAP. Also known as Australian Associated Press, they are the number one newswire agency in the Australian market. But what we didn't know at the time was they also ran a large digital agency as part of their global service offering. 

As a digital agency looking for a new and innovative angle in the market, they came to us with a challenge: 

"How can I sell agency services like I sell my content?"

AAP were seeking new ways to sell their agency services, and had seen great success with their content subscription model. The benefits of their content subscription model were; a clear scope, fixed client value, and predictable margins and revenue for AAP. This was the model they wanted to replicate with their service offering, in conjunction with the Cognitives Publishing platform.

Thus AAP Publish was born.

Marketing Site

As part of the project undertaken with AAP, the Cognitives team designed and built a new marketing website for AAP Publish - specifically designed for client onboarding to the AAP Publish white labelled version of the publishing platform. You can see the full site at

The AAP Publish Platform

The AAP Publish Platform is a socially enabled content stack, with AAP's content and services built into the platform and available to purchase.

With a client base including media, corporate, private and education sectors, AAP Publish needed a content platform that was:

  • Easily customisable
  • White labelled under the AAP Publish brand
  • Leveraged groundbreaking publishing and content technologies
  • Supported enterprise grade clients with top-quality security and enterprise features

Client Focus - University of Technology, Sydney

Once the features of the new platform were communicated to the AAP Publish team, they quickly identified clear target segments for their new platform. A stand-out target segment was colleges or universities - often publishing large amounts of content across multiple websites (from marketing to engagement), they were a clear fit for the new platform; a client with a clear story to tell, but struggling to execute at scale.

UTS was one of the first leads they brought in.

As soon as UTS saw the platform, the conversation quickly transitioned from why, to how much. Working in collaboration with the Cognitives team, AAP Publish quickly pulled them through the sales funnel. The final scope of the project for UTS equated to tens of thousands, including design customisation and development (using the Cognitives design framework) in addition to ongoing licence fees.

You can see the finished project for UTS here: Central News

Customised Pricing

After establishing the branding, target markets and client value proposition, the next step was for AAP Publish to define the new plans and service packs to sell, in conjunction with the platform. With cross functional teams working to deliver the platform a clear strategy was required, having a clear vision for what AAP Publish wanted to achieve was key for this process. 

AAP Publish's pricing strategy was focused on reaching more potential customers with their agency offering, while maintaining their premium market position. In additon to setting prices AAP Publish would also need to establish client, revenue and gross margin targets for their sales business unit.

AAP typically focuses on enterprise sales deals. With a substantial account service department, they are able to seek out high value deals with long contract periods. This meant that when it came to to setting pricing for AAP Publish they wanted to enable conversations, and have those conversions grow into larger accounts over time. 

The team decided to sell two reasonably priced subscription plans, and focus on upselling their services (via the in-platform Service Pack functionality) to grow revenue per client.

This strategy is working well, and they are fielding sales leads from their new platform and onboarding website into a dedicated sales team trained on selling content rich websites.

AAP Content In-platform

One of the key strategic advantages that AAP saw was the ability to offer clients AAP newswire content directly in platform, making it easy to purchase through their in-built service packs feature.

This was a whole new way to package and sell their services, and the flexible nature of the platform enabled the AAP development team (along with their sales and marketing staff) to clearly execute their vision of how, where and on what basis their premium content could be sold.

Training and Ongoing Learning

Integrating a new process, platform and way of working into your agency business is not easy. With AAP the primary challenge was on educating the sales and marketing side of the business. While they had a wealth of experience selling and delivering content and web solutions to clients, selling a digital publishing platform via a subscription based business model was new.

The AAP Publish team received extensive training from Cognitives on both the platform features and and client sales proposition. Cognitives was on hand every step of the way, from small team queries to collaborative client pitches as part of the AAP Publish sales process.

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