Influencer Profile: Claire Moffat, CEO Connected Women

By Briana Healey in Media News on
Claire Moffat has always considered herself a tenacious pioneer at the forefront of consumer electronics media.
As the founder and CEO of her own publishing enterprise Connected Digital Media, Moffat delivers a female oriented title ConnectedWomen, which she launched in 2007.
Consisting of a magazine and a website, Moffat explores news and development across business and tech.
“I wanted to write for women so they weren’t left behind in technology,” said Moffat.  
Moffat’s ambition for Connected Women is to provide a media brand that connects women to consumer electronics technology, as well as documenting innovation, leadership, entertainment, technology, culture, and style.
Connected Women was born out of Connected Australia, a business targeted at male senior executives in consumer electronic companies and retailers, which folded in July of this year.
“Connected Australia was transformational and it disrupted the existing model. It brought news into the personal space of business executives on their desktops and the launch of Connected Women came from that,” Moffat extrapolated.
Moffat has been an active publisher of electronics and technology titles since 1980, when she became the first female group publisher at the Yaffa Group, and was responsible for a stable of titles: Packaging News, Food Manufacturing News, and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
Subsequently, in 1995 Moffat became the founding editor of leading appliance industry magazine Appliance Retailer, which became successful on the growth of digital products like phones and cameras.
It was during the dotcom boom in 2000, that Moffat realised the potential to take consumer electronics brands into electronic marketing.

“I saw an opportunity to give my readers a news service, or an emailed newsletter, and I went to the owner of Appliance Retailer about the idea I had. And so I was working on that news service which was a twice daily emailed newsletter for appliance and consumer electronics.”

“The pioneering of the Connected news service was setting up something that never existed before. It was a real project for me and my husband. We hit the dotcom crash in 2001. It took a lot of determination. I just see now that things were meant to work out for me, the way they’re meant to work out,” Moffat reflected.
Following the success of her disruptor newsletter, Moffat became acutely aware of the gap between women and their knowledge of technology.
“Women were leaving stores without a purchase because of the attitudes of the males serving them,” said Moffat.
Determined to fill the female niche in consumer electronics publishing, Moffat has since expanded her resume to include roles as an entrepreneur, speaker, and mentor.
“I think everything I’ve done has been very new and I’ve always found myself at the growing edge of communications in Australia. And I’m fortunate now to be speaking internationally on the subject about Connected Women.”
“Its been tough and I haven’t been given any free rides I’ve had to prove myself over and over but its been rewarding,” said Moffat.
Moffat credits herself as the first female to graduate from the first university to offer a journalism degree, the University of Technology Sydney in 1978.
“I came from the western suburbs of Sydney and I desperately wanted to be a journalist. In my family it was good enough to do the HSC but we didn’t have any money for university. My parents couldn’t afford it.”
“Then Gough Whitlam abolished course fees and I was able to enrol into journalism at the University of Technology Sydney. It was the very first year of the first journalism course offered at any of the universities in Sydney. It was a very exciting time of creativity and opportunity.”
As a graduate of the old school of journalism, Moffat believes the stratospheric rise of citizen journalism and blogging over the last five years have led to a dramatic fragmentation of the media industry.
“Its certainly in the last 5 years, social media and bloggers who have been given information for free has impacted negatively on journalism and the craft. The fragmentation of the media means that advertisers don’t invest in channels like they used to,” Moffatt said.
“That means that media companies like myself find it hard to pay our journalists. There is a period of extraordinary transformation happening very quickly. I think journalists need to value themselves and what they do. Keeping to grassroots and not giving up and reporting the news with integrity as they always have.”
“There’s a lot of questions about journalism surrounding citizen journalists - who do you rely on for your news? For older journalists theres a dilemma about how to teach younger journalists when its changing so profoundly. Just because you can blog doesn’t mean you’re a journalist.”
After a forty year career capitalising on the wave of consumer tech media, Moffat has switched her focus from developing new publications to mentoring others coming up in the game.
“I’m a boomer woman, myself and my female colleagues of the era intend to work in some capacity for the rest of our lives. Now I’ll be doing a lot more mentoring and thought leadership.”
“I know there is a lot of female journalists who need mentoring and I think there is a role there emerging in that capacity”.
When asked what her best piece of advice was, Moffat rapid-fire replied: “At the end of the day I’m only as good as my last story. I have to be constantly working on my craft. And don’t give up if you have a goal and a dream. Find a way to make it achievable because life is short.”
As with most publishers, Moffat does rely on her PR relationships to some degree.
“They’ve been in my life all throughout my career. A great relationship relies on courtesy and communication on both sides. I work best with PR’s who develop a personal relationship with me and understand what I’m doing,” Moffat said.
“They’ve got a more challenging job than journos do in some respects. At the end of the day it’s letting them know your company’s media policy and being as courteous as possible.
And the most lethal mistake a PR professional can commit?
“Sending an email addressed to my competition to me! And not following through.They need to understand our deadline and to be available for the deadline."

“For Connected Women, the press releases that appeal to me most are ones that understand that women are the most powerful purchaser in the world.”
“PR people are driven by their clients and clients have been slow to understand that. Women are hungry for stories about themselves and tailoring a story for women in media is so important.”

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