Some thinking on content

By October 16, 2012 No Comments


We have a simple 5 point process for our clients that makes your content work harder for you. Our process puts content at the center of how your brand is represented online. Our content is written and produced to talk with those people who have an affinity with you, these people are most likely to convert, so they are worth reaching out to. The process is:

  • Persona profiling your potential customers
  • Keyword research to make your content find-able
  • Editorial Planning
  • Content promotion in social media and search engines
  • Data mining web and social analytics for insight and tactical manoeuvring


Buying Personas

We see content marketing as a way of connecting potential customers with useful and relevant information to encourage a purchase from you. We have learnt the content that works best, resonates with the needs of those most likely to buy from you. For instance, if it’s a new phone aimed at women, then it makes sense not to talk so much about technical features, but more benefits and ease of use, because women (sensibly) don’t seem to care whether the screen has high density PPI (pixels per inch), they want to know the screen is clear and easy to read.

Questions we ask:

  • What are your customers’ content preferences?
  • How do they discover, consume, and share content?
  • What types of information do they need during the buying cycle?
  • What are they looking for on search engines and discussing on the social web?

Answers to the these questions mold your marketing strategy and your content strategy and it makes it far easier for you to set meaningful goals and KPI’s to work to.

Search and Social Keywords

We classify content as:

  • Brand awareness driving i.e. being seen in search and social for content about a phone’s features
  • Influencing brand consideration i.e. detailed benefits and features piece with 3rd party positive reviews and comments
  • Directly affecting conversion i.e. persuasion copy writing to make the purchase process as friction-less as possible
We then segment our content strategy around these 3 modes of activity along with being for search or social.
Search contentYou have now decided who it is you want to talk to and what kind of content you are interested in i.e. ‘influencing brand consideration’, we go into what keywords they would use to find your content. Using the example of the phone, if it’s young women who are your consumers, then phrases like:
  • (woman) ‘easy to use smartphone’  >  (man) ‘intuitive UI phone’
  • (woman) ‘best screen phone’  >  (man) ‘phone ppi density comparison’
  • (woman) ‘long battery life’  >  (man) ‘3500mah lithium-lon battery’
  • (woman) ‘small phone’  >  (man) ‘phone dimensions’

…are going to be at center of your content themes.

Once you have a long list of phrases, we compare these against phrases and content themes you already get converting traffic for and ones you want to get traffic for. We then filter them by a mix of propensity for conversion and volume of searches and by stage in the buying cycle.  This gives us a weighted list of content themes we can work with and get traffic for.

Social Content 

The modality of social users is obviously different from search. In social, users may already be on a forum reading through threads or just looking at their Facebook wall, seeing stuff about you. So social biased content is more about ‘talk-ability’ and ‘share-ability’, rather than just ‘find-ability’.

Using a phone theme again, a content piece around ‘share-ability’ might be a comparison piece between the phone screens for ‘brand x’ phone screen and ‘brand y’ and ‘brand z’ (this assumes brand x has an excellent screen! A great way to work out ‘share-ability’ is looking at re-tweet rates for content.

So we plan all this out with you so we have the right content themes and the right keywords to give your content prominence on search engines and share-ability in social media.

Editorial Planning and Content Mapping.

We then set out the editorial calendar. Here we look at when there will be high points around your product or services i.e. new releases, or seasonal factors that affect sales. For phones, Christmas is the sales high point and April is the low point, so it makes sense to gear your editorial calendar around these seasonal variations (ref Google Trends).

Once the calendar has been agreed, we then decide on what ‘level’ of content you need to make the greatest impact. The correlation is the more competitive, the harder it is to get ‘above the noise’ i.e. to win enough attention from your potential customers

We look at:

  • Natural interest in your product or service, so online mortgages = low, phones = high
  • Money behind the subject i.e. sale of a mortgage = £1000 commission, phone = £30 commission
  • Niche or general interest i.e. maritime online mortgage = niche, phone = general interest

Once we know all of this, we can decide whether you want low frequency of content with more research and time spent with a higher price per item, or more frequency, less preparation and lower cost per item. Ultimately the answer is ‘what gives you most value’

Finally once this analysis has been done, we brief our writers and put together a team specifically for you. Editorial consistency and knowledge of your brand is so important, which is why we always keep the same people working on your account wherever possible.

Content Promotion 

The root of inbound marketing is to have something worth looking at and making it easy to find. Great content only gets awareness and traffic if there are clear and well structured routes to it.

We use a ‘hub and spoke’ model, where your site is the hub point for the content and the spokes are:

  • Search engines,
  • Social media i.e. twitter, facebook pages, google+ pages
  • Direct traffic from 3rd party sites i.e. bloggers and forums

All these ‘spokes’ have two things in common:

  • They want the content that is right for them
  • You need outreach


We have around 1,000 active webmaster relationships and another 3,000 that have been active over the last 4 years and to support this, we have a team of 25 full and part time outreach specialists. We only do ‘one to one’ outreach, which is why our network is extremely effective. Because of our very strong outreach programme we can distribute and promote content rapidly and effectively.

Because your content is good, our outreach plan will achieve:

  • The greatest prominence possible for your content amongst the right bloggers, forums etc
  • The best inbound links to get you ranked for the most relevant phrases related to your brand
  • The widest spread possible amongst social media sites

All of this makes your content easy to find and ultimately acts as a clear and easy route back to your site.

Data Mining and Social Analytics

We work to a cycle of:

  • publishing
  • promotion
  • analysis
  • and improvement

Ultimately the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that count are ones to do with learning what is already working well and what needs improvement to perform in line with your business goals. This is usually volume and source of traffic, engagement KPI’s and conversion KPI’s. PPC (pay per click) is a very good indicator of buyer interest and the data is very accessable.

Since there are 100’s of these KPI’s to work against and an infinite number of ways to segment and analyse data, it’s always best to take your preferred KPI’s on a case by case basis.

There are 3 levels of access needed to get the information we need to help you.

  • No systems access needed: We can see the major phrases you rank for and we can track those rankings over time & content optimization
  • Access to webmaster tools and Google analytics: Source of traffic, engagement with content and a number other SEO KPI’s
  • Access to your conversion data: What content makes you the most money and therefore why…

The more information we have access to, the better for you…

We work to a nominated cycle i.e. monthly or bi-weekly where we review your data and from that we can steer your editorial game plan. This can involve using a particular writer more, or focusing on certain subjects more or shifting outreach strategy.

Overall conclusion

When content is integrated within a process that talks, is found, is promoted to the right people and there is an improvement loop tied in with it, you get exponentially better results.

Fortunately for you, the process is interesting and easy to run through because we take care of the legwork. You can get as deep into the detail as you want, which is a good thing, since you will be more able to take on advanced inbound marketing.

About Nick Garner

Nick is founder of 90 Digital. Previously he was head of search at Unibet and prior to that search manager Betfair.