Zazzle Media | Digital Marketing, SEO & Content Blog
Zazzle Media is a content-led and data-informed digital marketing agency specialising in SEO, content creation and distribution and social media marketing. Our goal is to build targeted audiences of long term value for every client we work with through search, social and influencer channels.
At BrightonSEO we ran a training course on Long Tail Keyword Research. In this final instalment of our BrightonSEO podcast series, we talk to Stuart Shaw our Head of Search and Strategy about the course and why all brands should be considering long-tail keywords as well as their head terms as part of any content and SEO strategy. You can listen to the podcast and find a full transcript below.
Why is Long Tail Keyword Research so Important? - SoundCloud (766 secs long, 5 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Ellie [00:00:02] Hello. It's Ellie and Carris from the content team at Zazzle Media. We are back at Zazzle HQ after a brilliant couple of days at BrightonSEO, with our Head of Search & Strategy, Stuart Shaw, who did a training course on Long Tail Keyword Research at the event, and he is here with us now to talk us through it.
Carris [00:00:22] Hi guys, hi Stu! So can you tell us a little bit more about Long Tail Keyword Research.
Stuart [00:00:28] Yeah of course. So basically a lot of the training session revolved around trying to help the businesses that attended in understanding exactly how they can obtain traffic, not just from head words, but for some of the longer tail and query searches that are made around their brands and their products,.
Carris [00:00:46] For people who don't know what long tail keyword research is can you summarise it for us?
Stuart [00:00:52] Yeah I'll give it a go! I mean that there's lots of different definitions that lots of different sites use. Some say it's search words that contain more than three or four characters but ultimately it's where there is a more specific intent to the keyword search itself. So car insurance would be a relatively broad one. But 'how do I save money on my car insurance' would be an example of a long tail keyword.
Ellie [00:01:14] And how do I find long tail keywords?
Stuart [00:01:17] Mmhmm. I suppose it comes down to understanding your audience. And that was a point that I constantly had to keep reiterating when I was doing the training session, is that you need to first understand the pain points of the audience and that's the best way to understand what they're likely to be searching.
Carris [00:01:33] So long tail keyword research is not for every business or is it only for certain types of strategies?
Stuart [00:01:39] Long tail keywords are definitely becoming more popular across all businesses. There are certain areas where there is a definitive knowledge gap between what is being sold and what is being bought and it's in those locations where you'll typically find long tail keywords get asked a lot more they get queried a lot more. But typically they tend to skew in exactly the same way that you would see with head terms. So the more popular industries the larger products will typically have a lot more questions and a lot more long tail search than the smaller ones. The critical thing is that the long tail keywords are being searched for more more often as technology such as voice search becomes more popular. And as the market starts to fill up with slightly more tech savvy millennials and younger people who are more capable of performing more semantic searches on search instead of where your parents may, you know, generically search for car insurance or best mortgages will typically ask the longer questions of Google and Bing.
Ellie [00:02:41] So what do long tail keywords mean for a company's brand and what is the benefit of then optimising these.
Stuart [00:02:47] So targeting long tail keywords usually means that you're able to target people more specifically based on their intent. And that's that's really really key because attracting huge amounts of traffic to your site is fantastic. But if none of that traffic is due to convert or even has the propensity to convert then it's wasted effort and potentially wasted budget and wasted resources as well. So by targeting long tail you can better understand the point the customer is in within the purchase journey or the purchase funnel itself which means that you're better able to provide them with segmented or even personalised data and content on each page which has a greater chance of meaning that they're actually going to convert, purchase your products or subscribe to your brand.
Carris [00:03:37] So it sounds like this can help you understand your audiences more and their behaviours?
Stuart [00:03:43] Yeah absolutely. One of that one of the key things that we took away from the training session was that if somebody visits a specific page on your site that's a long tail page you gain so much more information about where they are not just in the in the purchase funnel as we've said but also just in life, you can understand maybe whether they're due to let's say purchase a pair of trainers and therefore if they're at the very very end of that funnel process as opposed to just comparing and considering their purchase, you know that in 12 months time over the lifespan of your product that there's a good chance that they're going to then require to require another version of that product whether it's an upgrade to their trainers or replacement. And it allows you to retarget those users later on as well which is a lot lot more than a than a generic head word or head term page might be able to do.
Carris [00:04:34] From that, are long tail keywords more about brand awareness or is it about conversion rates if you are selling a product in retail?
Stuart [00:04:42] Yeah. That's actually a really good question and I would probably say that it's it's a blend of both. I think that the benefit that you get from brand awareness on on targeting terms that maybe don't have commercial intent let's say for example people are trying to find out what the colour they wear says about them in terms of personality. There's lots of search around this. There's lots of search from various things around fashion but the likelihood that people visiting this article are going to convert is probably quite low and yet being able to set up a dialogue with your users is really really important from an engagement point of view. But it's also really important from the point of view of if you're producing this content in a way perhaps that attests to more kind of editorial standards then you may find other people talking and sharing your content.
Carris [00:05:31] So it's more about you understanding audiences and them understanding your brand as well?
Stuart [00:05:37] Yeah, I mean for me there's there's nothing more critical in search, PPC and social media than understanding audience. Ultimately all of those kind of different avenues and routes to market it leads to the market which is made up of your audience naturally. They're just tools and if you don't understand what you're targeting at the end of it then whatever tool you're using you're not going to be able to complete your task. So it's really important that you're aligned, that you know where you're heading. As I said to the people that attended the session if they happen to have any spare budget, they've got a couple of grand lying around, then I would suggest putting it into Audience Insights. If they're not 100% sure are not just their audience now but their emerging audience are going to start coming through. Then that's where the money should go for sure.
Ellie [00:06:25] Obviously it Zazzle we're always trying to write content that's both creative and search focused, and you covered this in your training. Can you tell us a bit about how we do this?
Stuart [00:06:37] So it's usually trying not to think about the content as being such focused or engagement focused but instead just focusing on the audience. That's typically what Google does. That's its mantra, is making the Web and the information therein and accessible to all users. And if we can align with that in the content that we produce and that we suggest that the brands produce, then we're more likely to align with the the best practices and the the EAT principles of Google.
Ellie [00:07:07] What are the EAT principles of Google?
Stuart [00:07:11] So it's it's Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. So effectively making sure to kind of summarise those points that you are seen as a thought leader for your brand and that the information that you're putting out there is considerate and sympathetic to the needs of those users. So a good example would be as opposed to suggesting or trying to force people down and making a purchase decision on let's say certain types of loans, you're instead a little bit more impartial. You provide the users with all of the information that they would require to be able to make an informed decision on their own as opposed to just trying to sell them a product.
Carris [00:07:48] So how do you make your long tail keywords searches for example 'how to save money on home insurance' more interesting for the reader to read that page and not bounce straight off it?
Stuart [00:08:00] So the best way to do that is to look at what's ranking currently. Because if we assume that Google's practice of not only EAT, but consumer engagement, is already in full flow and working perfectly, fingers crossed, then the content that's already ranking in anywhere from position 1 to position 20 is likely relevant. It could be a fantastic accordion of FAQ's, it could be unique content. It could be rich media such as video or some level of kind of interactive content. Whatever it happens to be. You need to try and understand what point is this content trying to make and how is it potentially making the user's life easier. But ensuring that you can add your own unique expertise opinion on top of that as well to avoid obviously any duplicate content issues.
Ellie [00:08:46] Were there any interesting comments or queries that got made during the training?
Stuart [00:08:51] I suppose one of the really interesting things was that I tried to ensure that we had a a level playing field. I didn't want to do let's say an exercise or an activity in which a banker or someone that worked in mortgages had a bit of a leg up on maybe somebody that only worked in eCommerce. So one of the activities I got people to do was around Jurassic Park and the suggestion was that we were part of the marketing team and all of the films so far in the Jurassic parks series had just been primers to see if people would actually want to visit Jurassic Park! And now the park is now open and effectively I set each of the teams up with a different persona so they each had to focus on different areas. There was obviously the the big fantastic questions that would be made. There's the kind of similar content set of questions that might be asked around dinosaurs and there was all the practical considerations that they had to make around when at the opening times and what I found really interesting is as soon as I levelled the playing field and took away the advantage of their product knowledge everyone really struggled. They really struggled and I think a big part of that is because their default position was to think about search. They even had people going on Ahrefs and looking it up, and I was like Jurassic Park isn't real! You're not going to find these keywords on there! And if they'd have just aligned to audience and the needs of that audience or the interests or the wants or the desires of the audience then they would have found themselves in a far far easier position.
Ellie [00:10:27] And how do you ensure that the two, audience and using the tools, work effectively together?
Stuart [00:10:35] I think don't assume that somebody else has has made all of their mistakes and learnt from them because the chances are they're in exactly the same position as as you may be in that they're on that journey of discovery for their audience as well. I think probably the best way to do it is to ensure that you can find brands that you think do a really good job of talking to the audience that you talk to and then look into the ways in which they do it. The approaches that they have not just organically or via paid but also through through avenues like social.
Carris [00:11:09] What would you say is a top tips that business could take away from this to help them implement long tail keywords search?
Stuart [00:11:16] So I suppose some of the top tips I would suggest would be not to jump straight into tools. Obviously audience is a big point, make sure aligns to audience but probably some of the most important people in your business to start off this process and get the ball rolling, would be people that work in customer care and people that work in sales. And not all tools out there, even the best ones, will be able to provide you with that information (that they can provide). So align there first. And if you can find that old wizened person that happens to work in your factory and has done for the last 40 years you'll probably find that there are some some really really interesting things that you could gain from them. I suppose one of the last things is to make sure that you're not basing all of your decisions on data alone. There is an element of gumption that's needed, of a gut feeling, and I think that you shouldn't be afraid to be innovative with the approach that you take. Ensure that you've got platforms, processes in place to be able to measure how effective those risks are. You never know what Google are going to bring out next. You never know how Google may react to certain pieces of content. So always give it a go and always try something new.
Carris [00:12:34] Thanks Stu! If you've enjoyed this podcast check out the podcast on BrightonSEO and SEO trends. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to let us know your thoughts.
If you'd like to find out more about Long Tail, you can read our blog on the topic here, and be sure to listen to our other podcasts from BrightonSEO April 2019.
We’ve all been in the scenario where we’re monitoring a competitor and are left scratching our head thinking “how are they doing that?!”.
This quick read, complete with this actionable download, will show you how to understand exactly where it is they’re performing. But, before you click, there’s a few points I’d like to share with you, along with a quick exploration of the methodology involved.
And if you want to follow this step-by-step as we go hit the download button below and you can work as we go...
There are a few go-to theories when it comes to deciding why your competitor is performing well, with the most popular being:
They’ve built a lot of links recently
I’ve not benefitted from any technical implementations for a year
They’re a big brand
First, make sure you have all the data required to make an educated conclusion and plan for your own website.
Doing thorough keyword research is the foundation of any analysis. This should capture every keyword that relates to your business. If you pull all of your competitor’s keywords, they may have terms that are irrelevant to your business.
The most effective way to do this, is to collect data from a set of competitors; rather than a single website whom you feel is performing the best organically. We do this to understand a true reflection of keyword opportunity.
By using tools such as Ahrefs, Moz or SEMRush, you can quickly find hundreds (if not thousands) of keywords which could be commercially beneficial to your website.
Start by entering your competitor’s domain into the explorer.
Once you’ve navigated to your competitor’s list of keywords, it’s important that you have the following parameters set:
Exclude any competitor branded terms (although you can do this in your export)
Filter positions between 1-20 (page 1 and 2 of Google)
Now you have a full list of keywords that are clearly important to your competitor’s business. We target page 1 and 2 to find keywords which are in close proximity to page 1 which, with link-building efforts or on-page optimisation, we know we could take to page 1.
Another handy filter to apply is ‘KD’ (Keyword Difficulty, which you can find out more about here).
Use this filter to find keywords with potential and with low competition for quicker wins.
Be sure to identify the search volume for each keyword and then categorise your keywords.
This can be time consuming but it only needs to be simple - just put them into the category you would on your website. For example, a clothing website may have: shorts, socks, shirts etc as categories.
You can be more thorough with this if you wish by adding both a category and sub-category. For example, a category could be ‘accessories’ and a sub-category could then be ‘cufflinks’.
Another step is to determine whether or not the keyword has commercial or informational intent. This helps with understanding what is performing well for a competitor in terms of category, product or blog pages and allows you to hone in with your analysis.
If you’re unsure of the intent of a keyword, it pays dividends to do a quick scan of the SERPs and see what Google is returning.
For example, out of my keyword set used in the above images, I’ve taken the keyword ‘income protection’ and checked what Google is returning as the top result.
A featured snippet based on the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey. It’s also awesome to do this because you can find additional ways to absorb brand exposure (featured snippets) in a landscape where 0-click searches are becoming more popular.
Once you have this keyword set, make sure you delete all duplicate keywords, and then you will need to pull the rankings of the websites yours and the website you’re analysing (again, you will need a third-party tool to do this).
Now, you’re ready to roll. By downloading the spreadsheet at the end of this article, your keyword research document will look something like this example.
NOTE: You donot need to edit columns G-K and you can edit the CTR ref sheet accordingly if you wish to do so.
How to understand the document:
Column D – type of keyword
Column G – estimated traffic from ranking position
Column I – the additional traffic you can capture if you ranked 1st
Pulling the insight you want to beat your competitors
From this data you’ve collated, it’s important to identify where they’re performing well. Looking blindly at that data sheet will not lead you to any concrete answers unless you sort by estimated traffic (column G).
I’ve created some pivot tables on the ‘keyword opportunity clusters’ sheet, which allows you to see more clearly where a website is performing. Using the same data set as before, I can show you a few examples of what this will look like.
Note: Please make sure you refresh the data in the pivot tables to see your data.
The first pivot table shows you how a website’s rankings split down into opportunity groups. If your competitor’s website has a lot in the ‘quick win’ category then this means they’re ranking well from position 5-18 and you can quickly see where they can get a lot of extra traffic from. We find this group is the best to target if your remit is to improve organic traffic to a website due to the large shift in traffic to a site from position 5 to 1.
The more useful pivot table is the second one, which allows you to break down performance of a website by keyword category. It looks like the image below.
We can see in the third column that the estimated traffic is broken down by category and this shows where your competitor is strongest within your market.
Once expanded, you can see which keyword per category is performing best for a competitor.
The highlighted keyword shows the estimated traffic the website is getting from its current ranking, as well as the associated URL. Probably the most important part of this is the URL as this will be the starting point for your research.
The data you have collated so far can be used in a myriad of different ways. Maybe you’re after a competitor traffic/market share estimation, looking at how much incremental traffic your own website can gain from current positions and what URLs capture most estimated traffic. This can then lead to a ‘we implemented new content/technical changes on this page and it’s performing well’ argument, for example.
Identifying why they’re performing
From the work you’ve done so far, you’ll have an understanding of the following:
The URLs that are ranking for your competitor’s best performing keywords
Which keyword categories your competitor performs best for
Which URLs rank for the keywords they’re gaining most traffic from
How much traffic a competitor is gaining per keyword
Now identify what it is they’re doing to actually rank where they do
These are the most common things to address:
How many links each URL has – ignore domain level
Determine the quality of links – break down by authority link type; guest post, digital PR, natural, directory and use majestic SEO values (trust and citation flow)
Content quality difference – how much above the fold, targeting keywords with Meta titles, H1 tags etc.
Structured markup for snippets?
What is the brand difference?
Is their website technically fit for purpose?
Mortgage calculator example – do you have a working calculator that can compete with a competitor?
From answering these questions, you’ll have a clear idea of what it is you need to do to compete with your rivals.
With the use of this downloadable sheet, you will be able to identify top performing keywords, the URL that ranks, the estimated traffic your competitors getting and a good idea of market share (by using estimated traffic scores) for the keyword set you’re using.
The goal of this blog is to enable you to know where to start looking when beginning to understand your competitor’s performance.
Download your copy of the analysis template by clicking on the button below.
Disclaimer: It’s important to understand before reading this post, that the views are my own. I have been a mental health advocate for years and have personally suffered with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) since my late-teens. This post is in no-way an attempt to dissuade people from starting a career in digital marketing.
After my first trip to BrightonSEO, I came back feeling both refreshed and overwhelmed by the talent in the UK’s SEO industry. It was incredible to see the level of thinking and detail going into truly advanced SEO strategies that, in all honesty, blew me away.
Whilst I left Brighton with a new sense of ambition and desire to innovate, there was one talk in particular that resonated with me personally and it’s a topic I feel isn’t discussed enough in the search industry (or even as a whole) yet I believe it’s a subject that at some point in time, has impacted most of us.
Mental health. The perpetuating self-doubt that inherently follows the responsibility of getting it right for a client and living in fear that if you don’t get it right you could potentially damage someone’s livelihood or jeopardise your reputation as an SEO.
Personally speaking, this is something I have suffered with since progressing my career as an SEO and having the privilege of working with phenomenally talented people at Zazzle Media. When you’re surrounded by brilliant, innovative people, you can at times find yourself repeating the same questions: ‘Am I good enough?’ and ‘What happens if I get it wrong?’.
A mantra that can be hugely detrimental to how you view yourself as a professional but, in tandem, can cause you to become unnecessarily critical of other people’s work in an attempt to either cater to your damaged ego, or mask jealousy.
Thanks to a number of people at Zazzle, I’ve been able to build my confidence to a level I didn’t think achievable when I first started as an in-house SEO; all three-and-a-bit-years ago. If you find yourself asking these questions, I’ve outlined below a healthy routine to snap your mind out of doubt, and transition into a positive outlook.
Ignore the imposter
You can often find yourself in an infinite loop of self-deprecation if you continue to ask yourself; am I good enough? Should I be here? What if I fail?
Enter imposter syndrome.
The made-up version of you, that lives in your head, that makes you feel like you don’t belong.
You begin to create flaws in your personality, knowledge and skill-set that are, in reality, only a manifestation of your own thoughts; not of those around you. When we start questioning ourselves, we begin to withdraw from our surroundings. We create a toxic mental state that is fuelled by doubt.
The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to:
Stop comparing your work
Speak to your peers
Acknowledge your thoughts, but treat them as fleeting moments
Remember that you were employed for a reason
We have an amazing quote from Tennessee Watts, Comms Designer at Initiative about her experiences with imposter syndrome:
"I have experienced imposter syndrome a lot in my career - mainly due to my age and perceived lack of experience.
It was difficult for me to imagine that my strong academic ability would be able to translate into value-creating skills within the workplace. A really simple tip is to just talk about how you feel. You'll find that a lot of your colleagues are either in the same position, or have felt this way before.
One of my workmates told me that when she first started as a comms planner, she'd watch her manager complete complex tasks and think that she'd never be able to - but now (just a year later) she can. I found that really inspiring. After hearing that, I trusted that I would also be able to improve my skills within a few more months!"
Learn from your peers, drop the pride
I’ve started with this first because it was the part of my personality I found hardest to adapt.
I found myself feeling reluctant to speak with more experienced SEOs, in fear of feeling inept or being belittled. Unfortunately, I find that people criticising your abilities comes with the territory in digital marketing. But don’t let that deter you from asking questions.
Sure, you might ask a question that to some may appear obvious but at the core, most SEOs love showing off their expertise and the majority of people you speak to will offer you a much-needed helping hand.
Don’t let a few bad eggs mess up the entire batch.
Procrastination kills progress
How many times have you found yourself asking for validation on an idea more than a handful of times?
*awkwardly raises hand*
It doesn’t matter the size of client that I work with, I used to find myself asking time and time again, ‘does this sound right?’, ‘is traffic going to tank if I do this’? And the big one ‘it’s been a week, why aren’t rankings through the roof?’
The more you question your abilities, the more likely this is to develop into a habit. A habit that can turn into stress, overthinking and anxiousness. None of which are good for your health; mentally or physically.
If you find yourself stuck asking these questions, have a serious counter-argument prepared. Like this:
I’ve done the research, I don’t make decisions based on gut-feeling alone
I wouldn’t be trusted with delivering search strategies if I couldn’t do my job
If it does fail, that is not a reflection of my input
I’ve given it the best I can and I’m happy with my choices
Compartmentalise your life
We’ve all heard the saying ‘leave your problems at the door’ when you come into work, right?
Well, that saying also works when you leave the office. Don’t drag your search-induced-bad-mood home with you. This is in no way me discouraging anyone from opening up and talking about your problems. In fact, not opening up is almost guaranteed to accelerate any detriment to your health.
What I suggest is talk about your day from a neutral standpoint. Anger clouds judgement. If your mood is too turbulent when you first get home, then leave it alone until you’re ready to open up without emotions getting in the way of logic.
Stuart, our Head of Search and Strategy, has this to say:
“It's a mindset that can be toxic to one's personal life. What was once okay becomes sub-par and focus is drawn to the parts that are flawed instead the elements which are near perfect.
It's crucial therefore, that search professionals learn to compartmentalise how they view their work against the more artistic efforts of others, family life or those calm moments on downtime we all need but seldom treat ourselves to.
Remember to always strive to do your best but accept the limitations of time, energy and focus.
I've never worked in an industry so eager and willing to help and teach (for free) - we are all in this together, always seek help and advice when dark clouds loom.”
Master what you’re good at first
I echo Stuart’s point above about limitations of time, energy and focus.
I think we’re all guilty of trying to rush our rate of improvement. Whether that is by improving our knowledge by jumping from blog-to-blog or by testing too many new ideas. The problem is, too much of anything will make you sick, and you’ll find it incredibly hard to absorb much of anything.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, in any area of our lives. It’s important that we focus and develop our strengths and only acknowledge our weaknesses.
And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to be great at some things, good at others and, below average the rest. You don’t have to be anything other than what you want to be. If you want to become the master of featured snippets, do that, if you want to be the Queen of Index Management, become that!
Take what you know, develop that skill until you can do it almost subconsciously, and then move onto a new area. Rinse and repeat.
Believe in yourself, young SEO
I hope that this blog has, in some way, helped you realise that you’re not alone if you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough or that you don’t belong in the role.
The truth is, SEO as an industry is prone to have this effect on people. With high-levels of responsibility, working in solitude and trying to keep up with an always changing landscape, it can have you feeling like you’re always chasing your tail.
But, one key thought to always come back to is that you’ve made it this far. You didn’t get to where you are by not believing in yourself or by not knowing the difference between a canonical and a no-index tag.
You know your stuff, so, let the world see that and, if you fail, it’s a part of life. Don’t class your losses as losses, count them as a learning experience.
Behind the scenes at BrightonSEO with experts, speakers and John Mueller...
Welcome to part two of our podcast from BrightonSEO, where we speak to the attendees about what they perceive to be the biggest trends in SEO for 2019. Not only do we uncover what the people on the ground, working in the industry think, we also grabbed an interview with speakers from the day, about what they consider to be important for strategies this year. And finally, we speak to John Mueller, about what voice search means for the wider industry. You can listen to the full podcast below, and keep reading for the transcript.
What are the Biggest Trends in SEO? Behind the Scenes at BrightonSEO 2019 - SoundCloud (596 secs long, 7 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Hello, it's Ellie and Carris here from the content team at Zazzle Media, and welcome back to our BrightonSEO podcast series.
We are back from the conference now and reflecting on the SEO trends and challenges that we discovered on the day. First let’s hear from the attendees about what they consider to be recent SEO trends...
"Traffic going down! I’m joking of course, but one thing I’ve noticed is our clients had traffic losses from the March 12th update, and it seems to be that Google is targeting ad heavy sites, or sites with heavy ad pressure, so it will be more and more difficult for the publishing industry to generate money via advertising, and via SEO for the future."
"It’s not a new trend, per se, but I think keyword intent is becoming increasingly popular. As Google increasingly has sought out personalised searches, having an idea of total opportunity presented by certain searches, is something that we’re always looking at and refining. This needs to be as tight as possible, as a lot of the main tools in the space haven’t mastered that yet, so extract the data and filter the data, as it’s not always 100% accurate - I think this will get bigger over the next few years as well, with mobile search increasing, personalised search increasing, localised search - all different kinds of searches!"
"Really focusing sites from an indexation standpoint - if you have a big loaded site, and all your search results pages in, all random pages in, people who are focusing on cutting out a lot of the garbage by blocking them, those are the sites that are getting along better, through these big algorithm updates."
There’s lots to explore in this topic, so we caught up with some of the speakers from the event, and what they thought of the latest SEO trends.
Nils de Moor, CTO and Co-founder of WooRank
"So from my own experience, it’s not a trend yet, but there is growing interest in SEO at CDM level - Edge SEO, as it’s now known. Which will allow companies to separate SEO change requests and improvements from the technical team, bringing it closer to the marketeers and away from developers who are technically more on the technical stuff and are less aware of SEO changes!"
Carris: Do you think that will overcome general SEO challenges, or are there other SEO challenges that have yet to be resolved?
"There’s a couple of challenges it will overcome, performance is one, as it will help companies move faster in getting SEO changes implemented. I saw on the Moz blog that they asked how long does it take to get change requests live, but around 60% plus said it was 6 months or longer (you can find this result here, where 58% don’t anticipate seeing that change live for at least another 6 months), and so this will help get SEO changes actually in production very quickly."
Razvan Gavrilas, Founder of cognitiveSEO
"Scaling organic growth in an exponential way by doing correct content gap analysis and content optimisation. It’s something that a lot of people forget and only focus on gap analysis, about competitor rankings, but that is an incomplete answer. Both are important, you need to do both the content re-optimisation which is much easier for higher rankings instead of creating new content to rank. And creating new content obviously by doing proper keyword research and identifying correct opportunities and securing them by matching the search intent. Put yourself in the shoes of the searcher, think as the searcher, and then create content for that searcher, it’s very important to remember what the searcher needs."
Carris: Do you think that snippet content is able to capture all of that?
"I cover in my talk that there are 4 search intents, informational (to learn something quickly), navigational (to reach somewhere on a site), transactional (when you are buying) and quick knowledge (quickly problem solving) - Google tries to fulfil the necessity of the searcher and provides these snippets. In the quick intent one, a snippet is enough because you don’t need to go to the site to find out the time, you just want to know the time in London for example. If you want to go in depth then you will go in depth, in reality, very few go for this, but there are many many other answer boxes that will provide this information and then you will go in that
Please view this post in your web browser to complete the quiz.
to find out more, and that’s your informational intent instead of quick."
We found voice search cropped up a lot, here are some opinions...
Ellie: With snippets, do you think voice is going to become bigger and grow?
"Yeah I think voice is a huge area of interest, the user behaviour is new behaviour, not a migration of old user behaviour, which is I think a subtle difference that clients haven’t realised yet. It’s an exciting area, it’s not like we’ll immediately lose existing behaviour. I saw a study that said rich snippets weren’t actually that important for voice search - I don’t think that’s right, I just think they aren’t any more important than other types of organic search, and it’s still a continued area of importance as part of the overall mix."
"I think a lot of people are distracted by voice search right now - it’s a big shiny object and that people are focusing too much time on it, when many people still have basic SEO stuff wrong with their site."
We managed to catch up with the keynote speaker at BrightonSEO, who gave us his thoughts on voice…
John Mueller, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst
"I think one trend is around voice search, I think people are just very curious to see what is happening and I think it’s one of those areas where you have to try it out for yourself, try to interact with these devices, using your voice with these devices, to see where you could fit in and where maybe you don’t need to worry and say this is not the thing for my website, and focus on other things in the meantime."
Carris: We’ve been hearing a lot more about voice coming through, some people say its a phase, ignore it, and some people are saying no, focus your whole SEO strategy on creating snippet content for it. What’s your take on that?
"I think it depends quite a bit on the website. If you have content you can refine into these voice snippets, and you know people are searching for these snippets, then that makes sense! If you have content where people need to read a long article to understand more detailed information, then maybe voice is not the primary focus area for you."
Look out for our next podcast, where we catch up with Zazzle’s very on Head of Search and Strategy, Stuart Shaw, where he gives us an insight to his BrightonSEO training session on Long Tail Keyword Research.
When you delve into the internet properly, it’s insane to think just how much content, and more importantly, how many different content ‘types’ are out there. With the new ideas we come up with, it's so easy to miss what could be a viral opportunity for your content and it’s often hard not to turn full circle with them to start all over again! It’s worth trying to utilise - or attempt to at least - every type of piece of content to see what works for your campaign.
What is digital content?
Content is information: the sum of fresh, readable, relevant, and useful information for a reader on your site. And as with anything in the digital world, it has to look good too, in an easily digestible way.
Content marketing therefore, is the way you utilise that all important information - leveraging it in a way that your ideal customer will consume it. You can do this through a multitude of different ways - but first you need the content itself, and that's where this post comes in.
A great place to start would be to confirm the outcome you’re looking to reach with your content, a direct goal that you want to achieve.
There are four outcomes to strongly consider:
To entertain – this will have a strong emotional appeal to an audience, making it very shareable.
To educate – this will allow for a wide reach especially for those who might not be in the know about products or services just yet. Again, this is often very shareable.
To persuade – This is slightly more emotionally charged; content that gradually changes the mind of the consumer (I say consumer as persuasive content will often be used in a product sense).
To convert – Content that is more often than not rational rather than emotional as you will need a decision-making brain when considering what a conversion piece has to offer you.
Content is entirely dependant on the individual. Not everyone will be receptive to emotionally charged content but others might be more susceptible to the hard-hitting stuff. As a useful accompaniment to this list, we have put together a Brand as Publisher Toolkit to ensure you can fully harness the power of your content.
Examples of digital content
Here are 101 types of content you could try your hand at!
Infographics – This does what it says on the tin; a visual representation of data or information. It allows the stats or material you are talking about to be a lot more appealing to the reader.
Memes – They are hugely popular amongst millennials and Gen Z internet users. They are often videos and images with humorous text that typically go viral. A simple Google search will show you hilarious memes such as doge or Overly Attached Girlfriend.
Videos – Tend to be a couple of minutes long, allowing for a succinct explanation of whatever the videographer is trying to explain. This can be humour or learning based, and is great for everyone to enjoy.
Own Product Reviews – Everyone loves a personal opinion and so expressing this on your own platform allows your readers to gain an insight into what you may personally think of a product. If you run a blog, opinion is highly rated and nowadays followers are more likely to take your review over one written in a magazine.
External Product Reviews – This is similar, whether written on a particular product or company. Amazon and eBay are great examples of how your opinion on a product can change the minds of buyers.
User Generated Content – Any form of content; written, videoed, blog posts or discussions created by your consumers - Glossier do this particularly well.
How to Guides – These can range from topic to topic and can be simple or complicated. They enable a reader to completely understand how to use or build a product or system that they may not have recognised correctly to start with.
Lists – A hugely popular option due to the Buzzfeed effect. This particular example has more often than not been used for comedy purposes but of course, a list is an impactful way of covering any subject.
Live Video – This comes in the form of streaming live feeds of videos, particularly sporting events or interviews. Social media has really captured this in live videos and stories.
Live Chats – MSN Messenger was a great example of how live chat took off in the early 2000s. Conversation was streamed freely and easily and has been developed for the ever popular Facebook, for example. Chatbots are more and more common on websites for customer service support.
Photo Galleries – They say a photo speaks a thousand words, and it can often be a lot easier to explain things using an image than a bulk of text.
Link Pages – The accessible way for readers to reach other sites/blogs that you enjoy or recommend. If shared, they could return the favour.
Case Studies – Particularly common within a business to illustrate the principle of their brand or service. Also useful for pushing customers down your funnel as a B2B brand.
Client Testimonials – This is also very common within a business. As with reviews, it’s important for customers or potential clients to know why they should work with a brand. Testimonials enable trust to be put in the company.
Q&A – Question and answer sessions can be as formal and informal. Twitter is a great platform to open the floor up to users who may not ever get the chance to ask questions in a newspaper or magazine, for example.
Follow up to Q&A – The written format to your question and answer session. This could be insightful to those who missed the live event or still want more detail.
Guest posts – Allowing other bloggers to guest feature on your site.
Newsletters – Typically an email issued to subscribers (or at least nowadays!), featuring news and updates to products and the business in general.
'What to do' and 'what not to do' posts – Putting yourself in a position of knowledge can be great for readers. They want advice on where to go next, particularly in their jobs, personal lives, dress sense. A great example of this is Mark’s post on planning ahead.
Interviews – Similar to a Q&A session, however this is done one on one with the interviewee, asking a particular series of questions. This works particularly well for music and lifestyle blogs.
Research & Data – Does what is says on the tin; a whole load of statistics that might aid your readers, or yourself for that matter, in the future.
Build An App – As a way of announcing new content on your site or a new blog post creation.
Embedded Tweets – A snippet cut from Twitter that can be thought-provoking or funny, depending on the audience.
GIFS – Clips cut from videos, television and movies which users often embed within text to illustrate a point.
Ebooks – This can be a well-designed, shortened version of a book, or used to simply explain. Of course it’s usable on an iPad or any handheld device as well as your computer.
Comics/Cartoons – Are a fun and informal way to illustrate your point, even if it’s a serious topic!
Content Visualisations – Not as full blown as infographics, but just as hard hitting with information – check some out here.
Digital Events – Events, such as Digital Olympus, or a day of webinars for brands can be used to help customers or educate those who would like to learn more.
Online Events Roundups– For those who may not have attended your events, documenting it in some detail to give a good overview can be very useful.
Give Kudos – Showing admiration for a brand or company can increase traffic to your blog/website, and could potentially allow for them to reciprocate the respect they might have for you.
Create useful spreadsheets or docs – Let’s be honest, everyone loves a good spreadsheet, and that sort of organisation does not go unnoticed. Organisation can often make or break a relationship with a customer and it’s important for that neatness to resonate through your entire business.
Images – A pretty obvious piece of content if ever there was one!
Podcasts – Usually available in a series that you can subscribe to, they are audio files available to listen to.
Create A Chrome Extension – Depending on your target audience, creating an extension for a particular niche might prove useful to your brand.
Slideshares – Available online, here, you are able to upload slideshows and decks for yourself or to share amongst customers and clients.
Online Games – Everyone has had the opportunity to experience this. Online games are available at a simple Google search and even on Facebook… Anyone for a game of Farmville?
Competitions – Extremely popular amongst bloggers, many use Rafflecopter to ensure that picking a winner is fair. Using such a system can often mean shares, increasing the visibility of your site.
Company news – Solely based around the goings on in a business/company, this can include company updates, and any topics that will affect customers of that business. This will usually be emailed automatically to those subscribed, much like a newsletter.
Company goals and targets – Depending on whether targets and goals change within a business, it is possible to set them out within their company news, or within a separate landing page on the company’s website. Having clear targets as a business ensures the customer that you have goals.
Company Performance – Everyone enjoys seeing positivity, and stating this for all to see, be it the website or news, allows a company to show why it would be great for you to work with them.
Timelines – Gather a large amount of information in a concise fashion. Dipity is a great source for creating this sort of content.
Interactive Demos of own products – A quick demo featuring a product of yours can do the world of good for your site. Everyone wants to know exactly how something works, and if you’re able to offer them this service, you cut out the questions that a demo would solve instantly.
Free tools – Offering simple but effective tools to readers, for free, means that you’re offering a service that is needed. MajesticSEO allows you to access the very basic details, but despite this, they are the details most look for. This means individuals return to the site over and over to make use of the tool.
Paid Tools – Often, a site or company is in need a tool that may change the way they work completely. Tools such as SEMRush offer a free trial and then paid service that can be endlessly helpful.
Webinars – Offering readers the chance to partake or watch a webinar of something useful that they may relate to means that depending on the niche, it will be seen by many. If you are skilled in your field, many will jump at the chance at taking part or being able to hear what you have to say.
Blog Posts – Those entries to your blog, like a diary: if you weren’t entirely sure!
Newsjacking – Using an event to attract positive exposure to your brand. Depending on what the event is, this could work great. For example, during Hurricane Sandy, Duracell was able to deploy charging stations to the affected areas. They released this video, showing just how amazing the brand was at pulling people together.
Personal Opinions – When you’re used to writing extremely thought out content, a personal opinion post might allow your readers to see a different side of you, which is often very refreshing. Honesty is widely accepted within the blog community, which means shares, and exposure!
Free resource – Everyone loves something for free, and if you’re able to offer information or templates that can get your readers from point A to B without hesitation, they will always return.
Interactive Content – We want content to grab our attention and what better way to this than to get your readers involved? The whole idea of interactive content is exciting, most users will stick around on your site to try it.
Offline Magazines – The good old print publication. Unfortunately, digital has grown gargantuan over the last couple of years, meaning the magazine is slowly dying out.
Online magazines – Digitally based magazines are now available on computers and even tablets, which means the interactive content shown within them is something much like a pop up book; very entertaining!
Pinterest Posts – For more arts and crafts based users, you are able to pin inspirational images to boards that are completely related to you or events in your life.
Instagram Posts – For the younger demographic, Instagram is totally image based alongside hashtags, meaning increased visibility to your page. If you are a 16-30 years based site, Instagram is a great way to reach your readers and can also be a feed to the site whenever you post, so readers won’t miss any new photos.
Reddit User Creation – Depending on your niche and how well you are able to represent yourself, being a thought leader in your field may mean any content you share within your Reddit profile can potentially become holy grail, making you an authority in your niche.
Maps – Documenting travel or research data that could be widespread.
Stories – This could be personal experience or creative writing, and content that is developed into a story can work well. Storybird is a great example, whereby you’re able to create your very own virtual book.
Points Proven Through Analogies – Extended metaphors or analogies are great to explain your point more thoroughly, or shed a different angle on something that might be difficult to explain straight on.
Book Reviews – Great content as these allow you to give your personal take on whatever you’re reading. It positions yourself as a thought leader in your field; what you have to say may be of value. For this to work, focus on new releases/pre-releases/interviewing the author.
Product Reviews – Similar to book reviews, you may need to establish the brand/business you’re giving recognition to as this could be picked up on and may work in your favour. Providing your recommendation may put you in a great position for the future.
Micro Blog Posts – Brief or short 'n' snappy posts that enables the user to send quick updates. Twitter, for example, only allows you to use 140 characters.
Quizzes – Are often fun, light-hearted questions that could possibly determine just how sassy you are or what character you are out of Breaking Bad. Buzzfeed is a mine for quizzes, which is just why they do so well.
Vlogs – Vloggers have taken over the world recently, with the likes of Zoella making an appearance at every corner. Vlogs are video blogs, and can be filmed for any niche. Often, this may work better for you, depending on what you focus on.
Screencasts – Often with customers, a run through is needed if they are unsure of how to use a tool, and when you’re not able to do it face to face, you can show them just what they need to do through a screencast.
Screenshots – A quick and simple CMND SHIFT 3 (or the classic print screen button on Windows), means you’re able to grab your screen and turn it into an image.
Music Videos – Many find songs a lot more memorable than spoken word or chunks of text. Depending on your niche, this could work great for your site.
Mind Maps – Planning out or organising what you need to do for a project. Mind maps enable to you to get the most out of your ideas, and can only mean the best possible content ideas are used for your blog or website.
Personal Bios – Allow for readers to get a real feeling for the person behind the blog/website. Generally, they are of an informal nature to get on a personal level with your readers.
Aggregation of articles – Is a great way of keeping readers interested in your blog. Think of this as a strung together story; you need different aspects to be discussed within each article to come together in a final piece.
Book Summaries – Extremely self explanatory; a break down of a book that you might like to discuss on your site.
Giveaways – Everyone loves something for free. You can run a giveaway from a variety of different platforms such as social media. Promoting your giveaway on different social media platforms can build up a following and in turn increase your brand awareness.
Illustrations – Illustrations are a great way of putting your opinion across, in a humorous or educational way. Often, illustrations are a lot more light-hearted than a big paragraph of words, as well as being a much more creative approach to discussing a point.
News Releases – Directly targeted to those working within the news industry, a news release is sent across to inform them of updates surrounding a particular story that might be of interest to them. This PR approach to news can work amazingly well depending on your client, and more importantly, the niche that they are situated in.
Public Service Announcements/Video Public Service Announcements – Typically targeted for educational purposes, PSA’s (and video PSA’s) are extremely impactful when it comes to highlighting issues and concerns amongst a large group of people.
Quotes – Words spoken by another person, used often to make a point. Quotes are a great way of discussing things as they are relative to everyone. They are great as used on a personal level, particularly on a blog.
Inspirational Messages – Are a great way of motivating and bring a positive attitude to your blog. People are often at a loss when it comes to their personal life, acting as a big brother or sister can make you be seen as an influential and thought driven character.
Humorous and light-hearted images and captions – Again, very self explanatory. No one likes to be serious all the time. Bringing humour into a situation can bring the severity of a topic right down. For hard-hitting subject, this is great.
Audio Recordings – Auditory works of yours that can be used to podcasts, for example. These recordings are often a compilation of audio content.
PDFs – Lots of PDFs take the form of an ebook but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Providing a PDF with information for everyday use can then be seen as the 'go to' resource for that information.
Literary works – This can be defined as creative writing or general writing, personal to you and compiled. Your blog can be described as your literary works.
Vines – Short seven second videos don’t give you much time to sell a product, but a number of seven second videos allows you to build up a brand, show off your products or just entertain.
Cost Sheet – As a business that sells, your model may mean that you don’t have prices on your website and it’s important to have this. If you’re in the process of developing this, seeing what your competitors are doing is a great option.
Promoted Post – Bloggers, in particular, are offered items or gifts from events that might be a way of payment, so to speak, for writing a post regarding the item or a post with the item incorporated. They are often discussed within a disclaimer page.
Disclaimers – Generally a page placed on blogs (particularly fashion related blogs) to discuss the ads and gifted items that they may receive. This will also be where copyright topics will be spoken about.
QR Code – Slightly out-dated now but still a way to bring offline, online. A QR code can be scanned on your phone to bring up offers or links to your product/website.
Plug ins – Creating a plugin is not something that takes five minutes and is very dependant on your niche. Creating a useful plugin for your clients, customers and even people who aren’t is a great way to gain awareness.
Associates (and partners) – This is similar to a resource page but linking to companies and other affiliates you have can mean they return the favour.
Comments – A way of communicating with readers and those who wish to discuss topics relating to posts that you may have published. It’s a great way to express your opinion in a quick fire way, or to express your liking of the post. The more you read and comment on blogs, the more the blogger is more likely to notice you; creating that virtual relationship with them could always work in your favour in the future.
Media Mentions – Showing screen grabs of media mentions is a great way to show off! There is also the option to embed tweets and Facebook posts from the media outlets.
Personal Opinion Predictions – Giving your own opinion on a matter can sometimes be hard to do, especially if you are going against other people’s opinions. Doing this can sometimes cause a stir but in turn, raise awareness of you and your brand.
Resource Page – These pages can have links to other..
Financial content doesn’t have to be dry, serious and well... boring. You can write for the financial industry while keeping it light, informative and knowledgeable, providing people with engaging content that leads them to using your service or buying into your product. This post is for those working in the financial industry, starting fresh when it comes to creating engaging content for the site.
Zazzle Media has written for a number of financial clients over the years and has seen great success with the points below. Feel free to use this post to inform your work moving forward, to ensure you’re writing the content your potential customers need and want, as well as hitting your own targets.
Here’s what to consider when writing financial content:
Google’s ranking algorithm dictates whether a piece of engaging content is considered to be worthy enough to rank high. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness - three very important factors to consider when it comes to financial content. The information you provide your audience should come from a trustworthy source and should remain neutral to ensure you’re not pushing your product on those who don’t necessarily require it.
Create content with these three points in mind and you’ll see an uplift. The main bulk of the articles you create should appeal to the user’s needs, giving them the main points and going into detail where necessary.
What you’re writing about should also be relevant to your industry, you can stretch a little - for example, a loan company discussing how to increase the value of your home (if they offer loans for home improvement). You wouldn’t start writing about money saving recipes in your main guides section - but you could branch out into this on your blog, but don’t expect to rank particularly high.
YMYL stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ content - and no we’re not seeping into the realms of Adam Ant here, creating stand and deliver style guides. This principle, however, is very important when it comes to financial content, Google uses YMYL to determine if a page could have an impact on an individual’s life and therefore low-quality content won’t do well. Financial content definitely falls under this remit, as the content you write can have a real effect on a person’s life and future. The search engine’s expectations for these types of pages is incredibly high to ensure people are receiving correct and useful information, so in order to rank you must be providing content that benefits the customer and if there are commercial elements these should simply support the message.
Know who your audience is
Whether you offer short-term loans for emergencies or personal loans that can be used for home improvements or a new motor, you need to understand who you’re talking to. An individual who needs help in an emergency situation isn’t going to read hugely lengthy pieces of content, they want the facts, they want to know whether they’re eligible and how much they can borrow. However, someone considering a loan for a house extension will be interested in a 3,000-word guide featuring detailed steps to follow to complete it successfully and how to save money along the way.
Look into your current customer database to understand the average ages, sex and background of those who require your product. That way you can write content that appeals to them.
You may want to be a thought leader in your field - all brands do - but your audience should still be at the forefront of your mind. Keep things simple, explain important elements in detail and cover all bases - if it comes to mind while you’re writing it then it needs to go in.
What does your audience need?
Understanding your demographic can help you better understand what they’re hoping to get from your content. Are they simply looking for advice on a financial subject? Do they need to understand what a certain product involves or how it works? Are they dealing with an urgent situation and need fast, to the point information?
You need to know what your audience needs before you begin. A customer base that wants a simple list of loan examples to consider and how much this could cost, doesn’t want a detailed explanation of what APR is - in fact, no one really does, not even those who write for the financial industry.
Nail your tone of voice
Andrew Brookes here at Zazzle Media recently penned a post around tone of voice and how to do it right, noting that many brands over generalise with expectations such as ‘the content needs to sound human’ or it should be ‘helpful’. Here is a helpful point to consider when pulling together a tone of voice brief:
Look around - what big name brand or even a TV show do you compare yourself with? Andrew uses a great example of a food brand and whether they would consider themselves to be more Masterchef or Bake Off. Both are shows centred around cooking and competition but each offers the viewer something a little different. Bake Off is warm and fuzzy, while Masterchef gives us a glimpse into the cold hard world of professional kitchens.
Take a look around and consider who you want to be like, what their tone of voice conveys and adapt this into your own.
Create a strategy that meets your objectives
A strong strategy is important. Creating engaging content that targets search is good to have but you need to ultimately understand what your audience needs from you and how this ties into that all-important funnel.
Your strategy should focus on the services or products you want to increase awareness of but also still offer potential customers something they need.
For example, let’s say you’re a banking brand. You’re online and mobile-only and relatively new to the scene. A campaign around ‘How to Live the Easy Life’ would go down well with those 20-30 something millennials you know you appeal to. Here’s an idea of what it could involve:
The campaign is intended to offer millennials everything they need to make their everyday life easier. It features guides, has survey data to back it up, always ties back to money and making the right financial decisions. Ideas for engaging content you could create include:
A listicle featuring the best apps every millennial needs for money management (featuring your banking app of course), travel, time management and eating out.
Money-saving tricks for travel featuring advice on railcards, best times to book flights, how to pack a cabin suitcase to save on luggage charges etc.
A comprehensive guide to managing money when you want to go on holiday, want a new car, are saving for something big, need a new wardrobe, are planning a wedding or moving house.
A guide on how to make money fast, featuring interviews with entrepreneurs and people who work with franchises on how to get started.
A survey asking people questions such as how they manage money, where they seek advice when it comes to money management and how long they’ve been with their current bank. This data then feeds a write-up feature that can be seeded out to journalists and financial titles, as well as supporting an infographic highlighting the most interesting stats.
All of this content helps establish your brand as a forward thinker, one that understands its audience and strives to offer advice that isn’t already available. Speaking to experts and a survey to use as support is necessary to ensure it’s a campaign that stands out. Also, ensure you can get it designed so it looks attractive, works on mobile and is easy to find from the homepage.
Alongside this campaign strategy, you can be creating everyday guides and blogs that feed into it and can be linked back to. A campaign piece of content talking about credit cards can easily link back to your main credit card information page, pointing people towards the product if they need it.
You should also consider social, this campaign is a great piece to share on there but don’t forget about the other stuff too. Those following your page want to know more about your product so ensure you’re posting those blogs about the latest deals or updates to APR.
Have you done enough research?
Not to sound condescending but it’s likely, as the copywriter or new marketing manager, that you won’t necessarily be an expert in the industry you now work for.
This is where those who have worked there for a long time can help, lean on them for guidance when it comes to discussing the finer details, refer to expert financial sites such as The Money Advice Service if anything you’re writing about refers to Government legislation or legal aspects and ensure you check and check again before anything goes live.
Get your hands on all the documents and legal documentation you can get your hands on, sit down with the compliance team to nail what you can and can’t say - ask them to explain things in layman's terms - and understand the product and industry fully before you begin.
Don’t hide behind jargon
Compliance might like it - as it’s the official wording - but your audience likely won’t understand it or think you’re not writing with them in mind. You don’t need to dumb things down, just ensure you take a moment to explain anything that isn’t common knowledge and remember that those looking for your content likely don’t know anything about it, so you need to cover all bases. Clearly label each section and they can skip the ones they don’t need to read.
A good example of this is referring to payments as a CPA. Many people don’t know what this means - Continuous Payment Authority - or how it differs from the regular old Direct Debit we’re all accustomed to. Whenever you mention CPAs, always take a moment to clarify what they are even if you’ve covered it in a guide before - or create a dedicated page on the subject that you can link back to if people want to understand what it is.
Analogies are valuable to use in financial content, especially if you’re dealing with something particularly confusing or taxing. For example, you could explain what interest is by likening it to American tax rules i.e. you’ve got the set price on the label but then you have to add some more money to the final cost when you get to the counter.
Don’t be afraid to use lists
People like lists because they give us all that important info we need in a succinct and easy to digest manner. That’s why Buzzfeed got so big all those years ago - listicles. I recommend breaking down what you’re going to cover in a list at the top of the page - Google likes that as well - then going on to break each point down in a section with a clear H2.
Where is the content sitting on the site?
You need to understand where the content is going to feature, as this affects how you approach it. Blogs naturally lend themselves towards lighter, less serious content but sometimes your site may only offer this as a place to upload content which may be where categories come into play. Categorising your blog into more serious financial issues and lighter, lifestyle content is a good way to begin, even if you deal with debt management or IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements) your content doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
What are competitors writing about?
When it comes to competitors, it’s important you take a look at the content they’re creating. You’ll find that many in the industry go down a very narrow commercial route, strapping their brand message loosely onto a subject unrelated to what they offer in a bid to get people on the site - but those who do this are only going to see higher bounce rates.
You’ll also spot the competitors doing it right, creating content that appeals, is in depth and comes from an expert source. When it comes to looking around at what others are up to, here are some points to consider.
Are they taking the featured snippet?
If there’s a particular keyword you want to rank for, it’s worth looking at who is currently taking the featured snippet for it. Let’s say you’re a loans company, who wants to rank for the term ‘how to improve credit score’ - type that term into the search bar and we find that Clearscore currently has that snippet.
It’s a short, snappy listicle style piece and it’s likely the headers are formatted to read as a numbered list so Google understands that it’s providing everything readers need.
Make yours better. If you can, go deeper. Get an expert to weigh in and provide a comment to feature in the piece or bear in mind that Google loves tables. You could look to include one of these for each point listing the score ranges and what they equate to across the credit reference agencies. You could also create a table that features everything that can impact a credit score good and bad or one that lists the types of credit you can take out that can improve your score over time. Offer readers everything they need in one place and search engines will understand that you should be climbing those ranks and worming your way into the snippet box.
Are they doing comparison pages?
The financial industry isn’t afraid to cross-examine and compare. Loan companies, for example, are very good at creating comparison guides looking into what each other offer and why their brand is better or the right choice for the reader. Take a look around to determine what others are saying, whether they’re comparing your brand and create your own to try and claw back any authority they’ve taken from you with their pages.
Read the comment sections
Head to competitor forums, the comments sections on their blog posts and social media to find out what customer pain points are. You can then tailor your content to answer their queries for those who need help in the future.
Use a tool to ensure you’re nailing keywords
Keywords are still important of course, after all why write content for a site without search in mind? There are tools out there that can help you nail your functional content, to ensure it stands a good chance of ranking amongst the greats on page one.
Ryte is one example, slap your content into this tool to understand which words you’re featuring enough of and what you need to add to optimise your content as best you can before it goes live. It takes a look at what is already ranking for the keyword you’re targeting to create its suggestions, then you can tweak and hone your text until it’s as good as it can be.
Are you dealing with sensitive subjects?
Money can be tough to deal with and in some cases, people can get into financial difficulty and need your support or guidance on how to rectify an issue. Ensure your tone, in this case, is sympathetic and that you point them towards the right contact pages or where to find more information on the subject.
Write something you would want to read, take a step back to put yourself in their shoes and ensure you offer everything they need to move forward. Ensure those pages discussing sensitive subjects avoid commercial aspects, they should be there to advise.
Are you pointing them towards free and impartial advice?
Unless you are a financial advice service you should always be pointing readers towards free and impartial experts who can offer the advice they need. StepChange, PayPlan, The Money Advice Service and The Samaritans are all good places to start for a range of issues - namely debt.
Write about the subject in a natural order
Your reader has found your page, clicks through and starts to read but you haven’t considered their thought process or what stage they are at with their situation.
Let’s say, they need money to fund dental treatment and you’ve started the piece talking about how they can reduce the chances of needing work done in the future. They don’t want to know that, they want to know how much things are likely to cost and what steps to take to find the cash they need.
However, don’t be afraid to do small detailed breakdowns throughout - if you’re discussing how they can borrow money from family and friends go into detail about how this can save them money on interest but also that it could impact relationships.
Also, always bear in mind that you’re not their first port of call, they don’t want to turn to you first and are looking for another option to try before coming back if it doesn’t work. Offer them the logical steps they need to follow first then direct them to your services if they need expert help.
Here’s an example of how I would breakdown a blog on how to improve the chances of getting a loan, if I had a bad credit score.
I would consider the reasons why people may have a bad credit score and perhaps list them out, detailing how serious they are and how badly they can impact a credit report.
I would point them towards the credit reference agencies and break down how to analyse their credit report. I’d suggest where they can get this for free and how to handle any errors or issues they want to challenge.
I’d then detail the ways in which they can improve their credit score, listing simple fixes such as enrolling on the electoral register or ensuring their address is correct to taking on a 0% interest credit card to build up their rating or how to speak to a creditor they have defaulted on to rectify the issue.
I’d list what loans the brand offer, how they work and the benefits - especially if there is soft search involved and a no-risk instant decision.
I’d finish by pointing them towards a free and impartial advice service, to ensure if they do need help with debt or money they know where to turn.
Ready to write that financial content? Consider these points and ensure those potential customers have everything they need to view your brand as a thought leader, a helpful place to turn to in an emergency and ultimately where they can go for their financial needs.
As a long term partner of the now iconic BrightonSEO event, Zazzle Media is always looking at ways to improve and extend the learnings taken from the event.
And for the first time ever we are launching not just a ‘top tips’ round up but podcast coverage - a three part series of takeaways from the event.
This week we kick off with our intro and event roundup, which you can find below, alongside our top tips from several Zazzlers that attended...
Behind the Scenes at BrightonSEO 2019 - SoundCloud (627 secs long, 30 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Our takeaways from BrightonSEO
Sam Rice - Strategy
This was my 4th time at BrightonSEO and this year was the best yet without a doubt. A great mixture of talks appealing to everyone from beginner to marketing manager to full-on SEO Jedi. I’m relatively new to the digital world with just 2 ½ years’ experience so it’s great to get out into the digital community and mingle - taking in all the experience people have to offer.
As a Strategy lead, BrightonSEO really solidified my belief that the most important aspect of a campaign is that we utilise all tools at our disposal to generate a strategy and report on the success of them - and the BrightonSEO event offers a great way of interacting face to face with the minds behind the tool.
Top tip from the day: Understanding your tools is key to proving ROI for any campaign. Read about your tool updates, and do some in-depth research on it's capabilities. Some people only scratch the surface of what is possible, so once you have a grasp of the wider functionality, you will find it much easier to prove your successes.
Tom Wilkinson - SEO
BrightonSEO was vibrant as always; there was a strong focus on the current advancements for data-driven SEO strategy and innovation round tackling Technical SEO issues. It was interesting to see a range of different companies from an array of sectors, and well-known third party tools provided new insights into functionality.
I think April's BrightonSEO showed that search is so much more than just the basics and SEO's have adapted to a new way of delivering data insights and innovation - meaning they can provide clients with reliable, in-depth reporting and strategic angles.
Top tip from the day: Keep on top of innovation in the industry, sometimes it moves so fast that it does feel like you are constantly chasing your tail - but your brand or client will thank you for it! Start with in-depth reporting: figure out what your most important KPI's are and then find the tools and information which will support you in achieving these goals.
Ellie Roddy and Carris Boast - Content
We attended BrightonSEO in order to roam around the event and speak to the attendees to discover what they like about this particular conference, what they learned on the day as well as wider SEO trends and challenges. One of the key things we noticed was that it isn't specifically for those that work in SEO roles as we had previously assumed. There were actually people from a range of departments including content, marketing and PR across various industries which just goes to show the impact SEO strategy has on the success of campaigns from start to finish.
One of the comments that stood out to us on the day came from Ken McGaffin, Head of Marketing at Majestic - you can hear him on the podcast! He said it's interviews with people and stories that make content come alive because we are all interested in what others say. He thinks it is easy to forget to involve people and therefore content writers need to understand they need SEO but must add to that with a human interest angle for a winning formula.
Top tip from the day: If you’re working in SEO, you should first think about how your own team work together but also how they work with other teams in the business. You could send out an anonymous feedback survey to the wider teams to see where you could improve relationships. This way, ideas are not lost through bad communication and campaigns can run smoothly and effectively. This is why we think the biggest takeaway is the importance of collaboration.
Mark Chisholm - SEO
After the long drive down to Brighton, it was nice to be able to grab a seat in the upper wings of the main auditorium just in time for the 'Snippets and Schema' session. With a sea of what felt like a thousand laptop screens glowing in the darkness of the auditorium below me, the anticipation was building for me, being a BrightonSEO newbie. Izzi Smith kicked off proceedings with a very engaging talk on 'Driving Meaningful Clicks with Enriched SERPs'.
For the next session, I had already placed a big star on the 'Crawl Management' talk in my itinerary as being one to visit. I clearly wasn't the only one looking forward to this talk as even arriving early it was standing room only in the smaller syndicate room. For me, this 'Crawl Management' session was the highlight of the day. Areej AbuAli's talk took a complete 180 degree turn from talking in depth about an SEO framework she had visualised, to challenges faced from a client management perspective in getting it implemented.
It was also great to spend some time hanging around the Zazzle Media stand, feeling the general buzz of the event and seeing our team interacting with some excited digital managers. Until next time BrightonSEO!
Top tip from the day: The Crawl Management talk gave a valuable reminder to all SEO's that no matter how perfect your vision is, just as important in your thinking should be your clients needs, capabilities and in some instances, the politics of their organisation. Start an open and honest conversation with your clients about this now, so that campaigns don't hit any roadblocks. Or if you are in-house, consider what you have time for, and what the biggest priorities are for your brand - this 'big picture' thinking will allow you to prove results in the most crucial areas.
Keep an eye out for some more podcasts coming soon, where we talk to John Mueller - a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, and BrightonSEO's April keynote speaker! - about the state of the SEO industry, and we also speak to our very own Stuart Shaw about his Long Tail Content Strategy training session! You can find our previous podcasts on our Soundcloud.
The most complained about advert of 2017 didn’t reinforce gender stereotypes nor was it an issue to do with race - it ‘disrespected a chicken’. The KFC advert, which received 755 complaints, saw said chicken dancing to DMX, X Gon' Give It To Ya.
In 2017 alone the Advertising Standards Agency received 29,997 complaints, primarily for content that was deemed offensive. However, out of the 10 that received the most, only two were actually removed - the chicken wasn't one of them.
The Whole Chicken - YouTube
Being offended by advertising - and taking the time to complain about it - isn't new but the woke world we live in today - and the instant and wide-reaching nature of social media - has only presented marketers with a whole new problem.
The word itself dates back to the 1800s when it simply meant, not asleep. It was in 1962 that it began to be used in a more politicised context by African-American communities and was later popularised - particularly #StayWoke which was first used on Twitter 10 years ago - by the Black Lives Matter movement, to encourage people to be aware of the oppression many still face.
Over time this has become a slang term that is far more widely used. MTV actually listed 'woke' as one of its top 10 slang words for 2016. The more mainstream the word has become, the more it has been used out of context which is why, over time, it has become synonymous with ‘being offended by everything’.
The effects are being seen across creative industries. Inbetweeners' actor James Buckley said 'it's cool at the moment to be offended by stuff' when commenting that his show wouldn't be so well received today. While the Spice Girls are reportedly re-writing their lyrics to ensure they are politically correct ahead of their upcoming tour.
The risk of causing offence
It's primarily this slang use of the word woke that is causing marketers issues. And, while the woke world as a whole may not necessarily be offended by everything, as has been implied, one of the biggest problems you face is that someone may well be.
TfL has been at the centre of many debates around marketing and what is appropriate for them to display. It has been proposed that they ban junk food advertising and they faced backlash following the 'Beach Body' campaign from Protein World. Chris MacLeod, customer director at TfL, told The Drum: “If we took account of every complaint, we might never run any advertising”.
This is the same issue marketers themselves have. But, this shouldn't mean they need to create boring content or avoid taking any risks. It is more a case of common sense - is your content targeting specific demographics for ridicule or belittling a topic people are passionate about? This isn't only unfair on those it's aimed at, it could have hugely negative implications for your brand.
Creating content for the woke world
So, how do you create content for those that are ready to call out the slightest grievance?
Ensure your marketing team is diverse
Before anything else you need to look at the team creating the content - how can you possibly appeal to mothers, young ethnic women or gay men - for example, if those people aren't involved in the first place or if your ideas come from people with similar background and outlook.
A diverse team that brings together people from all walks of life will help to avoid offensive ideas getting any further than that - just an idea. But, at the same time, they'll also help to give a better understanding of different communities and offer a new perspective. As a result, far from offending certain groups of people, you'll be in a position to appeal to them.
This will hopefully avoid campaigns such as Nivea's 'White is Purity' and Co-op's call for parents to 'treat your daughter for doing the washing up' that were seen to have racist and sexist tones.
Take a step back and look at it through 'woke' eyes
H&M was called out last year for its new kids clothing range that included a green hoodie with the slogan 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle'. It wasn't the hoodie that necessarily caused the outrage but rather their choice to have a black model wear it.
It received a huge amount of backlash and both the image and the hoodie itself were removed. But, not before stores in South Africa were vandalised and The Weekend and rapper G-Eazy pulled out of their individual collaborations with the clothing company, with the latter describing the image as 'disturbing'.
Reportedly even the young boy’s parents didn't believe this to be an act of racism and it's doubtful H&M intended it to be. But, this is why it's important to step back and look at what you are creating from the consumers perspective to avoid such oversights.
Be very careful when it comes to humour
Humour is incredibly subjective and more often than not, it is attempting to be funny that can border on offensive.
Instead of laughing at potential consumers, fellow store, John Lewis was at the butt of Lidl's joke over Christmas.
They jumped on the hashtag #EltonJohnLewis and used it as an opportunity to suggest that their own keyboard could be purchased far cheaper. John Lewis joined in with the joke, responding with 'it's a Lidl bit cheaper' and a link to their 'My First Piano' product.
Humour is the perfect way to show that your brand has a personality, so long as it is used in the right way. Be able to poke fun at yourself is better than picking on others.
Troll the trolls
Brands have been doing a really good job on social media recently of calling out the hypocrisy of some of the pre-woke generation. You know the type. These are people who claim anyone who stands up to outdated views is a 'snowflake’, when they themselves are outraged by the most insignificant things.
Food chains including McDonald’s, Greggs and Pizza Hut have been particularly witty.
Off the back of Piers Morgan's outrage at Greggs vegan sausage roll, all three brands used it as an opportunity to not only troll him but market their own vegan products.
When Morgan tweeted: “Nobody was waiting for a vegan bloody sausage, you PC-ravaged clowns,” Greggs simply hit back with: “Oh hello Piers, we've been expecting you.”
What followed was a clever example of marketing by several brands.
The best way to do this is to be reactive - some of the most successful marketing has been in response to something, that has taken no time, money or thought. The opportunity has just presented itself and brands have been quick enough to jump on it.
Brands have the perfect platform to change the way certain groups are thought about. The British Army, for example, used its most recent recruitment ads to show that this generation has exactly the skills they are looking for.
They took negative descriptions used for Gen Z such as 'phone zombies,' 'selfie addicts' and 'me me me millennials' to show that they needed their focus, confidence and self-belief. Rather than being a weakness, these are seen as strengths.
This is also the perfect way to point out how ridiculous and unfair many long-held stereotypes are.
Be controversial for the right reasons
Questionable content isn't always an oversight. You know what they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity. No doubt some content is created specifically to shock and ensure it is noticed and talked about it.
But, is it worth it to cause offence that genuinely hurts feelings and helps to cement stereotypes and negative opinions? Don't be controversial for the sake of it - do it to open eyes that are still closed to the issues that are faced today.
Iceland’s Banned TV Christmas Advert... Say hello to Rang-tan. #NoPalmOilChristmas - YouTube
Iceland, for example, created an anti-palm oil advert that was banned because it was deemed too political.
The supermarket worked with Greenpeace on the animated festive campaign which portrayed the destruction of an orangutan's rainforest home as a result of palm oil.
Although it wasn't allowed to be shown on TV, it was actually viewed more than 65 million times online, gaining even wider awareness for the cause.
Get behind a good cause
On a near daily basis, we are faced with images of our oceans filled with plastic, turtles suffocating from beer can rings constricting around their neck, polar bears facing extinction due to melting ice caps - to name just a few.
We want change and we are a generation empowered to make sure it happens. We are determined to fight for equality, reduce our plastic and make steps towards reversing climate change.
So, appeal to the woke generation by helping to make these changes, to the issues that really matter to them, happen. Not everyone is aware of the severity of the issues that face us today - brands can use their platform to help with awareness while building their own in an ethical way.
McDonalds teamed up with Mother Pukka, a mummy blogger who campaigns for flexible working with Flex Appeal. Writing on Instagram, Anna Whitehouse, said: "We started looking into companies who you guys had told us had good flexible working policies – to help us take our message further. The one that kept coming up was McDonald’s... Firstly, we’ll be working with them on our ‘Let’s Talk About Flex’ events. The aim is to spread the message and get offline and into real life with this." This would start with free events at McDonald’s restaurants that included one-to-one meetings with flexible working experts.
Similarly, Marigold worked with Coppafeel to help raise awareness of breast cancer by including a boob-checking guide with their gloves.
Meanwhile, Adidas released a collection made from recycled ocean plastic and has committed to only using recycled plastic by 2024. They are just one of many brands that are now looking at making their products (and not just the marketing of it) more ethical and sustainable.
How to make this work for you:
Support a cause you truly believe in
Pick one that fits perfectly with your own branding
Consider the best way for you to support them
Look for new ways to work together
Team up with a cause that is currently under the radar
Should your brand have a social voice?
Gillette, known for their slogan 'The Best a Man Can Get' and selling it's customers the ideal of manhood have released a new advert in response to #MeToo that now challenges toxic masculinity. The brand has been described as becoming 'woke' and having 'co-opted a social movement.'
This desire to be socially responsible is believed to have stemmed from Nike's support of civil rights and the Black Lives Matter campaign which featured American footballer Colin Kaepernick and the slogan 'Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.'
On the whole, response was positive. However, a lot of the negativity was due to what has become known as woke-washing - cashing in on social injustice. Using this support of the issues we are passionate about to try and sell us their product.
Part of this comes from the brands that try to jump on this and get it really, really wrong. Such as the Pepsi advert that saw Kendall Jenner handing a can of the drink to a police officer, during a protest - completely undermining the Black Lives Matter movement in the process.
YouGov recently shared their whitepaper around how consumers feel about brands expressing opinions on social issues. It found that more than half of Brits (57%) think brands should have a point of view with the main reasons being that they want to trust the brand and believe they should behave responsibly. However, 17% definitely agree that they are simply trying to exploit them.
However, what we do know is that woke needs to be more than a word that is hashtagged at every opportunity on social media and banded around without context. It must be a mindset that as a result will help to bring about change. We are already making positive steps by calling out injustice and if brands are on board with this - and do it in the right way - we will only see these changes happen quicker.
If you were asked what your brand does and how it does it, you could probably answer this quite easily, couldn't you? What you might find trickier is explaining why you do it. But this sense of purpose can be key to successful campaigns, which is why it is imperative you know exactly what yours is and keep it at the front and centre of everything you do.
Whether this purpose is environmental, cultural, social or political – it should be timely, make sense for your company and be something you are committed to. Don’t insincerely jump on a bandwagon as this won’t bear up to much scrutiny.
Your sense of purpose can differentiate you from your competitors and emotionally engage consumers through a shared belief and passion, creating loyalty as a result. According to research from Accenture, nearly two-thirds (63%) of global consumers would prefer to purchase from brands with a purpose, while Kantar found that the valuation of brands with a high sense of purpose has increased 175% over 12 years.
One brand that knows exactly what its purpose is, and has embodied it more than ever in a new campaign, is Dove.
Transforming unrealistic beauty standards one photo at a time
When you look at images of women used in advertising do you see yourself? Or do you see what is deemed to be ‘perfection,’ that makes you strive to be something you’re not?
If you don't feel represented in the imagery used in the media and advertising, you're not alone - a staggering 70% of women feel this way.
We have long been shown an idealised version of our gender. This was particularly obvious when we examined the advertising industry for International Women's Day 2019. It has set unrealistic expectations that we have struggled to live up to and has had a detrimental effect as we try to achieve these impossible standards of beauty.
Dove is a brand that has long championed real women and shown diversity in its own advertising. But, Dove knows that this is not enough and it now aims to change the issue on a much wider scale with its new campaign #ShowUs.
This won't be the first time the brand has challenged the stereotypical images of women.
Last year its Image_Hack campaign 'hacked the industry from the inside.' Dove teamed up with Mindshare Denmark and uploaded images that subvert stereotypes to Shutterstock, tagging them with words that are used to describe women in an objectifying way.
Image Hack Case Study - YouTube
This year, Dove is going one step further to raise the body confidence of women across the world by making changes at the source of the issue and partnering with those that have the power to do this.
Did you know that fewer than 5% of the images in the media are taken by women? Unsurprisingly, those unobtainable female beauty ideals that are so troublesome are being determined by the male gaze. This perhaps goes some way to explaining why 66% of women feel that limited body shapes and sizes are represented and why 64% say scars and freckles are not seen in beauty images.
At the same time there is a clear yearning for more realistic imagery with the search term 'real people' up by 192% in the last year on Getty Images as well as 'strong women' which is up by 187% and 'diverse women' by 168%.
To try to tackle this, Dove has spent the last two years creating an image library with Getty Images and Girlgaze.
It chose Girlgaze - a team of female identifying and non-binary photographers - to put the marginalised behind the camera in order to change what is in front of it.
The result; 5000 images from 39 countries - the largest stock photo collection of women, taken by women. Local photographers were used to break down stereotypes while the image library itself was unedited and shows an accurate representation of women of all races, religions, cultures, sexualities, shapes and sizes. And, for the first time, those photographed defined their own search description and tags - they were given the freedom to define their own beauty.
The brand is now calling on the media and advertisers to actually use these photos so we can begin to see a change and women can start to see themselves.
Dove is just one of Unilever’s brands that focus on sustainability and is growing 50% faster than all the others.
Dove isn’t the only brand with a clear and powerful purpose
The Body Shop has long been known as an ethical business and cemented this with its commitment to ‘enrich not exploit,’ aiming to become the ‘world’s most ethical and sustainable business.’
Its three principles are: enrich our people, enrich our products and enrich our planet. The brand has set itself 14 targets to continue working towards its purpose, including using 100% sustainably sourced natural ingredients by 2020.
All aspects of the business adhere to this, from the ingredients and packaging to the suppliers and employees. Plus, this purpose is at the forefront of all its activism campaigns including the recent ‘Forever Against Animal Testing.’
The brand’s founder, Anita Roddick, said: “The business of business should not be about money. It should be about responsibility. It should be about public good, not private greed.”
The importance of aligning your purpose with your campaign
Mastercard’s ‘Priceless’ campaign has been the face of its purpose-driven branding for 20 years. Last year it evolved into ‘Start Something Priceless’ with the aim of encouraging people to pursue a passion and do something they have always wanted to do.
At the time, chief marketing and communications officer, Raja Rajamannar said: “Start Something Priceless is a call to action at a time when people expect actions, not just ads, from brands.” He continued: “This is a time when people truly believe in their own power to fuel change, and whether big or small, an action has the ability to make the world a better place. The movement is what we aim to unleash this year.”
The credit card brand had good intentions and has moved its campaign on from ‘story-telling to story-making to story-inspiring.’ But, unfortunately, it applied its purpose to the wrong campaign which was described as the ‘worst marketing campaign ever’ by prominent ex-Arsenal striker Ian Wright.
During the 2018 football World Cup, Mastercard announced that it would provide 10,000 meals to starving children for every goal scored by Lionel Messi and Neymar, both during the tournament and after until March 2020. Instead of positioning the brand as charitable it was seen as mean, with many expressing disbelief at the subject being part of a marketing campaign. Ian Wright couldn’t believe the campaign had been signed off while chief football writer at Times Sport, Henry Winter, tweeted: ‘Why not give them the meals anyway...’
It’s worth noting here that Dove doesn’t always get it right either – the brand received a huge amount of backlash for its advert which showed a black woman turning into a white woman. The campaign was quickly removed, but not before the brand had been accused of racism.
This just goes to show that knowing your purpose, keeping it at the forefront and, most importantly, ensuring it aligns with your campaigns is vital for success. It also shows how even some of the world’s biggest brands suffer when their purpose is misdirected.
What can brands learn from this about purpose?
In his book and TED Talk 'Start with Why', Simon Sinek says many brands know what they do and how they do it but very few know why they do it. He says the ‘why’ should not be to make a profit - that will be the result. ‘Why’ is your purpose - the reason that your organisation exists.
Most brands start with what, how and then why - inspired organisations do it the other way around. In essence, Sinek says, people don't buy what you do; they buy how you do it. If you don't know why, how can you possibly expect the consumer to know?
The biggest brands in the world inspire and innovate. Pioneers in this approach – who paved the way for the likes of Dove – include Apple with its 'Think Different' campaign and Nike’s 'Maybe It's My Fault'. Nike dares you to be the best athlete you can be, while Apple wants you to have the tools to change the world and be ground breaking in your industry.
Likewise, Dove is encouraging you to be proud of who you are and how you look - blemishes and all. The end goal, of course, is for you to buy its product but Dove wants real women to feel empowered, not to be faced with unrealistic images on a daily basis that do nothing but knock their confidence.
In fact, if you look at the brand’s Instagram bio it doesn't reference what it sells at all. Instead it tells you why, proclaiming: “We're taking action with women everywhere to shatter beauty stereotypes around the world.”
So, what is your purpose?
If you don't know what your purpose is, harness the power of public opinion to help find it. This generation of youngsters is passionate about change and wants to make it happen and you can tap into this.
Think how can your brand inspire others? Dove is moving on from showing diversity in its own images and wants to make industry-wide changes. What do you stand for? How can you meet a need or solve a problem? Ultimately, you want to be known for more than your product, while consumers want you to take a stand on the issues they are passionate about.
There's no better way right now to attract consumers to your brand than by doing something positive. Making people feel bad about themselves so they need to buy your product is an outdated marketing technique. It isn't just about your product anymore; it's about creating an identity and building a loyal following of consumers that come back time and time again. Do this through picking a cause that you and they care deeply about.
Dove isn't just profiting from making women feel like they need its products to be beautiful; it’s actually inspiring self-confidence to encourage them to be loyal brand advocates.
Next time you are looking for a picture of a woman for your marketing material, why not consider using imagery from this library of photos to play your part in a worthy cause?
The results of our third annual State of Content Marketing Survey are here!
We surveyed thousands of the UK’s marketers, to find out where the industry has come in just 12 months. Touching on the issues we noticed last year around execution and spend, this year we see real growth in the content marketing world.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab a coffee and enjoy the full set of results (with analysis) by downloading our eBook for free today!