I love content marketing and I enjoy consuming the innovative content fanned out by all sorts of different companies across the web and other channels.
An example of a company that I think does a great job with content marketing is Pact Coffee, the UK coffee delivery company I subscribe to. Not only is their coffee amazing, but they also include fun facts and figures about coffee in the package, they produce a creative newsletter, they reward sharing on social media and so on. I find myself looking forward to receiving any communication from Pact because its interesting, its entertaining and I love coffee.
There are many examples of successful content marketing strategies these days and to keep ahead of the game, every company should have one, affiliates too. The online gambling industry has been talking about content marketing for the past year or so and our conference sessions are now reflecting this new-ish area of interest.
One of our industry’s experts in the content marketing field is Nichola Stott of The Media Flow. In order to provide an introduction to content marketing for those of you who are just now starting to learn, I sat down with Stott for a little 101. For more granular advice, be sure to check out her CalvinAyre.com Content Marketing Tips of the Week, she is a wealth of information.
Becky Liggero: Thank you so much for joining me today, Nichola. Lets start with why content marketing is such an effective strategy for the online gambling industry?
Nichola Stott: Content marketing is quite similar to co-branding as a marketing tactic and effect; in that you get to ally with message-values, feelings and information.
Marketing with content is just perfect for this sector as core games vary little from site to site. Poker is poker, roulette is roulette but it’s the in-game experience, the site UX, the customer service and brand associations that help most players make decisions.
It’s probably easiest to illustrate this with advertising – for example 32Red and their “gambling potatoes”. Reference to the [real] product is sparse and veiled by conspiratorial humour, which helps convey a brand identity of smart and leftfield. Content marketing allows you to do this too, but with more space, time and interactivity to play with.
BL: Its so true, there really is a lack of differentiation amongst the products in our industry, so content marketing is key. What are some of your best tips on how iGaming operators can determine the “personas” they are targeting?
NS: This has to be led by existing customer data and in our experience iGaming operators are pretty good already at collating the demographic information.
A couple of things we do when in briefing stages with a client to help ensure content pieces have the right pitch and tone would be things like – building a persona backstory. Who is this person, what kind of educational background, where do they shop, what clothes do they wear, car do they drive – that sort of thing.
Another thing we like to do is ask our clients to typify their perfect player as a famous person, someone that anyone in the street and everyone involved in the project can easily grasp and visualise. It helps when sanity checking the content ideas to then ask “would [famous] read this? Do this quiz? Share this video?”
BL: Great advice. What are some of your best tips on how to come up with topics of interest for the desired persona?
NS: This has to be a balance between the brief and the desired outcome.
On the briefing side – we take clients through a process that defines their brand values and personality; how the reader should feel and hopefully do when they come across the brand again. We then juxtapose that with the marketing goals before we begin the research phase.
Competitor research is always a good idea, but then top that up with lateral research – so what cutting edge campaigns are there we can draw from that match the client brand values and target personas?
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BL: OK, so once the strategy is in place, what are some of the ways to measure success from content marketing?
NS: There’s so many ways to evaluate and measure content success and then you’ve got all the tools and data metrics to record the evaluated items too, but in no particular order we tend to be looking at one or more of the following according to the brief:
· Traffic (through Google Analytics)
· Traffic flow-through [to conversion activity]
· Quality editorial links (we use Majestic)
· Social conversations (we use RivalIQ)
· Sentiment of social activity (manual analysis)
· Credibility (growth in brand volume, combined with sentiment analysis in social referral channels)
· Brand reach (share-of-voice equivalent calculations within the search market)
· New ranking terms (a great one for SEO because this helps show how content investment continues way after-the-fact. We use SearchMetrics and SEMRush for this.)
BL: OK, and how is failure managed?
NS: It’s really important that a client understands from the outset that content marketing results can’t be guaranteed, as we’re dealing directly with humans – who are notoriously unpredictable.
Having a client that wants to push the boundaries and isn’t afraid to innovate really helps as we find that such people understand the rationale behind the piece you’re proposing, plus the risk-reward matrix.
The most important point is the post-match analysis. Did the piece hit all expectations on all metrics, if not why not? That way a digital agency can build a solid, data-backed case for what kind of content for what kind of outcome.
What is really interesting to us are all the unexpected successes, the blog posts that you might think of as a regular feature which suddenly goes mental. Analysing the pieces that perform far better than expected is just as important as those that fall flat as it’s all part of the picture.
One really interesting thing to consider is that we’re at the bleeding edge of an industry in constant flux, with new platforms and technologies facilitating ways of getting at a story that didn’t exist last week. Rules are constantly being broken…
BL: So true, this industry certainly does a good job of keeping us on our toes. Thank you for sharing your insights today Nichola, its always a pleasure talking with you.