By Alex Clifford | 5:50pm 23/01/2013
Content marketing is something big brands are now getting to grips with. But few have done it as successfully as confused.com. The price comparison site has had a content marketing strategy since December 2009. It has one of the widest ranges of content with blogs, guides, infographics, games, apps, news, calculators, tools and videos.
Being such a fantastic example, we thought we’d interview confused.com’s Head of Content and PR, Sharon Flaherty.
So how did your content marketing come about? Was it a decision from management?
I was a former journalist, I used to work in London at the FT as a news reporter. I came to confused.com as an editor.
I came in with a newsletter. That meant we introduced a content cycle, and that went excellently. The newsletter went to millions of customers and the content was topical, newsworthy and relevant. That was the first stage of the strategy.
Last year, I thought we need to do more in terms of social media. We weren’t doing enough. So we’ve been ramping that up for the last year. It was really a lot about testing and learning what kind of content needs to be on social networks.
At the same time last year, I took on the PR department. It was run seperately from the content team and the social media. The PR is seperate. The way I did it had efficiencies – if there’s something that works as online PR, then it should work as online content as well.
So how many people do you have in your content team?
Excluding PR there is 5. There is also someone who works 1 day a week. We also hired a multimedia producer last year so that we could produce video in-house.
Have you got a written-down content marketing strategy?
I have a strategy. The overall objective for the business is profitability. So I then see how I can help my boss meet that objective through content. One of the ways of doing that is making sure we’re as high up the rankings as we can be for SEO. Terms like ‘car insurance’ for example.
Another part is reaching new audiences which are not your customers. There are just audiences and people you want to connect with. A lot of the content is trying to connect with people that we know would like to buy from us at some point.
You’ve got a whole range of content on your website. It’s not just car insurance, but infographics on dating and all kinds of things. Have you adjusted your strategy as you’ve gone along depending on what works?
Yeah definitely. So infographics, I’m looking at them at the moment. I’ve reduced the amount we’re using because I’m thinking “where do I go with them?” They are very good at building links and they’re very sharable. We’ve done them for a couple of years. But I’m thinking “how much value do they have?” I don’t know, I feel like they’re a bit old now.
Video is still quite exciting. Sometimes we use multimedia to add value to a piece of content, or an article. It’s a bit old-fashioned now to just have an article. We don’t always have the opportunity to add multimedia to every article because we’re not big enough. But people expect their content to be a bit more interactive these days.
The content types we use is dependant on what we’re trying to achieve. We’re doing a campaign at the moment that’s very lighthearted. To help with January blues we asked people to retweet our competition and infographic of how to give the perfect hug, to be in with chance to win a daily prize. Some celebrities got on board and to thank them we donated money to the mental health foundation.
The aim of that piece of content was to grow the amount of Twitter followers.
So you have a certain aim for each piece of content?
Yeah, yeah. There’s an overall strategy – profitability. Or it might be SEO objectives.
But then within that, I’ll be like “right, what am I trying to achieve from this specific campaign. What results am I happy with?”
So how do you measure whether something is a success?
Say we have a piece of content on the website. Maybe it’s how many people have commented, or shared something. If it was a video – then how many views has it had? Or was it shared? If it’s some other content, how many links did we get for that piece of content.
Other examples are how many people read that article and then went on to get a quote at confused.com? So then you get the monetary value as well [of content].
Firstly, always think about your primary goal of your content. Is it building brand awareness? Is it to leap up the search rankings? Is it to drive profitability. Is it a mixture of these things?
Secondly, experiment as much as you can. Sharon said that consumers are expecting their content to be more interactive. So try out new things like videos, apps, blogs, news, games, infographics and calculators – you’ll discover what works and what doesn’t.
Thirdly. Measure, measure, measure. Sharon talked about measuring comments, tweets, sharing and traffic. And she always asked herself “what results would I be happy with?”
If you’re doing big brand content marketing follow those tips and your content marketing can work just as well.