#DistilledLive | Content marketing for the web

In light of the recent popularity of #contentcrush, we thought it only right that we run a #DistilledLive event focussing on one of the hottest search topics of the moment - Content! In fact, our first speaker, Vincent Franklin of Quietroom, was one of the very first examples to be submitted via our social channels with their ‘How To Sell Invisible Things’ video.

So, for those of you who couldn't make it along on the night or who are simply looking for some content strategy tips and insight, here are some of the main takeaways from the evening’s speakers on what great content should sound like, look like and most importantly, how it can work to add value to your brand.

After all, as a curious Distilled man once said,

“In fact, the difference between good content and bad content is not that big. Truly, the only thing that really gets rewarded is remarkable content.”

Tom Critchlow


Vincent Franklin, Creative Partner at Quietroom 

“haranguing brands about the ways brands talk to people’’

6 steps to better copy on the internet

Write about your audience not you. Delving through a wash of overly verbose and flowery sentence structures, your customer is more than likely going to be thinking ‘But how does your product work for me?’ Talking to a client is like taking a women out to dinner, she isn’t looking to hear about you over the amuse bouche, you need to ask about her!

Choose words that resonate

Use words that really mean something to your audience...

...you are trying to build a relationship with them after all! Our brain doesn’t give us time to consciously allow us to choose the words we want to use, so we use lots of filters in our head; one of them is our memory. Which bus journey would you rather go on, the jolly to the seaside or the coach excursion to the coastal region?

Cut the business jargon

Verbs work for this because they are connected to a physical action. Take a look at these two sets of words and see which ones you are more likely to say:

assist   help
ensure *nobody talks like this* we make sure
endeavour *fake literary style* try
deliver    give
process take care/look after
prepare [we prepare for death/the worst] get ready [for the holiday!]

Use verbs not abstract nouns

Your choice of words can have a massive impact on how a sentence is interpreted. It's fair to say that the bigger the organisation, the more abstract nouns they use, instead of verbs. Verbs work because they create that idea of ‘doing something’ while all those abstract nouns are clouding up the picture. Verbs drive speech. They make what you say exciting. They give you energy.

"We do this, we make this happen, we deliver these things"

As a company gets bigger, all of sudden they're talking about how they have a ‘delivery process' - a static, abstract idea.

Short sentences for impact and clarity *PRO TIP

This must be the easiest way to produce better copy. Big, bold, confident statements allow you to pick out the important things. Short sentences have a massive impact. One of the easiest things to change in your content strategy is the length of the copy itself.

Climb up and down the ladder of abstraction

Of course, it’s great to have a big visionary idea of what you want to achieve as a company - ‘making things better', 'changing the world’. But these ideas are all at the top of the ladder. They’re represented by words like ‘freedom’, ‘change’ and ‘transformation’. You’re going to need to use solid words too. How do you want to change the world? Are you really going to make things better for me? How does this relate to the customer? Put a solid idea alongside these abstract ideas. You won’t need to do this all the time but it helps if you remember the ladder.

Use story lines to structure content

There is an innate structure to stories that can make even the dreariest content look all shiny and exciting. Here's what a story structure can look like:

Once upon a time....
Until one day....
And because of that...
And because of that....
And because of that....
And because of that....
Until finally...

No, of course you don’t have to say this before every sentence you write, but it does give you a logical order to work from. Start with a really good idea and then build around that.

Want to see the whole slidedeck from Vincent? It's available over on our slideshare page

Anna Lewis | Koozai
“Self confessed analytics junkie”

Measuring the Value of Content Marketing using Analytics

Want to show your boss or client why it’s so important to produce this great content? Anna Lewis from Koozai shows us how to measure the value of the content using analytics.

First off, identify your KPI’s

Why are you doing content marketing? Is it for links? Is it for the followers?  Work to move up from the ‘buzz’ generated through your social media platforms towards getting the links, conversions and revenue. It’s metrics that matter here.  We all want to be able to track our efforts alongside the value of what this work is actually bringing to the business. So?

Track It

Google Analytics - What do your author stats look like? Which content has been receiving the most shares?

Set up a content audit using conditional formatting to measure and analyse

Majestic SEO have just launched a new link tracking tool that will track your links over time

Open Site Explorer -link data and social share data

Measure your content and use these results to decide what is working well and do more of this. Show the ROI of content marketing with your free content marketing dashboard that Anna has kindly offered as a free takeaway from the eve!

Jon Quinton | SEOgadget

How To Scale Content Marketing 

OK OK, so his company sign was bigger than ours, so what? This lovely chap is sponsoring the bar and serving up some actionable advice on how to make the scale up your content marketing more effectively.

Revenue and brand recognition

What clients really want is more revenue and brand recognition. The biggest problem is whether or not you can you scale up a process without losing quality? If you’re putting resource into content, you need to know that this is driving content back to you and you can measure this through ranking factors, linking route domains and a high domain authority.

What’s the bottleneck here?

What are things holding you back? Is it content production? Sites like Dribble work really well when it comes to finding awesome designers; approach that designer and work out a price. Peopleperhour is also a really great resource - here you can rate the writers and find that tone of voice your site needs. Have you got a more bespoke accessory led company? You could also try Benchpeg, a trade newsletter for the British Jewelery Industry, that will direct your content straight to the audience you want to reach through their newsletter. There isn’t a shortage of content or talent. So, what’s the problem?

Produce content that people are interested in

Apps like Followerwonk allow you to search for people who are interested in what you are doing as well as the thought leaders within that industry. Another good tool for finding fellow SEO’s is Googlewonk, the Followerwonk for G+. SEOGadget have even built a tool for finding contact details from the internet; so you can track people through their G+ author pages, twitter handles etc. Check out Richard Baxter’s recent Mozcon presentation to find out more.

What to do? Building an Outreach plan

Build up a hub of people who might be interested in what you’re talking about. Why not indulge in a company prospect Binge - SEOGadget dedicate time as a team to hunt out contacts in order to build up and populate a G doc with potential sites and/or audience outlets. Fancy a more simple, solo project? You can gather together a list of ideas for guest spots, awesome infographics, top video using the Twitter search function which is a constantly updated list of people in your community.


Build your base - create a resource of bloggers to talk to
Filter down to the good stuff, don't concentrate on the bad
Scale the heavy lifting.

Outsourcing might not be the answer so, figure out your weakness.

Hannah Smith | SEO Consultant at Distilled

Content Marketing | Beyond the Bullshit

How to talk about Content Marketing without mentioning Dollar Shave Club, OK Cupid, Old Spice or Oyster? Distilled’s very own SEO consultant, Hannah Smith certainly likes a good old fashioned challenge! And as our final speaker for the evening, Hannah shows you how not to pander [!] to internet trends and, instead, create content that is useful for your business.

So, what is Content Marketing? It’s this shiny buzz word that we tend to jump on but, often at times, we don’t understand what this content is for nor how we can use it?

If you’re an SEO, your clients are constantly looking for links. But clients can reject ideas. Why does this happen? Why can it sometimes be hard to communicate? SEO’s can be victims of their own success. We KNOW the internet. The problem is though, most products don’t want their brand connected to zombies, bacon or cats even if they get links out of it.

Client’s don't care about links, they want content to be about brand positioning.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate”

Content marketing when it’s done well can help SEO’s to communicate better with marketers and gain more budget towards pushing projects. Content needs to support brand positioning.

Simply Business wanted their content to work to support the brands positioning as small business champions [because let’s face it, content about insurance isn't the most engaging...] So, why not look to offer something to support fellow small businesses, creating content they need to generate more positive brand associations. 

This infographic is not just content but will work to get you links - but, in fact, it has even more value than that. This has resulted in a 24% rise in traffic to the Simply Business site, 28% rise in conversions and their social media following has also increased by 25%. This is how to go about building assets through good quality content. If you are putting bad content on your site, it will actually harm you. If you put good content on your site, it will make little or no effort. Generate truly impressive content in order to get a decent return. Always aim to create the best resource.

But how do you get found by customers who don’t know they need you yet?

We need to think more than just about Search Engine visibility [no, really!] Create content that people want to share. Salesforce enlisted the help of 15 expert advocates, email newsletters, a Homepage takeover advert, paid adverts and social media marketing to raise awareness of the content they had for others to share. And they got results! Traffic for January was up by 80% and led to to 6,500 newsletter sign ups and 10,000 eBook downloads. Read more on the Salesforce social success case study over on SEOmoz.

Another misconception?

Content marketing is not free. Nope, it does cost time. And resources. You have to produce good content in order to build relationships with customers but you’ll find some of the best examples of people doing this well, in the strangest of places. Think it’s hard to sell to your clients? Appliances Online are selling white goods online but their social media activity could be one of the best customer service relationships we've seen in a long while...

Final misconception?

“If you build it, they will come”

‘Fraid not, folks. It’s content marketing not content production. Build content that others want to share, that others believe to be valuable and that others can ultimately understand.

Interested to hear more about content strategy and how to track those conversions? Our next #DistilledLive event will be our SearchLove conferences happening in a little over than a month. This year sees an incredible line up of industry experts speaking; from content strategies that work to leveraging PR to get big links. Read the full schedule lineup for both Boston and London.

Cheri Percy

Further Reading 

Why Content Marketing Pwns Zombies, Bacon & Cats
The Time For Content Marketing Is Now 
How to Measure Social Media Efforts 
Uncover Badass Exposers with Google Analytics Multi Channel Funnels
DistilledU Excel Module for SEO 

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