Life isn’t easy for content marketers working to promote a brand online. There is a lot of suspicion surrounding many of the most popular business types associated with affiliate marketing – let’s take gambling as a key example.
When you take a closer look at the perception of gambling on the web (“alcohol” and “addicts” are gambling’s most common related keywords), it’s clear that this is not an industry held in high esteem – especially by webmasters who are keen to curate quality content and develop a high quality resource.
This makes it very difficult for content marketers to find websites prepared to host content connected to a gambling brand.
This guide aims to explain how you can create the level of content required to achieve digital success, by explaining step-by-step how truly great content should be developed, whatever industry you are in. Here are the key stages:
Step One: Pre-research
You wouldn’t set out on a journey without a map – so you shouldn’t take a scattergun approach to content creation. Knowledge really is power when it comes to developing amazing content, which is why it’s so important to do your research before you even begin thinking about putting a plan into action. From understanding your audience, to exploring what your competition is doing (and how much success they’re enjoying), there is a lot f groundwork to do before you get started. Make sure you ask yourself:
- Who is your target audience?
- What media do they consume?
- What are their interests?
These questions may sound like “getting to know you” ice-breakers, but the more insight you have into your audience, the more perfectly you can craft content which they will love. Whether you’re creating tempting tools which they can’t say no to like this fun “Would You Ever Have Won The Lottery” game developed for digital gambling brand Mr Gamez, to this celebrity related puzzle game which dovetails neatly with female focussed brand Wink Slots.
Step Two: Ideation
Now you’ve gotten to know your audience with extensive research (survey tools are always helpful with this), it’s time to use all of that information you’ve gathered and get creative. One of the best ways to start coming up with creative content ideas which will result in top quality resources is to take advantage of your whole team’s brain power. Brainstorming as a group can mean that only the loudest voices get heard, which is why “Brain Writing” is a really good alternative approach.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Select your team. You’ll need 3-5 people to make this process work.
- Sitting around a table, give each group member a pen and a piece of paper with a 4 x 3 grid.
- Start the clock! You now have 5 minutes to write down 3-4 ideas – one in each box to keep things nice and clear. Don’t worry if you don’t have any ideas – just put down the first thing that comes to you – there are no stupid suggestions!
- Once your 5 minutes are up, move each piece of paper to the next person, and so on, until you receive your original sheet back.
- Now it’s time to vote for the best ideas to distil all of that great brain writing into a few choice next steps.
Step Three: Research
Now it’s time to go get some concrete facts and figures which will make your awesome new pieces of content authoritative and interesting. With such little trust online for gambling brands, producing content using authoritative sources will help you impress and win trust with webmasters and consumers alike. Here are a few things you may want to consider when researching and collecting data:
- Run a survey
Setting up and running your own survey can be time-consuming and costly, but it comes with one great benefit – you have data nobody else does – which makes your content particularly newsworthy and great for creating buzz and interest.
- Represent existing data in a fresh way
There’s tonnes of great data out there, waiting to be harvested! If you can represent something that already exists in a novel and attention-grabbing way you stand to save resources and create something fresh.
- Blend multiple sources
Another great way to turn old resources into fresh content is to blend a number of different sources and pool them to create a much bigger piece of content that can offer a bigger picture.
- Think beyond numbers
Infographics, interactive tools and interesting resources don’t have to rely on numbers. Consider collecting surprising facts, stories or even gifs to create something spectacular.
- Always quote your sources
It doesn’t just protect you legally and give your source their fair dues, it also gives your content extra credibility – crucial for online gambling brands.
Step Four: Design
The design of your content really is a make or break issue. Through steps 1-3, you’ve poured resources, time, creativity and research into making something good – but digital audiences are a fickle crowd: if it doesn’t look good, consumers are much more likely to overlook it. Failing to invest in good-looking design, therefore, could render all of your hard work and investment a complete waste.
Here’s a great example of smart content, made intelligently but – most of all – designed beautifully. This online bingo statistics dashboard developed for Wink Bingo looks so good that visitors want to engage with it. Presented differently, these real-time statistics would prove much less interesting and the content would enjoy far less traction.
Great design fundamentally lies with the skills of your designer, but there are a few good rules of thumb that will make your digital content visual appealing, for example: Bright and bold colours are great for catching the eye and drawing in visitors – but there too much of anything can be a bad thing. Choose a strong shade but stay within just one or two tonal ranges to prevent creating a colour clash, which is unpleasant or confusing to look at.
It’s also important to keep things simple in other regards: too much text, images or moving parts can be very off-putting and even cause slow load times. Keep your design as clean and tidy as possible to keep consumers clicking.
Step Five: Outreach
This is the moment of truth for any marketer hoping to promote a gambling brand with content marketing – it’s time to approach blogs, journalists and websites with your resource to start building valuable links. There are two key steps to this process: Identifying opportunities and sealing the deal…
5.1: Identifying opportunities
How you handle your outreach process will depend very much upon the resources at your disposal and the kind of campaign you are running. In general however, it can be helpful to go all the way back to step one and identify the types of media your target audience consume – then make a list of the top places you’d like to see your content published to get it right under their noses.
Equipped with your list, visit each website and identify the bloggers and writers who have covered topics which relate to the kind of content you have to offer in the past.
Another sneaky tip is to, again, investigate what your competitors are doing. If they’ve been running similar campaigns to you, take a look at the sites their content has been published on – if they can make it, so can you. To check this out, explore the backlinks which link to your competitors content and their website using a tool like Buzzsumo or Ahref.
5.2: Sealing the deal
Now for the tricky bit, persuading sites to take your amazing new content. The number one rule? Never, ever spam. It’s hard work approaching every publication and blogger individually, but the personal touch really does make all the difference. Journalists and popular blogs receive thousands of generic enquiries about content publishing each day. Make yours unique and do your research into the blogger or site to make sure what you have to say really speaks to them – and their audience directly.
This might sound like a lot of writing, but it’s also important to keep things concise. Make it short, make it unique, make it personal and make sure you’ve done your homework to give your content the best possible chance.
Pete Campbell is the Managing Director of the award-winning Kaizen who works with global brands on SEO & Content Marketing campaigns to increase their online visibility. He is also a regular speaker at digital marketing conferences including SMX, BrightonSEO & SEMDays.
Tags: content marketing, content strategy, seo, seo link building