Articles Tagged with Content Strategy

CR 25 Revisited – My SEMrush Webinar

In late May I was approached by the team at SEMrush about hosting a webinar, going into more detail about the CR 25 campaign that I ran in January. I’d already given a talk about it at BrightonSEO, but with only 20 minutes available, I left out a lot of useful information surrounding the ‘content blitz’ campaign, where we published 25 blog posts in one month (pretty much one each day during the month). I had toyed with the idea of creating a YouMoz post (and had in fact started to draft one), but when SEMrush approached me about the webinar, I thought that it would be a better way to get across all the info.

The webinar took place in early June. In addition to relying on PowerPoint slides, I jumped out of the slides, jumped into my browser (all while the audience were still watching) and quickly ran through all 25 posts as live examples. I thought that this was a good way to demonstrate the many different types of content – especially those with an interactive or particularly visual element to them (such as the custom Google Map, the 25-year timeline, the multiple-choice quiz and one post that featured an embedded tweet containing an autoplaying Vine video).

The video of the webinar is below, with a transcript below that.

Video Transcript (including slide stills)

Hi, thank you very much for the introduction. I’m Steve Morgan, @steviephil on Twitter, and today I’ll be talking you through a big campaign I ran back in January earlier this year. I actually talked about this campaign at BrightonSEO in April, but I was only given about 20 minutes to talk on-stage and I was only able to talk about a couple of examples of content we did – we had 25 blog posts in one month – and just talk about how much it all cost, so it’s great to have the opportunity… a big thank you to SEMrush for having me. And it’s great to be able to talk about the campaign in more detail and run through more examples than I did when I presented at the conference.

The webinar is split into three sections. I’m going to jump out of the slides a third of the way through and show you real examples of content, because I thought: “why bother showing you slides of examples when I can actually show you the examples on Firefox?” But before that, I’ll talk you through a bit of an introduction to the campaign and how we prepared for it. And then after I’ve shown you examples, I’ll give you some insights into what performed well, what didn’t, what worked well on certain social media networks, and talk you through how much everything cost, which – even though we had 25 posts created and we tried to avoid just having bog-standard, 400-word advice articles – we did lots of varying types of content and we tried to have interactive content as well. We managed to keep the budget very low by sourcing guest blog posts, by using free or cheap WordPress plugins – things like that really. I’ll tell you more as we go along.

First, some background for Computer Recruiter.

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25 Posts in One Month: Co-ordinating a ‘Content Blitz’ Campaign on the Cheap – My BrightonSEO Talk

Speaking at BrightonSEOHaving previously been to BrightonSEO 4, 5, maybe 6 times (I’ve genuinely lost count), it was an absolute pleasure and honour to be given the opportunity to speak about my recent CR 25 campaign, as part of the Content Strategy segment.

From the BrightonSEO website (which I’m copying-and-pasting as well, just in case it gets removed from the site at some point):

In January 2015, I helped my parents’ IT recruitment agency to launch a ‘content blitz’ campaign, posting 25 posts in one month to mark the company’s 25th anniversary.

6 months in the making, we created and co-ordinated a plethora of content types beyond the usual bog-standard blog post, including guest posts, crowdsourced posts, a timeline, a list of local events, a list of local co-working spaces… and even a quiz.

Utilising free/cheap resources and WordPress plugins as much as possible to keep the budget nice and low, the campaign was intended to boost their site’s SEO as well as the company’s branding awareness, PR, social media followings and ultimately help them to earn new clients and candidates.

Here are the slides:

Someone let me know that the talk was Periscoped (is that a verb yet?) as well – here’s a screenshot. Really exciting!

As I said towards the end of the talk / on the penultimate slide, I’m hoping to do a full write-up of the campaign – its good, bad and ugly moments – which would cover everything from the talk and more stuff that I would have liked to have covered if I had more time. I’ll most likely submit it as a YouMoz post – keep an eye out for it over the coming weeks/months.

I’d also like to say a big thank you not only to @kelvinnewman (BrightonSEO’s organiser) for allowing me to speak, but also to @MUmar_Khan, @krystianszastok, @ichbinGisele and @Tony_DWM for taking the time to give me feedback on an early draft of my slide deck. Tony especially was incredible, giving thoughts and feedback on every single individual slide. Top bloke.

[Main speaking image credit – @octink (from Twitter)]

Tweet To Win! 3 Lessons From Running My First Twitter Competition

I loved running CR 25 back in January. Beyond SEO, it gave me the chance to properly flex my content marketing muscles. From guest blog posts to crowdsourced content; from Google Calendar embeds to Google Map embeds; from interactive timelines to infographics; we did a little bit of everything.

We even did a bloody quiz.

We finished off CR 25 with an ‘IT Acronym Quiz’ – a 10-question multiple-choice quiz created using SlickQuiz.

CR 25 quiz screenshot
We decided to make the most of the opportunity and also gave away three £25 iTunes vouchers if people posted their results on Twitter.

It was my first attempt at a competition. It went well. Not quite how I’d hoped (as I’ll explain below) but we had a good number of entries and a good, positive response overall.

Here are the three lessons that I learnt.

1) Make sure that your competition’s terms are air-tight

As I said above, I’d never run a competition before – but I knew that you had to have some good set of terms & conditions behind it. I’m sure there are some decent templates out there, but I decided to draw inspiration from real-life examples. I can’t remember all of them, but I do remember that one of them was an iPad giveaway on The Guardian‘s website.

CR 25's competition terms (full screenshot)
(Click to enlarge)

It contained the usual suspects: participants must be UK residents over 18-years-old; it specified the closing date; in order to be eligible, they had to tweet a few particulars, including a link to the quiz and the hashtag; etc. etc. It had a total of 19 clauses.

I even thought that I was being extra-clever: I put in one clause that said that their tweet had to be live by the end of the closing date – just in case they deleted it a couple of days after tweeting it.

…And yet I missed out one (or maybe two) that was hugely important and should’ve been obvious.

A few days into the competition, a friend of mine entered. He asked: “how many times can I enter?”

Aww crap.

We didn’t have a clause that said ‘one entry per Twitter user.’ We also didn’t have a clause that said that a person could only enter once, full-stop. In other words, if someone managed more than one Twitter account, technically they could’ve entered more than once – even if we had that previous clause. It wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if we only had one prize to give away (aside from the fact that they would’ve increased their chances of winning that one prize), but we had three prizes – meaning that one person could’ve won two or all three prizes, and we couldn’t really do anything about it as our terms didn’t cover it. Whoops.

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Has Crowdsourced Content Jumped The Shark?

“We asked these 8 sharks for their opinion…”

Shark montage (a sharktage...?)
Like infographics and guest blogging before it, there are fears in the industry that crowdsourced content – where you ask multiple people to pass on their favourite tip/tool/etc. – may have jumped the shark, in that it has been done-to-death and fallen in quality, making it a less worthwhile content marketing tactic.

I was going to save blogging my thoughts on this until after I talked about CR 25 at BrightonSEO in April, as two of CR 25‘s posts were crowdsourced content (and one of them became one of the campaign’s most popular posts), but following Peep Laja’s tweet stating that if a “list has more than 5 items, it’s shitty curation,” plus the fact that: a) a lot of the replies he received agreed with him, and b) crowdsourced content in particular often contain tens or dozens of participants (or ‘items’), I wanted to give my thoughts…

Crowdsourced content is popular because it’s pure ego-baiting – people love to be asked their opinion on something. And by doing so, they’re likely to share it via social media. Oh and the more people you ask, the more content you get, resulting in a lengthy blog post in the 1,000s of words that’s likely to hit the long-tail like crazy. So if you ask 50 people to contribute to a post, you have 50 potential tweeters at the ready and a long blog post on your hands.

The ‘SEO echo chamber’ strikes again…

The problem with crowdsourced content is that it has been done-to-death… in the SEO/content marketing industry. I won’t link to any real-life examples as I don’t want to come across as a hater, plus I’m genuinely grateful when I’ve been given the opportunity to contribute to them myself (e.g. I recently shared my biggest link building success story of 2014 – and hell, I even did one myself a couple of years ago!), but things tend to get a little overboard when 15 SEOs are asked for their favourite link building tip, or 43 SEOs are asked for their favourite SEO software tool, or 161 SEOs are asked their favourite colour…

But do you know the trick that we’ve been missing, which I didn’t even realise until recently, which may completely change your view on crowdsourced content? Stop asking your peers and start asking your clients/customers.

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The Launch of CR 25 – 25 Blog Posts in One Month

Happy New Year everyone!

January is going to be a busy start of the year for me…

CR 25 Cake logoI’m really excited and proud to announce the launch of CR 25 today. To celebrate my parents’ company’s 25th anniversary as an IT recruitment agency (which became a recruitment agency in January 1990), Computer Recruiter are publishing 25 blog posts in January 2015: one each day from the 2nd to the 30th, excluding Sundays. It’s been over 6 months in the making, culminating in me running around like a panicked headless chicken in December in order to finalise and sign-off on everything in time…!

Coming up during the month we have guest bloggers, crowdsourced content, interviews, an event list, an infographic (because if you’re doing 25 posts, there has to be an infographic…!), a historical timeline, a live-blogged local event, helpful resources for jobseekers, nostalgic posts… and even a bloody quiz. Guest bloggers and other contributors include Computer Recruiter’s past and present candidates and clients as well as some well-known figures in the IT/Web/tech or jobseeking/recruitment sectors in South Wales.

For me personally, I’m really intrigued to learn what performs well content-wise. What will get the most tweets/RTs? The most Facebook Likes? The most links? Whether the campaign ends up being a successful or a failure, I’ll be talking about it at BrightonSEO April 2015, by which time I’ll have a clear idea of how everything performed a few months on. I’ll probably also write up a case study about it for YouMoz, too…

To find out more, please feel free to read the introductory post (published earlier today – “Post 1 of 25”), the About page and the press release.

Let the fun begin! Wish me luck…!