• 06 Jun
    The Curse of Knowledge in Digital Marketing

    The Curse of Knowledge in Digital Marketing

    A subject which is grossly overlooked, something that not only affects digital marketers deliverable work or a client’s organic performance, but also impacts how we communicate on a daily basis. The curse of knowledge is not spoken about enough, so here’s why it’s imperative to look into and how it may impact you.


    So, what is the curse of knowledge?

    A concept dabbled with for many years, but it was Chip and Dan Heath’s explanation of the idea in Made to Stick which resonated with me. The book explained the idea that we all have insider information or knowledge about something that others do not.

    What is meant by this is that when we’re delivering information, either in the form of written text or verbally, we instinctively believe the person receiving the information is also in the know. More often than not, they’re not. This creates confusion and the critical thing we’re trying to get across is entirely not received.

    Why tapping out a song sounds like nonsense to others

    The best example of the ‘curse of knowledge’ is the tappers and listeners exercise. We’ve all tried to tap out our new favourite song using just our fingers, but, shockingly, the people hearing this very rarely pick up the tune. This is because that when we’re tapping, we have the song playing in our head, the person in front of us does not. The same thing happens when we’re communicating our skills to someone without our skill set. We’re met with blank looks every time.


    How the curse affects communicating with customers

    Blog content for customers

    If you work in an agency, it’s more than likely that in the initial stages you have very little knowledge of your clients’ target audiences. So, if you’re producing content for them, you may well be the ideal person for the job as you have no previous knowledge or impartial views. Your mind is a blank canvas.

    For instance, Forex Trading was never high on my list of skills, let alone having any basic knowledge of it. But this was great for marketing purposes. We wrote a series of blog posts that targeted a broad audience, high up in the purchase funnel that essentially just wanted to know how forex trading worked. Had I had ten years of forex trading experience, my written content may have explicitly targeted to the seasoned spread betters, and in turn, narrowing my target audience.

    Keyword Research for customer’s and client’s benefit

    One of the most satisfying parts of my job is finding a relevant, targeted set of keywords for any of my clients. But what happens if you have previous knowledge of the industry you’re finding keywords for? For instance, if you have worked with furniture clients all your life and you’re finding keywords for a furniture e-commerce brand, you may fall into product buying-specific keywords

    It is all about finding those search queries for both knowledgeable users and those first discovering your website. ‘How do I clean my sofa’, ‘why buy a leather sofa’, ‘how do I choose a sofa style’; these search queries are as important than the ‘best corner sofas in brown leather’. Yes, the latter I a search query with a buying intent, but the former will make sure your business is gaining new customers.

    Digital PR

    So, you have a drilled list of contacts to outreach your content to. You’re a niche brand in a niche industry and you want to let people know about your fantastic new product through emailing potential bloggers and news sites. It’s imperative those emails are not too jargony. If you have a glow in the dark mug for camping, don’t talk about its new technology, instead, explain how this will significantly benefit the user.

    You may go for: ‘Gone are the days of finding your mug of cocoa or soup in the dark, this product takes away all the hassle.’ The receiver of the email will then make a judgement call on whether this is ground-breaking enough to write about. If they agree to the perfect, you can then send them detailed press release of all your mug knowledge until your heart’s content.


    How the curse affects communication with clients and peers

    Speaking to a potential lead

    If we’re speaking to a potential client, we don’t bombard them with SEO technical jargon even though at times these skills may be on the tip of our tongue. Instead, they want to know how your expertise will affect their business goals; not the ins and outs of your expertise.

    Speaking to clients

    Communicating verbally has the same principles as the written word. The curse of knowledge can have a profound effect on speaking with clients. You’re a digital marketer who’s built up a substantial knowledge of the industry, but will a client understand anything you’re saying when first speaking through your SEO strategy?

    I’ve had calls when content marketing jargon starts to seep out on the phone, and, quite rightly, it’s invariably met with silence and then a ‘hmmmm… sorry, could you explain that again, please? It’s awkward, there’s no doubt and a time waster. Instead, before the call, understand what they are likely to know then adapt your explaining and questioning during the call.

    Speaking with your peers

    Whether you’re in-house or agency, the team you work with is not likely to know as much as you in your specialist area. If you’re a year into content marketing and you’re next to a paid media specialist with three years’ experience, it’s likely they’ll need things explaining from you despite their longer industry experiences.

    There’s no doubt that sometimes it comes down to vanity. Instead of helping our peers, we may think it’s an opportunity to parade our skill set. This is in no way beneficial. Communicating with your peers comes down to mutual respect and the way you speak with each other; condescending or patronising them with your slightly greater knowledge is not best practice.

    How the curse of knowledge impacts teaching methods

    I’ve only tried my hand at teaching for the first time recently, but it’s something that has taught me so much about communication, and particularly the curse of knowledge. My first presentation was a mess; I was attempting to explain everything I knew in two hours. This is a) not possible, and b) not the point of teaching.

    If I had put myself in their shoes – a mixed group with relatively little digital marketing knowledge – then I would have done things very differently. Making sure they understood one area of content marketing with the help of engaging group tasks would have been much more efficient than me reeling off things to blank faces.


    The importance of user intent and knowing your audience

    Understanding user intent

    Everything I’ve spoken about really comes down to thinking about your audience before engaging with them and understanding their intent. This both means to have a grasp of their knowledge of a subject as well as what they want to know about it.

    Whether it’s verbal or written communication, if you have never met your audience before then it’s important you use all the tools you can access to create a persona around them. Potentially ask all of the questions below:

    • Who am I communicating with (is the key target audience experienced in the industry?)?
    • What is their previous experience of what I’m offering (whether someone reading your blog post or a peer asking for digital marketing advice)?
    • What information do I have that’s unnecessary and hard to understand for my target audience? (Is it worth mentioning the technical specifications of a new product to prospective journalists? Probably not)

    These are just a snapshot of questions you need to answer, the more you think about them, the more they will start to expand.

    Lift the curse by creating personas

    How to combat this and lift the curse of knowledge upon you? Create personas for your target users. It’s one of the greatest clichés, but put yourself in their shoes.

    For example, you’re writing a blog for your new client – a small online wine business based in the UK. You have years of wine experience, both researching and tasting, home and abroad. A knowledge built up that is far above the norm. However, your end goal is to make people aware of this British-produced wine.

    Create the persona of your core target audience:

    • Andrew
    • 35-year-old office worker
    • Lived in Britain his whole life
    • Likes to drink wine but bored of the same stuff

    Once you have this persona in your head, you’ll write for Andrew, you’ll no longer write from the point of view of someone with above average knowledge of wine. Your initial title before thinking about the target persona might have been ‘how the age of grape affects its dryness’. This is great for wine enthusiasts but what about Andrew.

    How about ‘British Wine: Same Quality as European, But Half the Price’. If this is true, which I have to be honest I don’t know, then this will resonate with a much broader audience than the initial title.


    Final word on lifting the curse of knowledge

    Always understand your audience. Never let the curse of knowledge rear its ugly head. If you do, there will be heaps of confused faces and unproductive dialogues – either the written word or verbally. Time will be wasted, money will be lost, and there will be lots of sad faces.

    It’s not rocket science, it’s more how rocket scientists should communicate with us lesser individuals.

  • 18 May

    Advanced Technical SEO – SMX London 2016

    How often do you hear about a new trend in SEO? With Google making over 500 algorithm tweaks per year, the methods we use and effectiveness of tactics is constantly evolving. It is important for us to stay one step ahead of the changes and be ready for the new world of SEO.

    At SMX London 2016, I was lucky enough to speak on the Advanced Technical SEO panel with Aleyda Solis and James Finlayson. The Advanced Technical SEO panel is an element of SMX that has happened at many events in the past, frequently requested and always a high turn-out because people are passionate about learning the latest SEO.

    But, what does advanced really mean?

    By Hannah Events SEO
  • 22 Apr

    Hello. My Name is Blogger, Don't Make Me Mad!

    When organiser Kelvin Newman asked me to present at the April 2016 BrightonSEO, I didn’t need much time to think of which topic I wanted to cover.

    I wanted to share some of my insights of how we, as an industry, tend to work with bloggers, and how we can improve our relationships with them. Being both a blogger and a digital marketer, this is something I’m hugely passionate about!

    Hannah Butcher blogger outreach talk at BrightonSEO

    The name of my talk was called Hello My Name is Blogger, Don’t Make me Mad! at BrightonSEO. You can view the video of my talk in the embedded video at the bottom of this post, or view the video of the whole afternoon session in full on YouTube from around 2:55:30.

    I’ve also embedded my slides here for you in case you missed my talk, or want to have another look at what I was sharing on the screen at the time:

    It’s great to be able to provide the visuals for my presentation, but I wanted to give you some more background information about my talk and why the relationship between brand and blogger is a subject so close to my heart.

    Why is the brand/blogger relationship important?

    My own shaky beginnings

    When I started working in the SEO industry in 2009 at another agency I was heavily involved in the creation of content for brands. This was mostly off-page content, and it certainly wasn’t the best content I could’ve possibly written on a topic; a far cry from the content I put my name to these days.

    It existed mostly for the purpose of getting links from sites, and it didn’t really matter whether they were from article syndication sites, websites semi-related to the keywords we were targeting, or from bloggers who wanted to make a quick buck. Once I had written content, my colleagues were responsible for identifying these link “opportunities” and arranged placement (often for a fee).

    I only started questioning this process when I actually started to work with bloggers myself. A couple of the clients I was working with had some products that they wanted to push, and it was at this time that I began to get into outreach.

    By identifying some vaguely relevant bloggers, I could send them products, they could write about them, and then… LINKS! It was great, and it was different (and it meant I had to write less myself), but it was just the beginning of my outreach education.

    Discovering the answers

    After some time, I discovered that it wasn’t just as simple as: find blogger > send product > get link. I was getting inconsistent results; not ideal after carrying out a proof of concept for my clients. I started asking myself questions like:

    • Why are some bloggers linking back to the brand’s website whilst others aren’t?
    • Why are some bloggers not putting their email address on their website when I have something they can have for free?!
    • What is the best way for me to contact bloggers?
    • What on earth do I put in my email if this is how I want to contact them?
    • Do I need to pay bloggers or just give them something?

    My natural inquisitive nature put me in good stead, and by means of learning, testing and refining, I began to see more positive results from my outreach. The two things that have always stuck with me are:

    • Be nice
    • Choose your targets wisely

    Essentially this means that you never know when you’re going to need to work with a blogger on more than one occasion, so make the experience a positive one. Not only that, but you’re also representing a brand, regardless of whether you work in-house or for an agency. Don’t put your brand into disrepute because it can balloon further than a conversation by email; with social media, anything can be inflated to a wider audience.

    Comments, engagement and relevancy

    What I did find is that I wanted to get comments and other forms of engagement from the audiences of the bloggers that I was working with. I found that audience feedback and discussions usually took place when a blogger knew their niche and focused on it, rather than spreading themselves thinly over lots of different topics.

    This makes sense, as an engaged community will likely be just as passionate about a topic as the blogger is, and they will come back to that blog to consume more content on that topic. I found that domain authority and greater numbers of followers on social media didn’t always sway my decision on which blogger to work with, but rather their spirit made them much more appealing to me.

    Real passion is hard to fake, and those who came across with having a thirst for providing the best (read: interesting, different, informative) content on their topic were much more up my street. In return I realised that in order to do outreach, I needed to buy into this commitment, and resolved to start my own blog to realise great passion for myself.

    Becoming a blogger

    When I started my first blog (it was all about food; both eating out and home cooking) I quickly realised the time investment that was needed. Creating new posts was a LOT of work, and it was tough to fit it in alongside my full time job. Not only that but it was the first time that I really had to understand some of the more technical things: buying a domain, getting hosting, not destroying my WordPress theme by tweaking the CSS, etc.

    Soon enough I started to get emails from various digital marketing and PR folks who identified that I was writing on the topic of food, and in some cases, the local area in Oxfordshire. This is when I began to be invited to events and got products to review of my own.

    Along with some excellent opportunities (particularly for reviewing any burger places) there were some equally poor outreach attempts, notably those where my name was misspelled or the pitch was way off what my blog actually offered to readers.

    Even worse, some emails I received were obviously sent out to a huge list of bloggers, and then upon replying, I was invited to provide my stats for further consideration! I soon understood why brands shouldn’t put the onus on bloggers to do extra work just for the chance to promote a product, place or service. This isn’t the way that advertising works!

    Due to my thoughts, it was a natural progression to lead me to where I am today, including talking to a crowd of over 1,500 digital marketing people on the topic. I also really enjoy reading what other bloggers have to say on the topic, which is why I included the opinions of Janet Newenham in my presentation.

    Janet – who blogs at Journalist on the Run – has an awesome post called Exposure Won’t Pay For My Next Flight which I would encourage you to read in full for some more background information on this topic, and so you can get a great insider’s view!

    I think that’s enough of my blogging backstory now; onto the presentation…

    Watch my talk at BrightonSEO

    PS. Laura Hampton from Impression Digital wrote a great post on LinkedIn Pulse on what it’s like to speak at BrightonSEO; you might find this helpful if you’re thinking about speaking at your very first conference!

    By Hannah Butcher Events SEO
  • 22 Apr

    BrightonSEO key conference takeaways – April 2016 edition

    The team from are back in force at the popular UK digital marketing conference BrightonSEO! We’re covering the most exciting parts of the conference so you can spend more time listening to the speakers, rather than having to take those pesky notes on your pad, tablet or laptop.

    If you haven’t been able to make it to the conference, you may also find our running commentary helpful so you can stay in the loop with what’s new in the world of SEO.

    When you’re back in the comfort of your office make sure to revisit this post so you can refresh your memory about the key takeaways from the day. And please feel free to drop us a comment if you have any questions about what was covered at the conference as we’re always keen to share our insights and opinions.
    We will be updating this post as the day progresses

    Now for the important stuff – what conference topics do you fancy reading about? Click on the internal anchor links below to find what you need quickly…

    Crawl Session

    Dawn Anderson – Hunting for Googlebot, the quest for ‘crawl rank’

    Dawn’s talk was very interesting, but quite deep and contained a lot of research, therefore, the presentation had to be more of n overview of what she found. Dawn had a hell of a lot of information on her slides, so it is worth checking them out.

    • In 2013, The internet increased in size by 1/3 – surpassing 1 billion websites
    • Search engine capacity is limited – they are therefore becoming a lot more selective. Becoming about Googlebot crawl efficiency and prioritisation.
    • Google’s URL Scheduler becomes a more important aspect of the process – decides which URLs to crawl, in which order, and the regularity of return.
      • John Mueller confirmed this: “URLs are not all crawled in order…”
      • John Mueller also confirmed on Twitter: Crawl budget allocation is per IP, therefore, if you share hosting, you will be sharing a crawl budget with other sites.
    • Reading into Google’s ‘Critical Material Content Change’ patent shows significant changes/freshness of page content is an important factor in crawl prioritisation/regularity.
    • AJ Kohn (Jan 2016) – “I see evidence that getting pages crawled frequently improves their ability to rank” (paraphrased)


    • Be consistent in internal linking strategies, emphasise which parts/pages/sections of your website are important.
    • Embrace the ‘410 Gone’ status code so that Google embraces ‘importance’

    Future Proof

    Nicola Stott

    • Generation Z instantly connects to the digital world
    • Millennials – people who will use social media
    • Generation Z prefers messaging apps i.e. snapchat, whatsapp – still using social media
    • Messaging is taking over social media
    • Young adults spend 25% less time reading content than any other demographic
    • Generation Z does not care about your site they only care about the ‘cool product’
    • 40% of all consumers will be in gen z by 2020

    3 core areas of focus:

    • Time to result is the 3rd most critical metric
    • Page speed insights can be used to identify speed performance
    • rel = reconnect, prefetch, pretender these are understood by chrome and safari (top browsers, SERP uses pre-render in the first result because its a guarantee that will a user will click on the link
      can improve your site hugely in terms of speed

    Across all devices:

    • Generation Z more likely to use a smartphone out of all devices, iPhone is top, android follows 2nd
      need to connect users straight to the object quickly
    • How to speed up mobile performance- the amp project (removes 3rd party javascript) – accelerated mobiles pages project ( for further info) – wordpress plugin for this and available on the yoast plugin
      mobile isn’t just about the website, it’s about apps too

    Take people direct to objects of desire:

    • App indexing is not being done by anyone in the UK – how do we do this? one url across all devices. Cocopods is needed to connect with IOS9
    • Buzzfeed – 75% of content views from sources other than its website – 21% from from Facebook- the majority of traffic from snapchat
    • Rise of the personal agent – better voice recognition e.g. siri
    • Be fast, be mobile and be everywhere

    Mel Carson – discoverable, shareable and memorable

    Personal branding – started a business in modern marketing and personal branding, wrote a book about pioneers of digital.

    When we think of a brand its way more that just a logo. Seth Godin “a brand is a set of expectations, memories and stories”. Brand is about the experience, brand is about teams e.g. football team, SEO teams, Social teams.

    People want to see personality they want to see that you have a life, boundaries of personal and business have blurred the lines because of social media.

    Mel Carson – “Personal branding is the ongoing practice that is defining your professional purpose” what is your purpose? what are you motivated and passionate about, that is something people should think about and take seriously.

    Be discoverable – for your name, what results come up e.g in Google, also what you are about the skills that you have

    Be shareable – what you’re blogging/vlogging, tweeting and sharing

    Be memorable – may not need your expertise but something about the first two points that make someone remember you

    What brands should do:

    • Build relationships
    • Emotional connection
    • Future loyal fans

    90% believe and trust with people who are friends, family members and real people

    27% of time is spent on social media every hour

    Personal branding sweet spot: (don’t have to have all these things)

    • do-er
    • writer
    • speaker
    • socialiser

    Your content should be:

    • Authentic
    • Useful
    • Relevant
    • Actionable

    Our personal brands are no different for company brands.

    Own your own name – people within this industry should have their own website (wordpress or squarespace site). It’s your own media.

    Invest in a professional photo – date from photo feeler suggests a professional profile can make a better experience.

    Make your out of office work harder – add links, call to actions and make it stand out from the rest.

    Create a social media ratio – people ask should i have a separate account for professional and personal e.g. 60% professional and 40% personal – helps to show you are relatable and a real person with a personality.

    Get your LinkedIn profile up to date – people will google you so you want to show yourself in the best light. Make linked your living profile.

    Make your business cards stand out – the quality of the card, be creative. Be social by design. You do this with content but do this for yourself as well.

    Keep up communication

    • You’ll see an increase in engagement if you start sharing stuff
    • Increase mentions within the industry through niche press and digital publications
    • Requests for you to speak beyond your niche to raise your profile

    Personal branding book by Mel Carson available on amazon

    Deep diving into featured snippets – Rob

    Increase in page rankings when you have a featured snippet – makes the user believe that you know what you are talking about and that you are reputable. You don’t have to rank at number 1 to appear in a featured snippet or be top of the SERPS.

    Many types of snippets and there are many types of SERPS

    3 types:

    • Paragraph snippets
    • List snippets (bullets and numbers)
    • Table snippets (highly structure data like sport scores)

    27.58% have snippets with images

    Higher search volume the more likely to appear in the featured snippets

    Influence of word count – longer tail – sentences and questions. How do i? type questions.

    • Jargon words get triggered for featured snippets
    • Instant answers for what you need to know – its a mobile phenomenon

    How to earn more featured snippets:

    • Analyse keyword opportunities (semrush, GSC, STAT) – look for target keywords to prioritise
    • Create content targeted at snippets – look for ideas that make sense to your vertical but that are natural at the same time for example, question and answer content.
    • Slice up content with sub-heads, lists and tables (h1,h2 tags, lists, tables)
    • Polish your existing snippets, for example, if you have a recipe that is displayed in a featured snippet you can edit content on page. if using steps you can add further steps for cooking the recipe

    Successes Session

    Arianne Donoghue,, @ariannedonoghue

    What it’s like having GA Premium?

    (also called Google Analytics 360 Suite)

    Why choose it?

    • data continuity from Standard GA (free version)
    • Google invest, develop and improve the platform often
    • Cost: cost is front loaded – no additional costs for extra attribution models etc.)


    • slow (its processing a lot of data) although speed is comparative to Adobe etc
    • (Not Provided) still exists

    What’s different?

    • GA standard limits 10 million hits per month
    • GA Premium allows 20 billionn hits per month
    • More segments allowed
    • Integrates well with Double-click (impression data, view-through data)
    • Extra data driven attribution model available
    • Product support teams 24/7
    • Can go direct to Google or via a reseller (this can have the benefit of extra support, training, set-up)


    Sonia Mazzotta – Getting into google news and why it is worth it

    The window to the world is covered by google news, but it is really hard to get into Google news

    Top mistakes when applying:

    • inconsistent – not aligning with the brand
    • no contact details
    • unprofessional

    What are the SEO benefits?

    Exposure can lead to the following:

    • Increase in traffic
    • Reputation
    • Brand awareness
    • Increase in backlinks

    It also enables better control of brand reputation on SERPS.

    You can integrate Google news within your content strategy by doing the follwing:

    • Setup article with keyword at the beginning of headline
    • Promote immediately across social
    • Increase CTR with high res images
    • Always make sure you are staying ahead of Google trends
    • Make sure you mobile is friendly
    • Accelerated mobile project – recently launched and is creates a faster user experience that is streamlined and fast

    Exposure is the goal!

    Rachael Dines – Fundamentals of Video SEO

    • People spend 60% watching videos on youtube year on year
    • Videos rank and are blended within search results
    • If you can’t rank for text you might be able to rank for video
    • Video increases time on site by an average of 2 mins
    • A video is worth more than 8.1 million words
    • Titles should be at least 5 words long.
    • Put a video on your site first then share it out, google finds the video being on your site first more credible
    • Use the keyword within the file name itself


    • Promote it everywhere you can, including the word video can help increase traffic to the site e.g. social media, email
    • Get people to rate your video
    • Make sure your content is great

    Andrew Halliday – Server Analysis

    Don’t build a great site on rocky foundations, instead ask developers for server analysis data.

    Things to consider:

    • What bots are looking at your website
    • Add bots you don’t want to crawl your site – add to robots.txt file

    What makes a server log different to screaming frog and deep crawl? Well, it tells you what bots are doing on your site, allowing you to find out quickly which pages google isn’t crawling as an example.

    Screaming Frog now has a new tool called SEO log file analyser.

    Raj/Paul – Local data

    Smartphones have changed the way consumers interact with the world.

    • 53% of UK consumers believe that phones are the most important tool for purchase research
    • 85.5% of sales in the UK take place locally, also very similar in the US
    • Local search opportunity is real and immediate
    • 89% of the UK market share is Google

    Make sure that all details are correct e.g. addresses, phone numbers, opening hours. When the wrong data displays to users this can lead to a lost opportunity and revenue. For example, easter Sunday opening hours for retail shops.

    Key elements:

    • Make sure you have the right schema markup (
    • Make sure there are internal links to nearby locations


    • Find a centralised solution
    • Own the delivery of rich content (google my business, landing pages)
    • Location specific information
    • Continually work to improve
    By Farah Ali Events SEO
  • 11 Apr

    The Telegraph, Travel and Tom Hiddleston

    The Telegraph, Travel and a Tom Hiddleston

    We’ve all heard the sayings in the last few years that TV, both stateside and here in the UK, is in the ascendance.

    Recent months have seen big budget, trans-Atlantic productions, such as The Night Manager (the most expensive drama in BBC history at £20m), and epic historical saga War and Peace (£8m production) hit our screens with a vengeance.

    These mega-productions are drawing not only celebrated silver screen actors to the small screen, but are driving increased viewing figures for TV in general, with The Night Manager averaging 6.2 million viewers during its 6 week run.

    So what does this all have to with digital marketing and, indeed, the daily newspaper The Telegraph?

    In researching this blog post, which was originally going to be about how brands are capitalising on the growth of big-budget programmes, The Telegraph kept popping up in search results and twitter feeds as a winner in the TV search trend stakes. This post will look at the recent opportunities The Telegraph has taken advantage of, and look at how brands could replicate this success.

    Let’s take a look at our first example; the aforementioned phenomenon, The Night Manager.


    The Night Manager

    With the series taking place across a number of glamorous (and some not so glamorous) locations, the broadcast period of The Night Manager (and the weeks afterwards) inspired a great deal of related search traffic. This included viewers seeking images of Tom Hiddleston, and also those wondering if there’d be a second series.

    But it wasn’t only these direct topics that were of interest to searchers; the products and destinations featured in the series got their fair share of search queries too.

    When I think about the possible reasons for this, it’s easy to see how the sleek attire of the principal protagonists and the luxury locations lend themselves to daydreaming viewers. After all, they are watching the series during the cold, stormy winter months and can imagine themselves living the life of luxury in stylish, sun-drenched locations.

    Let’s look at few topics in particular that have seen uplifts in search volume.

    Majorca Villas

    Below shows the uplift in impressions for a travel retailer for terms related to Majorca villas (one of the principal locations in the series) over the broadcast period of The Night Manager.

    We can see defined peaks around the broadcast of episodes that featured the Majorcan villas location. However, these impressions and boosts in search volume can be converted into real traffic with the help of clever planning and quick action.


    Surprisingly, it was not travel and villa retailers that managed to capitalise on this story. Instead, this opportunity was taken by the newspapers. The Telegraph, in particular, took the bull by the horns and utilised the increased interest in this location to drive traffic to 3rd party websites via affiliate links.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 16.32.33

    This content also serves to promote other Telegraph travel articles and location guides.

    Other news outlets that covered this topic were Radio Times and The Guardian. This example presents a prime opportunity lost for travel/villas to ramp up paid media spend, write relevant and focused content, and create conversation on social media off the back of a TV show.

    A missed opportunity for Marks and Spencer

    In the days and weeks following the airing of a scene in which a principal character, known for wearing expensive designer wardrobe pieces, is shown wearing its brand of underwear, Marks and Spencer did, well, nothing.

    Once again, the traditional news outlets, this time the Daily Mail and the Mirror, covered this topic with gusto.

    This was certainly an opportunity missed by Marks and Spencer, which, as we have written about previously, has features on its website dedicated to editorial content and ‘picks’. So what could Marks & Spencer have done differently? We’ve created some tips for next time this happens…

    • Add the product and at least a short story to the Editor’s Picks which feature across the website (shown below)Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.09.22
    • Monitor brand mentions and tweet about the product during the show, and follow up the morning after so people can find the featured product
    • Create a promotion/competition around the product

    War and Peace….and city breaks

    When epic saga War and Peace debuted on our screens just after Christmas, travel brands were in peak holiday booking season. However, search terms around ‘visits to St Petersburg’ jumped big time during January and this presented a great opportunity for Russian Holiday brands to make some noise and capitalise on a new audience for its offerings.

    Unfortunately, not many appeared to have made the most of this opportunity.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 16.37.02
    Big jump in searches for holidays and trips to St Petersburg
    Once again, The Telegraph jumped in with great, timely content, the day before the first episode (forward planning – the production was announced in 2014 after all) with a comprehensive guide to the city of St Petersburg.

    They didn’t stop there, but went as far as to use this content to promote a reader offer.Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.19.29Picture1

    At a time when lots of people are talking about Russian destinations, the largest Russia holiday operators ended up promoting The Telegraph’s article, instead of gaining the traffic and brand-awareness for themselves through valuable on-trend content.

    As you’ll see below, Regent Holidays were in fact featured in one of these articles – as the operator of one of the 5 best tours of Tolstoy’s Russia – so they did gain valuable publicity and probably quite a bit of referral traffic from people landing on The Telegraph.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 16.52.13

    But it’s unlikely this was a planned and meditated strategy. More likely, Regent Holiday’s PR team responded to a media request from The Telegraph’s writer asking for Tolstoy themed tours and pitched one of the best options available. This is a great effort from the PR team. But wouldn’t it have been awesome if the PR team flagged the trend with the onsite content team and they complimented this feature with their own branded piece of content which they could promote too?

    Finally, on 8th March, more than a month after the series had finished airing in the UK, Regent finally put together a page that addressed the demand for visits to Tolstoy’s great cities.

    By this point, much of the buzz around War and Peace had died down and the telegraph had already run a series of 3 articles on the topic:

    This screams of a well researched and planned campaign to capitalise on the popularity of a TV series, and The Telegraph have done a great job. So this leads me to actions, and what we can actually learn from The Telegraph.

    What can we learn from The Telegraph and how can we replicate their success?

    Plan ahead
    Most major series are announced months in advance, so put relevant dates in the diary and keep an eye on build-up and noise around the topic in the lead-up.

    Be comprehensive
    Where possible, make content comprehensive and useful. Yes, you may be writing a feature ahead of a traffic peak, but don’t underestimate the power a long-form piece of content can have in the visibility stakes. That articles might bring you thousands of visitors in the years to come.

    A joined up approach

    • Make sure different departments and teams are informing you of any opportunities. One assumes the Marks and Spencer PR department must have known their underwear would be featured in the Night Manager?
    • Keep an eye on Journo requests from publications who might be planning articles and features to take advantage of these topics – just as we saw Regent Holidays did above. But don’t stop here – use them as a source of inspiration for your own content – Haro is a free platform you can sign up for which might be a good place to start, as well as #JournoRequest on twitter

    Use your strengths

    Take advantage of the insider knowledge that news outlets won’t have. Use in-country insights, opinions and tips in the case of destination based topics. You will be in a much better place to create authoritative and expertise-based content than commissioned writers.

    Track and understand
    Create Calls To Action (CTAs) either within or at the foot of the post, and set up ways to track users that have engaged with this content to understand how this content works for your brand.

    Monitor Google Alerts and Trends
    Never underestimate the power of a Google Alert in keeping you informed on news about the latest TV series announcement. Also check out Google Trends’ Rising and Top trends, see what specific phrases people are using, and act on them (shown below is the example from the day after the first episode of War and Peace aired).

    Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 12.34.02

    The key point to remember from all of this is that your brand may not consider an article or blog post about a TV show to be a real conversion path, but if other brands and news outlets write about it instead, you’ll be missing out on a potentially relevant audience. Don’t think that you can jump on the bandwagon later, you may well have missed the boat!

    By Alexandra Johnson Content Marketing SEO
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