Content marketing is a term popularised in 1999 by author Jeff Cannon: “In content marketing, content is created to provide consumers with the information they seek”.
What is Content Marketing ?
The tactic of a brand “offering” relevant pieces of content to consumers is not new: it dates back to the end of the 19th century with the first brands such as Johnson & Johnson or Michelin (and their famous guide).
In concrete terms, this marketing tactic consists of offering relevant and quality content to an audience. Why it works: customers and prospects can learn about a topic they are interested in from the brand, rather than being subjected to advertising pieces. In addition, content shared on the business’s website and social networks makes the business more visible.
Brands that are pioneers in this area see it as such a differentiating and competitive factor that they have invested in it to the point of becoming “media brands”: this is the case of Red Bull, which sponsors extreme sports and even creates them with its Red Bull Media House to feed its brand platform with video: air race championships, Felix Baumgartner’s parachute jump from space…
Without going to these extremes, let’s see how to get into content marketing to develop your brand and your sales. To do this, let’s take a look at setting up a Content Factory taking a page from what we did at Kannelle!
What is a Content Factory ?
The Content Factory is a team dedicated to the production of digital content like blog articles, videos, white papers, guides, apps, etc. and even physical content – books, fact sheets, recipes.
The Content Marketing team’s mission is to create pieces of content with the aim of attracting customers and prospects to the business’s website. This inbound marketing strategy, often referred to as inbound marketing, aims to educate and even entertain prospects to get them to convert more quickly.
The Content Factory can be outsourced to a production agency that produces content for the business or even to influencers, in B2C (on Instagram or TikTok) and in B2B (writing opinion pieces or white papers).
Most often, it is internalised with members of the marketing team who supervise, organise and carry out the creation of pieces of content with internal resources (studio, graphic designers) or even freelancers (photographers, videographers, authors).
How we run our Content Factory
At Kannelle, we have set up an internal Content Factory to develop our inbound marketing strategy. This Content Factory was set up to meet three objectives:
- Visibility: this is a brand objective. The videos we produce should serve as a showcase and our pieces of content aim to raise awareness of Kannelle.
- Lead generation: this is a business objective to increase the number of customers via inbound marketing, and in particular video SEO (referencing of video content).
- Conversion and retention: we want to inspire our customers and prospects with content that our Client Heroes (our sales people) and Love Officers (our customer managers) can offer them.
The Content Factory Team
In concrete terms, our Content Factory consists of several team members:
- Our Content Manager, who plans and writes the articles for the Kannelle blog, the posts for the social networks and the video scripts for the SEO videos.
- Our SEO Outreach Manager, whose mission is to ensure the co-creation of content (articles, webinars) with our partners and the media in order to ensure the visibility of the site and the creation of incoming links on our site (to ensure netlinking and traffic)
- Our CMO who acts as editor-in-chief and is responsible for the editorial line, the organisation of the process and strategic choices (including keywords), and writing op-ed articles to be offered as guest content on major blogs and trade sites.
- Our CEO who then shoots these videos (with our app, we are our own video marketing agency).
Our process is organised in a one-week sprint, inspired by the agile method used by our tech team. We aim to create 3 articles, 1 landing page and 3 videos on a particular keyword in 5 days. In our jargon, we call it “Keyword of the Week” or KOW. For example, for the week where we produced this guide, the KOW is “Content Factory”.
The main steps of this sprint are :
1 – Preparation: We thoroughly research the topic and the KOW starting with a semantic exploration, completed by readings and very often, as our topics revolve around video, a viewing of several dozen videos on Youtube. This research is completed by inputs from the Kannelle team: their opinions, feedback, etc. When possible, we also ask our clients about the subject.
2 – Planning: On Fridays, we define the pieces of content to be produced according to the topics identified via the search volumes of secondary keywords and the editorial possibilities offered by the keyword or the client cases on the topic. We prioritise the pieces of content into “must-haves” and “bonuses” (an adjustment variable if we can’t produce everything).
3 – Writing: The content manager then gathers the resources found during the preparation and writes all the articles for the blog and the video scripts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The written pieces of content are then sent to the CMO for proofreading, along with the CEO, on Thursday morning, before being edited on the site on Thursday afternoon.
4 – Filming: The CEO shoots the SEO videos on Thursday afternoon after receiving the scripts on Thursday morning. These videos, edited and finalised by our Chief Creative Officer, are then completed in the week’s sprint!
5 – Reuse: we compile the week’s pieces of content into a PDF guide dedicated to the theme that we reserve for our clients and prospects.
Note: one week a month, the Content team works on related projects. For example, optimising our YouTube channel, or redesigning certain parts of the site.
Result: 10 times more SEO traffic in 7 months
In terms of pieces of content created, each week we produce an average of 6 articles (including 1 long in-depth article) as well as 3 scripted videos for Youtube and Linkedin. On average, 7000 words are written per week.
As for the results in Google positioning, they are promising. In the first 50 positions, the number of keywords for which our site is indexed has tripled. The number of articles and landing pages positioned on the first page on Google for strategic keywords has increased tenfold.
In terms of impressions on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page, i.e. the first page of Google), we have gone from 1,000 to almost 50,000 in less than a year. And the number of clicks has increased tenfold between the start of this project in August and the first quarter of 2020.
Setting up a Content Factory is not an easy task: you need to allocate the necessary resources, produce quality pieces of content and ensure a steady rhythm of production.
From our experience over the last few months, we have drawn the following tips that will be useful to you in launching or developing a successful in-house Content Factory!
Our tips for deploying a successful Content Factory
Defining the objectives of the Content Factory
Before getting your engine humming, it is necessary to define the objectives of the Content Factory:
- What type of content do you want to produce?
- How many articles or videos per week?
- Which platforms will this content be shared on?
- Who is the content aimed at: prospects, customers, or partners?
Build a strong team
Now that you have defined your objectives, you need to put together a solid team to produce your content. That “solid” team starts with a sponsor or a leader who is in charge of the project, who understands SEO and has marketing knowledge. Then, you can surround yourself with an in-house team made up of several profiles for the different types of content to be produced: the more diverse the profiles, the better!
- For the production of written content, call on a person who masters the writing and the subtleties of SEO.
- For podcasts or video interventions, call on an energetic profile that is comfortable speaking
- To produce and edit videos, a creative profile with technical skills, or simply use Kannelle!
Get organised with an editorial plan
Editorial planning is essential for monitoring the production and publication of content and for organising your staff.
At Kannelle, we have set up a system for easy sharing and collaboration. There is a real need to get organised to facilitate communication between the different roles: the writer must receive instructions from the CMO or the netlinking manager, and must have the content validated by the CMO or even the CEO for final publication.
With this in mind, we have a Google Sheets file in which we enter all the pieces of content to be written and created each week, and the tasks are allocated to the various contributors.
Thanks to this editorial planning, it becomes easier to collaborate and to follow the list of projects. Deadlines are made explicit and everyone can see the progress of the project: for instance at which stage an article is. And this schedule can be customised according to our needs.
Use the right tools
In the office, or while working from home, collaborative work requires the right tools. Here are those that the Kannelle team uses to create content:
- SEO research: tools such as Insight SEO, Ahref or SEMRush are ideal for conducting research to optimise your SEO. If you’re just starting out, Google Ads offers free keywords tools that are easy to use.
- Discussion: for internal exchanges, especially when teleworking, discussion platforms are essential. Slack, for informal exchanges and Google Meet for group meetings.
- Content management system: all pieces of content should be published on a content management platform, ideally powering your website. We use WordPress.
- Video production: Kannelle for filming and editing videos, of course!
- Social media management: Hootsuite is the ideal tool to automate the publication of posts on social networks.
- Content library: Google Drive, Sharepoint, Dropbox are classics.
There you have it. You have all the information you need to launch your in-house Content Factory! All you need to do is put in place the right team, well-defined objectives and the right tools.
For us, there’s no doubt: the advantage of producing content in-house is a better understanding of the subjects covered, the challenges faced by the business and its customers. The results are more incisive articles and videos that will better seduce and convert!