Wedding Rings Direct ‘Bride of the Year’ campaign

In light of our recent nomination for the European Search Awards we thought the time was ripe to share a few more details about our work with Wedding Rings Direct and the ’Bride of the Year campaign’, which earned us a nomination in the ‘Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign’ category.

Wedding Rings Direct offers the largest collection of quality engagement, wedding and eternity rings in the UK. We first started working with them at the beginning of 2013 when they approached us to help them increase brand exposure, customer acquisition and revenue having suffered a significant drop in natural search traffic as a result of Google updates and subsequent penalties.

As part of their strategy, we came up with the idea of a Bride of The Year campaign, aimed at raising brand awareness and boosting social media engagement, whilst also building a number of high quality editorial links.

At the launch of the campaign, we asked friends and family of brides set to marry in 2014 to nominate the brides-to-be with photo and the reason they deserved to be Bride of the Year. We then approached wedding related businesses with strong blog domains to help us publicise the competition, whilst also inviting them to donate items or services for the winner’s prize package in return for media coverage.

When the competition launched, we used an ‘old school’ PR approach via press releases and calls to the local media and relevant wedding bloggers. This secured us coverage in the main local newspaper, whilst also gaining editorial links from bloggers.

In order to generate social media buzz, we created a contest app for Wedding Rings Direct’s Facebook page where brides-to-be could be nominated and then voted for by family and friends. To encourage the highest number of entries possible, we supported Facebook activity with advertising, accompanied by sponsored stories to extend reach even further.

Bride of The Year Competition

There were a total of 28 entries to the competition with each entry receiving an average of 65 votes and six comments per entry. Bride of the Year content was shared on Facebook 12,322 times during the two months the competition was live.

In October– after receiving more than 800 public votes– Rosa Lee from Brighton was crowned Bride of the Year 2014, receiving a set of bespoke wedding rings as part of a prize package worth more than £1,500.

The winning bride receiving her wedding rings from Wedding Rings Direct

Campaign highlights included:

  • 17 pieces of coverage from the media and wedding bloggers about the competition and winner
  • 10,185 unique visitors to the competition on Facebook
  • 84% increase in Facebook fans
  • 41 high quality, editorial links from a variety of domains over the four months of the campaign (exceeding the target of 30)

In addition, year-on-year natural search traffic is now tracking above the pre-penalty level for the first time in twelve months.

Kate Rivera, Marketing Manager at Wedding Rings Direct said “We are so pleased with how the Bride of the Year campaign performed from both a brand awareness and social activity perspective. We increased our Facebook followers significantly and the campaign also allowed three months of daily social interaction with our audience across multiple social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest.”

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on this campaign and were very happy to hear that due to the success of the competition, Wedding Rings Direct would like us to repeat and expand the competition nationally in 2014.

Watch this space for more details… and wish us luck with the European Search Awards!


European Search Awards Shortlist Badge




Leapfrogg nominated for a European Search Award

We had a great start to the week on Monday when we discovered that we had been nominated for a European Search Award!

Our work with Wedding Rings Direct and the Bride of the Year campaign has been shortlisted in the Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign category demonstrating outstanding public relations integration into a search campaign.

We were particularly proud of this campaign as it represented tremendous success for our client Wedding Rings Direct – such a success that they have requested we repeat and expand the competition nationally in 2014!

The project attracted 28 entries and drove 17 pieces of coverage across the media and wedding blog network. The social stats were also very impressive with 10,185 unique visitors to the competition on Facebook which was shared over 12,000 times within the two months the competition was live and increased their number of Facebook fans by 84%. We also exceeded the target of 30 high quality links, achieving 41 from a variety of domains over the four months of the campaign.

The winners will be announced at The European Search Awards ceremony in Reykjavik on 28th March. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed until then!

Happy Valentines Day!

Last year, I wrote a blog post about some of my favourite Christmas digital marketing campaigns from fashion retailers. With the recent build up to Valentine’s Day, I spotted some really innovative digital marketing campaigns from various brands and I thought I’d once again share a couple of my favourites on the Froggblog…

Not On the High Street #LoveYourStory

Not On The High Street have produced a very cute digital campaign celebrating real and everyday love stories. They asked nine couples to share the story of their relationship on film and these videos are featured on their website and across their social media channels.

Using the hashtag #loveyourstory, the brand has encouraged consumers to also tweet their love stories which have created a real buzz around the campaign. The brand has also created a bespoke webpage for the campaign which also features inspiring gifts, quizzes and other valentine’s day content such as wrapping inspiration, date ideas and quotes from the couples. It draws attention to their products but in subtle way.

Ann Summers #HappyAnnSummersDay

Here’s another rather cheeky guerrilla marketing campaign from lingerie brand, Ann Summers, who must have annoyed their competitors when they projected mischievous messages onto their store fronts.

Shops such as Thorntons and Liberty’s fell victim to Ann Summers and have had messages such as ‘Chocolates are for hospitals’ and ‘Roses belong in the Eighties’ projected onto their shop fronts alongside the slogan ‘Happy Ann Summers Day.’ They’ve also sprayed the messages onto London pavements and encouraged consumers to tweet @Ann_Summers with the hashtag #AnnSummersDay.

Virgin #EverydayValentine

This campaign from Virgin celebrates the idea of an ‘Everyday Valentine,’ which they describe as being anyone from a childhood chum, favourite food or even a pet. They’ve asked consumers to send them a picture via Twitter, Instagram or Vine of their #EverydayValentine with the aim to win prizes such as a dinner for two or customised chocolates. The best responses are also featured on the Virgin website throughout the week.

Evian #ILoveYouLike

Mineral water brand Evian is helping consumers avoid typical Valentine’s Day clichés with its #ILoveYouLike multi-channel campaign which pushes their ‘Live Young’ philosophy.

In the run up to Valentines Day, consumers who tweet @evianwater or @evian_uk using the hashtag #ILoveYouLike will receive a response with an image depicting an alternative Valentine’s message. Fans are then encouraged to share suggestions on how to complete the sentence ‘I love you like’ on Facebook in order to win special Valentine’s Day prizes.

According to Clickz, this campaign has already notched up an impressive 87,000 impressions in the week before the campaign launched and 1.2 million estimated impressions in its first 48 hours as a result of about 200 Twitter messages.

Ted Baker #FollowTedsHeart

I spotted this campaign earlier in the week on Ted Baker’s Facebook page. They’ve created a digital ‘FollowTedsHeart’ Facebook app campaign to increase engagement with their fans and compliment their in store activities.

The app lets users release virtual balloons around the globe in a bid to win a shopping spree and features really lovely visuals of the balloon flying across the world as it’s released. It’s nicely executed but I was pretty disappointed that my balloon only traveled 3557.55 miles to Washington putting me in 4151st place.

Heineken #DateInABox

Last but not least, a campaign aimed at the boys from Heineken. The beer brand has launched a #DateInABox social media campaign which consists of an actual box containing an adventurous, prearranged mystery date ranging from a jujitsu lesson for two to a couples’ tattoo session. To get this date, women can tweet to @Heinken_US and have a box mailed to their partner but he can only unlock it if he embarrasses himself and shares his feelings of love on Instagram with the photo of the box.

Top ten Froggblog posts of 2012

As we draw towards the end of another eventful year in the worlds of digital marketing and retail, it’s time for our annual round up of the top posts from the Froggblog.

I’ve been lucky enough to write a number of guest posts for Econsultancy this year, some of which are also included below.

Also, be sure to keep a look-out for our summary of what we have learnt this year and what we look forward to in 2013.

For now, here is a run-down of our top posts in 2012:

Stick, twist or bust: Thoughts for digital marketing investment in 2012

Right at the start of the year I argued that retailers should ignore much of the doom and gloom they are exposed to through the mainstream media and instead formulate their strategies by taking other external factors into account. With the somewhat depressing Autumn Statement fresh in our minds, my advice remains as relevant today as at the turn of the year so it’s well worth revisiting.

The retailer’s guide to using AdWords Ad Extensions

Ad extensions allow you to make your Google paid search adverts more relevant and useful to prospects. Paid search analyst, Andy Miller takes a look at each of those ad extensions and how to utilise them to improve the performance of your Adwords campaign.

Ten ways retailers can maximise digital sales of high-value items

Over the years, we’ve worked with a number of retailers selling high-value items, such as furniture, online. Website optimisation expert, Suzanne, offers advice for retailers in operating in this space where a complex sales journey, involving multiple channels, is common, as well as a long consideration period.

First steps towards multichannel marketing for independent retailers

It has undoubtedly been the year that multichannel retailing (and more recently omnichannel) has stolen all of the headlines. The need to deliver a seamless and consistent experience for customers as they move between store, website, mobile and catalogue is much easier said than done. With this in mind, our Managing Director, Rosie, offers advice for independent retailers looking to make their first moves into multichannel.

How stores should embrace digital to provide an innovative shopping experience

‘Showrooming’, when a customer visits a brick and mortar retail store to touch and feel a product with the intention of making the purchase online, has become common customer behaviour in recent times. Suzanne looks at how a retailer can deliver an in-store experience that takes advantage of this behaviour rather than viewing it as a threat.

Survey results: Inside the mind of your premium retail customer

At the start of the year, we conducted some research to explore the habits and behaviours of consumers purchasing premium products and services. It revealed some interesting insight not least that 61% of consumers said they would not reduce their online spending habits in 2012. Take a look at the full report to see how your experiences in 2012 marry up.

The agency vs in-house conundrum…the impact of Google Panda on staff resourcing

The big news in search this year centred on the Panda and Penguin updates. I take a look at the impact these updates have had on the discipline of natural search (or SEO if you prefer) and what this means for a brand considering managing their search strategy in-house.

The importance of customer insight to search strategy

No marketing campaign can be truly effective unless you have a genuine understanding of the audience you are targeting. Head of Social Media and Content, Lucy, looks at the importance of customer insight to delivering a winning search strategy.

Essential e-commerce features & functionality to drive great customer experience

This two part post from Ben Adam looks at the importance of choosing the right website platform or technology with an emphasis on the features and functionality that help drive a positive and engaging web and cross channel experience. Part 2 can be found here.

Content marketing – applying the principle of ‘form follows function’ to deliver great customer experience

Rosie looks at the challenges brought about by multiple stakeholders creating content seemingly to serve different objectives and how the principle of ‘form follows function’ can act as a means of delivering a more joined up and consistent approach.

Articles featured on Econsultancy

Earlier this year I started guest blogging for Econsultancy. My articles reflect a passion for demystifying the many half-truths that surround disciplines, such as natural search, and in turn helping businesses make informed decisions when it comes to shaping their online strategy, choosing the right partners and allocating appropriate resource.

SEO: search experience optimisation

I explain how a change to the ‘E’ in SEO can encourage a subtle (but significant) change of mind set that, in turn, can help marketers take a more objective view to what they should be doing (and more importantly what they shouldn’t) when it comes to shaping and executing their SEO strategies.

Four SEO payment models you need to seriously question

I take a look at a number of SEO payment models that, for me, don’t come under nearly enough scrutiny and why, in my view, they just don’t work in the context of today’s search landscape.

Will Panda kill the freelance SEO star?

The well-publicised Panda and Penguin updates have had a significant (and in my view, positive) impact on the discipline of SEO. I ask whether it Is possible for one person to manage a full end-to-end SEO strategy when the discipline involves such a multitude of skill sets.

Writing a search marketing brief in a multichannel world

In the context of an evolving search landscape and multichannel environment, retailers need to re-evaluate the information they include in a brief when sourcing a search agency.
This article explores firstly why the search marketing brief needs to evolve before providing practical advice on what retailers should include in it.

Keep up to date with our latest articles and news in 2013 by following us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or by adding Leapfrogg to your circles on Google+.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at Leapfrogg.

The blurring lines between online and offline PR

I’ve been thinking about the benefits of integrated PR and the common questions raised by clients. A range of queries such as ‘how can I leverage my offline PR activities?’ and ‘what is integrated PR?’ led me to believe that such questions deserve a blog post so marketers could also benefit from this insight. After all, if clients are questioning PR’s purpose, how many more are there? In most cases brands perceive marketing communication as separate online and offline activities, without giving much thought on how this perception can deeply affect its marketing activities. With this in mind, I wanted to raise the importance of integrating PR, so great ideas are pushed to the right consumers at the right time without overloading the balance sheet.

No longer should traditional PR be seen as a separate discipline from online PR. Marketers must learn to measure and integrate traditional and non-traditional approaches as complimentary disciplines, to fully enhance their marketing communications through consistent brand messaging. Although the logic may seem obvious, this is overlooked across a variety of industries. An integrated approach to your PR activity will leverage your SEO impact on the search engine results page (SERPs) and sustain a strong brand message to your consumers both online and offline. It will facilitate a 360 degree view of your brand through carefully executed content that aligns all media messaging and brand propositions.

Only a marketing agency that has a thorough understanding of your online activity and customer behaviour will understand what is actually driving your consumers. Delivering integrated PR will take into account an analysis of the client’s financial targets, business goals and online activity trends of the customer journey. Using this information means your offline marketing messages will have a better impact as your messaging will be unified as one voice, maintaining its tone and delivery on all touch points.

It’s important to remember integrated PR should not just drive traffic but increase brand awareness that is consistent across all channels. The ROI in combining online and offline PR also means you have a stronger insight into measuring your campaign’s effectiveness and what is actually driving website visits or footfall. In addition, one agency overseeing your integrated PR means you can streamline online and offline activities, so you are only one phone call away from all your marketing communication needs.

To be cost effective and efficient brands must embrace integrated PR and avoid separating it into two disciplines. Take for example leading luxury brand Burberry who reportedly invest 60% of their marketing budget in digital channels1 . Their innovative approaches, such as ‘click to buy’ Burberry films and ‘runway to reality’ VIP app are good examples of how to combine activity.

Interestingly, Burberry announced an 8% rise in revenue – £883 million – for the first six months of 2012, followed by a 6% increase for the second half2 . Demonstrating leapfrogging competitors with innovative, integrated campaigns cuts through existing marketing ‘noise’ in the competitor landscape. So, if brands want to reap such rewards they must learn to blur the lines between online and offline PR before it’s too late.

1 & 2

What a multichannel retailer should include in a search marketing brief

Back in November 2010, I wrote about the importance of, and what to include in a brief when looking to appoint a search agency.  Whilst much of the advice remains the same, an awful lot has changed in the last couple of years, which in turn impacts how a retailer needs to brief prospective agencies.

Firstly, search has continued to evolve. It is far from the stand-alone discipline it perhaps once was. Social media, content strategy and online PR are now all critical components of a successful natural search strategy (also known as organic search or SEO).

Furthermore, retailers are operating in a complex multichannel environment where increasingly savvy customers expect a consistent and seamless experience as they move between different channels, such as desktop PC, mobile, store and catalogue.

The winners will ultimately be those who can effectively integrate their search, social media, content and online PR strategies, whilst also ensuring that their online and offline operations work in unison.

As such, when multichannel retailers are looking to source a search agency they need to provide access to information, which on the surface, may appear irrelevant. However, in the context of an evolving search landscape and multichannel environment, such information is integral to the delivery of an effective search strategy.

Why is a brief important?

Ultimately, developing a brief is to the benefit of both parties. The agency can build a strong understanding of the business, which leads to the most appropriate solution being presented. The retailer benefits for the very same reason; a solution is developed which is most appropriate to their objectives, internal resource and budget, whilst being aligned to other marketing channels.

What should be included in a search marketing brief?

With the above in mind, multichannel retailers should include the following information in a search marketing brief. Please note; it is not unusual for an NDA to be signed at pitch stage bearing in mind the sensitive nature of some of the information required

Company background

It is useful for the agency to understand the context of why you are looking to engage them. This starts with an understanding of where you’ve come from before we explore where you want to go. Therefore, this section should include a brief history of the business, recent market trends, how the company has performed and the challenges you are facing (both internal and external).


There should be a particular emphasis on your most profitable and popular product lines. For the purposes of forecasting be open to sharing average order values and margins, as well as an overview of your product strategy i.e. innovations, new launches and so on.


The agency will be looking to assess potential keyword targets (based on the product lines you have cited above). This will involve identifying your competition in search results, as well as researching other marketing activity they are undertaking. It is worth noting that often your competition in search results is very different to your competition across other channels. A small retailer selling black dresses, for example, may find themselves competing in search results with major players, such as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, which in turn may make related keyword targets unrealistic.

Target audience

Describe your target audience (sex, age, geography, for example), whilst also outlining what your insight is based on. For example, have you got an active database of customers where you have conducted surveys or focus groups? Ultimately, if an agency is going to help you acquire more customers they need to have an acute understanding of who you are trying to reach.

Also consider why this audience should listen to you. Why are you better than the competition? For example, do you position yourself on price, quality or service? Drawing out your USPs and key benefits will be critical to shaping a content-driven, search strategy to increase customer acquisition.

Your commercial objectives

I cannot stress enough the importance of sharing your overriding commercial objectives, ideally for the next 2 – 3 years.  If an agency is to deliver an effective search strategy they need to understand the context of how it is expected to contribute to overall business goals.

At Leapfrogg, we work on the premise that objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) and based on reliable market data.

At this stage, you should also explain your wider business and marketing plans. Reiterating the point that search does not operate in a silo, it is important that the agency understands what other marketing channels you will be investing in to meet your objectives and in turn, how search might support them, for example new store openings and your mobile strategy.

Current activity and performance

To develop a top line strategy and tactical plan at pitch stage, the agency need to understand the investment you have already made in the channels under discussion, as well as having access to data via tools such as Google Analytics.

Therefore, an overview of the tactics that you are currently employing or have employed in recent months, such as natural search, paid search, social media, content and so on, will be useful. This is a chance to outline other partners or agencies that you employ and that your search agency will be expected to work alongside, for example web developers and offline PR.

Understanding your in-house resource is also essential in the spirit of developing a collaborative partnership with an agency. You should not be looking to ‘outsource’ your search marketing in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, you should seek to partner with your agency, sharing roles and responsibilities where applicable. As such, the agency needs to understand the skill, experience and desire of in-house staff to work on certain aspects of the strategy and tactical execution.

Timescales and budget

All too often, time and resource is wasted during the pitch process (on both sides) because important matters such as timescales for moving ahead and budget are not discussed openly and honestly upfront. An agency will invest many hours, perhaps days, in putting together a proposal. Therefore, to avoid time being wasted, which also includes your time in sourcing and supplying information, it is helpful to know when you intend to start the project, whether you are in contract with an existing agency and any notice clauses.

When it comes to budgets, avoid a situation where you give no indication of what you have to play with. Have in mind a budget and be prepared to share it so that the agency can shape a solution that is appropriate. Essentially, ensure there is a correlation between your commercial objectives and the amount of budget you are prepared to invest in meeting them.

Finally, outline the stages you will be working through in making a decision; how many agencies are you inviting to pitch, who will be involved and who will make the ultimate decision, as well as any particular conditions an agency has to meet. This might include specific sector experience or preferred payment models, for example.


Without establishing a brief you run the risk of making a potentially costly decision when it comes to your search strategy. The briefing process should involve intense questioning by the agency and a willingness on the part of the retailer to share required information.

Anything less than this and you are likely to fall into the trap of buying an off-the-shelf, packaged solution…the polar opposite of a search strategy that is aligned to your business objectives and in tune with your wider retail strategy. The latter can only be achieved with a properly defined brief.

Yes, the process takes time but in the long-run will ultimately deliver far greater returns.

Clarks Originals ultimate post ecommerce sales experience

I bought some shoes recently…..nothing new in that I hear you say but these shoes were special. Not just because I REALLY like them but because of how the people that made them treated me throughout the process.

In today’s world of market share grabbing, customer acquisition is the main focus for many retail marketing strategies. Fill the sales funnel and improve conversion rates to generate more sales, revenue, profit, etc. This is of course fundamental to any successful retailer, but with the pressure to engage and convert customers across multiple channels many retailers are forgetting to look after customers after they have brought them over the line.

In a recent survey we undertook, exploring the shopping habits in 2012 of consumers buying premium products, 24% of respondents said they would spend more money with retailers who sought to build a meaningful relationship with them, engaging with them on an ongoing basis and offering them exclusive deals, for example.

The post-sales experience is crucial in turning the customers you have sweated tears winning in the first place into the repeat customers who are highly valuable in two ways. Firstly, they spend far more with you over their lifetime but also help you fill the acquisition funnel by becoming advocates of the brand and using channels, such as social media, to talk positively about you’re their experience.
This is something we have been discussing a great deal recently and why I was DELIGHTED with my recent Clarks Originals purchase.

The Clarkes experience

I was looking for a pair of sandals for the summer that would last and I saw a picture of a pair of Clarks Originals in a magazine (yes offline marketing does still play a huge role in retail buying journeys). After going to the Clarks site and having a good look at the product I bought them and waited expectantly for their arrival.

The first tick in the box for Clarks was that within three minutes of purchase I got my confirmation of order from Clarks along with details of when my product would be delivered. Dispatch was confirmed by email one day later.

This was then followed up with a text message from Clarks updating me on my delivery date (which was earlier than expected) and giving me the option to change the date should I wish.

Not only did this constant communication make me feel secure my purchase was on the way but also helped build the anticipation of its arrival.
It duly arrived when it said it would (another big tick in the box for Clarks) but the way it was packaged and what came with it was what really made me happy.

Firstly it came in a beautiful “Clarks Originals” box. When you buy a quality item you expect it to come beautifully presented.

I opened the box with eagerness and in amongst my gorgeous shoes I also found the following.

Clarks are using the collect+ scheme to allow online shoppers to return any unsuitable purchases for free at a number of collection points across the company, for example newsagents and garages. The pain of returning items is a huge barrier to some online shoppers. Knowing that an item can be easily returned for free can be a great aid to conversion rates. In our aforementioned Premium Shopper Survey, 36% of respondents said that free delivery and returns are key indicators of a premium retail experience.

Having ticked the great delivery, packaging and free returns boxes Clarks then went on to incentivise me to start an ongoing conversation with them through their social media channels.

So I immediately found them on Facebook (great use of new timeline by the way!) and made sure I was signed up to the newsletter. I now have regular communication from them through a number of channels they can utilise to tell me about deals, offers, new stock, etc.

Also on the other side of this card was……………

Well done Clarks for using offline marketing to provide me with a real incentive to complete the ‘digital circle’ back on the site and leave a review; which I of course did and am now waiting to win that second pair of shoes.

So all in all, a brilliant experience from start to finish for me. I am telling everyone how great the shoes and Clarks are and will definitely be buying from the range again as above everything thing else they are great quality shoes too!

Clarks have really thought about the entire customer purchase journey by engaging at every stage and providing the best possible post-sales experience for their customers to retain them as loyal repeat purchasers. I look forward to the next newsletter from them and keeping up to date with their Facebook feed.

Well done Clarks.

The importance of content planning to search, sales & social media

For a long time, we’ve been driving home the importance of content to meeting your online objectives. In fact, Ben wrote about the relationship between content, search marketing and social media back in 2009.

Content can be used to connect with and engage your audience at each stage of their buying journey. As such, I believe that content planning should be core to your digital marketing strategy. A solid content plan gives all of your disciplines creative direction, streamlines resource, ensures messaging is consistent and works to enforce the role that each stakeholder (internal and external) plays in meeting online goals.

At the heart of content planning is a strong understanding of your target audience. By understanding the needs and motivations of your prospects and customers it will help you to create content that is in line with how your audience wants to consume it and therefore where to market that content to support search, website optimisation and social media objectives.

How customer insight and content supports these three channels is best reflected in the infographic below:

Starting with search, the information presented back to us when searching comes in a range of content types i.e. maps, images, video and shopping feeds (in Google’s case, this is called Universal Search). In turn, this means brands must create, optimise and market useful and engaging content that benefits both the target audience and supports SEO objectives.  In light of Google’s Panda update earlier this year, good quality, relevant and interesting content for the end user is more important than ever. Adopting old hat techniques such as keyword-stuffed press releases and articles, created purely for SEO purposes, might just bring you to Google’s attention…and not in a good way!

Content also has an integral role to play once visitors arrive at your website. A content driven approach to e-commerce helps create a richer and more rounded website experience, which in turn aids conversion rates and average order values. Strong imagery and video, for example, are proven to engage visitors and drive up sales. Marks and Spencer, with its pioneering ‘M&S TV’, has reportedly seen three times as many product views when supported with video and an average uplift in basket size of 23%.

Content is also vitally important in giving your brand a voice across your social media channels. Too many brands fall in to the trap of using social media to simply broadcast special offers and promotions. Content is the foundation of which a truly engaging social media experience is built and therefore how you can build a following by having your customers share your news, views and stories with their colleagues and peers.

This diagram reflects the interdependency between search, social media and content; one discipline cannot operate in isolation of the other two.

Practical steps to creating a content plan

So with content playing such a vital role in search, conversion rates and social media outreach, where should you start?

I recommend working from a central content plan as it helps to ensure consistent and clear messaging from each of your company’s communication channels and ensures any content output is aligned to your business objectives.

The first step to creating great content is to align all communication channels to work together. Holding regular content workshops involving all those responsible for creating content is a great way to achieve this. The objective of these workshops is to mine the business for all marketing plans across online and offline disciplines and brainstorm raw ideas, thoughts and materials.

You can then shape the resulting output into a comprehensive six-12 month content plan that cascades into all online communication channels, for example:

  • Content to support sales, such as buyers guides
  • Blog content
  • Emails / newsletters
  • On and offline PR
  • On and offline advertising, such as catalogues
  • In-store event ideas

This level of planning provides the necessary structure and formalising of responsibilities to maximise the value of the content created by all stakeholders.

The output is a month by month plan (it can be as simple as using an Excel spreadsheet) that details what content will be created, in what format, by whom and through which channels it will marketed and when. It sounds simple but I’m amazed at how many businesses we speak to are creating content in a totally disjointed manner meaning they fail to maximise its value to meeting digital marketing objectives.


Don’t fall into the trap of creating content purely for the purposes of gaming search engines. Really think about your customer and create content that is genuinely useful and engaging. Get all of your content creators in a room and plan, plan, plan. In turn, you’ll be rewarded with stronger search engine rankings, higher conversion rates and more fans and followers who feel a genuine connection to your brand.