Creating Content that Kicks

Creating Content that Kicks

Online marketing is a confusing profession sometimes. At various times of the day I’m asked to be statistician, author, business analyst and programmer and that’s before we get started on actually putting together campaigns, dealing with copywriters and managing multiple clients through various communications systems. The phrase ‘octopus on stilts’ springs to mind if you want a visual clue as to what it’s like working in our office on the average day…

Whilst it’s sometimes taxing on the brain trying to keep a successful marketing campaign going, one thing I never considered myself as being is a psychologist. It turns out however that ‘how people think’ is so ingrained in what we do on a daily basis it’s quite easy to ignore that what we’re actually doing is analysing people. This may mean we’ll have to order in some white lab coats and chaise longue for when things get really heavy!

A blog post on the Internet Marketing blog ( ) highlighted for me just how much psychology is involved in creating a successful campaign to promote a website and how we all as marketers and retailers need to think about what our target audience is thinking when we try to sell products online.

In this post, content marketing company Fractl showed through analysis of 300+ content campaigns what really counts to get the best engagement from online marketing campaigns. The results are not exactly surprising, but you will only realise this when you have your ‘psychology head’ on.

It turns out that promotional campaign performance is directly tied to several triggers including emotional response, comparisons (which you could class as ranking or pride) and ‘pop culture references’, which could be pandering to our sense of belonging or affinity. All of these emotional triggers are well recognised and known to anyone who studies psychology.

Content Marketing Campaigns

If you don’t know what content marketing is, a simple definition would be creating online content (whether that is text, video or imagery in any format) that will both be viewed and shared.

Successful content marketing campaigns can go viral and generate massive amounts of social shares on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ whilst bringing in hundreds of links to a target website. This in turn increases both direct traffic to that target website, will increase referral traffic (from all of those links) and will increase rankings in search engines for a range of keyphrases related to the content of the campaign. Content marketing can therefore be very powerful and bring in the revenue your business needs to survive if done well.

What Makes a Great Campaign

From the data supplied by Fractl, it turns out that a really great content marketing campaign needs a strong mix of emotional hook, comparison and a good mix of pop culture.

For an example of how this would read when related to, for example, the gift-ware trading vertical, you need look no further than the craze for ‘keep calm’ paraphernalia a few years ago. This had oodles of emotional hook, there was massive competition to see how products could ‘out-do’ each other on the ‘keep calm’ front and there’s definitely a big mix of pop culture in there as well. Campaigns like this can take on a life of their own and be self-promoting – after a while it’s the people you are selling to who do the promotion for you, which in marketing terms is nirvana!


Thinking About Your Campaigns

Now that you know what makes a great content marketing campaign, think how you can create one for yourself. Find products in your online store which will promote an emotional response. If you can also find products which also appeal to popular culture you are already over half way there to having a great subject for a content marketing campaign!

If you want inspiration, then consider that trading verticals which traditionally sell well include video gaming, equestrian, angling, shooting, motorsports and other participation sports. If you can therefore find gifts which appeal to people who participate in these sports and pastimes then you are probably onto a winner. Remember, if all else fails then controversy will usually get you the viral response you need to sell – everyone loves a bit of scandal! (Check this out if you don’t believe me!



David Fairhurst

Head of Creative Online Marketing

Intelligent Retail

David has been involved with Search Engine Optimisation and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London