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Archive by Lola Michels

2020 Trends: Content

09Jan

 

My name is Lola Michels and I’m the Content Strategist at Passion Digital. These are the top three content marketing trends for 2020 according to the content team.

 

Next-Level Visual Storytelling

 

In 2020, visual formats such video content, customised gifs and augmented reality filters are going to continue to be on the rise. However, it’s not just about the format that you choose. The story that you’re telling and the reaction you want to get from your audience are the most important factors.

 

Real Life Action

 

There’s nothing like content that’s been created around real life events. In 2020, brands are really going to have to step up their game by tackling pressing current events issues to do with climate, human rights, accessibility and sustainability.

 

Campaign-Based Content

 

Instead of creating content for the sake of content, think in terms of campaigns where cornerstone content is linked to by supporting assets.

 

What are your thoughts on these three trends? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Let the content team here at Passion help you get your content ready for the new decade – get in touch with us today!

 

An Introduction to Search Intent

08Nov

If you’re in charge of creating content for your business, you want to be well aware of search intent. Incorporating this concept into the work you produce will improve its quality, help your website rank better on the search results page and ensure you are putting out content that users will actually find useful. After all, no one likes content just for the sake of content.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll be a whiz when it comes to anything related to search intent.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is the reason why someone is searching for something. It’s the answer they are looking to get when they type a particular key phrase into Google.

Our stock image friend was confused about search intent, too – but not anymore after reading this post!

Search intent usually falls into one of the following three categories:

  1. The user wants to know something. In short, they have questions and they want answers. Searches often include terminology such as ‘how to’, ‘where is’, ‘why is’, ‘what is’, etc.
  2. The user wants to do something. This could include purchasing something online, making a phone call, visiting a store, etc.
  3. The user wants to go somewhere. They want to visit a specific website or webpage.

With this information in mind, it stands to reason that the key phrase a user types into Google gives you hints about their search intent. For example, ‘how to use my iPhone’, ‘new iPhone deals’ and ‘new iPhone amazon’ (all of which are searches that use similar words) have very different search intents. It’s important to look at your key phrases logically and think about what information the user actually wants to find in the search results.

Keywords, Key Phrases and Search Queries

In the very early days of SEO, we used to talk of ‘keywords’: we would be optimising for ‘holidays’, ‘dentist’, ‘jumpers’, etc. Google could only see a page as relevant to a key phrase if it found multiple instances of that exact keyword in its entirety. As users – and therefore SEO experts – got more familiar with search engines and Google continued developing its algorithm, we saw the birth of ‘key phrases’: combinations of keywords, such as ‘cheap family holidays’, ‘dentist in Peterborough’, ‘cashmere jumpers’, etc.

Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for ‘cheap family holidays’. Look at the second result – that’s our client, Teletext Holidays!

Nowadays, the Google algorithm has become more human and capable of understanding increasingly sophisticated search intent behaviours. Us SEO and content professionals now prefer to use the term ‘search queries’. Search queries can be anything a user may type into Google, from ‘best European holiday destinations for kids’ and ‘Peterborough dentist reviews’ to ‘how to care for cashmere jumpers’

Each search query has its own, unique search intent and, as SEO and content professionals, it is our job to identify the search intent groups that we want to target with the content and sales copy we produce. These groups may be more generic with a lot of search volume, or very niche and targeted with not a lot of search volume. What search intent you target is all part of your strategy.

In this blog post, we sometimes refer to search queries as ‘key phrases’. This is not because we still think in those terms internally, but because – you guessed it – it meets your search intent better!

Google Updates That Have Helped Us Target Search Intent

Google’s algorithmic change from keyword targeting to search intent modelling hasn’t happened overnight. That’s why when Google recently rolled out the BERT algorithm, we weren’t exactly panicked here at Passion. We have been thinking in terms of search intent for years already, and there have been plenty of Google updates over the past 10 years that have encouraged that:

  • 2009: Google confirmed the irrelevance of the ‘meta keywords’ field in meta data. Some industry professionals speculated that ‘keyword stuffing’ may be a negative factor when it comes to ranking.
  • 2011: Google started moving to secure search, leading to more keywords being ‘(not provided)’ in Google Analytics.
  • 2012: Google announced its Knowledge Graph, which gives users the most relevant information about things, people and places.
  • 2013: Google announced its entirely new search algorithm, Hummingbird, which was designed to understand the meaning behind search queries rather than simply match them to words.
  • 2015: Google announced Rankbrain, the machine learning extension of their existing algorithm that helped answer ambiguous search queries.
  • 2019: BERT, the latest addition to Google’s algorithm, is a neural network-based technique that helps Google map the context of words in search queries better.

Although SEO experts haven’t always been excited about Google’s algorithm changes – change is challenging, after all – the good news is that some of our favourite tools such as Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and SEMrush have started to suggest search intent based on our main target key phrases already. Here is an example of what that might look like.

The SEMrush ‘online visibility management’ tool suggests keywords and search intent indicators based on your chosen topic.

The SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant suggests search intent based on your target keywords.

How to Seamlessly Meld Search Intent and Key Phrases Together

The most straightforward way to make sure search intent and key phrases go hand-in-hand is to respond to selected questions and queries suggested by tools such as SEMrush. 

For example, say you want to write a piece about mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace. After some keyword research, you see that your relevant key phrases are ‘wellbeing at work’, ‘wellbeing at work ideas’ and ‘health and wellbeing activities at work’. From this information, you can infer that searchers are looking for the definition of wellbeing at work, ideas for improving wellbeing at work and examples of activities that will promote wellbeing at work.

This makes for a very easy way to structure your article while naturally including the suggested search queries – you can slip them into your subheadings! 

Start with an introduction, then move onto a section with the definition of wellbeing at work – you can call it What is Wellbeing at Work? Write a paragraph defining this phrase, then use your key phrase suggestions to influence two more section headings: Wellbeing at Work: Ideas That Are Easy to Implement and Health and Wellbeing Activities at Work. Now you don’t have to worry too much about getting the key phrases into your body text – once or twice should be fine.

Remember: You don’t have to use key phrases exactly as they come up! You can add in filler words. For example, if your key phrase is ‘fancy hotels Madrid’, it’s perfectly fine to change it to ‘fancy hotels in Madrid’, ‘fancy hotels near Madrid’, etc.

Search Intent and Outsourcing

If you’ve decided to hire a freelance writer to write your article, providing subheadings informed by your key phrase and search intent research is a great way to structure your brief. It will help to guide the writer, ensure they include all the points you want and make sure the article’s key phrases are incorporated correctly.

Here at Passion, we love briefing articles based on search intent! It makes things easier for the writer while ensuring you create a useful article that has the potential to rank well and will answer searchers’ burning questions – all in all, it’s a win-win for everyone involved! If you want to outsource an article that meets search intent requirements, you can download our briefing template here.

From content marketing to SEO, Passion is here for all your digital marketing needs. We’ve got a great team who are here to look after you and help make your digital footprint pop – and right now we’re expanding! If you want to take the next step in your career and become a Passionista, have a look at our current job openings

Research Reveals New Stats About Mental Health at Work

07Nov

At Passion Digital, we care about supporting mental health in the workplace and enabling others to do the same. As more research is being done around the topic of mental health, employers are becoming increasingly equipped to understand the impact of mental health at work and to create a supportive environment.

According to Health and Safety Executive, an astonishing 57% of annual UK working days are lost in sick leave due to mental health disorders. A recent study conducted by online health service Babylon Health sheds light on the personal experiences of individuals with mental health problems. 

Their data revealed that a staggering 79% of Brits would not feel comfortable speaking to their employer about their own mental health, while 72% think mental health is not discussed enough where they work.

Research results: mental health is not discussed enough

Improving Mental Health Support for Staff

Dr Claudia Pastides, GP at Babylon Health, suggests that there are two key areas where employers can improve their mental health support for staff. 

The first, she refers to as ‘mental health literacy’ – having the right knowledge and beliefs about mental health problems. This knowledge will help employees, colleagues and managers recognise the signs of poor mental health at work and manage or prevent further problems. “We know that early recognition and intervention is best when it comes to mental health,” says Dr Pastides.

Dr Pastides suggests holding mental health awareness days and mental health literacy training for both managers and employees.

Dr Claudia Pastides, GP at Babylon Health

Dr Claudia Pastides, GP at Babylon Health

The second area Dr Pastides suggests employers can improve in is encouraging open conversations and support when needed. “Reducing the stigma around mental health is important, as is early identification and access to support,” she recommends. Ways to address this include:

  • Training up mental health first aiders in the workplace
  • Offering access to an advice line or psychotherapy service to all employees
  • Offering access to medical services or establishing links with local mental health services

How Employees Are Dealing with Mental Health at Work

Josh*, 26, from London opens up about his experience in dealing with mental health at work: “I think all offices could benefit from discussing mental health more openly. It can be a difficult subject, but I think a lot of people would be surprised to find how many of their colleagues struggle with the same problems as them.”

Statistics state that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, however Babylon Health’s survey shows that just 25% of Brits would feel comfortable discussing their mental health with a work colleague.

 The survey also asked the public what factors had previously impacted their mental health. ‘Workplace pressures’ were listed as the second-largest cause, behind ‘personal relationships’. ‘A poor work-life balance’ also made the list.

Josh* explains: “We like to think that we are professionals and can completely switch off from these [mental health] issues when we work, but this is not always the case.” 

Research results: the main causes behind feeling stressed, anxious or depressed

He adds: “My role is creative and therefore offers lots of time for freethought, and this can often have a negative effect on my mental health if things aren’t right in my life.”

Marina*, 27, from Manchester, explains how her mental health issues are hard to separate from her professional life: “For me it can be difficult to leave personal relationships and issues outside of work, as a lot of the time they are directly linked. Working in [the] media makes it hard to avoid crossover between work life and personal life, as circles are closely linked and everybody knows everybody.”

Reducing Mental Health Stigma at Work

Babylon Health asked respondents where in everyday life they thought mental health issues are stigmatised. Over half (57%) of the public said ‘at their place of work’. ‘In British society’ was the most voted for, with 71% of respondents selecting this option.

Research results: where mental health is stigmatised

24-year-old Sandra* from Bristol stresses the importance of working somewhere where your mental health feels supported, and further highlights the steps that you can take to raise the discussion at work: “Firstly, reach out to HR and a trusted colleague (preferably a manager) – gauge their response. Workplaces love to tout an inclusive work environment and jump on the mental health awareness bandwagon but crumble when they’re put in a position to put their money/integrity where their mouth is. Save yourself the frustration, guilt and shame and find a new role. Support needs to happen at home and at work – it’s not just on you.”

Research Results: who we're most comfortable discussing a mental health problem with

She adds: “If you meet employers who want to question the law just remember that you are the priority and you really don’t owe your mental wellbeing to anyone – don’t compromise on your happiness. There are plenty of employers who do get it and understand how to prioritise wellbeing at work.”

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals

The Five Stages of Successful Content Strategy

02Aug

Your brand has laid some solid foundations for SEO, UX and social media and your business is running smoothly. But there comes a point when standing out from the crowd starts posing more of a challenge. A solid content strategy might be just what you need to take your web presence to the next level and create a competitive advantage.

Lola Michels, Content Strategist

My name is Lola Michels and I’m a Content Strategist at Passion Digital. Today, I’ll run you through the process we follow when developing a digital content strategy for our clients. But first, let’s explain content strategy. What is it and how does it relate to content marketing?

What is Content Strategy?

Content strategy is the process of researching, brainstorming, selecting, presenting and planning creative campaign ideas that help your business meet its digital marketing goals. The person in charge of this process is called a Content Strategist.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the creation, publication, outreach and promotion of content assets that may form part of a bigger campaign or strategy. The person in charge of this process is called a Content Marketing Manager.

The Content Strategist and Content Marketing Manager work closely together to create successful content campaigns that meet your digital marketing objectives.

Content Marketing Examples

Have a look at some successful content marketing examples.

The Five Stages of Content Strategy

At Passion Digital, we employ a five-step process to creating an effective content strategy. By following these initial steps, we make sure we’re headed in the right direction when your content campaigns get launched. Don’t gamble with your time and money by shooting in the dark – we’ll do everything we can to ensure we meet the targets that we set out to hit.

1. Knowing Your Content Objectives

To kick off our strategy process, we need to get to know your brand and your content objectives. Some content objectives could be:

• Boosting brand awareness
• Strengthening your brand positioning
• Increasing web traffic
• Increasing conversions
• Generating backlinks
• Creating partnerships
• Connecting with influencers
• Positioning yourself as a thought leader
• Winning the trust of your target audience

This list is by no means exhaustive, as there may be some even more specific goals you have in mind for your content.

Together with the relevant stakeholders, we’ll go through a list of induction questions to get a top-level sense of your brand, your goals, your industry, your audiences and your opportunities.

2. Doing the Research

In the second stage, we will investigate the content landscape in-depth. We will map out your existing audiences and create personas to identify your typical users. With the use of specialist analytics tools, we will identify the content assets that are performing best for you and your competitors in terms of backlinks, social shares, organic traffic and conversions. From this knowledge, we can extract popular themes and formats, as well as content gaps.

Social Listening Meaning

Social Listening explained.

If you need in-depth insights into your audience’s interests, worries, challenges, motivations and sentiments, our specialist social listening tools can generate eye-opening reports that can inform your strategy.

3. Brainstorming Campaign Ideas

Armed with the insights from our in-depth research, we’ll go into a content brainstorm that often involves many different specialists. With SEO, social media, outreach, account and UX experts on board, we’re able to generate and assess ideas from many different angles.

After an initial session in which no idea is a bad idea, we’ll pick our favourite ideas and decide on their most appropriate format. The Content Strategist on your account will take this selection of ideas into the next phase of the process.

4. Refining the Selection

We might like ideas based on a gut feeling, but as a results-driven digital agency, that is not good enough for us. Before we start creating your campaigns, we will invest in search intent modelling and pre-outreach to target publications to ensure there is an appetite for them. Ideas that do not make the cut can be discarded, adjusted or refined so that they’ll meet the objectives that you have set out to achieve.

The ideas that do make the cut have optimal chance of success due to the proactive nature of our campaign justification process.

5. Your Content Strategy and Roadmap

At the end of the process, you as the client will be presented with a proposal of campaigns that will help you meet your content objectives, alongside the research and justification that led up to them. The individual tasks will be laid out in a content roadmap, which maps out the required activities month-by-month. As we have a wealth of skills and experience in-house, we can take on almost any task that is required. We pride ourselves on our ability to really become part of your team and work together with in-house stakeholders to make optimal use of resources.

Content Strategy Plan Template

An example of a 12-month content strategy plan/roadmap.

content marketing strategy template

This content marketing strategy template shows an example of the structure that your strategy document might take.

Once a solid strategy is in place for your brand, a capable Content Marketing Manager will oversee its creative, timely and correct implementation. Take on some of the tasks in-house or let our team get on with it – whatever you choose, we’ll be a partner that you can rely on.

If you’d like to know more about digital content strategy, visit our content strategy page or get to know more about content creation.

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