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How to Future Proof by Building a Content Strategy

By Bree | 4th May 2016 | Posted in Content Marketing

Recently I attended the ever inspiring BrightonSEO conference. Regularly going to marketing events is a great way to get the creative juices flowing, as well as refreshing the old brain and learning a bunch of new things.

Millennials, Generation Z

Millennials VS Generation Z


Rather than list all the talks I went to, I have picked out my highlights from the day, thus creating a smorgasbord of various talks for you to feast on.

Future Proofing

The first half of the day concentrated on the idea of “Future Proof”. Nichola Stott from The Media Flow kicked off with a talk about User Experience (UX) and how it should be at the front of your Technical Strategy. A lot of us will be marketing to Millennials and Generation Z. However, both generations require something different if you are to appeal to them both. Millennials are those born in the early 80s to around 2000 and Generation Z were born from the mid-to-late 90s to the 2010s.

  • The 18-24 year old demographic spend 25% less time looking at content
  • Millennials spend more time on Social Media networks and websites while Generation Z spend more time on Messaging apps (also known as dark social)
  • Millennials may have three screens while Generation Z are likely to have 5 screens
  • Generation Z want to get to the point (your product) whereas Millennials are happy to enjoy the journey

Stott also emphasises that 40% of consumers will be Generation Z by 2020, which isn’t that far away!

Starting to optimise your website and apps now will help you stay ahead of the game. By using page speed insights you can fix your site to be as fast as possible for desktop as well as mobile users. Read How I Sped Up My Site 68.35% With One Line of Code by Mike King, Founder of iPullRank to see how you can also use Rel-Prerender to speed up your mobile and desktop sites.

Personal Branding

Once your website and mobile site are SO FAST YOUR HEAD SPINS, you need to think about your personal branding. This is what Mel Carson from Delightful Communications focused on, offering tips on being your own personal brand, a concept which can also be applied to businesses and user experience for your customers. Overall, he highlighted the importance of being discoverable, shareable, and memorable:

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 17.38.39

How to be Discoverable: Google yourself or your brand, do you show up? Do you like what you see? Is your brand showing up in the light you want?

How to be Shareable: Is your content being shared? Would you share it?

These two factors will lead to you being memorable!

It is also important to build your relationships first. As Forrester Research states, “70% percent of US online adults trust brand or product recommendations. While just 10% trust ads on websites and only 9% trust text messages from companies or brands.” This illustrates relationship building is key to gain trust! We can do this by simply being genuine, encouraging empathy to create an emotional connection, and then nurturing those relationships we’ve worked so hard to create.

How to measure your success:

  • Increases in social engagement
  • Increases in mentions of you in your industry, blogs, and in publications
  • Increases in positive sentiment towards you externally as well as internally within your business

Quick tips for personal branding your business:

  1. Own your name! Make sure your website talks about you, has an about section and lists your experiences. This will help more people to land on this first rather than your social media profiles.
  2. Make sure your photos look professional. Including photos of people has been shown to raise engagement… and you’ll get ten bonus points if they are “squinching”.
  3. Make your email and out of office work harder. This is the perfect time to push your social media and get people to engage with you in alternative ways.
  4. Make use of alt tags in any photos you post on blogs, to encourage Google to rank the images that you want people to see first. 

Audience Personas

So, you have a fast website, and your personal branding is spot on. Now what? It’s time to get to know your audience!

Next up, Laura Hampton gave us some insights on how to build useful audience personas to categorise your target market. When we truly understand our audience, we can create content that converts. But how do we do this?

There are 4 steps:

1. Get the basics down

Start the process off by asking the following questions to your team or client:

  • Who do you sell to?
  • Where are they based?
  • What do they need?
  • Why do they buy?
  • How do they find you?

Back this up by tracking sales data:

  • Where are your audiences based?
  • What are the types of businesses they work in?
  • What are their job titles?
  • Find insights and desirable attributes.

2. Find out what motivates your audience

  • What challenges do they face?
  • What do they think about?
  • What interests do they have?

Carry out surveys to find the answers to these questions. Alternatively, this information is available from Google Analytics, keyword research and related queries. Remember to always look for the long tail. Use the amazing answer the public to find out what your audience might be asking about a certain topic for insights into your audience motivations.

On-site searches and popular content can also give an indication on the topics that your audience want to see more of. I also personally prefer Buzzsumo when looking for content which has been successful in the past, and there’s also Skyrocket’s Similar Content Prospecting Tool.

Don’t neglect your FAQ! By utilising the questions you receive from customers, providing they are unique, you can create content for your blog or social media channels.

3. Uncover their favourite topics and interests

  • Follow the different trends and topics speakers are talking about at conferences.
  • Search social media to see what your audience is discussing.
  • What are your competitors up to? Be Inspired by what they do or see what you should avoid!

4. Build your personas

Now we have the basics on our audiences as well as their motivations, we can consolidate this information into overlapping motivation profiles:

Audience persona profiles

Once we are able to visualise these people, we are ready to empathise and establish what is required to meet their needs.

You can also look at the audience section on Google Analytics in the affinity categories to glean further insight into what your current audience are interested in. Armed with this information, we can build and visualise a persona which is both tangible and relatable.

audience personas

Once this persona has been established, you can use your persona as a discussion point with your team. Ask each other which persona your marketing will appeal to most and reasons why.

Doing keyword research themed around a certain persona can also reveal the following:

  • What types of questions would this persona ask?
  • How many of the keywords which interest the persona appear on page one of Google?
  • How visible are you to the persona?
  • Do the keywords bring up videos? Maybe it’s time to think about making more video content!

You can also align the personas to your brand story: how can each part appeal to your personas? If your client sells shoes, how is your shoe store more unique than others? Will one persona feel alienated by a whacky video posted to Facebook, which would be better received on Instagram? These are all questions you need to ask about the personas you have created.


A lot of take in, right? So we’ve seen that by optimising your websites and apps, your audience appeal will never falter. Once your audience starts to notice you, make sure you notice them! Two or three audience personas will guide you through the process of figuring out how to pimp out your personal branding better, as well as guiding you towards the kind of content you need to make sure you’re ready for whatever the future of marketing can throw at you.


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Jon Buchan
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Bree Van Zyl
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Dipak Hemraj
Jess Collett
Gemma MacNaught
Laila Khan
Gary Buchan
James Hackney
Stuart Lawrence

Jon Buchan Chief Executive Officer
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Hannah Brown Creative Yet Technical Manager
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Jenny Longmuir Content Marketing Editor
Tess Bowles Social Media & Content Marketing Manager
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Asher Baker SEO & PPC Manager (and Lord)
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Bree Van Zyl Video Productionista
Sam Reynolds Copywriter
Aida Staskeviciute Graphic Designer
Laura Reddington Copywriter
Dipak Hemraj All Rounder
Jess Collett Copywriter
Gemma MacNaught Head of UX and Conversion Rate Optimisation
Laila Khan Head of PR
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