Darin Diehl, assistant vice president of digital communications
Sun Life Financial, publisher of Brighter Life
We had our own battery of websites that offered our products and were branded with “Sun Life Financial.” For SEO, they did very well in attracting visitors who were looking for solutions. We got into content marketing to attract those who were not yet looking for solutions—people who were at an earlier consideration point, or wrestling with understanding their own financial challenges or opportunities.
The Brighter Life was initially funded by reallocated dollars that were originally earmarked for paid search ads to support major brand campaigns. Since content marketing is about both enhancing the brand and acquiring, engaging, and converting traffic, we looked at it as a shift in the way we were using those dollars.
Content marketing, if done smartly, can allow you to punch above your weight. Out of the gate, to get traffic you might be relying on paid more than owned or earned media. But as your organic traffic increases, you can easily reduce the resources put toward acquiring paid traffic.
While you can start the discussion with the hard sell, you are probably going to turn people off. You have to provide the next step for them to take in the process of being engaged with you, or else they will just be annoyed. Establish a call to action, give them something, or ask something of them.
Headlines are everything. They must be clever and engaging, while optimized for those who are looking to share the post with their own networks. Do A/B testing on your headlines to ensure they fit both criteria.
The sales process now begins online, where the consumer is in control. Content marketing is the way for brands to be an active part of this process.
Metrics are key. Figuring out what is resonating with your audience on a daily and weekly basis can help direct your editorial team. What types of content cause your audience to grow? How can we grow audiences more effectively? What calls to action are effectively generating leads?