ResourcesContent TipsInterview: Content Format and Success with Simon Penson

Interview: Content Format and Success with Simon Penson

This is the fifth post in a series called Interviews at Content Hero, where we chat to industry leaders, influencers and agencies about content marketing and how it can affect success. In our last interview, we talked with John Miller about content marketing and PR.

Today we are chatting to Simon Penson, the founder and managing director of Zazzle Media, a content led digital marketing agency headquartered in Peterborough.

Tell us about Zazzle Media, you take a fresh approach to digital marketing?

We like to think so yes. A lot of that comes from our positioning, which has very much been borne out of learnings taken from print publishing but translated into a fully-fledged digital offering.

I founded the business in 2008 having spent 10 years as a journalist and national magazine editor. Alongside that I had always run my own sites and had learned what is necessary technically to connect content with audiences of value.

It’s the combination of great content creation with technical digital understanding that allows us to offer what we think is a genuinely innovative service, that ultimately delivers positive ROI from content creation and distribution through search, social and influencer channels.

In your experience, which is the most lucrative format of content a brand can produce?

We don’t look at it in that way; it is more about the sum of the parts and consistent delivery. A content strategy based on real data and audience understanding that has variation will always outperform a single piece of content.

Aside from the most lucrative, which other formats have a good ROI potential?

Again, the most important thing with any content creation process is that you take a long-term view on it. ROI does not always stack up on individual pieces as sometimes even the best ideas don’t work out, while ‘lesser’ ones may go mad. It’s more about covering every angle and leaving no stone unturned so you can produce both ‘big bang’ campaigns and everyday content that capture long tail search opportunity, for instance.

We always say that the distribution of content is as important as the creation of it. Where would you recommend brands distribute their content?

I agree entirely here and often cite the example of John Lewis’ Christmas adverts. This year, for instance, they spent £1 million on the creation of content but £6 million on distribution. There is a very important lesson there. Great content is only great if you push it in front of people! We combine digital PR and work with influencers with social amplification and content advertising through platforms such as Outbrain.

Here at Content Hero we love visual content, but it’s not a panacea, and there are plenty of other types of learning style, as pointed out by you. Should different styles be merged to create content that’s going to appeal to a wider audience?

Yes! Content strategy has to have variation and flow to engage the right people over the long term. We have a well-publicized ideation process that ensures we create extremely varied content.

What’s your ultimate tip for content marketing in 2016?

Tough but I would say don’t be one-dimensional. Think about whom the content is designed for, and then create it, as you’ll experience much more success doing it that way than creating a great idea, then figuring out who might like it.

That campaign strategy should include organic and paid options to maximize the number of targeted eyeballs.

Ethan Hunt vs. James Bond in a fist fight. Who wins?

Ouch, that’s some brawl. Ethan Hunt for me. I just feel he’d play dirtier and would want it more.

You can connect with Simon on LinkedIn, Twitter @simonpenson, on Google+ and you can also follow his ramblings on Search Engine Watch, Moz, Hubspot and more.

Jakk Ogden is the founder and CEO of Content Hero.

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