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Content is Still King

John Ring, TinderPoint
John Ring, Managing Director at TinderPoint

A lot of Irish brands need to step up their investment in content and make it one of the key pillars in their overall marketing strategy according to John Ring, MD of TinderPoint. 

With over 40 clients in Ireland, the UK and as far away as Germany and Cyprus, the Dublin-based agency TinderPoint has evolved from a pure SEO play into a digital agency specialising in content marketing, social and of search. For some clients, the company effectively acts as an outsourced digital marketing department.

Headed up by John Ring, who set up the business in 2002 under the name Ring John, the agency’s evolution reflects many of the changes that have taken place in the market since then, particularly over the last few years with the emergence of content marketing and social media channels.

“We started in 2002 with a big emphasis on search but as the digital market started to grow and the services brands were looking for started to change, we evolved and moved with the market and eventually we rebranded as TinderPoint to reflect the fact that there was more to the business than me,” says John Ring.

One of the biggest changes along the way, he says, was in search and how brands went about optimising their online presence for search engines like Google. In the old days of search, things like back-links, stuffed meta-tags, keywords for the sake of keywords on every page and the occasional black-hat trick or two, pushed your site up the Google rankings, which in themselves, were something of a mystery.

“From a search perspective, the SEO model has changed radically and the Google Zoo of Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird has pushed the market towards content and quality content in particular. If you want good rankings, then you need good content and that’s what Google wants too. It wants people to engage and share content too. While SEO does get you to the starting line, after that it’s all about the content,” says Ring. “So that has to tie in with everything else a brand does in terms of advertising and media,” he adds. “

TinderPoint currently offers a wide range of content marketing services to clients, ranging from visual articles, technical white papers, eBooks, interactive infographics, timelines, branded HTML 5 microsites and of course content strategy. Clients include the likes of Louis Copeland, Grafton Merchanting, Therapie, Optilase, Qualtrix, Airtricity, Nitro, Future Finance in the UK and Germany and HiwayFX in Cyprus.

Content, however, can be a tricky thing to get right and it shouldn’t be treated in isolation or, worse still, purely in terms of an occasional campaign.

“Based on what I have seen, a lot of Irish brands and agencies are using content as part of digital advertising campaigns that may be running for six or eight weeks. But it’s important that they should be looking at evergreen content that lives on a brand’s website that is not tied to a campaign and that gives value to people long after it is over. Content can also drive a lot of other online activity from data gathering to social media engagement and retargeting. But it’s important for brands not to think of the short-term when it comes to content,” he says.

Having good content is one thing, getting people to read it, engage with it and share it is another thing and TinderPoint works with a number of clients in this space. “For example we have found a niche in the promotion of content to journalists and bloggers and more and more brands are doing this. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that reported on how journalists are being targeted by ads on Twitter. We’ve been doing this for a long time for some clients. Essentially, brands want to share their content with key influencers like journalists and have found that this to be a great way of achieving it. So it crosses over into the PR space too and this is an area that will continue to grow and it’s only a matter of time before PR agencies are competing with traditional digital agencies,” says Ring.

While stressing content’s importance in the marketing mix, the reality is that more than 50% of digital marketing investment is still being ploughed into search, the great workhorse of the digital marketing farmyard.

“Search is still the biggest outlay with 95% of the money going to Google and brands can see the return on investment. Search is still a big part of what we do and all our search staff have worked with Google in the past. But we wouldn’t underestimate the power of email too, even though it has been around for over 20 years. Email is still an effective tool and that’s probably why it’s still around in the marketing world because it works,” says Ring.

We still have some way to go in terms of our investment in digital marketing and indeed our understanding of its importance in the marketing mix, he says.

“It never ceases to amaze me when I see job ads for digital marketing executives by companies that think that one person is capable of managing all the various elements from analytics, to PPC, organic site optimisation right through to the content creation and promotion. It’s impossible for one person to do all of this. Hopefully, brands will eventually realise this,” he concludes.

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (December 2015)© to order back issues please call 016611660

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