The Cruising Altitude Of Content

by Georgia Sanders

Figaro Digital met with Gill Worby, head of digital marketing, Virgin Media, at NewsCred’s #ThinkContent event to delve into the depths of her content marketing knowledge.

Cruising Altitude Of Quality Content

Virgin Media has recently undergone an overhaul of its content strategy, “driving innovation and understanding how we can use content to bring people closer to [the] brand,” explains Worby.

So how do they keep themselves constantly switched on and optimise their exposure? Worby puts it down to their “cruising altitude”; a consistent brand presence, “bringing out that kind of always-on conversation and passion points so when we do go into campaigns, we’re starting at a higher level.”

Keeping a constant presence on the consumer’s radar, as Worby points out, makes for a much easier jump during a target campaign – the alternative would see your brand attempting to initiate exposure from ‘ground level’; an undoubtedly more difficult task.

Building Collaborative Content

Building a relationship with your demographic is of course the end goal, but to reach it there are other important relationships to consider: namely those with your collaborators. If the agencies, freelancers, staff, and whomever is producing your creative content, are not on the wavelength of your brand personality, there can be a jarring dissonance between the two, making that relationship with your customers much harder to maintain.

“We don’t feel governed to have to use [the same] agencies depending on what the brief is,” explains Worby, “we might put a pitch out to other people, but at the moment we haven’t met that issue because we’re working with agencies and brands that know our tone of voice and our purpose.”

“Everybody defines content very differently, and so I think it’s [important to] make sure that our agencies are working together in a way that understands our expectations and our vision.”

What Is Content?

As so many marketers view content in different ways, it’s imperative to define what it is and how you’re using it in your brand.

Once it’s created of course, it’s then about finding the right channels to achieve the desired effect. As Worby tells us, “More than anything, it’s making sure our content is being seen. Content marketing is all audience-first; it’s making sure that whatever the content’s purpose is, it’s in a place where our audience is – be that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or more digital channels. Usually we will make sure we’re making as big of a journey as possible, so there are no dead-ends.”

“The first big piece we did was our virtual reality piece of content earlier this year,” she tells us. “We were the first B2C brand to go into the virtual reality space, which was really exciting. The content marketing we’ve done before gave our business the confidence to run this experiment – a piece to raise awareness of our Vivid 200 broadband. It’s a 2.5 minute sequence of a house party, with the idea being that you’ve got the user and the product at the heart. The party itself is very recognisable from the TV ad.”

Threading this content together to create a cross-channel campaign is a great way to drive visibility, but optimising a campaign to reach a greater audience is also about ensuring the best content is widely accessible. To achieve this, Virgin Media also curated the sequence as a 360 piece for YouTube, to cater for those of its demographic that don’t own VR headsets. The result was “the equivalent of eight years spent with our brand.” Worby tells us proudly. Resulting in over 3 million views, the 360 experience was Virgin Media’s most successful YouTube video ever, being viewed and shared more times than any of their content ever before. But that’s no reason to get complacent. Worby knows that the innovation required to keep Virgin Media at the top of its game is relentless. “It’s now all about working out where the opportunities are for us to go next.”

Four Top Tips To Optimise Your Content

Worby left us with her four top tips for achieving the very best in content marketing:

  1. Have a really clear approach – continually refine it. As you go on the journey you learn so much and you shouldn’t stay hard and fast to your strategy.
  2. Measure and sell your benefits – this is the big one. Some companies work based on a budget that they’ve been given, but it’s far more important to be able to prove a strategy’s value to the business.
  3. Educate people – make sure you’re constantly telling your audience what you’re doing, why you’re doing it; and then tell them again!
  4. No content marketer is an island – Content can’t be run by just one person on the team. When we started this we were trying to do everything, and you can’t. You can’t try and own content.