Interview with Catherine Toole, CEO of Sticky Content

Interview with Catherine Toole, CEO of Sticky Content

28th October 2013

Jo Turnbull interviews Catherine Toole, Chairmain of Sticky Content, now a Press Association company, who shared her content tips with us at Conversion Conference London.


What advice would you give to a copywriter wanting to get into online marketing?

It depends what kind of writer you are. If you are a journalist wanting to cross over into content marketing, then you’ll probably need to develop a more commercial approach to your writing. As well as focusing on producing very well-written, interesting, high-quality pieces you’ll need to pay attention to the marketing goals of the commissioning client and map your content to that. You’ll also need to learn to include calls to action and measurable response mechanisms.

If you’re already a short-form marketing copywriter, then what you really need to do is to understand how to write copy for digital platforms, specifically social and mobile. Scannability is key, as is developing strong, repeatable copy formats. Also knowing how to construct and label content both for efficient re-use and for search engines to find.

What inspires you to come up with creative and sticky content regularly?

Lots of things inspire the writers at Sticky Content. Having good ideas is actually very hard work, especially if you have to have fresh ones over and over again on the same topics.

The key is to constantly encourage idea generation by everybody and stay as close as possible to the target audience’s interests. Often it’s the customer-facing people in call centres, stores, on social help platforms, that have the most relevant ideas.

The other thing to do is to stay focused on creating content around the things you really know about as a brand or organisation. Niche, expert content tends to prove extremely effective content marketing.

What has been the “most sticky” and shared content you have produced and why?

You can see lots of case studies and campaign results on our website but we’re not really in the business of creating viral campaigns to win awards and big up ourselves. What we tend to focus on is delivering tangible return on investment to clients for their content spend. Most of our clients are banks, big brands and government departments and what they need their content to do is to inform customers clearly about products and services; improve transactional processes; cut calls into their call centres; support online help or improve customer satisfaction.

I’m pretty scathing of any campaign with a goal of getting content shared as the key KPI unless you can prove that the sharing is being done by existing or potential customers. I’m interested in hitting key target audiences and getting them to think, feel or act in a way that puts money on my client’s bottom line. I’d take that over ‘likes’ any day.

How much of your online marketing budget (%) should you dedicate to content

I’ll answer that if you can name me a type of marketing that doesn’t involve content of some kind… Content isn’t a stand-alone thing, it’s everything. When I train in content strategy for econsultancy that’s where we start: if you aren’t prepared to integrate your content strategy into your culture, mindset, processes and business planning then it’s probably not going to work long term.

Catherine presented at Conversion Conference London and shared her tips on how to optimise your copy for conversions.  The post will be published this week on State of Digital.


Written By
Jo Juliana Turnbull is the organiser of Search London and the founder of SEO Jo Blogs, which provides practical advice and tips for those in SEO.
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