Content Creation

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

100 Free Data Sources for Content and Digital PR Campaigns

There are a number of reasons why we place such a big emphasis on data when it comes to content marketing and digital PR campaigns. We’ve even explored how journalists use data as a way to craft compelling stories, and how digital PR teams can look to implement these techniques into their campaigns.

Data has the power to:

  • Measure your online standing – Website traffic, social media followers and online ratings.
  • Analyse the effectiveness of your work – Open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates and cost per conversion.
  • Discover your return on investment – Calculate your cost per lead or quantity of leads generated.

However, it can also be a game-changer in terms of content creation – there’s a wealth of data available online just waiting to be curated, which can provide your audience with intriguing insights or indisputable information that encourages movement down the funnel towards those all-important conversions.

Best of all…

…several data sources (the following 100 to be precise) are absolutely free and ready to be used in your digital PR campaigns.

  1. Statista

“The #1 business data platform in the world with insights and facts from 600 industries across 50 countries.”

  1. UNData

Specialised databases, popular statistical tables and country profiles..

  1. Wikipedia

If you’re worried about accuracy, only use data that comes with a reference or external link for further reading.

  1. DBpedia

DBpedia gathers structured content from valuable information over at Wikipedia.

  1. Amazon Public Data Sets

A registry featuring datasets that are available from Amazon Web Services resources.

  1. Google Public Data Explorer

Public-interest datasets that feature graphs and tables for a better understanding of information.

  1. Pew Research

Pew Research Centre claims it generates “a foundation of facts that enriches the public dialogue and supports sound decision-making.”

  1. Datasets Subreddit

A great place to share, find and discuss datasets, but finding your niche could be tricky.

  1. Enigma Public 

The “world’s broadest collection of public data” to “empower people to improve the world around them.”



The home of the US Government’s open data, covering everything from agriculture and finance to manufacturing and public safety.


The home of the UK government’s open data, featuring an equally extensive range of useful information.

  1. YouGov

An overview of what the UK’s opinion is on things like politics, entertainment, retail, technology, media, lifestyle and more.

  1. WhatDoTheyKnow

WhatDoTheyKnow helps you make Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the government and public sector.

  1. UK Data Service

A collection of UK government-sponsored surveys, longitudinal studies, UK census data, business data and more.

  1. European Union Open Data Portal

The single point of access to a growing range of data from the institutions and other bodies of the European Union.

  1. U.S. Census Bureau

Government-informed statistics about the lives of US citizens including population, economy, education, geography, and more.

  1. Socrata

A mission-driven software company that enables you to explore government-related data via built-in visualisation tools. 

  1. Canada Open Data

Pilot project that wants to create greater transparency and accountability with government and geospatial datasets


Open government data from the US, EU, Canada, CKAN, and more.

  1. Gapminder

European ‘fact tank’ that fights misconceptions about global development using a wide range of data sources.

  1. UNDP’s Human Development Index

A ranking of country progress under the lens of human development.

  1. OECD Aid Database

Visualisation of data showing aid collected from governments.

  1. Qlik Data Market

 Free package provides access to datasets covering world population, currencies, development indicators and weather.


  1. World Bank Open Data

Featuring 3000 datasets and 14000 indicators encompassing microdata, time series statistics, and geospatial data.

  1. IMF Economic Data

Including but not limited to global financial stability reports, regional economic reports, international financial statistics, exchange rates and directions of trade.

  1. UN Comtrade Database

A repository of official international trade statistics and relevant analytical tables.

  1. Google Finance

Real-time stock market information, financial news, currency conversions, and tracked portfolios.

  1. Global Financial Data

A source to analyse the twists and turns of the global economy with data on over 60,000 companies covering 300 years.

  1. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Mainly reports about the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States but also information about income, corporate profits and government spending.

  1. National Bureau of Economic Research

Data concerning industry, productivity, trade, international finance, industry and more.

  1. Financial Times

More than a news site, the FT also publishes a broad range of business data and information.

  1. OpenCorporates

The largest open database of companies in the world.

  1. The Atlas of Economic Complexity

Research and data visualisation tool used to explore global trade dynamics,

  1. World Bank Doing Business Database

Resource that evaluates business environment indicators, such as capabilities and costs, around the world.

  1. Visualizing Economics

A self-explanatory site featuring data visualisations about the economy.

  1. Federal Reserve Economic Database

Download and track 567,000 US and international time series from 87 sources.

  1. Buzz Data

Resource that provides UK businesses with targeted business address data.

  1. Financial Data Finder at OSU

Large catalogue of financial data sets.

  1. TripAdvisor

A wealth of free information about destinations to help support your travel or lifestyle campaign. 

  1. EU-Startups

Directory listing the number of start-up businesses in the EU, alongside their industry and sector. Perfect if your campaign is targeting new businesses publications in and around Europe.  

advertising social media data

  1. Buffer

Data insights, survey findings and regular reports about digital marketing can be found on the Buffer blog.

  1. Moz

Along with how-to articles and whiteboard walkthroughs, the Moz Blog also publishes data-driven insight pieces.

  1. HubSpot

Large repository of marketing statistics and trends along with tools for social media, SEO and web analytics.

  1. Content Marketing Institute

Articles, resources and research all about the world of content marketing.

  1. Facebook API

Using the Graph API, you can retrieve data all sorts of data from Facebook.

  1. Twitter API

Stay up to date with worldwide conversations by connecting your website or application to the Twitter Platform.

  1. Instagram API

You can use the Instagram API to build non-automated, high-quality apps and services.

  1. Complete Public Reddit Comments Corpus

Here you’ll find over one billion public comments posted on Reddit between 2007 and 2015 for training language algorithms.



Open data about crime and policing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  1. FBI Crime Statistics

Statistical reports and publications detailing specific offences and outlining crime trends.


  1. UNICEF Dataset

UNICEF has compiled relevant data about education, child labour, maternal mortality, water and sanitation, antenatal care and much more.

  1. NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre

The NHS produces more than 260 official and national statistical publications every year, which includes national comparative data for secondary uses.


125 years of US healthcare data including claim-level Medicare data, epidemiology and population statistics.

  1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration

A compressed data file of the Drugs@FDA database, which is updated once a week.

  1. MedicinePlus

Resource for health statistics such as the rate at which people are catching the flu and the average cost of a medical procedure.

  1. America’s Health Rankings

An analysis of US national health on a state-by-state basis using historical data.

  1. The Broad Institute — Cancer Program Data

Access the cancer-related datasets of the Broad Institute’s scientists.

  1. Human Rights Data Analysis Group

The non-profit, nonpartisan group applying rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world.

  1. Harvard Law School

Everything from international relations to human rights data courtesy of political institution databases.

  1. The Armed Conflict Database by Uppsala University

Data that dives into minor and major violent conflicts around the world.

  1. Amnesty International

Human rights information, run independently of any political ideology, economic interest, or religion.


  1. FiveThirtyEigh

Primarily a news and opinion website, but its content is supported by in-depth data and statistical models.

  1. Google Scholar

Another Alphabet-owned resource but with a more academic slant – articles, theses, books, whitepapers etc.

  1. The Upshot

A section of the New York Times that examines politics, policy and everyday life, primarily using data.

  1. The New York Times Developer Network

Search articles, retrieve headlines and discover media dating back to 1851.

  1. Associated Press API

Search and download content using your own tools without having to visit AP portals.

  1. Million Song Dataset

A collection of 28 datasets containing audio features and metadata for a million music tracks.

  1. BFI Film Forever

Research data and market intelligence about the UK film industry and culture.

  1. IFPI

Key statistical highlights of the global recording industry.

  1. Academic Rights Press

The world’s leading aggregator of global music industry data.

  1. OpenLibrary Data Dumps

Datasets on books including catalogues from libraries around the world.

  1. One Million Audio Cover Images 

Dataset hosted at covering music released around the world, for use in image processing research.

  1. SkiftStats

The latest statistics, research and data about the travel industry.

  1. Search the World

Population, weather and travel information for millions of locations worldwide.

  1. U.S. Travel Association

Covers a wide variety of travel-related topics, primarily relating to the economy.


  1. Labelled Faces in the Wild

13,000 collated and labelled images of human faces, for use in developing applications involving facial recognition.

  1. Microsoft Marco

Microsoft’s open machine learning datasets for training systems in reading comprehension and question answering.

  1. Machine Learning Dataset Repository

Collection of open datasets contributed by data scientists involved in machine learning projects.

  1. UCI Machine Learning Repository

Dataset specifically pre-processed for machine learning.

  1. CERN Open Data 

More than one petabyte of data from particle physics experiments carried out by CERN.

  1. Natural History Museum Data Portal

Information on nearly four million historical specimens in the London museum’s collection, as well as scientific sound recordings of the natural world.

  1. Microsoft Azure Data Markets Free Datasets

Freely available datasets covering everything from agriculture to weather.

  1. NASA Exoplanet Archive

Public datasets covering planets and stars gathered by NASA’s space exploration missions.

  1. LondonAir 

Pollution and air quality data from across London.

  1. National Centers for Environmental Information

Quick access to many of NCEI’s climate and weather datasets, products and various resources.

  1. National Climatic Data Center

Huge collection of environmental, meteorological and climate data sets from the US National Climatic Data Center.


  1. Yelp Open Datasets

There are 5,996,996 reviews, 188,593 businesses, 280,991 pictures and 10 metropolitan areas included in Yelp Open Datasets.

  1. Capterra

Directory covering business software and reviews.

  1. Monster

In-depth data source for job market and career opportunities.

  1. Glassdoor

Directory where you can research companies, compare salaries and read employee reviews.

  1. eBay Market Data Insights 

Data on millions of online sales and auctions from eBay.

  1. Junar

 Data scraping service that also includes data feeds.


Need help delving the depths of data? We thrive on turning facts and figures into compelling content and campaigns – contact us to find out how.

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

What Should Your Content Really Look Like in 2019

What’s at the centre of your digital and social activity? Chances are its content, which bridges the gap between brand and customer like no other media or medium could do previously.

Content marketing has come a long way since the early days of publishing multiple (and mostly mediocre) blogs each week on your website in the vain hope of getting noticed or ranking for a couple of obscure, long tail search queries.

These days, content marketing is a multi-channel, cross-platform behemoth, consisting of everything from landing pages and infographics to podcasts and videos.

The increasingly competitive space in which content sits has also changed dramatically, with things like featured snippets and voice search making any marketing objective even more difficult to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean to say boosting your brand identity, increasing online awareness and engaging with customers through content marketing is impossible…

Here’s the content that performs best in 2019:

Long-form authoritative content

So, if regular blogging doesn’t cut it anymore, what does?

The answer is long-form authoritative content.

This means going into great detail about a particular theme or topic and updating it regularly with fresh insight, imagery and video.

After analysing 912 million blog posts to better understand the world of content marketing, Brian Dean from Backlinko discovered that long-form content gets an average of 77.2% more links than shorter articles. It also generates significantly more social shares, especially within the ‘sweet spot’ of 1,000-2,000 words.

Other industry studies have also found a direct correlation between long-form content and first page Google rankings. This is because long-form content stands a better chance of satisfying intent and maintaining engagement by demonstrating in-depth knowledge of a particular subject.

Best practice: Identify topics or themes that strongly correlate with your brand’s products, services, or industry. Think about how you could demonstrate your authority with long-form content that meets your customer’s wants and needs.

Short-form video

Every year, the importance of video content continues to grow – you only have to look at the success and influence of platforms like Instagram to realise that its here to stay for the long haul.

According to a recent study by Altimeter, short-form video (less than two minutes) is the best performing content in terms of engagement across every industry and every geography. By contrast, long-form video (greater than two minutes) was said to be 20% less effective.

In addition to greater engagement, short-form video can also improve your SEO, make content more accessible to a wider audience, generate a strong emotional connection with customers and lead to more conversions.

Best practice: Generate ideas for short-term video content that will resonate with your audience. Remember to optimise for mobile viewing (where most video is watched), create captions, include a CTA and keep it short!

Influencer marketing

Despite the exponential rise of social media influencers in recent years, this marketing trend is nothing new. However, several brands are reluctant to explore the idea of influencer marketing due to misconceptions that you need to spend thousands (or even millions) getting high-profile celebrities on board.

More often than not, brands have the most success with influencer marketing when they choose people directly related to their industry or niche. Better yet, they collaborate with influencers throughout the content ideation and creation process.

The following influencer marketing statistics speak volumes about its effectiveness:

  • Influencer Marketing Campaigns Earn $6.50 for Every Dollar Spent
  • 67% of Marketers Promote Content With the Help of Influencers
  • Influencer Marketing Is the Fastest-Growing Online Customer-Acquisition Method

Best practice: Think of influencers as an ad-hoc extension of your own content team. Take advantage of their creativity and audience, relieve some pressure from in-house efforts and add credibility to your brand in the eyes of followers.

Voice search

Voice search is slowly but surely becoming a daily fixture for many, especially given the increasingly popularity of Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants. Estimates suggest there are over one billion voice searches per month, while 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

So with more and more text-based digital tasks moving over to voice thanks to the speed and convenience it affords, every marketer should adjust their content strategy accordingly.

Unfortunately, each device seems to pull data from different sources and offer completely different results. But by creating pieces of content that deliver quick answers to quick questions, you should be able to position yourself ahead of the competition.

Best practice: Think about the words people say, not just what they’re likely to type. Also, most voice-activated searches take place on mobile, so make sure your website is responsive and optimised for smartphones.

Storytelling and Digital PR

There’s a reason why storytelling remains one of the most popular approaches to content marketing – it works, and will continue to work for many years to come. By conveying facts through narrative, you’ll create a connection with your audience and encourage action thanks to the number of decisions people make based on emotion.

One excellent example comes from National Geographic and its content marketing activity that engages with 350 million combined global followers on social media. As Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership, explains: “Staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories.”

Key ingredients to any story include a main character/hero, a conflict/journey, and an ending/resolution. Don’t forget to make it easy-to-follow, relatable and memorable. Support your stories with visuals and data to drive the message home.

Next steps: Try to gain an in-depth understanding of your audience – their needs, pains, hopes and aspirations. Know exactly what you want to say and what you want your audience to do before launching any storytelling campaign.

Take your content marketing to the next level with JBH – let’s create something awesome together.

Should your content marketing strategy include blogging every day?
1024 682 Jane Hunt

Why we don’t blog every day [and you don’t need to either]

It’s a common misconception that if you have a blog, you should post every day. While regular blogs posts should be part of your content marketing strategy, daily blogs could do more harm than good.


You will destroy your social proof

Social proof is borrowing a third parties influence to build your own brand awareness and create trust with new and existing customers.

On your blog, this is the evidence left by previous readers (such as comments and shares) that sway your new visitor into reading your posts. They convince your readers that your post is interesting, worth the time it takes to read, and popular.

Without social proof, getting people to consume your content can be difficult.

If you post every day, that post is only at the top of your blog for one day. This means you will get less exposure versus posting once or twice a week. People are more likely to interact with the latest post on your blog, if you give a post longer at the top, you give it a chance to build engagement and social proof.

Readers also don’t have time to check your content every day as well as comment on and share it. If your posting every day they are probably skipping some of your content and only commenting on a few pieces.


You will lose subscribers

I’m pressed for time, you’re pressed for time and so are your readers. No one has time to read daily content from the multiple subscription emails they get.

You may have 3 or 4 unopened emails from one subscription in your inbox. Chances are when you do get the time to catch up and read them, you are only going to read the most recent one, and the rest will go straight in your trash.

If you bombard your subscribers with content, you will irritate them. As a result, they will either unsubscribe or just delete your emails without opening them.


You will be creating weak content

Good content takes time to create. If you’re focusing on churning out daily content rather than focusing on creating content that your audience wants to see, your blog is going to fail.

Weak or thin content that is not well researched or providing value to readers even gets penalised by Google. Google wants to give the best answers possible for its search queries so if you’re not offering a solution that can’t be found anywhere else thank your content will rank poorly.



What you should do instead…..

Now you know why daily posting should not be part of your content marketing strategy but what should you do instead?


Blogger conducting audience research for their blog


Create a content schedule

Plan your posts wisely. Excellent content starts before you sit down and write it.

Take a look at the upcoming month and plan content that is relevant to your industry events, any new data that is being released or important national holidays. This is more likely to grab your readers attention as it will be relevant to them at that moment in time.

If you are only creating 1/2/3 blog posts a week, you can spend more time on ideation and research. By developing your ideas more thoroughly, you can create in-depth content that is of more value to your readers.

It is much better to become known for your great insights (even if they aren’t posted frequently) than to be recognised for posting loads of boring, generic content.


Quality over quantity

Your blog is all about serving your customers needs. Think about the types of people you are trying to talk to through your blog; conduct research into the type of questions they might want answering and what information they will find interesting.

Don’t just create posts for the sake of it – think through your ideas and asses whether they are really something your audience would want to read. You will probably have to sift through a lot of garbage ideas to find some gold ones.

High-quality content will keep your audience engaged. They will begin checking back to your blog for answers when they have a question because they know that you have a lot of knowledge of your industry.

If you post content every day, it will become dull, and your audience will be able to tell that you are just adding filler posts. Chances are even if you reduce the number of posts you’re creating you will still spend the same time on blog content, but without the pressure to continually develop ideas and post content every day, you will be creating stronger more pleasing content that your audience will want to interact with.


Promote your content

Once you’ve written your post and you’re happy with it – proofread it, checked all the images and links and published it on your site- now is the time to promote, promote, promote!

This can take from days to weeks to do depending on your Digital PR and outreach skills. From using your social media base to contacting media publications, there are so many ways you can promote your content.

If you were creating content every day this would be impossible to do – there just wouldn’t be enough time. Not to mention the content would likely be too weak for any significant publications or influencers to want to share it.

Its a lot of hard work to promote content but the endgame makes it worth it. It should be one of the main focuses of your content marketing strategy; it allows you to reach new audiences and build your influence in your industry while at the same time build backlinks to boost your SEO.


Coming up with ideas for your content marketing strategy is not easy, check out these five helpful tools that can help you stay at the top of your game.

Using personalisation in content marketing to connect with millennials
1024 512 Jane Hunt

Personalisation matters: Why its one of the BEST ways to reach millennials

Millennials are a generation that make up 12 million people, almost one-fifth of your population. They are exposed to ads every day, so if you want to convert them into customers, you need a strong content marketing strategy.

Millennials dominate the business world with 35% of the UK workforce estimated to be millennials within the next 2 years.


This domination gives them a considerable amount of buying power, and if you’re not focusing your content marketing strategy on millennials, you are doing something wrong.


What is personalisation in content marketing?

Personalisation is all about bringing value and delivering a meaningful message to the customer you are targeting.

All customers are different, so the content you send to them should be personalised. You can base this on the data you have on them such a buying history, location and interests.

By incorporating personalisation into your content marketing strategy, you give yourself options to create more relevant – and therefore high converting – content for your customers.


Learn everything there is to learn about content marketing with our Complete Guide.


You can incorporate personalisation into your content marketing strategy in so many different ways – no matter what your budget is.

You might not want to splash out on chatbots and personalised online experiences for your website or multi-device operations. But, even simple things like segmenting email marketing lists and adding first names in texts can still have a huge impact.


Millenials and hyper-connectivity

Millenials are the very first generation to have spent their entire adult lives with technology such as smartphones and the internet. They have witnessed the positive and dramatic changes these technologies have had on peoples lives.

This has resulted in a generation that values accessibility, transparency and convenience. They are the most tech-savvy and socially-conscious generation in history.

Millennials love social media and share over 350,000 tweets, 2.5 million pieces of content on Facebook and 300 hours of Youtube video every single minute.



Why personalisation matters to millennials

Customer expectations are higher than ever – especially for millennials. Personalisation meets those expectations in a number of ways:

  1. People, in general, can sometimes be controlling – most people like to be in control of their environment. Personalisation provides a cherry-picked environment that feeds into that need to be in control.
  2. If you see an offer for something specific you are looking for, it gives you a feeling of empowerment as if your thoughts have been manifested.
  3. There is a dizzying amount of content out there. We are exposed to an average of 5,000 marketing messages a day. Personalisation stops you from bombarding your customers with too much content (much of which they might not find useful) and ensures the content they do see will be remembered.
  4. Selective attention – this is the fact that your brain picks up and responds to messages that are most relevant to you.

American Express hired psychologist Emma Kenny to try to figure out how they could best engage with millennials. The results from her study found:

  • Personalisation was most important for the millennial generation
  • Almost half of the millennials expected brands to customise offers to suit their needs.
  • Millennials were more likely to go out of their way to use a customised offer compared to other age groups.


Millennials have trust issues

Well, don’t we all? To build a relationship with a millennial and turn them into a customer you need to have patience. Build trust with them over time, provide them with valuable content and align your values with theirs.

Concerning corporations, especially things like financial institutions have a very low trust rating with millennials. They grew up through the recession and saw how financial institutions can fail. 92% of Millennials firmly do not trust banks, but 47 percent of millennials indicated they’d be more likely to trust a financial service if it created useful content.

Content is King – we say it all the time and it goes double for millennials. The ridiculous amount of ads and the difficulty finding good quality content you want mean that if your business can create high quality, personalised content for millennials you will see a greater ROI than on any other marketing strategy.

With that being said, Millenials are also more likely to be brand loyal than any other generation. Authenticity sells so if you can build that trusting  relationship with your customers as individuals they will stick around and provide a more significant customer lifetime value.


Companies that do personalisation for Millennials well

Millennial watching Netflix


Netflix and Chill? Millenials have moved away from traditional TV to streaming services and no service has captured this market better than Netflix.

72% of Millenials have a Netflix account – they are leading the streaming revolution; but how did Netflix get them to do it? Personalisation.

Sucess in marketing is about keeping your audience engaged so Netflix recommends personalised content based on your watch history. Often they will suggest shows to you based on other users who have watched similar content. This keeps you watching and before you know it you’ve lost your whole weekend to a Netflix binge.

Netflix is now going even further by tailoring its ads to your interests. TV shows have many layers and appeal to viewers for different reasons. They trace the wildly different paths viewers take to reach each show and analyse them for common threads. Ie. for their new show Defenders, they might trace the tread back like this: those who have a love for the anti-heroes and moral ambiguity of Daredevil; the coming of age tales such as Iron Fist; the sharp humour and dark crime of Jessica Jones would like Defenders.



The titan online retailer owes a huge amount of its success to how well it has incorporated personalisation into its marketing.

Four out of five millennials purchased from Amazon in the past month, buying at a much higher rate than any other generation.

Amazon is constantly improving and innovating their algorithms for their recommendations. They have raised the bar for retailers across the world and everyone is trying to keep up. The algorithms they have are so thorough that often you will find yourselves adding a number of extra items to your basket before checkout that Amazon has recommended.


Want to learn more about personalisation? Head over to our blog post about Hyper-Personalisation: Laser-Focus Your Content

featured snippets
1024 1024 Jane Hunt

How to write your content for featured snippets

Attracting attention and generating traffic through the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) is harder than ever before…

Competition is fierce, with more and more brands prioritising SEO in their quest for increased online exposure. The number of organic links that Google shows has also decreased in recent years, chiefly because it wants marketers to buy ad space instead.

But these two obstacles often pale into insignificance when compared with another aspect of the SERPs – featured snippets.


What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are certain search results that appear above organic links on the SERPs. Also known as answer boxes or ‘Position 0’,  featured snippets aim to give the user an immediate response to their search query without having to click one of the links.

A featured snippet


Even though featured snippets provide users with a quicker, easier, and better search experience, the fact you don’t need to browse other results is somewhat concerning for marketers.


Search Engine Land also reported that:

  • One page’s click-through rate jumped from 2 to 8 per cent after appearing as a featured snippet.
  • Revenue from organic visitors landing on the same page saw a 677 per cent

Therefore, the value of featured snippets is clear to see. But how should you write your content for featured snippets?


1. Identify the questions your audience are asking

Featured snippets are commonplace when the searcher asks a question, specifically with the following prefixes:

  • How do/does
  • How to
  • What is
  • Why do/does

So, take the time to think about the kinds of questions your audience are asking. You should already know the topics or themes they’re interested in, so pop these into Google and see what comes back.

Use search suggestions for featured snippet contentAnother excellent resource is Answer The Public – literally a search engine that finds out what questions the public are asking.


Answer the Public results

2. Write content to answer questions

 Now that you know what your audience wants to know, start brainstorming content ideas that specifically answer these questions. As content marketing and SEO guru Neil Patel puts it:

“If your content doesn’t answer questions, it won’t get into the featured snippet. That’s all there is to it.”

For example, with this very article, we’ve chosen the title ‘How to write your content for featured snippets’, not ‘Writing content for featured snippets’ or ‘Appear as a featured snippet by writing your content like this’.

Google’s search algorithms are constantly crawling sites to find content that best answers user questions. Once they do, they’ll promote them to featured snippets.

Types of featured snippet

3. Maintain your focus on quality

Google’s complex ranking system, which gives precedence to high-quality content, still applies for featured snippets.

This means your content must:

  • Comprehensively cover the subject
  • Be informative, interesting, and engaging
  • Put the user first
  • Feature essential on-page SEO (headings, bullet points etc.)


4. Provide the best answer

Sounds simple, but by providing a better answer than your competitors, you’ll stand a greater chance of being a featured snippet.

Pretend to be a potential prospect or customer and consider what you would want to read, as well as what keywords and phrases you’d use.

Cover additional questions relating to the subject, break answers down to a basic level, assume your audience knows nothing whatsoever, and use visual content to support what you’re saying.


5. Consider FAQ pages

Create a FAQ page that explicitly answers your audience’s most common questions and Google will know useful information is contained within. This is especially true if questions use the same wording as your audience.

Make sure that your FAQ page contains all relevant questions, is well-formatted with in-depth answers, is easy to navigate for a positive experience, and always provides value.

If you want to appear as a voice search result, FAQs are the way to go too.


Did you know that 40.7% of all voice search answers come from a featured snippet? Find out more as we explore why voice search could be the future of content marketing.

Dog looking for content ideas
1024 1024 Jane Hunt

Stuck for content ideas? These 5 tools will help

So, you need to write a new piece of content but are stuck for ideas? Don’t worry, you’re not alone…

In an overcrowded online space, it’s not easy thinking of a new angle or fresh take on subjects your audience would be interested in.

Even when you’ve identified a killer idea, writer’s block could threaten your plans for creating captivating content that resonates with readers.

With this in mind, we’ve created a list of 5 awesome tools to help you discover novel content ideas and put your thoughts into words without too much creative anguish.


1. Moz Keyword Explorer

First of all, it makes sense to find relevant yet realistic keywords based on your subject matter. Although popular keywords attract a wider audience, chances are your content will get lost among a sea of similar efforts.

Moz’s Keyword Explorer is excellent at breaking down the numbers surrounding your chosen keyword. By working out how many searches it receives, how difficult it would be to rank for, and organic click-through rates, Moz gives you a priority score out of 100 along with possible long-tail suggestions for more effective targeting.

Moz keyword Explorer Content Marketing


2. BuzzSumo

A perennially popular resource for marketers everywhere and one of our favourite tools in the office, BuzzSumo is the go-to site for unearthing the web’s most shared content. Here, you’ll get a sense of what your target market is talking about on social media and how to position your content accordingly.

Not only does BuzzSumo display shares and engagements by social network, it also gives you an ‘Evergreen Score’ and the ability the find key influencers who could promote your content.

Search Buzzsumo for content ideas


3. HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator

If you’re not overly concerned with keyword opportunities or trending topics and simply want to give your audience some entertaining content, head over to HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator.

All you need to do is enter three words, wait a few seconds, and before you know it, you’ll be given a week’s worth of blog topics.

Not all ideas will be applicable or appropriate, but it’s bound to get your creative juices flowing. Even if you just use it to create more clickable blog titles!

Hubspot Blog Idea Generator for Content Marketing


4. Quora

The question-and-answer site Quora is a relative goldmine of content ideas. By browsing target keywords and setting up email alerts, you’ll always know what your audience is talking about or wanting to discover.

Another excellent aspect of Quora is its level of quality control, helped by a team of moderators that limit noise and maintain standards. Informed and well-written content is rewarded with exposure and engagement.

Quora Content Ideas


5. RescueTime

Even with a plethora of content resources to choose from, the conception and development process is often halted by writer’s rut or mental block. It’s something every creative has experienced from time to time, but help is at hand…

RescueTime runs in the background of your desktop or mobile to eliminate distractions, measure productivity, and ensure you’re always on track. Open this handy little tool before you start researching content ideas and you’ll already be one step ahead of the game.

Rescue Time Productivity Tracker

So there you have it – 5 essential tools that will make you the most productive and creative content marketer out there.

If you’re after even more inspiration then head over to our tinder infographic where we match content with brands (yes you read that right), content ideas can come from almost anywhere!

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Rage Against the Machines: Will AI Destroy Content Marketing?

It seems like every week, brands are coming up with new ways to prove that content and artificial intelligence are a match made in marketing heaven. Yet we tend to think great content = human.

Is AI set to make our jobs as content creators ever easier, or are our machine overlords gearing up to take those jobs, wreck the industry and ultimately destroy the human race? We take on both sides of the argument.


Oh God no, we’re doomed! Doooooooomed …

Forget content marketing you idiot – we’re only one iOS upgrade from Skynet realising its own capabilities and launching a nuclear attack that will certainly kill us all!

Look how intelligent the machines we have created are! Look how terrifyingly lifelike! In the last few years, robots like Sophia and the animaloid creations from Boston Dynamics have seen AI seriously up its game. What about Google’s AlphaGo that beat the world’s best Go player at Go? Latent fears that have been bubbling in the background since the sci-fi boom of the seventies and eighties are suddenly being realised. The machines are taking over.

The problem is they’re f***ing cool. Remember when Siri seemed unbelievable? Back in the day we loved needling Siri, asking her what the meaning of life was. But then we realised she was a pain, playing coy and never really delivering what we’d asked for. Even so, every new AI innovation brings another wave of excitement. The enduring popularity of the sci-fi genre with films like Blade Runner 2049 and Black Mirror is proof that we remain both frightened and thrilled by AI and its potential.

All hail our machine overlords!

Wondering if we should trust the machines with our content? In our personal lives we already do. Our iPhones ping to let us know we should leave right now if we want to catch our train. Social news algorithms spoon-feed us the day’s events. Netflix uses our viewing habits to recommend movies. Spotify curates playlists for us based on mood. Alexa reminds us of our friends’ birthdays and lets us order gifts with one click. There are cars with built-in collision avoidance systems that we literally trust with our lives.

Yet however much we rely on AI in our personal lives we’re more reluctant when it comes to our livelihoods.

While many of us embrace automated content marketing tools to help with things like keywords and content optimisation, these things are handy workflow tools that still require a degree of input. AI can’t create quality content, can it?

Apparently, it can. According to Buzzsumo co-founder Steve Rayson AI writing algorithms not only exist, they are creating well-written, data-backed articles.

The three key phrases you’ll see a lot relating to content-writing robots are intelligent narratives, natural language generation (NLG) and automated storytelling technology. At the moment there are only a couple of key players in “human-free stories”: Quill and Wordsmith. Here is an example of a few sentences “written” by Wordsmith:

“Potential buyers take note: the median sale price in Phoenix fell to $424,000, while the available housing inventory rose. There are now 3 months of home inventory left in Phoenix. Go find a bargain, buyers!”

Not bad, no? Just input your data, write a template for the story and edit the results. As the technology gets better, surely the need for human content creators will decrease?

So are content creators in mortal danger?

Yes robots can technically come up with coherent sentences. But what about irony? Personality? Will a machine ever be able to successfully mimic British humour? And if it does will the subsequent content be original, or the product of data collected from a thousand similar pieces of content?

Look at Tay, the innocent AI chatterbot experiment launched back in 2016. “She learns conversational understanding from you!” proclaimed an incredibly naive Microsoft. It took roughly an hour for her to become a neo-Nazi sex robot.

Even if machines could virtually replicate the content created by humans, what would be lost? Do any of us really want to sit around reading content written for us by machines?

The whole point of good content marketing is that it humanises a brand, allowing it to pass on real value to prospects, person to person. Content is art – and (for now at least) art is safe from AI. Like spirituality or romantic chemistry, it can’t be simulated. Yet.

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Influencer Marketing Win: YESldn X The Wall of Comedy

Back in the spring we collaborated with The Wall of Comedy for youth employability specialists YESldn. As coverage starts to come in, we reflect on one of our favourite campaigns of the year so far and reveal our top tips on how to get the absolute best out of your influencers.

Influencer marketing is here to stay. With 84% of marketers rating influencer marketing as effective and 67% planning to increase budgets, we can expect great things from this new and exciting channel. Influencer marketing helps you connect not only with your own audience, but with untapped audiences in your target demographic who might not otherwise be aware of your brand.

The Campaign

YESldn (Youth Employment Services London) are a London based branch of Reed In Partnership, a not-for-profit committed to helping young urban minorities get into work through skills workshops and apprenticeships. For its spring campaign, the brand commissioned us to develop a series of humorous videos to help get its target audience interested in the brand. We agreed fairly quickly that influencer marketing was the right way to go.

Finding the right influencers is absolutely key in influencer marketing. Influencers are reaching out to people like them. If it’s mummy bloggers, they’re reaching out to young women who may be daunted by the experience of motherhood. If it’s a makeup artist, she might want to share her expertise and connect with others in the same world.

The right influencer doesn’t just know your target audience – they are them.

After reviewing a number of options, we started to get excited about popular YouTubers The Wall of Comedy.

The Wall of Comedy

Founded by creators of YouTube series Mandem On The Wall and stars of E4’s Youngers (Joivan Wade, Dee Kartier and Percelle Ascott), The Wall of Comedy are dedicated to creating and sharing video content. As Mandem on the Wall, the three discuss everything from serious social issues to youth culture and their daily antics, using humour to bring these stories to life and resonate with their audience.

We identified that they had a real connection with the people we were looking to attract, namely young urban people aged 18-24. The trust, love and mutual respect the boys at WoC have with this demographic is the kind of connection that no amount of money can buy – and no amount of marketing expertise can authentically replicate.

Brands using video is nothing unique – what made this campaign relatively unique was the approach. From ideation to production, we entrusted the entire scope of the content to the experts – our influencers. Passionate about helping young people get into work, the boys were confident they could create some really strong content, appealing to their audience and encouraging them to sign up to the service.

Don’t get too involved

Letting influencers reach their audience in their own way is undoubtedly the way to get the most value out of them – and will probably make them actually more receptive to the idea of working with you in the first place. 

Of the campaign, Emma Rider, Marketing and Communications Manager at YESldn said: 

“We know that we’re trying to engage a hard to reach demographic. Our audience isn’t easily fooled; they don’t want to listen to messages from marketers who presume to know them and their interests. That’s why influencer campaigns are so effective – you stay out of the way and allow an authentic conversation to happen.”

Someone else coming up with your entire campaign for you and sharing it with their big, engaged audience? It seems too good to be true. There is a huge catch. Finding the right influencer(s) and getting them on board is a lot harder than it looks. 

There’s often a lot of fantasy and ego-tripping involved in how brands see themselves. Influencer campaigns get rid of all that. Resist the urge to pay someone to advertise your product – more often than not it looks staged and false, audiences are wise to it.

With more than 6,000 post engagements, a combined reach of nearly 2.5 million and a 140% boost to service sign-ups, it’s fair to say the campaign has been a success. We’re just starting to see the coverage coming in, here’s a screen grab of our handiwork in print in the Evening Standard.

With more than 6,000 post engagements, a combined reach of nearly 2.5 million and a 140% boost to service sign-ups, the success of the campaign is clear to see for all involved.  Jane Hunt, our marketing director said:

“Working on this campaign has been a dream. From the off, we knew the audience were tough to reach and influence. Joivan, Dee and Percelle were so passionate about the objectives of the Yes London campaign and really wanted to do it justice. The boys challenged our thinking every step of the way – their professionalism and creativity took the campaign further than we could ever have hoped.”

But what did the ‘mandem’ themselves have to say about the campaign? In Joivan’s words:

“We really enjoyed collaborating with JBH and Reed in Partnership to create the sketches and raise awareness of an important issue currently affecting young people. The content sparked much needed discussions.”


To find out more about influencer marketing, take a look at our comprehensive guide.

If you would like some exclusive content to feature the campaign on your site or would simply like to find out more about what we can do for you, please contact Rob John

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Build Your Own Brand Community

Help your people find their people.

Send a James Bay fan into a mosh pit and you’ll probably kill him (or at least give him a fat dose of PTSD). Send in a metalhead and he’ll be overcome with a warm, fuzzy sense of belonging.

We all belong in different places, with different people.

Consumers want to have meaningful relationships with the brands they buy from. Establishing a genuine connection with your target market means giving them a space where they can come together around shared values.

The past couple of years have seen plenty of brands experimenting with communities with varying degrees of success. Brands who do manage to build communities where their customers can enjoy exclusivity and engagement are reaping the rewards.



Brand communities embrace a certain ethos or ideology shared by each and every member. Think carefully about what unites your audience. Here are some key points to consider.

– Who are they? Think age, gender and geography.

– What industries do they work in?

– What do they care about? For obvious reasons this is the most important one. What is their political stance? Their ethical position?

– How do they speak? What language do they use?

Don’t be afraid to generalise – you want to tap into the beating heart of your audience.


A brand community is built on the collective desire for a great product and/or a sincere service. This means you will need to put your finger on the best way for the experience of your product to be supported in a brand community environment.

Do you want your customers to share photos of the product in action? Do you want to give them a forum to discuss possible improvements? Whatever you go for, be creative, but put the wants and needs of your customers first.


Even the best brands receive complaints and condemnation from all sides on social media. While it can be difficult to keep ahead of criticism, a brand community should encourage criticism and deal with it with patience and good grace; consumers will be more likely to get involved if their opinion has an actual impact or influence. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and let the people in your community shape your strategy.


Even though brand communities can generate impressive exposure and contribute to a glowing online reputation, you should let your efforts grow organically. Don’t be tempted to build your community according to a fixed plan or idea; chances are it won’t succeed. Your customers know best. Allow for new ways of thinking and allow your community to take shape in its own way.


 It might sound obvious, but putting your community before your brand will lead to the most rewarding results. Consumers are smarter than you think and don’t need to see content dripping with your branding to realise it’s the work of your brand. This approach will go a long way towards convincing people of your credibility.


LEGO Ideas –

LEGO is offering its devoted following another opportunity to get creative. LEGO Ideas is a community where members can design and submit their own concepts for new sets. Projects that receive over 10,000 votes from members will be reviewed and possibly picked by LEGO to be created and sold worldwide. The creator gets final product approval, a percentage of sales revenue and is recognised on all packaging and marketing material.


Spotify –

By its own admission, Spotify has a lot of amazing, undiscovered artists that “need a push into the spotlight.” To increase exposure and give unknown talent that all-important break, the music streaming service constantly seeks the opinions of its customers to promote exciting new acts. Most recently, subscribers were asked to recommend their favourite artists with less than 500 followers. This simple move demonstrates that Spotify is interested in making a worthwhile contribution to the music industry, going some way to combat the negative way music streaming services are portrayed in the press.


Manchester City FC –

Nothing says community like standing alongside thousands of other fans in support of your favourite team. Manchester City recognised this when it made the move to overhaul its desktop and mobile websites with co-creation in mind. With the help of focus groups, user tests, prototype designs, and surveys, it knew that supporters would appreciate a mobile first, video rich experience featuring trending and relevant content. The message for fans and followers of Manchester City is that the club has its best interest at heart, both on and off the pitch.