When and why did you start looking at content marketing in relation to your brand?
We dived into social media around 2009, which was fairly early, but it was on a very small scale. We started with Facebook and have grown and branched out into different channels since then.
At Trilogy we've always focused more on the PR and word-of-mouth style of brand building as opposed to paid media; we don't have advertising budgets that could compete with the big global brands that play in our space.
For us, it's been much more about finding our customers and connecting with them directly through other channels. So our content marketing has been about equipping customers with stories about Trilogy; content that's going to resonate with them and that's easy to share with their friends to further that word-of-mouth network.
What kinds of content marketing do you do now and through what channels?
We try to stay with a 50/50 mix of content - so that's 50 per cent product-related content and 50 per cent interesting, inspirational or educational content that also helps tell our brand story. That just means we're not selling at people all the time. Also, storytelling is really, really important because those stories are what will make your brand distinctive and keep it top of mind.
We try to produce content that helps support the marketing calendar, and we publish our own stuff through a variety of social media channels. We've got the greatest following on Facebook - we've just topped 40,000 there - which is the place where we've been active the longest. We've also got a UK-specific Facebook page, which we recently started and that's sitting at about 4000. That's really about delivering relevance because even though Facebook is a global platform, local content is still really important.
We're also quite active on Twitter and Instagram, and have a YouTube channel for publishing our own videos, and curating content from other parts of the web.
Another thing we do is collaborate with other brands. For example, we're currently partnered with fashion designer Adrian Hailwood and what working with him has allowed us to do is talk to his audience, and introduce him to ours. It gives a wraparound feel to the brand.
Another important channel for us is media and blogger partnerships. We write guest columns and provide comment for articles, and any time we're published on someone else's channels we use all of our social media channels to link it back to our audiences as well.
What's been your biggest learning about what works and what doesn't when it comes to engaging your audience?
I think you've hit the nail on the head when you talk about engagement, because this isn't solely a numbers game. I think what's much more important than the size of your following is how engaged they are, because the whole point of social media is it's a two-way conversation.
Our biggest learning has been that content has to be relevant to be engaging, so know your audience, understand what they're looking for and what channels they like to communicate through. And be customer-centric. Rather than thinking about what we want to be telling people, we try to flip that on its head and think 'what are our customers wanting to know?'.
Trends seem to evolve pretty quickly in this area. What do you do to make sure your strategy stays relevant?
We're always looking at what other brands in a variety of industries are doing - particularly the ones that are known as early adopters. We try to really live in the space and keep up with the reading and analysis that's coming out in this area all the time.
And if we find a new channel that looks interesting we'll try it out. If it doesn't work now, we've learnt it doesn't necessarily mean it won't work in future. Sometimes you just need to give your audience a bit of a chance to catch up. Particularly with social networks, the way people use them evolves over time, so we try to keep an eye on changing behaviours. It also really helps having a few people in the office who are in their early twenties because they're really ahead of the game!
What advice would you have for anyone starting on the journey to developing a content marketing strategy?
Don't try doing everything all at once. Start with one or two channels that you think might be most relevant to the people you want to reach, and just get those working. Then cut your teeth on them, get some momentum and once you get comfortable in those spaces, start moving out into other channels.