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brightonSEO 2022: The best content marketing takeaways

The Relevance team was thrilled to attend October’s brightonSEO 2022 conference – one of the largest SEO conferences in the world.

The conference features leading industry experts covering SEO, content marketing, social media, digital PR, and branding, delivering more than 120 presentations across two incredible days.

Relevance divided and conquered, with a well-planned strategy that enabled the team to attend as many talks as possible. We then pooled our knowledge to ensure that we remain knowledgeable and up-to-date on the latest SEO trends to deliver incredible results for our clients.

Here are some of our top content marketing and branding takeaways.

brightonSEO 2022 content takeaways

Content marketing ROI

In his talk, The Elusive ROI of Content Marketing, Tim Soulou, chief marketing officer and product advisor at Ahrefs, challenged brightonSEO 2022 attendees to consider how they can genuinely measure content’s return on investment.

Content marketing ROI is challenging to measure as multiple resources are involved, and measuring every outcome is not always possible. The value of content includes leads, conversions, and sales, but it also includes retention, re-activation, and revenue expansion. Finally, content can help with word-of-mouth, brand awareness, paid acquisition, thought leadership, hiring and onboarding, and customer support.

While some aspects can be measured, such as leads and sales, a common-sense approach is required. Soulou noted that content cannot not bring value if it gets traffic and talks about your product.

Suggestions for developing a high content marketing ROI include:

–   Gauging search traffic potential

–   Business potential

–   Ranking difficulty

–   And, finally, the effort and resources required.

Marketers should then consider whether to write a new article, update an underperforming article, or re-write a non-performing article. Soulou noted that blog articles, followed closely by YouTube videos, remain among the most popular content formats.

Content strategy

What is content strategy? According to Sam Colebrook, content strategy director at iCrossing UK, content strategy is the ongoing process of transforming business objectives and goals into a plan that uses content as a primary means of achieving those goals.

In Colebrook’s talk at brightonSEO 2022, Content Prioritisation: Approaching Infinite Opportunities with Finite Resources, Colebrook looked at what’s stopping digital content strategy and how organisations can implement one. He noted that 40% of marketers do not have a documented digital content strategy.

Aspects that are stopping content strategy include:

–   Organisational structure; not understanding where your content strategy sits in your organisational structure

–   Channel silo; not aligning the content between departments

–   Time; the bigger the business, the harder it is to find the time

–   Documentation; the purpose and intent behind the content

–   Tools and resources; organisations must dedicate and invest time in developing the right tools and resources.

To develop a content prioritisation model, organisations must build a content prioritisation model that bridges the gap between strategy and execution. This includes:

–   Identifying what value the content will bring to a brand’s product, audience, and key stakeholders

–   Exploring how much effort it will take, including the cost of research, writing, and other assets, such as images and video

–   And whether the content will be visible to the right people. For example, will it rank highly, is it evergreen, and does it align with the brand’s overall promotional plan?

By following a streamlined scoring system that evaluates content based on a content prioritisation model, you can ensure the entire team is on the same page and that there is a shared understanding of what valuable content is in your business.

Content management

Anna Gregory-Hull, head of SEO at Snaptrip, explored how to get more traffic with less content at brightonSEO 2022. 

According to Gregory-Hull, most sites have too many pages, causing a content management headache. A large number of pages requires significant content management resources and crawl budget. It also risks cross-site duplication and keyword cannibalisation.

She suggests that content marketers look at reducing content through five key stes:

1 Gathering data on current published content

2 Exploring historical traffic, backlinks, and future potential

3 Identifying content cannibalisation

4 Making a keep, re-direct, and delete list

5 And finally, continually monitoring and adjusting.

Gregory-Hull reminded attendees at brightonSEO 2022 of Google’s latest Helpful Content update, and that content marketers must always have in mind people-first content. By removing unhelpful content, marketers can help improve the rankings of other content on the site.

She concluded that once marketers have less content to manage, they have more time to focus on content that adds value and other areas of digital marketing. This includes SEO content strategy, internal link building, page structure and templates, page speed, and image optimisation.


Brand voice strategist, Bethany Joy, gave an insightful talk on the Nine immutable Laws of Brand Voice’ underpinning the importance of branding. The nine laws are:

1  Tone of voice is not optional; it’s inevitable. Your choice of words paints a picture of your organisation

2  Your tone of voice needs to be derived from what you are like, not what you believe. It must be based on your brand’s personality traits

3  Tone of voice must be rooted in reality. It must be authentic

4  Tone of voice is more about the speaker than the listener

5  Tone of voice is not only for the marketing team; it must be consistent across all touchpoints

6  Tone of voice won’t make bad writers good; it can only teach good writers how to write in a particular style

7  Tone of voice is more than simply the sum of a lot of great copy

8  Tone of voice doesn’t mean you don’t need great copy

9  And finally, tone of voice is at its best when no one notices it. Remember, words give your customer a window into your brand.

Artificial intelligence content creation 

Artificial intelligence content creation was a hot topic at brightonSEO 2022.

Veteran digital marketer and ex-agency owner, Matt Bennett, and content marketing specialist, Katie Thompson, discussed AI’s role in their respective talks; Do the Public Trust AI Writing and Content writers; Will AI Take Your job?

Bennett’s talk gave a fascinating insight into whether or not the public trust AI content. According to his research, 65% of companies already use some form of AI content creation and 29% have used it on a project.

Text prediction algorithms are a form of AI content creation that many content marketers already use, but full AI article creation has limits. For example, AI has issues differentiating fact from fiction, it is often outdated, with information based on the last crawl, and there is often a context shift; the words make sense, but the angle is lost. AI has no original ideas, as it can only re-purpose content that has already been published. Additionally, AI can’t check facts, it can’t do live content, and it can’t write to house style – at least, not yet.

The limits of AI must be considered carefully, especially considering Google’s Helpful Content update, which prioritises content that adds value.

Bennett’s research showed that only 18% of the public would trust content published by an AI content writer. However, when Bennett used a sample of content written by AI and cheap human writers – the AI content was rated slightly higher on engagement, trust, and knowledge. But, when Bennett used specialist writers and switched to a more informed audience, the gap shifted, with content developed by human writers ranked higher.

So, where can AI help? Thompson noted that AI can help with editing, ideation, and translation.

AI content creation should be used with caution, however. Content should be created by humans for humans. Thompson highlighted that if everyone relies on AI, the web will be just filled with unoriginal content.

She noted that the future might see a shift to content writers focusing more of their time on ideation and editing and that content marketers must not ignore the benefits of AI to complement existing skills. Most importantly, she highlighted to the attendees of brightonSEO 2022 that sooner or later, Google will be able to detect AI content, which may impact ranking.Relevance is a luxury digital marketing agency that targets the world’s wealthiest audiences. Our team includes branding and content marketing experts who can help define your brand’s content marketing strategy and execute it in line with industry best practices. Contact us and learn how we deliver incredible results for the world’s most luxurious brands.

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