11 February 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Case Study, how To Create Amazing Featured Content For Under £200

Great content is the gift that keeps giving, Matt Cutts the Google engineer brainwashed me to believe this and he cannot be wrong because he works for Google!?You can spend anything from $3 on iwriter.com on content to £XXXX for a piece of content written by a journalist or expert. This post is about how to spend around £190 on content that is world class and will send the right signals to search engines and users alike.  Oh it is not just written content, we produced an infograph and branded PDF for this price too!


We wanted to start creating top notch content for one of our sites www.lifeinsure.co.uk to enable us to start to gain more traction in this niche. To do this we first needed to decide on the first topic. It is far easier to market and promote a niche guide to members of a specific niche than it would be to promote a generic guide on say “life insurance” itself to the general population. So we  needed to find a niche or demographic within life insurance that could benefit from a detailed guide, we decided to start with a guide  specifically for   ”life insurance for smokers.”

Here is what we wanted to ensure and how we went about it:-

1) To make the content cost effective without sacrificing at all on quality

We run a lot of sites and it is not feasible to write all the content for each one. We tend to outsource a lot but at different levels of quality. For this one we needed what was akin to a “thesis” on smoking and life insurance. Who better to write a thesis than a university graduate! We asked around a couple of forums and were recommended a couple of guys that are Oxford Uni graduates and write content for websites to make extra money. Their normal rate was £10 per article but we wanted to get more than a standard £10 article, we wanted more research and depth and as such we put forward the spec of writing a 1000+ word thesis on the topic. They came back with £100 to do it and we were happy to give it a go!

2) That the guide was backed up by research and statistics

The writer we used went to statistics.gov.uk, Google news articles, Wikipedia and various other sources to gather as much in the way of statistics on smoking combined with life insurance as they could find. Any relevant discussions and debates were noted down and a detailed stats document was built in draft form to be used later on.

3) That it answered any questions smokers may have

As a past smoker myself, this was not too difficult to get started but they also researched Yahoo answers and forums to see what the general buzz was with smokers and life insurance and what they wanted to know specifically. To take it further you could ask on forums, do free surveys on Linkedin.com or any other way you can find to get feedback. Google discussions search is a great and under used method of finding out what people are talking about in a specific niche, you can set it to find discussions that took place in the last 24 hours or selected time period to get access to the most current debates and questions. Then it was a case of using the quotes and stats that were found in “1)” to provide detailed answers and resources that smokers could visit to get the information they needed.

4) That it was visually appealing

This was down to our designer and coder Shaun. We gave him the spec of creating one big guide akin to how moneysavingexpert.com. This was to please the Google Gods who prefer detailed content in one place and to make it an easy to navigate guide that we could easily transform into a branded PDF document to boot. We cannot take any credit for how well he did this and he suggested we call them “special reports” to give them that edgy/newsy  feel. The work done by him to get it on our site and looking great was 2 hours at £15 per hour, a bargain for us!

5) That it would be authoritative

Google Authorship will be growing and growing. What better first step in judging the quality of a document is there than by knowing who wrote it and published it?Also, there were some leaked Google remote rater site quality  documents that stated that in medical and financial fields Google like to know that the writer was qualified to write the article. We needed to show Google that we were qualified to publish this content. To do this we got my Google Profile author tags added to the document which in turn added my profile (and scruffy haired pic)  underneath it showing i wrote it (or published it in this case!). It also has the advantage of highlighting my profile in the Google search results with the site and as such making it stand out from the other results on that page. The social buttons such as “Share On Facebook”,”Google Plus One” and “Twitter” were also added to allow people to share the content easily if they liked it. If you want to add these easily and free i recommend www.addthis.com.

6) To Make It Easy For Site Owners To Share

We wanted to make it so that people and sites we promoted this content to would be able to share it easily with their readerships. To do this we firstly  made a branded PDF document of the guide  that sites could give away. We then made an infograph linked to life insurance for smokers which was more of a visual stimulus for site owners to use to link to the document.

We proof read it and got some feedback from unbiased friends and published it when we felt comfortable that we had created the best resource we could have that would stand out from the crowd.

The cost breakdown was as follows

Content including research £100

Coder to create the branded PDF and to make the guide look good on the site £60

A couple of hours of my time

You can view the finished content here http://www.lifeinsure.co.uk/special-reports/life-insurance-for-smokers/. In the next article i will show you how this content worked incredibly for us outside of what we might have expected and also what opportunities arose for us from it. The page ranks in Google page 1 for a lot of related terms and that is before we have fully promoted it.  I will also do a full article on the promotion process for the third instalment and update on the  results of it over the coming weeks.

Featured content is so much easier to promote and market. Google uses over 500 ranking signals to determine a site’s position and making amazing featured content will likely tick a lot of boxes. Add to that opportunities outside of Google rankings, which i will come to next, and you can see why doing this properly may have a better ROI than most other forms of SEO.




Robert Prime has been involved in the life insurance industry since 2006 and is the co-owner of lifeinsure.co.uk. Having worked within an authorised environment and joint managed several brokerages he has gained a lot of experience in this sector which he is keen to share with the public.

My Google Plus Profile

What are your thoughts?