Take back control

Martyn Hannah, director of online gambling content marketing agency, Ghostfoundry, says operators should stop relying on affiliates and create their own content hubs to engage players 

The relationship between online gambling operators and affiliates is coming under increasing pressure, particularly for those active in highly regulated markets such as the UK. 

In Great Britain, for example, the Gambling Commission has made clear that operators are ultimately responsible for the content that affiliates publish to promote their brands. 

This has caused all kinds of headaches when it comes to ensuring that affiliates are playing by the rules and are compliant at all times. 

This has seen some operators take the decision to pull down the shutters on their affiliate programmes and cease working with publishers entirely. 

While this is a somewhat extreme approach, it could ultimately be the way to go with the long-term viability of the affiliate ecosystem constantly being questioned. 

Operators should see this as a huge opportunity to take back control of the content that is created around their brands and used to engage, educate and entertain players. 

Indeed, there is absolutely no reason why operators cannot create the same content used by affiliates to rank for key search terms and drive thousands of users to their sites themselves. 

And with the cost of running an affiliate programme saved, additional resources can be diverted into the operator – whether casino, sports, poker, etc – becoming a content powerhouse. 

So how should operators go about creating a content hub that provides potential players with the information they are seeking? 

The first thing to do is to undertake a content audit. As part of this, record your current content efforts and look at areas where activity can be improved and increased. 

Research some of the most successful affiliates and look at the types of content they are creating – news, features, interviews, guides, etc – and start to map out a plan from there. 

Factor in keyword research too – affiliates go to great lengths to identify high-volume search terms and create content around those phrases. 

This includes: 

  • Best online casinos 
  • New online casinos 
  • Live dealer casinos 
  • Latest bonus offers 

Once you have conducted your audit and recorded your findings it is time to start working on your content plan – we recommend planning for no more than three months at a time. 

As a minimum, create one in-depth piece of content per month – this could be a key ranking page around one of the search terms listed above – and one 600-word article per day. 

The articles can be more varied and cover off a range of different topics across games, banking, security, bonuses, promotions, tournaments, etc. 

Use them as an opportunity to educate players about all aspects of playing at your online gambling site(s) and to also lift the lid on what goes on behind the scenes. 

Create a document that includes each topic you will write about for the following month or, if you want to be super organised, for the next three months. 

The next step is to create the content and publish it on a dedicated content hub that sits under a tab on your homepage. 

Content should also be shared via your social media channels, in particular Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as this is where your audience will be most active. 

It is also important to track and analyse the performance of content – look at what is and isn’t working and tweak your content plan accordingly. Google Analytics is a must in this regard. 

Be experimental, too. Written content will form the foundation of your content hub but also consider other mediums such as audio and video. 

Success comes from creating a wide range of content and sharing it across different platforms to ensure maximum exposure and engagement. 

Some of your players, for example, will only be active on Facebook while others will have Instagram accounts so it’s important to distribute far and wide. 

Other things to consider. Content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint – it takes dedication and consistency over time to build an audience and retain it. 

Having a plan and strategy in place is an absolute must as it ensures you are creating valuable content that players are looking for. It also keeps you on track and creating and publishing regularly. 

Finally, content must be of the highest quality. Churn and burn articles written to meet a word count simply won’t cut it. Unique, authentic, high-value content is the only way forward. 

Online gambling operators really have nothing to lose when it comes to creating their own content hubs – some operators are already doing it and reaping the benefits. 

So whether you work with affiliates or don’t, now is the time to redirect resources towards content creation and to see new player acquisition and existing customer retention skyrocket. 

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