How to use the Scottish referendum for content marketing

How do you grasp the opportunities for building a digital audience that the Scottish referendum supplies? Amy Wilson shows how content marketing based around a divisive subject can make your voice stand out and build your business.

You cannot have failed to notice that Scotland has voted on whether or not to become independent from the rest of the UK, and said no. Every politician, economist and public figure with the vaguest connection to Scotland, and even those with none at all, have been airing their views for months.

Whether or not your company has taken an official stance, whether it is based in Edinburgh, London or Frankfurt: the divisive subject of independence can be used to reap marketing dividends, with intelligent use of content marketing.

It’s not necessarily about being outwardly political (although 130 companies did declare their hand before the vote). You don’t have to be controversial, and you definitely don’t have to be Scottish. You just need to use the independence debate as a way of showing off your expertise or product – start with the event and use it as a hook to provide useful, informative, entertaining or thought-provoking content.

If you are in a law firm, an asset manager, a recruitment company, an energy business, a retailer or any one of myriad industries, you have expertise and high-value thinking to add to the debate. Well-written content, correctly flagged for a huge digital audience, will be consumed by hungry readers.

The debate over independence has contained just as much emotion as fact, as much heart as head. But as a law firm, you are well aware that making good on promises to devolve more powers to Holyrood, including power over setting income tax, will require significant legal changes which will have an impact north and south of the border.

A calm, considered and expert view would be welcomed by clients in and of UK financial services companies, particularly those with Edinburgh HQs or large offices, North Sea oil and gas companies and their suppliers, and retailers with operations north and south of the border.

But what will putting your voice out there do for your business? Social media means you can share this information with far more people than existing clients: the world is your audience. And they are eager – an analysis of the most popular internet search terms around “Scottish referendum” shows a distinct bias towards the legal implications: Scottish referendum + act, + binding and + consequences are all in the top five.

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What succeeds online is content that people want to share after they’ve read it, whether that is a well-written opinion piece, an explainer, a useful graphic, a profile of a key person in your business, even an entertaining photo.

So who’s already doing well in this area online, aside from the traditional media outlets? Scottish law and wealth management firm Turcan Connell grasped the potential for joining this debate on its own terms before the vote. Its articles on ‘what Scottish independence will mean for you’ came up on the first page of top Google searches on ‘Scottish referendum’, meaning the firm had gained significant traction online already (we can’t give exact figures without access to their own website analytics.). –

Turcan Connell achieved this without having to pay a newspaper or other media outlet for advertising space, or hoping probably in vain that its comments will be picked up via press releases.

The deeply-held views and opinions around whether Scotland should cut ties with the rest of the UK (and 45 percent of the enormous 84 percent voter turnout said Yes on September 18) mean you have a ready-made audience with a thirst for the specialist knowledge you can impart. Using your own website and social media channels to publish your expert views brings an audience to your site who may never have found you otherwise.

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