Content marketing: an operator’s secret weapon

Martyn Hannah, director of igaming content marketing agency, ghostfoundry, says online gambling operators must become information powerhouses to succeed in the highly competitive US market.

Online sportsbook and casino operators in New Jersey and other regulated states looking to significantly increase player acquisition and retention should do one thing right now. They should create and launch a content hub that delivers so much added value to players that they will not want to wager with, or play at, any other brand now and in the future.

Not only that, but a content hub provides countless upsides for operators when it comes to marketing, SEO and even compliance.

Below, I look at what a content hub is and why you should launch one, plus the steps you must take to ensure your hub engages, educates and entertains.

First things first, what is a content hub…

A content hub is a dedicated page attached to your online sportsbook or casino that is packed full of news, features, interviews, guides, videos and more. Think of it as an online resource for players and a place where they can return to daily, weekly or monthly regardless of whether they wish to gamble or not.

Established European online casino brands such as 888 casino have been running content hubs for several years now. Some of the most popular posts include blackjack strategy tips, insight into how slot machines are built and even an innovative card counting tool.

When it comes to sportsbook operators, the likes of bet365 and William Hill take this a step further by also offering live streams from certain events. These can take the form of live radio broadcasts or even video broadcasts featuring commentary or studio-based discussion and debate programmes.

The advantages of investing in a content hub…

There are many upsides to launching a content hub, but the most important is that it helps online gambling brands to engage and connect with potential players. Consumers in the US are just as savvy as they are in mature markets such as the UK, and they want to digest as much information as possible about casino/sports.

Remember that for most consumers betting – whether casino or sport – is a passion and a pass time for them, and they want to be connected to it as much as possible. Leading on from this, content hubs help to build trust among players. By providing consumers with information and entertainment for free it is possible to foster incredible loyalty by making them feel like you are not going in for the hard sell.

Of course, if you keep providing them with content that engages, educates and entertains, when they are ready to wager they are highly likely to do so with you. This is particularly important for US sportsbook operators as sports media giants such as TheScore are partnering with betting technology providers to launch their own books.

Other benefits include the tremendous SEO value that a well-executed content hub can deliver, helping casino brands climb up the SERPs. Indeed, the majority of online casino brands invest heavily in SEO and particularly link building, but a regularly updated information portal can be just as, if not more, effective.

Finally, online gambling brands that launch their own content hubs can mitigate the need to rely on affiliates to drive new players to their sites – affiliates are effectively content hubs. What’s more, by launching their own portals, operators can be 100% certain the content they publish is within the rules set out by that state’s gaming regulator or advertising watchdog.

The first step to launching a content hub is…

Undertaking an audit and putting a strategy in place. For the former, consider your current content efforts (if any) and output. You then need to look at who your target audience is, the information they are seeking and how they like to receive that information (written, audio, video, etc).

Armed with this knowledge you can put a content strategy in place. This will cover the types of content you will create and how often you will create them. This will also include a distribution plan – while all of the content will be published on your hub, it should also be shared across social media and other outlets.

With you battle plans in hand, you can then get to work creating and publishing your content. This may require a small in-house team, or you may look to outsource it. It might be early days in New Jersey and other US states, but there is huge potential on the table and operators must put themselves in the driving seat to capture their share.

Marketing and advertising will play a vital role in online gambling operators engaging, acquiring and retaining players and brands are already taking different approaches to this.

But to date, the majority have not properly invested in content marketing and that is undoubtedly a missed opportunity. Those that do will find that they are able to better engage, acquire and retain players and for a fraction of the cost of other marketing methods.

Content marketing really is an operator’s secret weapon.