Jaguar 0412 6365a - Ross Elliot

Content marketing requires many things to be successful; luckily a Zoo isn’t one of them.

That said, you can definitely learn a thing or two from “We bought a Zoo” author Benjamin Mee.

I won’t bore you with all the details of who Benjamin is, but if you’re interested you should visit the Dartmoor Zoological Park website or watch this short video.

Benjamin’s book was published in 2008. Since then it has become a film and the Zoo has enjoyed a significant amount of interest from the world’s media.

This isn’t a typical content marketing story and it’s true to say Benjamin had a huge advantage having been a professional writer, however you can learn a number of things from his success.

Get your content out there

It’s all too easy to talk about content, but very few businesses actually get it written and published. If you want content success you need to have a plan and complete it. List what you want to write and when, and then stick to that plan.

Even the simplest editorial calendar will help you achieve more.

If Benjamin hadn’t finished the book, there wouldn’t have been a movie and his Zoo wouldn’t have had the publicity. Be honest, have you been failing to see your content through to completion?

Tell a story with your content

A story is often more interesting than a technical piece of writing. Yes, even if you’re in a tech industry. Great content is easy to follow, has a clear start, middle and end and most importantly takes the reader on a journey.

The desired destination is a place that’s helpful, inspiring or interesting for the reader.

Enjoy what you’re writing

You need to have a passion for what you’re writing. There’s no point tasking an agency or a member of staff to write your content if they’re not passionate about it. You can always get your work edited after you’ve written it; I couldn’t survive without our editors. Just focus on sharing your passion and let someone else worry about dotting the i’s and crossing t’s.

Make the most of your successes

If you’re lucky enough to get a few bites, just like Benjamin Mee did — no pun intended — you’ll need to make the most of them.

Sometimes your content can get you PR and you may even set out with that intention. If you get success, make the most of it. Dartmoor Zoo have the book featured on their homepage, they have additional web pages explaining their story, it’s available to purchase in the shop and Benjamin does as many interviews as he can.

He was even smart enough to get pictures of movie star Matt Damon wearing a DZP (Dartmoor Zoological Park) t-shirt.

Make your content work harder

Writing the content is just the start. The key to success is getting it in front of your target audience. Share your content on your website, emails, social media, at events and anything else you can think of. You need to make it work hard.

You should also think about how your content helps your SEO. Wherever possible optimise your content even if you’re just adding a few keyword rich links to other pages on your site.

When you find something that works don’t be scared to do it again. Everyone loves a sequel right? Following up on interesting content can be very successful.

Focus on your business but be creative

There’s no point writing content about subjects that are completely unrelated to your business. Benjamin wrote about a Zoo, that makes sense right? However, you should also think about what interests your audience.

A great example of this is the Skull Candy App. Skull Candy make headphones, so what kind of content do they have in their app? It’s not about headphones, it’s snow, surf and skate-related content. This is the content that interests their customers and more importantly their potential customers.

Your business should provide content that helps your customers and prospects and encourages them to reach out and share it with other like-minded people. That’s successful content.

Ian Creek

Published 16 May, 2012 by Ian Creek

Ian Creek is Marketing Director at Rokk Media and a contributor to Econsultancy.

4 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (2)


Nick Stamoulis

"It’s all too easy to talk about content, but very few businesses actually get it written and published."

I telly my clients that are stuck that if their content is 80% of the way there they should run with it. It's so easy to get bogged down on a single piece of content and try to make it perfect that it never ends up going live. I'm not saying you should sacrifice quality, but sometimes you just have to let it go live and move on.

over 6 years ago

Ian Creek

Ian Creek, Marketing Director at Rokk Media

Hi Nick

That's so true, even the best content marketers suffer from getting content 80% there. The one thing I keep telling myself is "if it's not out the door it doesn't count". That is the one thing that motivates me to do those last few bits to get the content live.

over 6 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.