There is perhaps no sector that has leaned more heavily into content production in recent years than consulting firms. Our analysis of COVID-19 content production from Q2 of 2020 found that, on average, consulting firms each produced 125 pieces of content about COVID-19 in the United States alone.
One such consulting brand that has invested in content—and benefited greatly from it—is Capgemini. Capgemini is a Paris-based technology and digital-transformation consultancy with offices in 40 countries around the world and over 200,000 employees.
The Capgemini blog is home to dozens of pieces of thought-leadership content, heavily researched reports, client testimonials, and educational podcasts.
Steering the content ship for this massive organization is Rachel Watson, the Campaigns, Digital, & Content Lead. In her role, Watson is responsible for omnichannel multitouch lead-generation campaigns.
“Put simply, my team is focused on how many marketing qualified leads we create,” says Watson, who works out of Capgemini’s Dallas, Texas office. “For me, that means creating holistic, always-on campaigns that help create meetings for our sales team.”
Watson gave us a peek into Capgemini’s content strategy. Here’s what we learned.
The funnel comes first
Watson thinks about every piece of content her 12-person team creates in terms of where it fits in their content funnel. Capgemini divides the funnel into three stages: awareness, consideration, and purchase.
The awareness stage is ungated, educational content that is designed to address the pain points of their target audience and foster trust. This content can come in a variety of formats but is most often represented as blog posts on the Capgemini website.
“Top of funnel content is sort of like dating,” Watson explains. “We want you to get to know us before you overinvest. Therefore, the content is highly consumable and low risk. We’ll create articles like ‘10 leading indicators that X is going to be a problem.’ It’s a free resource that uses our best thought leadership.”
Middle of funnel content is when Watson aims to provide more direct value to users. To do so, she’ll leverage Capgemini Research Institute (CRI)—the organization’s in-house think tank—to collect research and then turn it into “meaty” pieces of content.
“At the middle of the funnel, we’ll show them how to do something, or show them how we’ve done it,” Watson says. “We want to layer it down from pain point to project, such as ‘How do you select a vendor?’ or ‘How do you structure a team?’”
Additionally, Capgemini shares many video client testimonials in the middle of the funnel. Watson says these client stories are a high priority because they generate a lot of social proof for the brand.
“The best way we can talk about what we do is to have our customers talk about what we’ve done,” Watson says. “But the key is to make it about the client, not us. That’s why the first two thirds of our stories are always focused on the customer. Our philosophy is to make them lead and show the digital transformation they were able to achieve with us.”
At the bottom of the funnel, Watson’s team produces highly-technical content, such as illustrative product demos, that explain how Capgemini can resolve a pain point. This content is usually highly segmented based on the type of client and size of opportunity.
“If there are only a handful of companies that have this pain point, we will hyper-segment the content,” Watson says. “Usually, there are about nine people at a company we’re trying to influence, so we want to focus on them and provide content in a very personalized way. While this content usually has a low click-through rate, engagement is very high.”
Focus on themes
Instead of creating content for the flavor of the week, Capgemini takes a big-picture approach to its content strategy.
At the beginning of the year, the Capgemini Research Institute’s 30-person steering committee gets together to discuss what they want to talk about as a company in the next year. The themes they settle on are then the focus of longform reports of 50 to 80 pages that the content team produces in conjunction with CRI. Examples of themes include cybersecurity and AI.
Most of these reports serve the middle and bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel, Watson and her team create “bite-size” pieces of content using some of the information provided in the reports. This “splinter” content can be created in a variety of different formats, such as a blog series, podcast, or webinar. The idea is to engage the audience with content that might be relevant to them, while also teasing out content that’s likely to drive more high-value actions.
“What we’re trying to do is identify three themes the clients we work with are most concerned about,” Watson says. “For instance, with COVID, connected commerce was critical because it relates to creating an integrated online shopping experience. From there we created content around digital customer experience, cloud best practices, and what best-in-class commerce looks like.”
Leverage internal resources
Great content takes a village. While most organizations rely on the marketing team to produce content, Capgemini understands that content creation should be part of everyone’s job.
That’s why it has Expert Connect—a group of roughly 400 Capgemini employees who are subject matter experts in their respective fields.
Watson’s team leverages Expert Connect to provide unique content perspectives and also solicits content pitches from its members.
“We encourage everyone at Capgemini to create content,” Watson says. “We have a pitch process and, if the idea is aligned with one of our themes, we support the content creator throughout the process. We also encourage anyone who is a VP-level employee or higher to share their knowledge on the blog.”
Organic search matters
Capgemini creates a healthy mix of SEO and sales-enablement content. When considering SEO content, Watson first thinks about how it will fit into the theme she is focusing on.
“For each one of our themes, our goal is to pick 10 to 15 keywords to target across the campaign,” Watson explains. “We write those pages with those keywords in mind. However, our goal is always to write for our customers first and Google second. Once the content is written, we’ll go back and do some editing to make sure the keywords are being used appropriately.”
Watson says Capgemini’s SEO strategy is to focus on long-tail keywords that may have lower search volume but more relevance.
“We’re never going to rank first for the term ‘AI,’” Watson says. “Instead, we focus on a less-competitive keyword that would actually drive business for us, such as ‘AI consulting firms.’”
The only time Capgemini doesn’t utilize SEO is when it’s creating one-off content that isn’t related to a specific theme.
“Sometimes we’ll put out same-day blogs that are responses to the market, and in that case we don’t worry about SEO,” Watson says. “For example, our COVID content wasn’t based on SEO because we knew it would only be hot in the market for a certain period of time, and SEO is a long-term strategy.”
When it comes to content promotion and distribution, Capgemini utilizes display ads and retargeting. It also has partnerships with Forrester, Gartner, Salesforce, and SAP, who reshare content with their audience.
Listen to the data
Watson’s team’s performance is based on marketing’s contribution to bookings. But to understand how that manifests, she pays close attention to how users are interacting with the content her team produces.
“Since we’ve moved to this approach of big, thematic campaigns, it’s become easier to see what’s performing and what’s underperforming,” Watson says. “We carefully monitor how we’re engaging with people and whether it’s leading them to take a high-value action. For example, we’ve been scaling back on our email cadences because we realized we were adding subscribers but not getting additional clicks.”
Generally, Watson’s group is moving toward a more data-driven content strategy vs. a qualitative approach. This has helped her team respond faster to what they’re seeing in the market, and be seen as a leader rather than a follower.
“We want everyone on our team to be capable of gathering and interpreting data and using it as a driver for their work,” Watson says. “We used to create something and not know whether it was good or not. Now, we’re looking at the data and making more informed decisions. This has helped us identify best practices and be smarter about the type of content we create.”
Overall, Watson says her team is constantly testing new approaches, and then using the data to determine if they should scrap it, tweak it, or invest more heavily in it.
The future of content at Capgemini
Like many brands, the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped how Capgemini does marketing, and placed greater emphasis on content production.
“We used to have a 50/50 strategy of digital marketing and in-person events, but obviously that’s all changed now,” Watson says. “Since the beginning of 2020, we’ve doubled the number of writers we have on staff, and we still can’t create enough content. It feels like everything we are willing to make our audience will consume right up.”
The shift to a more content-focused marketing strategy has required a lot of retraining and reprioritization. Watson says one of the most important aspects of her job is making sure everyone in the organization is on the same page in regard to what they’re building.
“If we can serve stakeholders with a data-driven strategy on why we should prioritize something, they are usually receptive to it,” Watson says. “But they need someone who can take it by the reins. Otherwise, you end up with something reactive and messy that doesn’t really help.”
Watson believes the usage of data will only become more important in the coming months and years, as content teams search for a way to be out in front of the latest trends.
“Being able to adapt and see what the market is doing has been so helpful,” Watson says. “Overall, I think our team and our company is positioned to take over a large portion of the market by focusing on data and combining that with our values of fun, honesty, and diversity. I think it takes us to a different level than what you’d get with a lot of our competitors.”
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