Last week, MoneySavingExpert.com was sold to Moneysupermarket.com for £87 million, netting its founder and chief editor Martin Lewis £60 million in cash and shares – a figure that will rise in the next three years if he meets his targets.
Not bad for a website that cost £80 to set up less than a decade ago. So what’s the secret of its success? The answer’s simple: upfront, honest and authoritative advice on personal finances – an inescapable topic for Britain’s 50 million adults.
In other words, MoneySavingExpert.com is a shining example of a successful content marketing strategy. After identifying his millions-strong audience and determining the information they’d find useful, the site published page after page of relevant, useful and entertaining content. Oh, and it was all optimised.
Not only had Martin Lewis identified a huge audience – his article writing also tapped into their collective psyche. How many people felt ripped off by one institution or another, or felt they were getting a raw deal from a price comparison site? Millions.
But it wasn’t just good copywriting – MoneySavingExpert.com was an early pioneer of social channels. By allowing visitors to contribute to forums – and later to Facebook and Twitter – it attracted repeat visitors keen on publishing their own content each and every day.
Martin Lewis’s own reputation was boosted, too. He became a trusted voice on everything personal finance-related and started appearing regularly on TV and radio. When he was quoted by online news providers like the BBC, he attracted numerous inbound links to MoneySavingExpert.com.
The site’s organic search traffic continues to be huge, but it’s also implemented affiliate marketing and paid search to excellent effect. With high-quality content at the centre, Martin Lewis has achieved success through SEO, social and PR channels, making him a very rich man in the process.
His background in financial PR and journalism will have undoubtedly helped, with his engaging copy having attracted 39 million hits in the 12 months to October last year. A further five million people have signed up to receive MoneySavingExpert.com’s weekly cash-saving tips email.
Lewis will remain in his position as editor in chief at the website, so it will be interesting to see how his content marketing strategy evolves following the Moneysupermarket.com takeover.