Masterclass' Secret Content Marketing Strategy
If you're reading this, I am sure you've at least heard, if not attended a session on MasterClass. MasterClass is an online classroom created for everyone and anyone in the world to hone their skills by the best instructors in the world.
I mean you've got Timbaland teaching you beat-making, Gordon Ramsey sharing a hack or two on his cooking skills, Usher talking about the art of performance, and even Shoda Rhimes, the prodigy behind one of the longest-running medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, to teach you about writing.
🥄 How Many Teaspoons in a Tablespoon? 😭 Difference between shallots and onions 🍳 How to wash rice? Founded in 2014, Yanka Industries, now known as MasterClass is an American EdTech subscription platform that allows students to access pre-recorded tutorials and lectures by experts in various fields. From video games to cooking - they cover everything.
But how did something that was founded merely 6 years ago be an $800Mn venture so soon?
MasterClass has been driving its top of the funnel through not just ads or word of mouth by getting famous celebrities on board - they've also hacked the SEO game through some brilliant content marketing tactics. We'll double tap on what's working for them soon, but let's take a look at their overall site traffic.
In the month of March 2021, MasterClass got ~10.22Mn total visits to the websites, out of which about 60% of traffic came from search, organic.
How did they crack this? Well, they just started writing about almost everything you'd Google about. From shallots (they've got their content ranking for a Google search on Shallots) to the difference between 'affect and effect', from diction to metronome - they've got their articles ranking at the top for all these searches, ultimately taking the user to one of their courses from the expert.
Now see below the list of keywords MasterClass ranks for. Diction, Metronome - not the kind of words a traditional EdTech would even think about optimizing, but they have. Just like this, there are thousands of long and short-tail keywords for which they've optimized their content, based on their everyday search volume.
Furthermore, once the user lands on these pages, they're power-packed with known faces of people who're literally the experts in the said field, an in-the-face CTA to join the class, linking to their social media handles and of course, a very detailed article on affect vs effect.
To crack this fully, MasterClass has written articles ranging from how many teaspoons in a tablespoon (130k+ monthly searches) to how many cups in a gallon - only some of the most commonly asked questions on Google but never been used before in such a way.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who's Googling about what kind of indoor plants to buy during summers. You see a list of plants to buy and how to take care of them, your intent-based search lands you to a solution and even guides you on the next step, therefore you click on it and boom - what you see is a quick session on indoor gardening for beginners by a renowned celebrity.
In fact, their ads are also crafted with some science behind them. Do you remember being pitched by Gordan Ramsey on how not to be a 'Panini-Head' in the kitchen or Natalie Portman to take acting lessons from her? Well, I remember seeing an ad by Margaret Atwood creative writing masterclass and I almost bought it.
There is no denying that they've got all these super-influential people talking about their courses, putting fire to the traditional word-of-mouth, we got to admit that Masterclass has also made the most, even more than anyone else of unique combinations.
In short, they've fully figured how to:
Make use of keyword enriched articles to drive SEO
Get access to an amazing and huge library of backlinks
Nail intent-based marketing and close the deal when a user is genuinely looking out for help
A vast pool of content