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Using taboo-busting editorial to reach new audiences: lessons from Libresse

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 7 min read

Libresse and Zenith Global won the Search for Good category at The Drum Awards for Search. Here's the award-winning case study.

An example of Libresse marketing

Libresse is a global taboo-breaking feminine hygiene brand that aims to eradicate shame around women+’s intimate experiences to create a more understanding, inclusive world.

The challenge: How could Libresse appear in places where women+ were looking for period-positive, inclusive health content around topics such as; first periods, parenting, and period problems?

Targets

Grow monthly organic traffic by 25% (c. 321K incremental visits per month)

Increase keywords ranking on page 1 from 365K to 474K

Empower women+ globally with life-changing information about their health

Audience: To target women+ (centering women while also being inclusive of other identities, including people who have vaginas but do not identify as women) and people that use feminine hygiene and period products at the most important stages of change in their lives such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Our audience spans women+ of all ages, who face menstrual taboos all over the globe. They live in our 46 Libresse markets, across all four continents.

Strategy: We proposed a multi-market content strategy to produce new and optimized taboo-busting editorial at a global level to continue Libresse’s work – exposing the myths and facts surrounding the often-stigmatized topics surrounding menstrual health that touch our audience's lives.

This included an ambitious transcreation and localization project, ensuring our SEO-optimized health content was seen far and wide in all 10 Libresse key markets, to allow women+ to live more fearlessly than ever before.

Zenith’s approach aimed to create powerful organic search-optimized editorial content at scale, backed by multi-language keyword research. We leveraged the power of our agency network by connecting with teams situated in each market to gather insights on local taboos and health concerns. Together we undertook the mammoth task of creating and localizing 540 pieces of content. This allowed us to publish across multiple markets and make this life-changing information accessible for all.

But how did we get there?

Created a global master keyword list for English-speaking markets that covered all menstrual health topics. No taboo was left unturned: period sex, after-birth discharge, blood, vulvas, menopause symptoms, Female Genital Mutilation, and period poverty.

Transcreated this research into other languages. Using our network of local agency teams, identified high-volume keywords and crosschecked them with existing content to identify content gaps that wouldn’t exist in master English.

Used our local agency teams to get deeper insight into local nuances and taboos. Menstrual and sexual health education is still restricted across many cultures, with Eastern Europe markets holding more conservative viewpoints. Local teams’ knowledge and research allowed us to address these barriers with sensitivity.

Wrote global guidelines to make our writing accessible, no matter the reader. We needed a tone of voice that would engage our audience while educating them about their own health in an accessible way. We developed a Written Content Playbook from scratch. This has since been adopted by Libresse as their standard for all content produced, from above-the-line advertising down to internal emails.

Created optimized content. We followed SEO best practices to create all pieces of content from the ground up, ensuring that they worked across multiple markets. We researched international medical studies to include statistics that applied globally, interlinked between families of similar content, and supported Libresse’s growing product range, including the release of sustainable period underwear.

Designed imagery that reflected a wide audience of people who menstruate. We wanted to represent real bodies, but we struggled to find imagery that was as diverse as we wanted it to be. So, we made our own. With illustrators, we produced original imagery showcasing a diverse range of body shapes, ages, disabilities, skin colours and hair textures that reflected our global audience.

Published SEO YouTube videos to extend our reach. Thanks to our multi-market keyword research insights, we identified the core topics that women+ search for answers to most online. We produced five informational videos on these core topics as an extension of our campaign and began to publish them on YouTube in August 2023 to make reliable, positive health information available and searchable on as many platforms as possible.

All of this was pulled together, reviewed, and uploaded. Everything was produced with a global mindset, to ensure our pages appeal no matter who our readers are, what gender they identify as, where they come from, what they look like or what taboos they deal with.

Our strategy in practice: Let’s look at an example of how we used our strategy to prioritize and publish period positive content.

Through our global keyword research in master English, we identified vaginal discharge as a potential priority topic after assessing metrics like the number of keywords, keyword difficulty, and average monthly search volume. Plus, it’s extremely relevant for the brand and their product range of panty liners.

When we transcreated our research, search terms around specifically “brown discharge” had potential across many of the markets. ‘Perdite marroni’ in Italy, ‘pertes marrons’ in France, and ‘brauner ausfluss’ in Germany all have around 20K related searches per month. We researched further, finding ’بنية افرازات ‘ searches in the Middle East and ‘barna menstruáció’ in Hungary.

In every country we researched, we found women+ searching for answers, concerned when they spotted brown discharge in their underwear. And as discharge of any colour is a taboo that many people don’t talk about, it was the perfect topic to include in our content calendar.

We used our global guidelines to help as we created the optimized content, selected the perfect image, transcreated into multiple languages, and published on local market sites. Taboo? Busted.

Results: Our consistent SEO-focused approach has led to a record-breaking year of organic results for Libresse.

We have covered a plethora of topics, from articles on stigmatized health conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis, and vaginismus, to covering the quirks of living with periods like removing blood stains, period poop, and getting shooting pains in your bum.

7.6M total incremental organic sessions across the 46 markets since April 2022.

6.7M individuals read those articles and therefore had better access to empowering information about periods.

2M monthly organic clicks, a 56% increase YoY.

605K keywords currently ranking on Page 1 of Google, a 66% increase YoY.

94M monthly SERP impressions, a 64% increase YoY.

Stand-out article ‘Is brown discharge normal’ achieved over 294K organic sessions across all markets in the time period and is the most popular piece of content.

The content produced in this project accounts for 62% of the total website traffic as of Q1 2023

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