Virtual College


Virtual College is one of the North’s leading e-learning providers, creating bespoke training solutions and off-the-shelf courses for both businesses and individuals.

We were tasked with creating an impactful content strategy to support organic search performance and reduce their reliance on high cost-per-acquisition PPC campaigns. Our work won us a ‘Drum’ at The Drum Content Awards 2019.


While Virtual College’s revenue growth was climbing, the business had become increasingly reliant on PPC campaigns to acquire new customers. Not only was this a costly approach, but the space was becoming difficult to navigate due to aggressive competitor campaigns.

A change of digital tactics was needed to be more cost-effective and reliably improve conversion.


Our strategy was centred around improving organic search performance. We defined an intelligent and highly targeted content marketing strategy that would use detailed analysis of customer personas to not only tailor content by industry sector and job role, but to create unique content specific to individual users and their particular search queries.


Through our thorough analysis, our SEO experts identified the sheer volume of Q&A searches within Google that weren’t being properly targeted within the e-learning sector. We focused our efforts on targeting Google’s People Also Ask (PAAs) and Featured Snippets, with the aim of maximising Virtual College’s real estate in these areas. A unified content strategy between our SEO and content teams would allow us to organically improve rankings and placements by producing quality content across the site that would capture valuable search terms.

We created over 100+ pieces of new high-quality long form blog content to target key searches, built out FAQ content to support with PAAs, as well as producing offline and online resources such as educational infographics and downloadable posters to improve engagement. Alongside generating new content, we optimised Virtual College’s existing blog content to reflect changes in both legislation and to optimise for the current search landscape.


While working to optimise the on-site content offering, we proactively created reactive content pieces to capitalise on popular media stories and trends. Our PR approach which involved us “piggy-backing” relevant news allowed us to construct tangible links back to Virtual College, positioning them as market leaders through informative and authoritative content drops. These reactive campaigns were pivotal in creating wider visibility for the brand and bolster brand authority to influence SEO rankings. 

The results

The adoption of a clever insight-driven and highly targeted content strategy demonstrated substantial uplift for Virtual College.

We were able to strategically shift away from their reliance on costly PPC campaigns, whilst increasing standing as a voice of authority and expertise within the digital learning space - ultimately helping to grow their business through a sustained increase in revenue YoY.

We worked with twentysix for several years to develop our integrated search marketing strategy, including all aspect of strategy deliveries, such as competitive analysis, search marketplace research, campaign development, tactical planning and execution.

Over this period we developed a solid, collaborative working relationship, and at times it feels like they are an extension of our internal team. As a result, we saw strong year-on-year growth across all channels, greater brand awareness, increased online visibility and audience reach.

Renford Nelson - e-Commerce Manager at Virtual College