Recently, I’ve been answering a lot of questions about content marketing. It’s something we’ve been doing successfully ourselves and for our clients for a long time. The term content marketing is a big buzz word right now, and everyone seems to jumping on the bandwagon. As a result, it can be hard to stand out over the noise.
We have access to many of our client’s Google Analytics so we can really see how effective their web site is for driving traffic. We’ve seen that small businesses who do little to promote themselves on the internet quickly fall to an extremely low volume of web traffic. On the flip side, we’ve seen that implementing a content marketing strategy can be extremely successful at bringing prospects in to a web site.
Most of our clients would not be comfortable with us sharing the details of their web site traffic and other marketing data. Therefore, I thought the best way to demonstrate how effective we are at content marketing is to share a few of our own stats.
Our content marketing channels
As a designer and writer I create many different types of content. Our content marketing channels include:
- Writing this blog and occasionally guest blogging elsewhere
- Sending out our e-newsletter, which includes news from our studio as well as blog posts
- Doing research, writing white papers and promoting both
- Creating infographics and helpful tools
- Speaking and making presentations in person
- Hosting our own webinars
- Posting videos and presentation materials on YouTube and Slideshare
- Promoting our content and sharing other content on social media including via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
The Visible Logic blog
Our blog is at the heart of our content marketing strategy. It is the hub for all of our content, and it’s far and away the most effective of the tools listed above. It’s also the easiest to share stats on its effectiveness. So most of the information I share will focus on our blog.
I started the Visible Logic blog in January 2009. Wow, I actually just looked that up and amazed. Happy 6th Birthday blog!
I have blogged fairly consistently over those six years, taking a brief break during my maternity leave. But in total I’ve posted 268 blogs. That averages to more than 46/year, or nearly one blog a week.
My blog drives huge amounts of traffic to my web site.
Landing pages are the first page that people first come to when they access your site. If a landing page is not your home page, it is likely that people found the page using search. Here are some interesting numbers that show the effect of the blog on our web traffic:
- Currently my top 6 landing pages are blog posts, then it’s my home page, then it’s another 12 blog posts before I get to any other page on my site.
- The top 6 landing pages account for 62% of my landing page traffic.
- I have 3 posts from 2010 that are in that top 6 landing pages.
I looked at my Google Analytics and looked at the top 10 blog posts for 2014.
- My top 10 blog posts accounted for 77% of my total pages views
- Average time spent on these popular blog posts ranged from a low of 2 minutes 34 seconds to a high of over five minutes—people are really reading.
- All of my top blog posts (by page views) have comments. However, many of my blog posts generate no comments, and that’s OK.
Increasing Web Traffic
I looked at my web stats and compared 2009—the first year I blogged—to 2014. It takes time to build up your content and see results.
- I got 15 times more traffic (sessions), in total, on my site in 2014 than I did in 2009. That’s a 1420% increase.
- I get 16 times as many users than I did at the beginning
- I average five times as many total pages views than I did 6 years ago.
- I still average about 80-90% of my traffic is new visitors and 10-20% is returning.
Don’t expect overnight success
As you can see, my traffic growth didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a gradual, steady increase. Give yourself time if you want to see results.
Make sure that you cross promote your efforts across your channels. For example, send your blog posts to your e-newsletter list and send links to your blog out by social media. Don’t try and create new content for each channel.
It’s hard work. Creating high-quality content takes time and mental energy. We do this for ourselves and we do it for our clients. When I am writing blogs (or doing any of the other long list of items listed above) it takes time away from paying client work or other business activities. When we get busy, it’s really easy to put off writing the blog or sending out the newsletter (guilty!). This is the reason why our clients hire us. For many of us, it is more effective to delegate the task and ensure it gets done and done well, than to try and save money by doing it yourself.
Make sure the right person on your team is developing content. It may be a team effort where different people contribute different posts about different topics. Or, you may divide it by process: one person generates ideas; one does research; another edits and proofreads. If you or your team doesn’t have the skills or time to do it well, you’re much better off hiring a pro for all or part of the process.
I hope you enjoyed this peek behind the curtain.
How do your results compare?