At the end of 2014, we decided to put our blog through a test. That test is whether small amounts of effort can create a marketing channel that generates $1M in ACV.
In November the traffic increase surpassed our expectations, given the minor editorial changes we made.
Let’s dive into what happened with our blog in December:
--Leads: 20 (+18%)
--ACV: $13,764 (Unchanged)
A Look At The Blogging Data
We want to know what’s driving viewership. Similar to a television network, we “pilot” blog posts and test whether there’s a series in order. We look at pageviews, social shares, time on page and CRM metrics such as leads, opportunities, and revenue. (Check out a post I wrote on how to track blog revenue in Salesforce.) These blog metrics guide our editorial decisions.
Like a television network, we're looking for content that has an upside. Here's a look at 2 months worth of data.
The green highlights those blog posts that performed well, ones we took a close look at and asked, “What are the traits of these posts that explains its success?”
These posts used strong visual graphics, either as case study examples or to present data. They told a more personal story involving a milestone or achievement, and the lessons learned.
The posts that didn’t perform so well were the ones that were editorial and opinion focused. For these posts to work we believe they should be targeted to specific websites or blogs (large ones) before writing. This will ensure it is shared by a larger site and drive more views.
Top New Posts
1. Bizible Blog November Results: $1,147 MRR, 3x Traffic Increase -- 107 Shares, 3 Leads
2. Get Qualified Traffic With AdWords Similar Audiences -- 119 Shares, 2 Leads
3. 6 Awesome Examples of LinkedIn Ads That Convert -- 319 Shares, 1 Lead
After the December review, we came up with 4 ways to hit our January goals.
1) Improve Our Headline Copywriting
Headline writing makes a difference in top of funnel content and there’s room to improve here.
We’re going to measure email open rates and CTR’s for our automated emails. These emails are sent to blog subscribers each time a post is published.
These metrics will provide insight on successful headlines. According to an analysis on common words and phrases used in highly shared headlines, there are a few key traits in a headline that gets shares. Here's an analysis of headlines based on over a million posts.
While the results may look different in a strictly B2B analysis, the chart provides some interesting points. For instance, using the second person, i.e. “you” in the headline may be more effective than using the first person.
We committed to spending more time brainstorming headlines in January.
2) Get More Posts Syndicated
Seeing the large traffic increase after our post was featured on GrowthHackers, we decided to spend time planning content targeted for specific media websites and audiences. This not only helps with generating more leads, it makes writing easier because we can model our posts close to what the target website’s editors like to publish.
3) Connect Blog Data To Our Editorial Calendar
Our editorial calendar tracks whether the content is targeted towards top-of-funnel audiences or bottom-of-funnel audiences, certain job titles, and describes the topic focus.
While blog success is attributed to many -- countless -- factors, connecting our reporting spreadsheet with our editorial calendar may reveal trends. For example, that list posts may be much more popular than thought leadership posts.
Here's what we track in our editorial calendar:
It will be good to merge this with our blog data to see if patterns emerge and certain content traits drive engagement.
4) Use A Content Promotion Checklist
How much time or budget do you spend creating content vs promoting it? Some marketers split it 50/50, while some spend 30% producing and 70% percent promoting, and for others it is inverse (70/30).
While we have automated systems in place and promote content individually, we are putting more effort in content promotion.
A good starting point is a checklist, one that looks like this, by Process Street:
After the checklist we will measure the effectiveness of each of these channels and tactics.
One last important promotion tip that sometimes get forgotten is sharing content with people or companies you cite in your posts. It’s a great way to get others to share your work.
We’re learning a lot from our B2B blogging campaign. Here are our takeaways from December:
Always use tangible examples (of your work or others) to help support your findings, thesis or argument.
Tell a story about accomplishments. Whether it’s reaching a new stage or milestone, or breaking a record, a good story always has a tipping point.
Have a promotion plan in place for your blog. This is both for the blog as a whole and each post. Targeting specific online communities can help direct the type of content you create, too.
Target Media Outlets Before Writing Content -- This will help content get syndicated and drive traffic that leads to revenue, assuming that is the goal for a piece of content.
That’s all for this month, stay tuned, and subscribe as we continue growing the Bizible blog.