We’re a content first marketing team at Bizible, and our blog is a major component of our content strategy. In late 2014, we set a goal of reaching $10K in blog-driven MRR.
We reached $15K in blog-driven MRR recently, so it’s the perfect time to reflect on what we did to go from $1K to $15K in MRR.
We Kept The Quality Bar High and Stayed Patient
B2B blogging scales, but it doesn’t begin to scale until you’ve invested a decent amount of time and effort. The chart below shows MRR attributed to our blog between 2014 and 2016. You can clearly see that it’s a game where persistence pays off. It takes a some time, and many blog articles, to begin to reap the rewards.
Below is a chart of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from our blog (y-axis is in dollars).
What happened in September? Well, our marketing team grew, as did the volume of articles, and most importantly, the quality of content. New perspectives and new skills meant that we began to hit our stride.
Takeaway: Notice how in the graph our organic entrances increased steadily beginning in early 2015 but revenue didn’t start flowing until Q3 2015? SEO and content marketing takes patience and persistence. We’re happy to report that patience pays off.
We Invested In Quality Downloadable Content And Lead Nurturing
We’ve come a long way since our first piece of downloadable content. In other words, we’ve come a long way with our lead nurturing skills. While driving more traffic to the site is good, conversion rates are also important. And we can't improve conversion rates without quality CTA's and content downloads.
Here’s a comparison of our early content downloads and our more recent ones. Next to our simple ebook covers from 2014, our updated ebook covers have much higher production value.
Though design is important, constant improvements to the quality of the downloadable content itself is equally important. We’ve done this by creating popular ebooks like The Beginner's Guide To Marketing Attribution, and improving annual reports, such as the AdWords Industry Benchmarks 2016.
Credibility is highly important for thought leadership in any industry, so we wanted to make sure that our ebooks are not only well designed, but offer value to our target audience.
In late 2015, we became interested in tracking content downloads and mapping that data to opportunities created and revenue. We wanted to understand where our blog traffic goes in order to improve conversion rates by offering the right downloadable content to our readers.
Luckily, we launched that feature and wrote about how we analyze form fill URL's to improve conversion rates.
We can use form URL analysis and tools in our CMS to identify groups of articles with low conversion rates and then troubleshoot by creating a content offer that matches the article’s topic.
Takeaway: Improve conversion rates and lead nurturing by matching CTA’s to blog article topics or intents. Improve the content quality and production value of ebooks and reports.
We Fostered an Atmosphere Of Creativity
An investment is about the time value of money. So an investment in content marketing is about the time value of content. It’s placing a bet on an idea, and this often requires studying the data. But more often than not, it takes the ability to generate great ideas. To do this, we created an atmosphere that encourages idea sharing and followed up on the great ideas.
Why is this important?
No one knows exactly how a blog article will perform, and if performance data tells you that a past article did very well, you can’t just replicate it over and over because you’d be writing the same article again and again.
Takeaway: Encourage idea sharing, work in teams during content production, and make sure that feedback is shared. This will foster an environment conducive to creativity.
We Were Opportunistic And Consistent
Bizible is establishing a new category, which takes thought leadership and article topics that have low search volumes today. Consistency in thought leadership and educational value in our content is essential. This is why our editorial strategy consists of articles that can be described as:
Why it matters
Best in class examples
Guides on using our product to solve problems and gain insights
But every so often it’s good to publish an article that gets lots of traffic and builds brand awareness.
For example, we wrote a popular article on the implications for marketers after Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. Given that the topic was trending, it was shared in a number of newsletters which resulted in a high volume of web traffic.
The Takeaway: Stay focused on educational content and be opportunistic if there is a trending topic you can add value and a unique perspective on.
There are signals like keyword density, word count, great headlines (measured by the emotionality of carefully chosen words), keyword search volume and ranking toughness which can predict blog article success. We'll be looking at these signals further as we continue to improve performance.
We've learned a lot hitting our revenue goal for the blog. As we aim for our next goal we're sure to learn much more, so stay tuned.