What happened in the first 3 months of publishing weekly blog posts?
We commenced trading back in November 2017, and part of our marketing strategy was to produce & publish regular posts on our Digital Marketing Blog. Not being the greatest writer (you might have noticed) meant that this would be challenging for me. It was clear reading other posts and information on Google that there were many reasons to write a blog and it would add value to our proposition. So we had one question…
Before we jump into what happened it’s worth taking some time to understand how having a blog and writing blog posts on a regular basis would help.
How does a blog help your business?
1. It would help us establish credibility.
2. It enables us to tell customers why we are business.
3. It is a means of attracting visitors to the website.
4. It would help build brand awareness.
5. Blogs are known to help fuel SEO performance.
6. It gives people a reason to engage with us.
7. Our blog is at the centre of our marketing efforts, creating opportunities to reach audiences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.
8. A blog is a cost-effective way of marketing.
9. The blog would create insights to help us learn more about our potential customer base.
With the reasons established and clear, we made a conscious decision that the blog would be at the heart of our marketing strategy. We would create a plan that would focus our activities on content for the blog and that we would share this content along with curated content via the various social media networks.
What did we do?
The initial strategy was to publish an article once a week covering various themes associated with our business. To support that we considered the following factors when selecting specific topics to write about.
· Relevance to the current trends, themes and ideas being talked about within the industry.
· Means of linking article back to services offered by ourselves.
By talking about relevant trending topics that were being discussed within the industry, our view was that we could ‘piggyback’ into these trending areas. Selecting the right keywords would help but being a brand-new website, we knew that we had to feature the right hashtags in social media postings to get our articles read.
The other aspect that was also highly important was to be able to create links back to our core services. This would offer benefits in two ways, firstly it would enable us to promote our services through relevant links. Secondly, it would help strengthen our SEO performance by creating strong anchor text and internal links.
What blog themes did we end up using?
Within the last three months, we have seen some interesting topics come up within the industry that has created lots of discussions. For example, in the first weeks of January, we had the update from Mark Zuckerberg about the changes to the Facebook algorithm. This has been big news and sparked plenty of debate within the social media world.
Instagram has also been in the news making changes such as being able to follow hashtags and other changes as well.
Summary of topics/categories covered
Listed below is a summary of the categories we covered during our first three months.
If I was being critical I would say that the summary of categories isn’t quite right, and the table should look like this.
I think it’s fair to say that relevance to the trending topics of the day won over the means of linking blog posts back to the services we offer, which are Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media Management & Website Design.
Blog Post Types and Content performance
Something that we wanted to factor into our blog writing was to ensure that we varied our content type. Looking back, we produced two infographics in conjunction with quite lengthy blog posts. In both instances, the infographics were summaries of the blog posts and used as hooks to get sign-ups to our newsletter.
How do we measure blog content success?
Something that runs through our blood is our desire to measure performance. Anyone who knows me knows how importantly I take measuring performance and using any form of analytics to assess what’s happening. We found this great article by Neil Patel that highlights 7 important metrics to track success. We used some of these to measure performance and this is what we found.
Traffic on day 1 was zero as you would expect, and we needed to use our content to reach out to potential customers, as well start to create brand awareness needed for a new business like ours.
So, we grew 200% in three months which is great and its growing month on month which is the most important thing. We are in-line with our forecast which was pleasing to see.
There is a slight caveat to add in though. Global topics attract a global audience and whilst it’s great to see this, it has distorted our numbers. In our situation, we have seen two-thirds of our traffic come from outside the UK.
Although not mentioned by Neil, I would argue that within your traffic performance, you also need to understand how much of your overall traffic is coming from your blog posts. For this, we looked at landing page data in Google Analytics and filtered blog posts against overall traffic and 47% of the landing pages visited were from blog posts.
2. Time on Site
This was a very interesting metric to look at because it is a true measure as to whether those that landed on the blog post page found it interesting enough to read!
I looked at the actual read time as a percentage of forecasted read time and over the eleven posts, we came in at 92% although the swing was a from a low of 33% to 209%.
3. Pages per visit
Our magic number was just under three and a half pages per visit and this is great to see as it means those that are coming to the site are looking at other pages and learning more about us.
4. Returning visitors
For a brand-new website, I would expect this to be low and during the first three months, 16% of our visitors were returning ones. I am sure this figure will change with time.
5. Social Media Shares
We have recently added a new social sharing tool from Sumo, and we added this as the social sharing buttons that come included in the Squarespace site are tucked away at the bottom of the blog posts, that also meant there were no social share buttons on any of the main pages.
Sumo has fixed that problem. We are now using one of their share blocks which offers visible share options on every page.
6. Clicks from Social Media Platforms
Being a new site, we know how important social media platforms are to getting people to visit our website. So, we have been actively posting and sharing our blog links to attract visitors across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. The outcome has meant that 60% of our traffic has come from social media platforms. Gauging actual link clicks isn’t quite so readily available.
To access Facebook link clicks you need to go to the insights tab and then look at post data.
Within this page you can see lots of different metrics, however the one we are interested is the link clicks, not the post clicks. Post clicks count any click on the post, for example expanding text.
To see the data on a broader scale you need to use the export option within Insights and download the post data. Hidden amongst the many tabs you will find the Lifetime Consumption by Type worksheet and the link clicks are listed here.
To see the link clicks data, you will need to visit your profile page and the analytics tab. Go to Tweets and choose to download data. Within the many columns, you need to look for Media engagement.
With LinkedIn, it all depends on where and as whom you are posting as. For example, on Facebook, you can post a blog link on your business page and you can then share that post to groups or your personal followers. The activity is all recorded in the original post.
With LinkedIn, you can post your blog article on your company pages an update and you will get metrics to show link clicks etc. As a user, you can like that post, copy the link and post the link, but any view metrics don’t link back to the original post and if you copy and paste the link you don’t get the original post image either.
So, in effect each time you post the blog link, either as yourself, in a group or as media article on your profile the only attributes are to your post, nothing will come from group postings and LinkedIn have confirmed that you will get detailed metrics if the post gets many followers.
I hope that makes sense!
Within the analytics of your profile you will have a tab called website and from there you can see blog posts that you have posted on Pinterest and see the associated metrics for each post including link clicks.
Key takeaways for Influence Media
There are some great lessons that have come from writing this blog post and I have understood a lot more about blog posting the success or failure that can come from them. So here are my key takeaways…
1. Amend the content plan to allow for current relevant content blog posts, but stick to the plan
2. Understand your metrics and assign KPI’s to measure success
3. When posting blog links within Social Media ensure the post contains a strong call to action
As I said this has been a powerful exercise to undertake as it made us stop and remember why we started writing blog posts and what we expected to get from it.
Putting that together and reviewing the performance using 6 of the 7 metrics to measure blog post success has created some very interesting insights.
I think the key thing to remember when you do this yourself is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to gauging your metrics.
As Neil Patel says:
“The best you can do is execute your strategy, deliver content with value, and try to keep your metrics in line month after month.”
— Neil Patel
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it. If you did enjoy it please share with it friends, and if you think I have missed something then please comment. I would love to know how you measure your blog performance.
Originally published at www.influence-media.co.uk.