Traffic Jam

Online Marketing Strategies: More Content, Traffic and Prospects

Rarely does a blog post convert someone. However, an accumulation of blog posts becomes a repository of information, which then becomes a trusted resource

Studies have shown a direct correlation between content, traffic and leads. For example, a 2011 Hubspot study of over 4,000 businesses showed those that published 20+ posts a month saw 5 times more traffic than those that put 4 pieces or less out a month. As well, sites with 401 – 1000 pages have 9 times more traffic than 51 – 100 pages. After 1000 pages, the number sky rockets.

As a business individual, you’d be feverishly searching your Rolodex for content creator’s numbers by the time you finished reading the study. You’d be looking at your 398 pages with longing, because you’re a measly three pages away from lead generating nirvana. You’d be desperately trying to figure out how you could up your blogging output (or your outsourcing budget) to 20+ posts a month.“Both B2B and B2C companies with over 1,000 web pages generated over 8 times more leads than those with only 51 to 100 web pages.” In short, you’d go nuts, because you really aren’t prepared for all that…

Which Came First? It’s a Chicken and Egg Kind of Thing

The study is great; great PDF from it, great takeaways, impressive charts – it’s full of awesome sauce. In reading, you learn that a business website with over 400 pages, 31 landing pages and 20+ blog posts per month are traffic and lead generating machines. Now get out there and generate already! We know what you’re saying… “I can’t afford to create that size of website. Four hundred and thirty-one written pages would be expensive if I had them professionally done. -And who has the time to write twenty-plus blog posts per month? I’d be spending enough to send a copywriter’s kids through college. I’m a small business owner; I’m having problems putting my own kids through college.” Yes, you can Our answer: You can do this. Turn it into a business process. Instead of a side dish, make it a weekly entree. “I don’t know whether the traffic/leads were due to pages or the pages were due to traffic/leads. Hubspot could have been jumping to conclusions, you know. It could be that the businesses were putting up more pages because they saw more traffic and leads. Do we really know which came first? Our answer: If you knew for sure, would it make a difference? If there was a possibility that you could increase your site size by ten pages and see twice the returns, would you be willing to try it?

Content Marketing as a Business Process

This is a paradoxical thing. If you’re heavily using content marketing, chances are it’s already a business process. However, if you aren’t already using a content marketing strategy, it’s hard to see it as a business process. For the most part, this is because it isn’t direct marketing. In other words, it doesn’t:

  • Directly convert visitors to customers
  • Directly generate leads
  • Directly increase sales

The Real Value of Content Marketing

In actuality, content marketing provides seemingly less tangible benefits in the short term, such as:

  • Awareness, or increased publicity, of your company
  • Being viewed as a “company that cares”
  • Being a trusted company in your business sector

Rarely does a blog post convert someone. However, an accumulation of blog posts becomes a repository of information, which then becomes a trusted resource. In turn, the business that created the trusted resource becomes the authority, and the ones to turn to when we hapless mortals don’t have the ability to DIY. You’ve heard of residual income, yes? Think “residual authority”. Think “residual trust building”. Think “residual prospecting”. These are all things the content on your site does; by its presence and quality, the content on your site continues to build authority and trust, as well as pulling people in as prospects. Isn’t that worth turning content creation and marketing into a business process? We think so…

Evaluating Your Content Management Lifecycle

If you’re going to make content creation a business process, the last thing you want to do is add yet another item on an already chaotic “to do” list. While a content management lifecycle should be “tweaked” to fit your business, it should always include:

  • Strategy – Developing content strategies isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Well, not once you find a strong, systematic format, that is (to read: Developing Copywriting and Content Strategies Like a Pro).
  • Plan – Who’s going to write what and how often? What type of marketing tone will you use – or will you use marketing lingo at all? How much of your content is going to be hard sales vs. soft sales? Now’s the time to figure it out.
  • Create – Produce, produce, produce!
  • Quality Control – Don’t forget this essential step. Check your content for brand and SEO compliance.
  • Maintain – Periodically audit and weed out your live content. Use your analytics to find out where you failed and succeeded.

The Content Audit

It’s going to take awhile to turn a 100-page site into a 400-page site, but first, you’ll need to make sure you know what’s already there. One hundred pages isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to lose your message in. (to read: A Content Audit? Why the @#$% Would I Want to Do That?) One of the biggest problems with a content audit (especially when your site gets larger) is how to get a list of all the pages, URLs, titles, meta descriptions, content focus, etc. Two programs are great for this: XENU Link Sleuth – It’s free, and once you point it at a web address, it will keep scanning until it finally pops out a report. You can find a comprehensive “how to use” for XENU on SEOMoz. It’s well worth the download of the program and reading of the tutorial. Screaming Frog SEO Spider – It’s free to use for the first 500 URIs crawled, or £99 per year. The SEO Spider provides more information than XENU, but since it crawls any link it finds, you’ll quickly use up the 500 URI restriction from the free version.  You can find a review of the SEO Spider on Search News Central. While both programs would be considered useful for site audits, what is a site made out of but content? Enough said. Whatever program you use, you’ll have a useful report to export into Excel. The content audit will take a bit of work (defining what content covers which topics and so on), but it’ll give you a great starting place.

Creating Great Content, One Month at a Time

All this content creation sounds like a lot. After all, if you have 100 pages, you’re trying to add an additional three hundred! Phew! Consider this, though. If you gave yourself a year to add 300 pages to your site, that’s only 25 a month. It’s an average of 6 per week, or 1 per work day. Too much? Okay… if you’re blogging twice a week, adding one more day will give you an additional 144 pages by the end of a year. –And, by that time, your traffic should be rising (albeit slowly), your prospects should be going up, and you just might be able to afford an occasional writer. PLUS… the more well known you are the more likely you’ll be to have guest posters, which further increases your content offerings without breaking your creativity bank. The point is – pick your pace. Figure out how much you can afford to add each month. Follow your content management lifecycle and get a strategy in place. Then, read these three helpful articles:

Worst-case scenario, you don’t make content creation and marketing as part of your business processes, and you simply go on the way you’re going. If you’re okay with that sort of thing, more power to you. However, for those of you who look forward to growing your business in leaps and bounds, careful content creation is one of the best ways to make that happen. Happy writing!

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19 Responses

  1. Gaining more traffic back to their website is the main target of online marketing. Different strategies or approach is formulated by search engine marketers just to make a certain website increase its online visibility and presence.

  2. I get in a real quandary when I consider approaches content marketing. As a small business owner (Realtor which is a pretty cut throat local business environment) I have to spend time making money by servicing client needs versus writing content to bring business to the website. But, my experience with using others to write content has been less than satisfactory — they don’t have the same vested interest in building my business. So, it is a chicken-egg quandary — I’m also not a great creative writer.

    I’ve partially answered it by spending the first hour of my day on reading up on local events/news and writing short synopsis on-site blog and social media content. Normally, I do that 4-5 days a week. I think it helps … at a minimum, at least it keeps me up on local info so I can talk to my clients when showing properties.

  3. Though google has changed their algorithm and they are planning to change it again for promoting their Google Adwords more, but they can’t ignore the importance of Content Marketing/ Text Based Anchor Links. There are some people who argued about this strategy after the penguin update. I should recommend them to read this post attentively. Good Job…

  4. Content audit is really important! We have to cautiously check and provide high quality and interesting topics. Especially with today’s changes on search engines which mainly focuses on content.

  5. I am impressed with your creativity.I was always facinated with seo.I Want to make a bright career in this field .Can you please suggest me some good institutes where i can undersgo training or guidance so that i can excell in this field.

  6. In the post panda/penguin era content is still king. Content marketing is a core strategy in online marketing so it is really important to have quality content to gain better exposure and audience. it is my first time here Gabrielle and I feel like I’m at home already. Cheers!

  7. I agree Content Marketing is an effective strategy. And the steps/ pointers the article has discussed to maximize content writing as a strategy is indeed helpful. I have as well did the math on how the # of blog posts can increase traffic for your site. The trick here is to master the process or be creative to create your own process that will relate to your business needs.

  8. Every business should know that content is the driving force in a website. Without fresh no content, people would loose interest and move to another company. But too much if it too can get your viewers information overload and eventually give up on you. The key is moderation, frequency and consistency. Current events is also a good thing to write about, just make sure to have fresh content as soon as the news breaks out all over the TV media.

  9. I have to agree with Glenn here. It’s not feasible for the average small business owner to generate over a thousand pages of content for his or her site in a short amount of time.

    It’s more realistic to aim for around a hundred pages of high quality content and build up from there. Generating about a hundred pages in a short amount of time is entirely possible (and affordable!) while working with a single experienced copywriter – it’s the approach I have taken with my business and it seems to be working out so far.

    And finally, the emphasis while generating content should always be on quality, not quantity.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Joe. Both are much appreciated.

      We had not meant to suggest that quality be ignored for quantity. We preach often enough about how important quality is, above and beyond the numbers of pages on a site. However…

      There are many small and medium business owners who believe attaining content goals aren’t possible. They look at four posts a month and think, “There’s no way I can do that!” This post is meant to address them and hopefully give them positive momentum, as well as a better understanding on how it might be possible.

      Most, if not all, business owners want to grow their business, but many are inhibited by thoughts of what is feasible and what isn’t. They worry so much about what’s possible and what’s improbable, not realizing that a little bit of a push could catapult them forward.

      Our goal is always to provide knowledge and little bit of impetus to move forward.

      Thanks again for reading and for joining in the conversation!

  10. I think for someone like me this post is an eyeopener. I have never been in to writing, though I am sure if i get down to it I can write too, so I started. But being from from some other field & now trying to establish my site I have learned that unless running after the so called link builders that will build links for my site left , right & center, i should concentrate of writing content on my site. Being new I never really thought the keywords & density aspects, I started writing. Written a few, initially it was interesting, now it is becoming boring. But I understand unless I write more an more I will not get respectability that I plan to have rather than to have immediate traffic!

    This was a brilliant post, Thank you for sharing :)!

  11. Great work – as usual ! Small businesses (1 to 20 folks) seem especially challenged on the content generation thing. Producing content for a single page can take sometimes take weeks. At least one of the reasons for this is probably actually a good thing: The business owner takes her site seriously enough that she doesn’t want to delegate this work to anyone else.

    That’s the real challenge. The environment of a small growing business is one of the most exhilarating places any human can find themselves in — but it is also chaotic. Clients set the schedule and Content Marketing becomes a part of the Business Process as they allow it.

    The real trick in mastering this process is to have a system of keeping track of exactly where you left off, so that when clients give you a moment of peace you can pop that content creation project “off the stack” and start being creative again with minimum “latency.”

    We need a pill for this 🙂

    1. LOL thanks Glenn, I’m going down that road as we speak. I’ve been consulting at a small firm trying to get everyone in the company to write at least one blog per week. Between the 10 full time employees they should be publishing at least once a day, five days a week. But I’t’s been a struggle since they are writing for clients, including a few guest posts, projects, etc. Eventually, they’ll add some regular writers that they can depend on. As you know the problem is all about commitment, and how important this is to a company, brand, value.

  12. Many business feel the same way, especial new start-ups, where they are already juggling a million things, and trying to make ends meet, taking time out to write content can be a big ask. especial if they can’t see the returns straight away.

    I guess it also goes down to mindset, if a business owner could take out 30 mins a day to write one article or over 2 days to write one article, over the year not only they are adding more fresh content, but building their brand awareness.
    Thanks for the post

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