Growth June 16, 2019

Content marketing seems to be working for us.

Brad Dunn @jesterhoax

Hey so just thought I'd share something I'm finding is working for us at OHNO.

I've been writing 4 blog posts a week on our site. And it's starting to grow organic content. I haven't done heaps of 'marketing' of the content, but I just wanted to say that consistency and having a routine is paying off for us.

I spend 1.5 hours in the morning just writing one blog posts about OKRs, team performance, management - that kind of stuff. Which all relates to our product.

This is weekly (organic only) traffic since November last year.

  1. 5

    Well done! I think content marketing is drastically underrated on IH. Most people here seem more focused on submitting their posts to Reddit, FB groups or worse, PH. But in reality, the vast majority of sites outside of China, Japan, Russia and a few small markets get most their traffic from Google.

    Best of all, if you're focused on creating quality content, it will often get shared by people who find it anyway. I do think there's a minor SEO benefit to tweeting each piece once, though. Ditto for syndication so long as you don't spend enough time on it that it hurts your content creation.

    1. 3

      Well said, completely agree!

  2. 3

    Hey @jesterhoax, thanks for sharing - and this looks awesome.

    I'm particularly interested as I work in the content space.

    Out of interest, in which month did you start doing 4 a week? Were you doing any content before that and, if so, how much?

    PS. I'd recommend a content pipeline if you don't have one already, it might help you stay on track and on schedule, especially if you're posting so regularly. On that note, 4 a week, serious kudos, that takes some effort and commitment 👌🏽

    1. 1

      I started doing 4 a week at the very start, probably just after Christmas. So I didn't see much up-take for a while. I wasn't posting anything really until then. Maybe 4 or 5 articles? Hard to remember.

      1. 1

        Cool, thanks man. Was just trying to get a sense of before-and-after data. Either way, these results clearly show the impact your consistent efforts have made. Thanks again for sharing here.

    2. 1

      Hi!

      I'd recommend a content pipeline
      May I ask you, what you meant?
      Thanks!

      1. 1

        Hey @Zencentric, sure. It means just having a backlog of blog posts to use... so that you're not in a situation where you're supposed to post something and you've not written anything. Having a backlog (a "buffer") of content can help you stick to the schedule that you have in mind!

        On another note, a schedule is helpful. e.g. twice a week, or once a fortnight, or whatever it is. It helps you stay consistent and commit to keeping your blog active.

        1. 1

          I'm finding my wife (who works as head of people and culture) will just say something sometimes and i'm like YES! that's a blog post. Like yesterday, for example, at the gym, she was saying "You know what's interesting about companies and how teams focus - there is just so much white noise. Like there is all this stuff that's just distracting and not that important."

          and when she said that I was like YES! that's kind of what OHNO helps with - so in the morning i just wrote a more 'blog-vertising' piece about how OHNO helps remove the white-noise in an organisation.

          1. 1

            No problem! @Zencentric

            And that's great @jesterhoax. Sounds like your wife has some cool ideas! I know folks who carry around an 'ideas notepad' to jot down blog ideas as they come up.

            1. 2

              Yeah I find personally writing in notebooks great, but then a few days goes by and I just can't recall the info very well. For me I think Trello is best as it's where we track all our activities.

    3. 1

      Also, @jesterhoax, are you sharing these articles to any social media channels / elsewhere?

      Are you building an email list?

      You should include a call-to-action at the bottom of each article (eg. "subscribe to receive a summary of the best articles each fortnight").

      Btw, your content looks really high quality - nice job. (Sorry for the multiple comments on this thread!)

      1. 1

        No email list. We do send an email every few weeks to sign up users and highlight the most popular articles (we've got some good feedback about that really)

        I'm going to fix the call to action today actually. It's been on my list for AGES but you've inspired me to get my shit together :)

        Hey, I sometimes share the articles on Twitter. I try not to just bombard people with articles but to be honest, I probably need to be more brave with this. I hardly share anything on linkedin now. It feels like a place that is so saturated with content marketing that i'm uncomfortable with putting content in there. But when I've done it I do get good returns.

        Has anyone found a way to get real engagement on LinkedIn? And somehow avoid the huge volumes of content marketing running through it now?

        1. 1

          Yeah, a most popular article summary is a great start. I'd really recommend starting to build a list, and including a call-to-action to subscribe (or, download a guide of some sort... maybe something else to think about in the future), could be useful.

          I can totally relate to not wanting to bombard people/come across as overly salesy. In my experience, if you're someone who's of this kind, you won't be the type to annoy people. Trust me :) If it's helpful and useful stuff, most people will be grateful for it.

          Re: content saturation on LinkedIn (& other platforms), I have to remind myself that I also have value to add. I've mainly been posting status updates (e.g. this one re: my new 'intro to content marketing' e-book -> https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6540208884328472576/), but it's my intention to start writing more articles on LinkedIn.

          When you write an article, everyone who follows you (i.e. all of your connections) will receive an alert.

          Also, when it comes to LinkedIn marketing/presence, there's a guy called John Espirian who knows his stuff and offers great resources -> https://espirian.co.uk/linkedin/

          PS. I'm glad I've inspired you... you've inspired me to start writing & posting more content, myself! Need to up my game.

          1. 1

            The real call to action for us is to sign up to the product so I might try sort that out this week.

            Yeah I've often wondered about duplicating the blog content on linkedIn but not sure how that would impact SEO stuff. I'm guessing not at all but just wasn't sure what the downsides would be.

            1. 1

              Cool, yeah whichever CTA is most useful for you :)

              I don't see any downsides - you're just using your content on another platform, and thus accessing more folks. There'd be no SEO impact - in fact, if anything, posting on LinkedIn might even help SEO, due to it being another link-back, etc (my SEO knowledge is limited, I'm currently working through Moz's guide!).

              This guy has some great advice & resources re: making LinkedIn work for you -> www.espirian.com/linkedin

              1. 2

                Hi guys, as far as I'm aware it's a bit risky to post the same content on other sites. But with Medium and IH, you can request them to add a canonical tag, which tells Google that yours is the original and gives you the 'link juice'. And whilst it's not as good as a direct link, I've seen myself that Google still sees it as a positive signal, so it can improve your search rankings.

                1. 1

                  Thanks @alexred20, my knowledge here is lacking, so this is interesting, thanks for the input.

  3. 3

    Also, I should caveat. Somedays I wake up and can't think of ANYTHING to write. So I skip a day from time to time. I've toyed with the idea of creating a 'content pipeline' which I think would help me a bit.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the insights, Brad!

      I found this strategy from Sean very inspiring and helpful:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtaxQw1lQjI

      And I totally support your findings — in the past I also got great results with content marketing (german site about VR development, http://vrjump.de/artikel): the site grew from 0 to7000 unique visitors per month, without any additional marketing efforts, people just found the site via search engines.

      1. 2

        I'm going to check out that video today. This thread has been so awesome for me. I'm going to turn a lot of these tips into trello cards today :)

  4. 2

    Congrats on playing the long game!

    Content marketing works, but most people/companies run out of patience before it does. It's like cutting down a tree, every chop gets you closer to the final crack and fall ..

    Imagine giving up when it doesn't come down after the first few chops (which usually don't hit the tree at the right angle anyway).?

    1. 2

      Yeah I'm following this advice I found a while ago here (https://t.co/lf58cjYDHc)

      I think I do find it easier than most though. I actually used to be a writer for magazines in Melbourne, and you learn how to write quickly to make deadlines. I would say though that I probably don't proof my work as much as I used to so it's not as tight as it should be. If I had a bit more time I could polish up the work a bit better.

      1. 1

        Nice. Leo Babauta @ Zen Habits used to post 3-4 times a week in the early days, and 1-2 guest posts - his background was also as a journalist, which I think has advantages like you've described.

        1. 1

          What do you think the angle is with guest posts. Is the idea to get OTHER PEOPLE to write on our blog? I'm not sure why someone would do that?

          1. 1

            So, a guest post is essentially you writing content on someone else's blog, which has a relevant audience/readership to the one you serve. The advantage is that you are getting access to a whole new relevant audience, and so may pick-up some new subscribers/customers that way. (Normally, you'll be allowed to have a bio at the bottom of your guest post, which you can use to direct them to your blog).

            1. 1

              Why don't a bunch of us on here just do guest post trades ?

              1. 1

                Sure, so long as your respective audiences overlap, why not?

                (I feel i'm a bit of an anomaly, I'm a non-hacker, and my audience is creative freelancers - e.g. content writers, web designers, and such).

  5. 2

    Thanks for sharing the chart, Brad! It really helps to see the actual impact. What's the link to your blog?

  6. 1

    4 blog posts is a lot.. kudos to you.. where have you been publishing your articles?

  7. 1

    Great momentum @jesterhoax!

    What's your marketing strategy for getting your posts out into the world once they're published?

    1. 1

      This is probably where I am less diligent. I'm trying to be creative with it though. I'm finding new places for content where content isn't being slammed around. I used to think Slack Channels were good, but even these have become pretty saturated.

      I don't have a good answer here. Aside from "I try and find a place of people who are talking about the topic, and earnestly expose them to what I wrote."

      To date, Reddit has delivered the highest ROI.

  8. 1

    Congrats on your hard work @jesterhoax! It's not an easy road, but I'm so glad it's paying off for you. I've spent a lot of time and effort convincing clients it's worth the investment. Anything you can point to for the May/June spike specifically?

    1. 1

      Nup. Can't point to anything. I probably need to get better with UTM links tbh. Actually on that, do you (or anyone here) have a good system for just recording / creating UTM links so they don't get all confused over time?

      1. 1

        I've always had them built into my marketing CRM (HubSpot) BUT I've heard good things about Google Analytics URL Builder. It's a Chrome extension.

        1. 1

          So I've used the Google Analytics URL builder (the site, not the extension) but the issue I have with it is this.

          Let's say the Campaign name is 'Daily blogs' in my case. A few weeks from now, I might create a new blog post and call it 'Daily_blogs'. Then when it gets to GA, I have 2 campaigns named similar, but different.

          I think what I really am after, is the Campaign URL builder, but with drop downs instead of free text fields. And then to create a 'new' one, its a bit more work.

  9. 1

    Nicee!! Good reminder for consistency. Is that traffic converting customers?

    1. 1

      Some.
      I wouldn't say it's where it needs to be though. There 'appears' to be stronger conversion in places in Latin America but that was more early on.

  10. 1

    Hi!
    Thanks for sharing your experience!
    I have a couple of questions though :)

    1. Do you see any changes in sales? Or it's only about the number of visitors?
    2. How do you count likes for your posts? I didn't find any buttons ;-)
      Thanks!
    1. 1

      I would only say slightly. it's hard to tell for sure because we don't really have goals setup properly yet in GA. I probably need to get onto that.

  11. 1

    Hey - cool growth. Btw, you should add a link to your blog in your main home page or top articles in the footer. This should boost your home page authority too.

    (if this is about ohno.ai)

    1. 2

      Hey, so I added some stuff to the bottom of the site now. Wanna take a look and tell me what you think? I think it's better now.

      1. 1

        You can also try adding AMP - it gave a huge boost to our blog ;-)

        https://wordpress.org/plugins/accelerated-mobile-pages/

    2. 2

      Do you mean add like a "top 3 articles" on the homepage thing?
      and why would articles help in the footer?

      I'll try it today though for sure. Some SEO person I know said something similar.

      1. 2

        Yeh, basically the relevant pages with top organic search traffic will boost your home page authority. You can read about it here: https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/internal-links

      2. 2

        Yeah, posting this much content, it'll probably be worth taking a look at SEO at some point to add your reach/distribution . Mix have a great intro guide: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

        1. 1

          I'm going to go through this stuff today. Thanks for sending it to me. I'm actually kind of wanting to make sure I'm getting all the tags / meta data stuff right. I'm not 100% sure I'm doing the write things on each post. I probably need to learn a bit more.

          1. 1

            I'll be honest, I'm still a newbie myself when it comes to SEO stuff, but the Moz guide is great and covers the principles. Re: tags/meta-data you'll want to look at something called 'ahrefs', which I believe the Moz guide covers.

            The good news is there are just a few SEO principles to understand. You can then do as little or as much seo-wise (e.g. hours of research); my feeling is that just a little bit of SEO understanding and implementation goes a long way.

            Content and SEO are intertwined and, at the end of the day, content is king, so high quality content is the most important thing. A little SEO just helps it carry further :)

            Another thing to look at (also covered by the Moz guide I think) is back-links.

            You're on the right track for sure, and well on your way. Good luck. And let me know if you have any more questions, I love talking about this stuff.

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              So I've gone back and added banner ads (click to sign up) things on every post now. And I've put a button at the bottom of most posts saying sign up. I'm going to add this as an annotation inside mixpanel and see if it helps.

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                Cool :) I'd love to see how this works out for you, keep us posted!

            2. 1

              This is really helpful. I tried embedding backlinks in sites like Quora but when I was on the phone to semrush (after I tried their software) they told me some places are bad (or don't work, really) to embed backlinks. I'm going to check out that Moz guide tonight.

              1. 1

                Yeah, my understanding is that some back-links are higher-quality than others. In other words, google is getting more intelligent.

                Another smart thing I've seen get results - write a long-form piece of contact (e.g. a long article, or a guide), and get inpit from influencers in that space (e.g. tweet/email them, and ask if they can contribute a quote or couple of sentences).

                Incorporate their quotes and then, once the guide is finished, share it with them. They're likely to retweet/re-post/share, and that'll give you access to their audiences and provide you with a bunch of back-links. These are the sorta back-links that you wanna aim for :)

                1. 1

                  Interesting. It sounds nefarious, but I think if you can rope in other networks to promote the content, that goes a long way.

                  1. 1

                    I know what you mean, but it's also an opportunity to start building genuine relationships with other folks in your niche.

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