Recognizing that useful and compelling content is the best tool in today’s marketing landscape, we’ve recommended that our current and prospective clients employ a content marketing strategy time after time. Preaching that content creation is a sustainable long-term investment that generates awareness, nurtures leads, boosts SEO and positions your brand as an industry expert, we’ve even asserted that every business needs a content marketing strategy. And we’ve emphasized that to get the best results from your content marketing strategy, you should publish new content as often as possible. To say the least, we’re big proponents of content marketing.
In October 2017, the Roop & Co. team decided it was time to give ourselves a taste of our own medicine and begin regularly publishing original content. With ambitious client goals to achieve, Roop & Co. hasn’t historically had much time to focus on its own business development. Our blog was updated occasionally—but lacked consistency and an overarching editorial strategy. With a newfound commitment to reviving the Roop blog and creating new resources, our team devised a content marketing strategy that has reinforced our belief that it’s one of the most effective programs a company can take on.
So how did we transform our internal marketing strategy from dormant to prolific? We approached it with the same level of commitment as we would for a client. Okay, maybe we cut ourselves a little slack and experimented more than we would have on a client account—but, for the most part, we followed the structure below:
1. Content Calendar
Three main concepts were considered when we put together our content calendar:
- Time – Client work will always be a priority over advancing our internal marketing efforts. While we’d like to publish 3-4 blogs per month, we chose a more attainable goal of two blog posts per month.
- Topics – With the goal of educating visitors, we structured our content around our six capabilities because we have legitimate expertise to share in those areas. Sticking to topics surrounding branding, content marketing, digital marketing, investor relations, media relations and strategy helped us find our niche while still having plenty of variety on the blog.
- Audience – Our client base is mostly manufacturers, B2B organizations and professional services firms. Each piece of content was planned with this audience’s interests and needs in mind.
2. Content Creation
To stay on schedule and prevent things from slipping through the cracks in the scramble to crank out new content, we follow this blogging checklist when creating and publishing new content. For a more in-depth understanding of the content creation process, check out our Content Marketing Guide.
SharpSpring, our marketing automation system, provides us powerful insights into the performance of our marketing efforts. Using this tool, we track how many people are visiting our site, how they found our site and on which page they entered the site. It also tracks lead conversions, stores their contact information and collects data on their customer journey, which we can segment for future marketing efforts. Without this tool, we wouldn’t be able to measure the success of our content marketing strategy.
Prior to launching our content marketing strategy, Roop & Co. was averaging about 900 web visitors per month. As depicted in the graph below, our web traffic gradually grew once we started regularly publishing original content. In July, you’ll notice a slight decline in traffic, which we chalk up to being a slow month for business in general due to many B2B professionals in our network taking vacation. But in August, we hit an all-time high for web traffic—2,300 visitors in a single month. That’s a 256% increase from our average web traffic one year ago!
But increased web traffic isn’t the only result we’ve gained from implementing a content marketing strategy. Roop & Co. has also leveraged our content to earn media placements in Crain’s Cleveland Business, American Express’s OPEN Forum and TKM newsletter. Our gated content has connected us with 57 unique leads, and our existing followers engage with our brand on a more meaningful level.
What works and what falls flat will vary depending on your strategy. Here’s what we learned about our own efforts after taking a close look at the analytics of our content marketing strategy:
1. Content still provides ROI one year later
Content doesn’t quit generating leads once it’s been published. People will continue to find it on search engines and on your business’s website as long as it’s properly optimized. Furthermore, the blog can be re-posted across social media channels periodically, shared in newsletters and even syndicated by other publishers. As long as the content stays relevant, it can create an eternity of new web traffic and contacts. Whereas other marketing programs rely on securing a budget each month to continue to be successful, creating evergreen content is an investment with greater longevity.
For example, our top-performing blog post, Sponsored Content vs. Branded Content, served as the entrance page for 3.57% of our annual visitors. Even though it was published in November 2017, it still attracts new visitors to our website every month. In fact, only 21.66% of our annual visitors enter the site through the home page; the other 80% enter via links to blog content, case studies or the “About” section. The more content you have on your site, the more opportunities there are for people to stumble across it on search engines.
2. Timely topics drive more traffic
We found that developing content around timely industry and local news stirred more interest. Our blog posts about the GDPR and Bird scooters attracted about triple the amount of clicks we receive from a typical blog post.
3. Premium content pays off
Our content marketing strategy included creating two e-books this year: the Content Marketing Guide and Crisis Communications Guide. Although these resources took significantly more time to write and design, the e-books have differentiated our website’s content and provided countless visitors with an in-depth understanding of what we do. By requesting that visitors fill out a form before downloading our premium content, we’ve obtained the contact information of potential leads and can now keep in touch with them to provide additional helpful resources.
Now that the fundamentals of our content marketing strategy are in place, we’re taking steps to scale it further. We’ve allocated a small budget for pay-per-click ads to reach new audiences, are in the process of designing a new website that will simplify the blog’s navigation and have added lots of premium content to our calendar. We anticipate our strategy’s success will continue its upward trend with these new elements added in.
As a lean organization ourselves, we understand that it can be difficult to keep up with feeding the content beast. But the good news is that sticking to a consistent content schedule ultimately yields success. Having a structured strategy in place and a knowledgeable team to support it has kept us accountable for content creation, and we’ve found that even if priorities shift for a month or two and you can’t publish new content, your existing content will still be there to drive traffic.