You know content marketing is essential for you business, so why don’t you do it? If you are like me, you probably don’t have enough time in the day to focus all of your energy on content marketing.
So, what should you do?
Sadly, you don’t really have a choice but to leverage your content marketing efforts. It’s such a powerful marketing channel that it will actually change your business. For example, at KISSmetrics, our content marketing strategy has resulted in our blog achieving 82% of our overall traffic and 70% of our leads.
To top if off, content marketing is our cheapest channel marketing. That’s not too bad considering that those leads generate well into the millions of dollars in revenue for us each year.
So, what should you do if you don’t have that much time to spend on content marketing? You should focus on these 3 tactics that provide the biggest bang for your buck:
Step #1: Create great content on a consistent basis
You can’t leverage content marketing without the content.
So, if you are going to write content, make sure you write it on a consistent basis. Whether it is one post a day, a week, or even a month, the number isn’t really as important as the consistency. Whatever pace you decide to create content at, make sure you stick to it. You can also pump out more content later if you have more time, but it can hurt your traffic if you decrease your frequency.
Just look at what happened to Quick Sprout when I decided to not post on a consistent basis:
I had a decent traffic month in May of 2009, and my traffic was consistently growing as I always published 4 to 5 blog posts a month.
Now look at my June numbers…
Do you know why my traffic went down? I got lazy, and I published 0 posts in that month. That laziness resulted in a 21% decrease in monthly traffic. To make matters worse, it took me three months of consistent blogging to recover that traffic.
Now that you know you have to be consistent with your publishing schedule, you also have to focus on writing high quality content. Here’s a guide you can follow if you want to write great blog posts.
Step #2: Collect emails
Do you know what the most engaging traffic source is for Quick Sprout? It’s not search or even social media… it’s actually email traffic. Over the years, I’ve been collecting email addresses through pop-ups and sidebar opt-in boxes.
As you can see, emails account for 13.91% of my overall traffic (it’s listed under campaigns). But what’s really interesting is that those people account for 41% of the overall blog comments. Also, they are 3.9 times more likely to share the content via the social web versus people who came to the site from another traffic source.
The beautiful thing is that it’s not just Quick Sprout who is experiencing this. We are also seeing similar numbers with my other two blogs: KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. People outside of the tech industry like KimberlySnyder.net are also seeing similar numbers.
So, how do you go about collecting more email addresses?
Through WordPress plugins like Popup Domination and Modal Dialog, you can create a pop-up that plugs into your current email solution provider. In addition to that, you can also collect emails by placing offers within your sidebar and below your blog posts, similarly to how I do it on Quick Sprout.
If you don’t have much time, focus your energy on the pop-up as it tends to drive three times the opt-ins compared to a sidebar or below-the-post offer.
If you aren’t sure how to set up a pop-up, read this article.
Here’s some interesting data that might help you create an effective pop-up:
- Courses convert better than ebooks – most bloggers typically give away ebooks, but from extensive A/B testing we’ve found that 7-day courses or 30-day courses convert 6% better than ebooks. The main difference between a course and an ebook is that a course is structured more like classroom learning. In a course, you give people bit-sized information that they can easily understand over a period of time.
- Don’t forget to add a dollar value – although the information you are giving away is free, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth anything. When I added the text “$300 valueâ€ to my sidebar opt-in, my opt-in rate increased by 22%.
- Be aggressive – there are different settings with your pop-up. From delaying when it shows up to only showing it to people who’ve viewed multiple pages to not showing it on mobile devices, you can get very specific on who sees it and who doesn’t. I’ve found that showing the pop-up to everyone upon their first visit generates 23.5% more opt-ins versus delaying the pop-up by ten seconds.
- Color matters – my developer tested out 33 colors (blue, green, red, black, white, pink, grey, purple, yellow, orange, brown, as well as two shades of each color) for the call-to-action button on my pop-up as well as the pop-up on three other blogs. We found that red, green, orange and yellow tend to be the highest converting cal- to-action colors. The colors black, brown and purple where the lowest converting call-to-action colors. Make sure you test these colors on your blog to see which ones work for you.
- Don’t ask for too much information – on web-based pop-ups. I typically ask people to enter their name and email. When I performed an A/B test, in which the B test only asked for email only, my conversion rate increased by 17%. What was interesting is that when I did the same A/B test just for mobile traffic, my mobile opt-in rate increased by 39.3%.
- Placement is everything – plugins like Popup Domination have multiple design options. Sometimes the email opt-in forms are on the right side of the message, while other times they may be right underneath the offer message. When I tested this on Quick Sprout, I found that having the opt-in below the offer message resulted in an 11% increase in conversion.
Once you have the emails, make sure you notify your readers every time you publish a blog post. This is how I drive 13.91% of my traffic to Quick Sprout each month.
Step #3: Convert readers into fans
Do you know who does a great job of converting readers into fans? WetPaint. Based on an algorithm they created, if they feel that you are an engaged reader, the will display a small box over the content, asking you to like them on Facebook or Twitter to read the rest of the content.
If you don’t want to, you can just click “no thanks” and continue reading their blog. But that one approach has enabled them to get thousands of Facebook fans. Just look at their WetPaint Facebook channel: they have over 380,000 fans.
Can you guess what kind of results this is producing for bloggers? I did a quick test on Quick Sprout over the weekend, and I was able to convert 2.9% of my visitors into fans. That percentage may go down over time because I have a good amount of repeat visitors, but I could counteract the decrease of that percentage by A/B testing the copy. Plus, my version wasn’t as good as WetPaint’s…, and I had a few bugs on Internet Explorer and Firefox, so I had to remove it.
I know those numbers don’t seem huge, but if you are getting 100,000 unique visitors a month, you will be growing your fan page at a pace of 2,900 fans a month. After 12 months, you should have roughly 34,800 fans to direct to your blog or any other website whenever you want.
My test run was so successful that I will be rolling out a bug free version of that on Quick Sprout over the next month or so.
Encourage your readers to not only share your content across the social web, but also to follow you. Whether you do what WetPaint does or ask your readers directly to follow you on Facebook within your blog sidebar, there are many ways you can grow your social channel. Just pick one or two social channels and encourage your readers to engage with you on it.
In the long run, this will help your content spread more through the social web, which not only will increase your traffic, but search engine rankings as well.
Content marketing is something that you have no choice but to leverage. There are a lot of different ways to tackle it, but if you don’t have much time, I recommend that you focus on the above 3 tactics.
I’ve found those tactics to be the most effective and to provide the biggest bang for your buck.
What other content marketing tactics do you feel are worth leveraging?