One thing all digital strategists and practioners agree upon is the value of posting fresh, unique, compelling and magnetic website content on a regular basis.
And by “regular” I don’t mean when your website undergoes a redesign. Some marketers believe refreshing digital content a few times a year is sufficient but they’re dead wrong in that belief.
Posting new content consistently is no digital trade secret and it’s something I preach ad nauseam but I’ve got to be honest – a recent experiment with d.Mark’s site rendered some pretty incredible results. Before getting into that let’s cover a few basics.
One component of positive digital marketing performance involves marketing calendar maintenance that ideally has new social and website content scheduled to publish weeks in advance. Content can be curated or altogether new but the goal should always be have everything ready and scheduled to post otherwise it’s too easy to fall off the map of consistency. Now I recognize that budget restrictions, resource allocation or just life in general gets in the way of that grand plan and from time to time a few days or a week may turn out blank on the calendar. But if this has happened to you (which it has for most everyone at some time or another) did your team analyze how those blank calendar spots affected digital performance? If you didn’t or don’t – you need to start.
Each business is unique and has a different audience so there’s no set in stone rule across all industries or business size on how often to publish fresh content. I’m sorry – there’s just no cookie cutter approach and if anyone tells you there is show them the door. What works for you has to be tested and then retested because like it or not it takes time to find the best formula and then your audience’s behaviors will inevitably change. Having your finger on the pulse of what works today may not be what works months down the road. Testing is an ongoing variable not a one time thing.
The formula that d.Mark’s found most effective is 1,000-1,500 word count weekly blog posts, that provide actionable digital marketing tips for our readers and business partners.
Note: I not only indicated how often it’d publish but just what the content would always encompass, for who its written and how much there’d be to consume each time.
Following website publication d.Mark’s blog distributes via email subscription on one day, to social channels and LinkedIn Groups another day with publication to LinkedIn Pulse on yet another day. So in the end one blog post alone fills a week on the marketing calendar distributing to 20+ digital channels, and more when readers and crawlers find the content worthy to pass on to their audience. (Thank you to those who’ve don’t that in the past and thanks in advance to those that’ll find this worthy of sharing too!)
Our best practice is weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual digital performance monitoring by using a variety of technologies – many of which are free. Now before you grown about analytics in any form and from any platform – I realize you may not be a data analyst nor want to be but I found a really cool tool even the most anti-analytic people will find incredibly useful.
Quill Engage offers free, basic and premium pricing packages and has incredibly user-friendly, bite size reporting. And no – I don’t work for Quill Engage, resell their software or get comp’d for referrals (maybe I should though?) Their positioning statement –
Quill Engage explains Google Analytics data in plain English and delivers custom reports
Sounds pretty good, right? Well it is. Whether your business monitors digital performance or has chosen not to up till now – the fact is, performance affects every brand’s bottom line.
Website traffic = lead generation, lead nurturing & conversion opportunity = money in the bank.
Low website traffic growth (or worse – none at all) has a domino effect on your business’ health and needless to say it’s not a positive effect.
Which brings me back to why you clicked on reading this article in the first place –
How Lack of New Content Tanked My Website Traffic
For kicks and giggles I tested how digital performance was affected when d.Mark’s marketing calendar went dark for a week. I knew there’d be a hit in traffic for taking a week off but I was really taken aback by just how much.
Week 1 had the blog publish as usual with redistribution & syndication filling a full week on the marketing calendar while Week 2 didn’t publish anything new at all on any channel. Just same ol’, same ol’ from earlier weeks. Here’s the results:
Week 1 (not too shabby) Week 2 (Holy Crap!!)
WEEK OF OCT. 26 – NOV. 01, 2015
Avg Time On Site
+40% from last week
-27% from last week
+36% from last week
WEEK OF NOV. 02 – NOV. 08, 2015
Avg Time On Site
-60% from last week
+58% from last week
-48% from last week
I didn’t have the kahunas to test more than one week off. We are talking about the health of my business after all. So here’s the results for when business as usual resumed
Week 3 (whew – HUGE sight of relief)
WEEK OF NOV. 09 – NOV. 15, 2015
Avg Time On Site
+149% from last week
+93% from last week
+89% from last week
Without question taking even one week off proved a huge negative for d.Mark and I’d wager it’d have similar negative results for your website’s digital performance too.
The reality is consumers prefer consuming information online over offline. What does that mean to your business? Before the phone rings, someone walks through the door or responds to the sales team’s email message that someone will visit your website first. Visitors return seeking different information or revisit the same content they did that first time. But if nothing changes on the site exactly what do you think motivates visitors to return?
The key to new and returning visitors is multi-faceted. Yes, there has to be new consistent content published whether that’s in the form of an article, newsletter, blog, video, industry research, webinar, promotion or free offers – there has to be something worth going out there for.
And, good isn’t good enough. What’s published has to be GREAT. Search engines favor great over good and visitors expect nothing less. Don’t cut corners by designating less than qualified resources to manage new digital content. In the end you’ll get what you pay for.
Curated or new content should focus on meeting one or more of 3 basic principals
(or, why not be all!)
And always publish content that’s in your own voice. Don’t write like it’s copied and pasted from a textbook or come across robotic to the reader. You don’t need to get snarky like I do from time to time (yes, I own it) but do make sure the voice is consistent with your brand persona.
Speaking of writing in your own voice – I recently subscribed to a weekly newsletter that triggered a confirmation email like none I’ve ever seen so I feel compelled to share it. You may not find it as amusing as I did but the message made me giggle and if memory serves it was on a day I really needed it. So now that brand has not only gained me as a subscriber but also connected with me on a deeper level. Great content makes a personal connection and builds relationships. The Hustle accomplished that with their very first communication.
A letter from the leader of a circus, aka The Hustle:
I assure you, we don’t take what just happened lightly.
You just gave us your email and joined our newsletter.
That’s a VERY big deal to us.
Don’t believe me?
After you pressed the submit button and sent us your email a little buzzer went off in our office. Our entire team can hear it, and when it went off everyone smiled.
Our office manager gave a golf clap and our operations guy did a pushup (I don’t know why, but for some reason he does a pushup each time the buzzer goes off).
Greg, our head of marketing, ran outside and hugged some old lady walking by the office. I’m pretty sure he just tried to kiss her. She didn’t seem to mind it, thankfully.
I’m also fairly certain I just saw Kera, our director of content, take a shot of tequila. I have no idea why she’s drinking at work, but hey, the kid is excited you just signed up. Is she pouring another one? Ah crap, I gotta go and stop her.
Wait, shoot… I’m getting off topic.
Look, I didn’t write this to tell you about our team’s awful impulse control, but to thank you for signing up. Every pixel and character of copy on our site and in this newsletter is here to make you happy.
We hope every piece of content we create will inspire you to live a more epic life. If it doesn’t, just hit reply to any email you receive from The Hustle and tell us how you feel.
Thanks again for joining our tribe. We’ll holler in a few days with some awesome stuff.
PS: Wanna make our head of operations do another pushup?
Hit “share on Facebook” or “share on Twitter” at the bottom of this email. Then, once we see it, we’ll send you a video of Greg doing a pushup. I’m not joking…try me. To make sure we see it, tweet at us or email us proof.
I don’t care who you are – at the very least that read should have brought on a smile.
In all seriousness – the point is, when writing any communication on behalf of your company – be yourself. Make that connection. Shoot for the personal not just in email messages but in all content creation.
So now that this week’s post is published and the days to come are scheduled for its distribution to 20+ channels that’s proven to drive website traffic, I believe a shot of tequila is in order. I wonder if Kera, The Hustle’s Director of Content is available to join me. Oh heck, who am I kidding? Since when do I need someone to drink with – I’m very well practiced doing that all on my own.
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