A few months ago, the Wishpond marketing team sat down to discuss how we were going to meet our new KPI for the month: traffic.
At a 10% increase month-over-month we were tasked with increasing our unique visitor count by a whopping fifteen thousand people.
To reach this goal we had to look back and double down on the high-impact efforts we were making. This meant capitalizing on the things that were driving more readers to our content and eliminating things that weren’t.
Looking back, those were some of the most productive and efficient months for the Wishpond content team. We were dialed into our production schedule and deeply attuned to every single move we made. It lead to many positives we hadn’t expected – like new relationships with thought-leaders in our industry as well as things we had – more opportunities and an unprecedented amount of growth.
As a company, those months were also our most profitable.
Pictured below is the Wishpond brand interest graph on Google Trends (note the sharp spike in May 2016). It shows just how much the Wishpond brand was mentioned across the web.
In this article I’d like to share with you how we increased our blog traffic by 15K visitors in one month.
Thorough Content Targeting
If you’re a regular content marketing blog reader this certainly isn’t the first time you’ll hear, “know your audience,” and it won’t be the last.
As a content team we really had to hone in on who we were producing content for and what exactly they wanted to see. The more we were able to refine the image we had of our readers the better we were able to produce content they wanted to consume.
Some of the most popular and highly-shared Wishpond blog posts had a few things in common…
- They were long and thorough, and delivered 10x value
- They were list posts or “how to” posts
- They had strong storytelling elements
- They encompassed two subjects: growth hacking and social media
We sat down as a team and came up with a long list of subjects and headlines that we knew were likely to be good traffic drivers. Instead of throwing things into the air to see what stuck, we did our research on the most effective subjects and formats and proceeded in that direction.
If a piece of content showed signs of traction we would double down further and recycle it into another format. One of our most viral pieces published that month, “100 Marketing Growth Hacks Learned from 5 Years as a Startup,” has been shared over 1,240 times from our blog alone and to build on that success we transformed it into an infographic, slideshare (where it got featured on the front page), and ebook (download your own copy).
You can never know too much about your audience. Continually do your research and learn more about your audience’s likes, dislikes, and problems. The better you’re able to meet their expectations the more your content will resonate.
Always write and produce content with an explicit audience in mind. Not doing so is a shot in the dark.
Double down on the things that are helping you towards your goal and eliminate what isn’t. If you see an opportunity to elaborate or further develop one successful piece of content, jump on it.
Once we published a post on our blog our job didn’t end there. After publishing, we devised a post-publishing syndication schedule for our content.
If you haven’t already heard, just creating an awesome piece of irresistible content is no longer enough. It could be the most delectable, end-all be-all piece of content, still, it won’t be enough. Each piece of content you pour your heart and soul into needs an equal amount of promotion to get the word out.
What is content syndication?
Content syndication is the act of publishing your content on other websites or networks that allow it. It extends the life of your content and reaches the audiences of those external networks.
Reddit, Medium, and StumbleUpon are examples of generic syndication websites that accept content that has already been published elsewhere.
Depending on your industry or niche, there are sure to be a number of websites that accept syndicated content.
With syndication, people browsing the web who wouldn’t have discovered your blog now have a higher chance of coming across your content.
Prepare a post-publishing schedule for you and your team to follow each time a post goes live. Having your content in more places increases the likelihood of that traffic heading to your website to discover what else you offer. It also increases the number of links to your content (which is good for SEO).
By syndicating our content on websites like StumbleUpon we were able to receive a thousand unique views on a few of our articles published that month that we wouldn’t have received otherwise.
Outreach and Influencer Amplification
When ambitious climbers attempt to conquer Mount Everest they can’t do it without the help of sherpas — success does not happen in a vacuum.
A large part of our success came from the amplification we received by popular brands and influencers in our industry. By using the relationships we had with certain influencers and brands, much of our traffic-focused content was amplified.
Obviously having well-known and credible people sharing and promoting your content is invaluable, but this help doesn’t come easily (unless you’re willing to shell out some clams).
Relationships are built and solidified through authenticity, honesty, and unique value. They take time and genuine intent. In other words, don’t be discouraged if no one lends a helping hand right away.
So how can you get shares from influencers?
One technique we employed was to make a measured effort to include influencer names, quotes, and techniques within our content, which increased the likelihood of it being shared by the people mentioned.
After we published an article, we would shoot off a quick email or tweet to the influencer letting them know we’d mentioned them. We found that if the content is within their realm of interest, is professional and is helpful to their audience, there’s a high likelihood they’d give it a share.
— Brian Dean (@Backlinko) May 18, 2016
— Sujan Patel (@sujanpatel) May 20, 2016
Remember that an influencer is just a regular person like you and I, and they appreciate every opportunity to share valuable content if it is beneficial for their audience.
This is an excellent little tip I’ve borrowed from Alex Turnbull of Groove. Before you hit the publish button or reach out to an influencer for extra support make sure your content is:
- Unique. Sure, almost everything under the sun has been written about before but have you put your own unique spin on it?
- Interesting. Does your content flow cohesively and maintain the reader’s attention throughout?
- Useful. Does this piece of content have a clear use and provide value? Does it solve a problem? Does it answer questions? Why should it be published?
Keep an eye out for opportunities to include popular influencers in your content. If you can support your points with help from an influencer, make the extra effort to include them.
Before you publish your content and send it off to be shared make sure it is unique, interesting, and useful.
Content that solves a problem and offers up value for people in your industry is much more likely to be shared and amplified.
Increasing Newsletter Frequency
This was an easy win for us but we had to approach it with caution due to the fact that we didn’t know how our email subscribers would respond.
We typically send out a newsletter to our segments only during the weekdays, figuring that our email list would not be as responsive during the weekends. Boy were we wrong.
After experimenting with sending emails on the weekend we saw steady traffic similar to that of the weekdays. As long as we kept the quality and value of our content high, the increased delivery did not seem to matter.
We kept our eyes locked onto our open and click rates to make sure they stayed steady. If those numbers dropped significantly we planned to pull it back and stick to only the weekdays.
Experiment with the frequency at which you email your subscribers. Don’t hesitate to try increasing or decreasing the amount you send email — you might be missing out on an opportunity.
Maybe your email list enjoys shorter emails at a higher frequency. Maybe they’d prefer more content with less frequency. The only way you’ll find out is by testing.
Pay close attention to your open, click and unsubscribe rates to get a good estimates of how your subscriber list is responding. If the numbers noticeably decrease (or unsubscribes increase), back off and return to your original mailing schedule.
Contests and promotions
We’ve used contests and promotions successfully in the past for many of our users and knew it was a low cost method to generate traffic as well as leads. Knowing this we decided that this would the best way for us to employ PPC ads as one of our traffic generating strategies.
According to the audience we wanted to attract we put together a bundle full of high powered goodies for marketers. It included a full year subscription to the full Wishpond platform, $500 Facebook ad credit, and $229 ShutterStock credit. Not too shabby right?
Using the Wishpond social promotion tool made the process easy and the promotion was up and running in a few minutes.
Then with a $20/day budget, we set up and ran Facebook ads to our social promotion landing page.
In the end it lead to about 2,000 unique views and captured 500 leads and was a big win for the team.
A social promotion is a great way to engage with your audience and drive traffic to your website. With a custom promotion landing page you can have a social promotion up and running in minutes.
From what we’ve experienced, a social promotion is the most cost efficient and effective way to incorporate PPC into your traffic strategy.
Start by creating a prize bundle that your target audience would find uniquely valuable. Make sure that it is relevant to your industry and that it ties the promotion back to your business, like a credit or gift card for their choice of purchase.
Tying it all together
The task of increasing traffic to our blog by 15K was no easy feat for the Wishpond content team.
Looking back on those months, they were some of our most productive as a team (and most profitable) to say the least. I personally enjoyed the challenge of coming up with creative ways to produce content that had the highest impact on our traffic numbers.
By sticking to the strategies we felt would produce the most significant results we were able to hit our KPIs and more. In fact, we’ve incorporated these strategies permanently into our content marketing strategy.
The strategies we used were:
- Thorough content targeting
- Content syndication
- Outreach and influencer amplification
- Increasing newsletter frequency
- Contests and promotions
If you haven’t already noticed, none of these strategies are quick fixes for instant results. Each of these took major time and investment but we slowly built on top of each of these strategies as they began to show promise.
Are you focusing on increasing your traffic numbers? Or is traffic not on your radar?
Are there any specific strategies you’re focusing on?
Leave me a comment below!