A couple of days ago, I was lamenting to my friend Abbie Fink that Spin Sucks grew only 29 percent in 2012.
She rolled her eyes at me as I was finishing my statement. “Only 29 percent,” she said.
OK, OK. I see her point, but we grew more than 1,000 percent in 2009, 292 percent in 2010, and 194 percent in 2011.
So you can see why I am a little stressed about it…and why Lindsay Bell spends time in every staff meeting brainstorming with us new ideas to increase blog traffic, sponsorship dollars, Google+ authority, and overall revenue.
Because we have it very top-of-mind, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to take the content side of our business to the next level.
When What You Use No Longer Works
The thing we struggle with, of course, is what we did to get us here no longer works. So now we have to be creative and innovative and a bunch of other “ive” words that work here.
Sure, there are some things that still work: Comment on other blogs, write for humans and optimize for robots, build community, write guest blog posts, speak at conferences, answer questions, go to networking events, leverage YouTube, and use traditional media.
But it turns out that’s no longer enough.
So what do you do if the things you’ve always done no longer work, but the industry isn’t talking about anything new?
Increase Blog Traffic
Following is a list of 12 things we’re going to try to increase blog traffic so we can exceed our other less ego-driven goals.
As we do, I’ll report back on the pros and cons of each, how we tested, and what was the most successful.
- Create a video series. I don’t know if this will be the he said/she said series Sean McGinnis and I have been talking about doing for years, if it will be a series of video instruction, or both. But we’re going to expand the Facebook question of the week (which we still do so stop by and ask a question!) and better use YouTube to help expand our networks.
- Write case studies. Sherrilynne Starkie asked me for some case studies the other day and I was embarrassed to tell her we’ve never formally written any down. If they’re not used as examples in a blog post, we don’t have them official. Yes, I know. It’s a priority.
- Write more guest posts. I was in a groove where I was writing one a week for a couple of years and got burned out with the Marketing in the Round promotion last year. I want to get back in that groove, but also involve my team more in becoming brand ambassadors. So if anyone would like a guest post from us, let us know!
- Write longer form content. I’m talking about the how-to guides, the beginner’s guides, and maybe taking my own advice and write the gospel according to us (though Lindsay reminds me I am writing Spin Sucks, the book, which serves that purpose).
- Start an affiliate program. I’m not sure how I feel about this one, but I think it’s worth exploring options for continuing to provide free content to you, but earn money on all our hard work. We’re testing sponsorships so this may be a natural next step.
- Network with new groups. There are some crowds where the blog is already very well known…but there are also some groups who have never heard of us (as if!). We’ll target one new group for the second half of 2013 to network with in order to continue growing this side of the business.
- Use owned images for content. Like we talked about yesterday, we’ll begin creating our own images to help our content stand out among all the visuals already present on the interwebz.
- Participate in Q&A sites. This is one we completely ignore … and there is some great opportunity. Not just on LinkedIn, but on Quora, Yahoo, and others. We’ll find the sites where people ask questions about marketing communications and begin to build our influence and authority there.
- Test pop-ups. Not pop-ups for more subscriptions (though that would be nice and maybe we’ll test it eventually), but to encourage people to share our content as they read. The social share buttons are already on the content, of course, but this may encourage additional sharing, which Google loves.
- Survey our readers. We do this on the client side by continuously asking how we’re doing and what else we can be doing for them, but we’ve never asked you what else you’d like. Expect to be asked soon.
- Create a podcast series. Of course, we have Inside PR and that won’t change, but we want a Spin Sucks branded podcast. Well, Lindsay wants us to have one so I just smile and nod.
- Host an event. So many of you have asked when we’re going to have a Spin Sucks event…mostly so you can all meet one another in person. We’re not yet convinced it’s the right thing to do or that it will be profitable, but we are considering it.
Of course, we can’t do all of this in the next six months, so we’ll tackle one thing at a time and blog about the experience.
What else would you add?
I drew/wrote the image on an Admiral’s Club napkin in the Austin airport.