• Business

What happens after 2 years of content marketing?

I started content marketing almost 2 years ago based on the recommendation from several articles, podcasts and videos that I was watching at the time. This was my response to the question of, “how do I get more leads to new business?”. Almost everything I was consuming at the time had one piece of advice in common, content marketing won’t make a difference tomorrow, but it will over a couple years if done consistently. At first that scared me off because it seemed like a really long time to wait for results, but after trying a bunch of gimmicky, short term solutions for growing a business, I decided to give it a try.

Well, after 2 years of developing content, mostly written blog posts, I’m going to share everything from my strategy, to the results.

It all started in September 2015. I remember listening to Sean McCabe from Seanwes.com about some of the results he was seeing by developing content every single week. He did weekly posts and podcasts and was absolutely crushing it. He constantly gave all the credit to his content marketing.

So, my background is in video and animation. The thought of creating a video or animation every week was just out of the question for me at the time. So to get my feet wet, I decided to write monthly articles. The problem is that I’ve never considered myself a writer. I read a bit, but the idea of writing never came to my mind. At this point, it had been about 6 years since college, the last time I really sat down and wrote anything, even then, I would have been proud to get a B on anything that I wrote.

Strategy

When I sat down and started writing my first post, I kept thinking that nobody is going to want to hear what I have to say. I didn’t have any “hot takes” on trendy topics or new research that would go viral. I kept writing articles then deleting them because I knew other people could say the same things better than me. After all, this kind of content existed in other places already and that's where I learned it in the first place. It wasn't until I stopped caring about the actual content and started thinking about a topic that I actually cared about that things started to change for me. I started writing something that actually mattered to me, something that I felt people didn’t talk about enough, that was the idea that story is the most important element in all communication. From there, I simply kept writing about things I cared deeply about and it became easier and easier.

My writing wasn’t that great and to tell you the truth I still don't feel like it's that great, but one of the keys for me to start feeling confident was to create and share content that I was actually learning about at that exact moment. Maybe I wasn’t experienced enough in a certain topic to write about it just yet, but the idea of publishing something for the whole world made sure i did enough research before hitting “submit”. By doing that one thing, writing actually helped me understand the things I was learning at a much deeper level. Even today, If I have a question about something, I start by writing what I know first, then researching the things I don’t to fill in the gaps.

The Results

Before I started content marketing, I was seeing an average of 152 monthly visitors, 15 clicks through search engines, and an average time spent on site of 1:57. This was the average for the first 21 months of Zwelly’s existence.

In September of 2015 I “officially” started content marketing with monthly written posts. Over the course of 6 months, I saw an average of 177 monthly visitors, 47 clicks through search engines and an average time on site of 3:02. I’m going to put an asterisk by that duration though because it does seem to be an anomaly with the rest of the chart. You’ll see what i mean in a second.

So, you’ll see by simply writing 6 post over 6 months, I increased every stat category, but most notably, search engine clicks increased by a gigantic, 213%.

In April of 2016, I started writing 2 posts per month. The average monthly visitors increased to 280. Search clicks jumped to 58 and the time of site went to 2:20, like I mentioned, the 3:02 from before seems strange to me so we’re going to leave that out.

Once I started seeing the results both on the site and in my business, I decided to write a post every week starting in Jan 2017. The results here were pretty incredible, I saw an increase to 383 monthly visitors, 124 search engine clicks and an increase in the time spent on the site to 2:26. So, by writing weekly, I saw visits increase by 36% and search engine clicks increase by another 113%.

Almost 2 month ago, I started doing weekly videos with written posts like the one you’re watching now. While it’s still a small sample size, I’ve seen monthly visits increase to about 450, search engine clicks are up to 137 and time spent on site increased 80% to about 4:24.

So over the course of 2 years, content marketing has given me a boost in all the categories by a quite a bit. Visitors increased by 196%, Search engine clicks jumped 800% and time spent on the site increased by 125%.

Content marketing is tough. Especially the time it takes away from the other parts of running a business, but once you get into a rhythm it works out pretty well. I spend an average of 5 hours a week writing, shooting and editing each video that I put out. That might seem like a lot, but if you replace that with the time most people spend cold calling, it actually takes up less of my time and has an impact on my business for a much longer period of time.

If you're debating about doing content marketing, my best advice is to start now and don't try to be perfect. Gary Vaynerchuk has a saying, “quality is subjective”. So do what you can and don't focus on being the best, just focus on getting better than yourself from the previous week and you'll start seeing results.

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