Does blogging work? That’s the question we still get from potential customers all the time, when it’s been shown time and again that it definitely does.
So what’s the secret behind successful blogs and blogging? We looked at our own blog to find out and here’s what we learned.
Successful Blogs Start with a Plan
Believe it or not, we didn’t have an editorial calendar for our blog until seven months ago-ish. We were just flying by the seat of our pants. I mean, that’s bad.
How’d we get our editorial calendar started?
1. We set a meeting with those responsible for contributing to the blog. Don’t overthink this and have a drawn out meeting. We used the meeting as an opportunity to get collective buy-in on everyone sticking to an editorial calendar. That was it.
2. We created the editorial calendar, that you can download yourself here.
3. We schedule monthly meetings to review our blog. These aren’t long meetings: 30 minutes tops. It’s just a quick check-in for reminders, best practices and changes to scope.
4. Everyone is responsible for a certain number of blog posts per month. This is great because we have contributors that are on the marketing, sales, support and writer engagement teams. So our blog gets a lot of different perspectives and angles keeping the blog fresh.
That’s it, really. The fundamentals of holding people accountable for contributing to the blog with content that aligns with our audience’s needs.
Planning Works: The Results
We’ve TRIPLED our site traffic since instituting an editorial calendar, plan, and holding monthly meetings.
January 2016 was our most successful month of all time at BlogMutt (for blog traffic).
We’ve doubled our subscriber list with more calls to action integrated throughout our posts and encouraging users to subscribe via webinars.
The Individual BlogMutt Blogs that Perform the Best
If we look at the individual blog posts that perform best, we’ve found that longer posts get more social shares (stats via BuzzSumo)
Then we looked at what social channels get the most engagement. The results surprised us.
LinkedIn came out well on top with the most shares of our content. Honestly, with a larger reach on our Facebook page and more activity on Twitter, LinkedIn surprised us. The takeaway here is that the size of the audience doesn’t necessarily correlate to the level of engagement.
Without this data, I’d have gone forward assuming Facebook got the lion’s share…or shares.
Our shares based on content type also surprised us. Lists, although kinda clickbait-y, still get shared and engaged with over other content we create.
Successful Blogs Should Be Fun
Our two most trafficked blog posts were Scott’s posts about the rivalry between ADP and Zenefits.
You can read them here:
Why were these successful? Well, beside Scott being a great writer, we also promoted the crap out of these posts. Scott pitched these blogs to a newspaper editor in San Francisco and got our posts RT’d and shared.
But even more importantly, Scott had fun with this post and “news jacked” a high profile dispute to the benefit of our blog. Scott infused his own thoughts as a small business owner that uses Zenefits. See? We don’t always have to blog about content marketing and strategy. By having a little fun, we generated our most successful posts.
A rising tide lifts all boats. Therefore, a successful blog post…lifts all posts. We’ll take it.
Is That It?
There is a TON more data I could include in this post, but I wanted to just pull out a couple interesting pieces of data that keep us motivated to keep blogging. If you’re not measuring your blog success or seeing what’s working or not working, it’ll feel like you’re just blogging to nobody. Seeing the fruits of your labor on a rising graph is exciting.
We share these wins in our blog meeting and find that ongoing monitoring, finding new data, and sharing with the team is a great way toward a successful blog for BlogMutt.