“I blog all the time and I’m not seeing any traffic — why bother?”
Okay, there’s a lot wrong with that sentence.
First of all, define “all the time.”
Does that mean every few months, every month, weekly, daily — hourly?
The fact is — and you can quote me on this — the truth about how long it takes to get noticed in your content marketing… hurts.
The Painful Truth About Content Marketing ROI — and Why You Should Grin and Bear It Anyway
The honest-to-goodness truth about content marketing ROI is you’re not going to see content success the moment you press the launch button on your website and post your first blog.
In fact, you’re not going to see success with your content in the first month — and maybe not even in the first year, depending on your post frequency (and the quality of your content, of course).
If you’re looking for a significant return on investment (ROI), then you NEED to be in it for the long haul.
In fact, this study from HubSpot outlines the magic number quite clearly — it’s around 400.
After approximately 400 blog posts, HubSpot’s statistics showed that traffic just about doubles.
For the savvy content marketer, that means you need to be prepared to deliver consistent, long-form content to drive the results you desire.
Publishing content consistently but not seeing any positive results? @JuliaEMcCoy discusses the truth about short-term vs. long-term success in #contentmarketing in this blog post #contentroi Click To Tweet
And when I say consistent, I mean you have to have an editorial calendar and stick to it.
No ping-ponging around with posts — posting twice a week one week, skipping a week, then posting again.
I know, it’s not easy.
Even Content Marketing Institute has found that more than half of marketers struggle with it.
And yet, visitors want reliable, consistent, frequent updates — that’s what drives traffic. So, if you want the traffic, you’ll need to buckle down and find a schedule you can adhere to.
Now, back to posting frequency. To get that traffic revving, you’ll need to not only be consistent — but frequent — with your posts.
It’s a proven fact that companies that posted 16 or more pieces of content per month had 4.5 times more leads than those who posted 0-4 times.
Companies that post 16 or more pieces of content monthly have 4.5x more leads than those who publish 0-4x/month. @Hubspot Click To Tweet
And that just makes sense, since all that posting means these businesses are providing their sites with four times the indexing and backlinking opportunities.
You just need to be sure that all those posts are contributing high-quality content in order to keep visitors — and Google — happy.
That means that even posting once a week, which many bloggers do, is likely to keep you in the realm of blogging hobbyists who don’t expect high traffic.
So once you’ve decided you’re serious about moving forward with your content marketing, you’ll need to determine your goals.
Want the maximum traffic? Consider publishing 4 posts a week, which will bring you up into that high-traffic-driving stratosphere.
Looking for slower but steady growth? Consider 2-3 posts per week.
If you don’t mind taking it very slowly, posting once per week is fine. Just keep in mind it will take you more than a year to see a significant jump in traffic.
Once you’ve got your frequency and consistency down pat, you’ll need to concentrate on the meat-and-potatoes portion of success — and that’s your content itself.
What's the recommended posting frequency for #contentroi success? @JuliaEMcCoy shares her insights, plus studies from @hubspot @cmicontent @backlinko @unbounce and others #contentmarketingroi Click To Tweet
Long-Form Content Provides Consistent Success
Content return on success is not just about churning out random thoughts in 500-word posts. You have to consistently provide visitors long-form, comprehensive content that’s relevant to their needs.
Multiple studies have proved this, and we’re a case study on this (stats on our own content marketing ROI coming up soon).
To underscore the importance of this, BuzzSumo studied more than 100 million articles and found the posts most likely to be shared were over 3,000 words long.
Image: Search Engine Journal
And high rankings were tied to long-form content in a Backlinko study that examined more than a million blog posts.
Of course, it’s not just the quantity that counts — it’s quality, too.
Higher-Quality Content Brings Higher Content Marketing ROI
Seems intuitive, right?
And yet so many people miss this critical part of the content ROI equation. That’s why I conducted a case study using my own company as a benchmark.
Because Express Writers has managed to pull down six-figure earning months on the basis of our content alone.
We did it by publishing over 1,000 blog posts with consistent, long-form content over six years. Yes, you read that right — six years. As of this post, we’re at 1,142 blog posts, total.
That content, which is published weekly along with a few podcasts with notes and recaps from our #ContentWritingChat, costs us about $1,600 per month.
It’s a very long time, a lot of investment, and a lot of content — but worth every minute of the hard work.
If we bought that kind of traffic versus generating it ourselves, it would set us back a mind-blowing $66,700.
But just by rolling up our sleeves and finding ways we could provide serious benefit for our reading audience, we were able to create a business that frequently breaks the six-figure threshold in a month — while spending under $2K.
Of course, as I mentioned, our content isn’t just long, it’s high quality — and that’s what you need to strive for.
E-A-T Your Words — How to Create High-Quality Content to Win at Content ROI
High-quality content needs to adhere to Google’s quality rater guidelines, which require that it’s got a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T), a nice dollop of main content with a helpful title, and achieves a purpose for the page on which it’s hosted.
For just $1,600 per month, Express Writers generates monthly traffic that's worth a whopping $66,700. @JuliaEMcCoy shares how we do it in this blog post about #contentroi Click To Tweet
Sounds like a tall order, right? It’s easier than you think, as long as you break it down into bite-sized chunks, as follows:
1. Create Unique and Useful Content
Nobody wants to read the same old information turned around and spit back out in a different format.
According to Social Media Examiner’s recent report, more than half of marketers say people want content that’s unique and useful.
And Google’s watching, too. If you publish something really lackluster, they’ll call you on it.
Image: Google Support
If you’re not going to come up with original, useful content — just stop. Content marketing is not for you.
But if you’re on fire to share actionable, relevant tips with the people who need to know them, then step on up — and reap the benefits.
Here are some critical ways you can create and share long-form content that will have your readers coming back for more, post after post.
2. Give Them Data-Driven Information
You don’t have to write content that’s full of numbers and equations, but readers are looking for information that is provable, factual, and can help them draw conclusions.
To increase social shares, put some of the data in an infographic.
In fact, infographics are a great way to share actionable material that provides real benefit to readers.
Check out this great one from Unbounce, a literal 6-month guide to online marketing in free content form:
That image is just the tip of the iceberg — the infographic actually “unfolds” like a brochure (and you can get it as a PDF for convenience). Here’s the first part:
The information presented is attractive, data-oriented, and actionable — checking lots of boxes for visitors that are hungry for unique and useful stuff.
The ROI on this guide was and is huge, too — Oli Gardner’s team has told me it actually served to build their brand and was a fundamental piece that got their brand rolling in the early days. (Unbounce’s Content Director Dan Levy was one of my guest instructors for the Content Strategy & Marketing Course.)
3. Build Trust and Authority
If you’re creating unique and useful data-driven content, it just follows that — eventually — you’ll be seen as an expert in your industry.
Short-form or long-form content? @JuliaEMcCoy discusses #contentmarketingsuccess in this new blog post, with studies from @hubspot @cmicontent @backlinko @buzzsumo and more #contentroi Click To Tweet
To encourage visitors to keep coming back for more, establish a relationship with your community through a response/comments section in your blog or by providing relatable, actionable examples.
One way we do this at Express Writers is by sharing case studies of our experiences to help other content marketers adjust their strategies for better content ROI.
We also put a strong focus on being relevant and authentic because we know that’s what people want. No more burying sales pitches in cleverly designed content pieces — it just doesn’t work.
Image: Express Writers
Remember, your content isn’t all about driving results. It’s also about sharing your passion for your industry and providing real service to your readers.
The results (read: content marketing ROI) are just what happens when you create and share truly good stuff.
Content marketing ROI happens when you create and share truly good stuff. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
If this is your mindset the next time you sit down to craft a piece of content for your site, you can’t help but create something that will inspire and engage your audience — and increase your content marketing ROI by default.
The Long — and Short — of It
So, you want content marketing success, right? Then you now have every tool you need to take action and make it happen.
You understand posting frequency and how posting more often helps increase your traffic.
You’re definitely down with the fact that it might take up to 400 posts before you start seeing that jump in hits, but you also know that like anything good in life, the waiting’s worth it.
And, you totally get that making the effort to create fantastic, long-form content is exactly what’s needed to engage, educate, and build an authentic relationship with your audience.
Short-form content is just not going to cut it for posts that create movement, traffic, and revenue on your site. And sleazy sales tactics are definitely out of the picture.
So, sit back and start brainstorming those actionable, relevant long-form beauties. Whip out that editorial calendar and create a consistent schedule your readers can rely upon.
Dig through the data and come up with something really unique, unusual, and share-worthy.
And, in the process, discover that you’ll win a lot more than just content ROI with this strategy — you’ll also win trust and loyalty. And that’s priceless.