30 Dec 2014

Content Marketing the Vertical Measures Way – A Year in Review

Can you believe 2014 is almost at a close? As we take stock of the drastic changes in the SEO space over the past year we can’t help but review our own blog’s performance. From evergreen posts to well styled how-to’s, our blog content attracted the masses and we learned a lot about our content in 2014.

How has your own content performed this year? Taking a step back and looking at the prior year is a great exercise to conduct this time of year. As you look to the coming year’s editorial calendar, let your past help dictate your future success.

Here’s a look at the Vertical Measures blog this year.

Evergreen Content Prevails!

Perpetually relevant content? Seems like a dream, but one that can be your reality. Focusing some of your efforts on content that never goes stale is one way to keep generating Pageviews and interest in your content. On the Vertical Measures website, we’ve had a great track record of producing content that stays relevant. Nearly 30,000 unique visitors in 2014 read our resource articles, watched our tutorial videos and consumed our resource content – all evergreen!

Take for example our highest viewed page, outside of our homepage. It continues to be our SEO tutorial video “Using H1 Tag Improves Search Rankings” – a five year old video! Over 15,000 visitors watched this video in 2014, spending over 5 minutes on the page. The article ranks well for relevant keyword terms and continues to drive visitors through organic search. 14,000+ visitors came from Google alone!

Our evergreen resources weren’t the only source of traffic. Erin Prichard, part of our designer extraordinaire duo, developed “What Makes An Infographic Bad & How To Make It Better” in 2013 to much success. Would you believe that in 2014 alone traffic for the post reached almost 14,000 Pageviews? The initial buzz for the blog post was great, but the residual traffic to our blog saw it as one of the top 5 performing pieces in 2014. It also was picked up on Facebook, generating thousands of page views in a matter of 3 days.

Zach Etten had similar success with a post he published in July of 2013, “Adwords: Bidding on Competitor’s Brand Name”. Over 2,000 new visitors in 2014 in addition to thousands of visitors the prior year too. In the same month, one of my own guest posts titled “Why Exact Match Anchor Text Is Bad” on the Act-On blog was published. To date it continues to out perform other content on the site as the top evergreen traffic attraction.

Evergreen content indeed can prevail!

Give it Away for Free (Sometimes)

Gating your content is certainly one option for publishing your content today, serving as a lead generator for your business. Asking for an e-mail address, asking qualifier questions or requesting contact information prior to letting someone gain access to a piece of content is common today.

We opted to test gating on a couple pieces we created this year. We gave visitors to our site access in hopes that our content karma would lead us to more success. It worked! We gave our readers access without asking for much in return on our Content Editorial Calendar Template. As a result we continue to receive over 15,000 visitors a year to this page alone. Visitors stay for a while too, almost 7 minutes on the page averaged per session! Positive shares on social media and continued downloads shows us this very well could be our next top evergreen content performer.

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template

Motion Graphics #ForTheWin

In 2013 our creative designers first started testing out gifographics, or infographics with gif elements included. Motion graphic videos were also introduced. Overall, these are a great opportunity to showcase information in a unique way but additionally 2014 showed us that our gifographics and motion graphic videos are great for link attraction.

“The Author Rank Building Machine [Infographic]” is the top 10 most linked to page on our website and for good reason! Our graphic was picked up and embedded on a number of sites throughout the months following it’s publication. Although the topic is no longer relevant (Google Authorship is no longer alive as of August 2014), the post remains in our top ten this year.

Content Promotion on Facebook

Just this past October Zach Etten wrote “The Step-by-Step Guide to Facebook Content Promotion”, which shared with us the importance of Facebook adverting. This year, the post is one of our most shared, with nearly double the Facebook shares of other content on our blog. The guide has over 230 downloads since mid-October, making it one of our most downloaded guides – a gated download at that!

Another high performer socially was Erin Prichard’s “How Links Pass Authority [Infographic]”  gaining traction on Google + resulting in over 600 shares and +’s. The movement in the graphic was a hit with users online and we were happy to see it shared so much.

Infographic on facebookAs we alluded to earlier, much of the success seen for the post “What Makes An Infographic Bad & How To Make It Better” was as a result of Facebook. One noteworthy Facebook page discovered and shared Erin’s graphic, generating more than 8,000 page views between March 4th and March 6th this year. This success, eight months after first publishing, is just one of the many surprises you can receive throughout the year.

Keep Publishing!

The last and final lesson we learned is one we admittedly have already learned – keep publishing! You never know when the next piece you publish will become your highest performer next year. Start publishing, be consistent, get everyone involved and think outside the box. Publish on your own site, on your clients’ sites and on industry sites as well. From Marketingland to Content Marketing Institute, VM-ers stayed true with publishing great content resulting in amazing success this year even outside our blog. And did you hear? Arnie published another book! Content Marketing Works is available for free download, racking up over 500 downloads so far – and  it’s only been a couple weeks. As a company we’ve taken the keep publishing mantra to a whole other level this year!

There it is, the Vertical Measures blog performance for 2014! As this year draws to a close we want to take this time to thank each and every one of our readers this year. Our success is because of you – thank you!