A client of ours on the West Coast is a great example of thought leadership gone right.
Several years ago, this client — a strategy consulting firm — published regularly. It even had relationships with publishers such as Fast Company and Harvard Business Review, through which it published several series of articles. As business picked up, however, publishing became less of a priority. In the months before we began working together, this company hadn’t published in a while, and its relationships with outside publishers were dissolving quickly thanks to inconsistent output.
Though the company had many goals for its partnership with SMC, its primary goal was simple: be a driving force to get more thought leadership out of the minds of its employees and onto the blog and social media.
Pairing with leaders in the organization, we published 71 blogs over the course of the year. All of these blogs were posted regularly on social media, and some were even cross-posted to other sites (e.g. Medium) and publications. Through regular brainstorming meetings with individual employees and the marketing team, SMC served as the blogging and social media arm of this company. They even remarked that we succeeded where other employees and contractors had failed; we helped extract thought leadership from the minds of employees and publish it for the world to see.
Based on the stats we’ve analyzed together, we feel comfortable calling this one a big win. Here are the big takeaways in terms of how their blog affected web traffic.
- Over the course of 2014, this organization’s web traffic grew 15 percent. All that changed in 2014 was regular publishing to the blog and social media.
- In that time frame, this organization had roughly 270,000 total site views. Of those views, 11.4 percent were views of individual blogs and/or the blog home page.
- In that time frame, 10 percent of all pageviews and 9.7 percent of all sessions originated from links on social media.
- With regular publishing to the blog (and subsequent promotion on social media), traffic grew 13 percent from August to September and another 13 percent from September to October.
- Blog output depended in large part on team members’ availability as they were a large part of the collaborative process. As availability decreased in November and December, so did publishing and traffic. Traffic dropped roughly 7 percent from October to November, and roughly 25 percent from November to December, in which two and zero blogs were published, respectively.
- The month with the fewest blogs published — December, when the organization published zero blogs — is also the month with the lowest overall traffic from the year. (After publishing six blogs in January 2015, traffic shot back up 36 percent.)
Blog traffic accounted for a significant portion of the company’s overall traffic throughout the year — as did social media. The organization feels comfortable with our assertion that blogs and social media are responsible for most, if not all, of the 15 percent increase in traffic in 2014, and so do we.
Though we’re unable to say exactly how that traffic impacted the company’s business or how many of those pageviews turned into leads, we can say this: The blog had a significant impact on site traffic throughout 2014. Coupled with significantly lower (as much as 25 percent) traffic when blogging frequency decreased, this example does a great job showing what many companies have been saying all along: that blogging helps web traffic significantly.
This also says something else important about maintaining a blog presence online: Momentum is essential. Looking at the analytics for this client, it’s clear that traffic was the strongest on months with consistent blogging and social media activity. Though long-term SEO benefits of blogs do somewhat mitigate the effects of stopping blogging, traffic for this client was the worst mostly in months with the fewest blogs. Even though blogging every week is hard, it’s essential to maintaining strong traffic.
We could go on and on, but we think these numbers speak for themselves. With that, we’ll ask: How will you use blogging to improve your presence on the web?
Image Credit: CC by Storrow Drive Traffic from the BU Bridge