Are you getting the most out of your content? Would more people read it if it was put in front of them?
Recently we discussed the importance of promoting your content and decided to run an experiment with one of our own blog posts discussing content promotion strategy. If you haven’t read that post, check it out here!
The main activity here was to trial boosting the reach of our content by utilising paid ads in addition to the usual methods of sharing content on social media etc. Paid promotion has the added benefit of not only reaching more of your regular target audience but can also increase the reach to new people.
What were we trying to achieve with this experiment?
The purpose of this exercise was to determine the value of promoting content to attract more readers vs simply creating and uploading the content and expecting visitors to find it organically (or through free channels such as social shares and EDMs etc). Organic traffic is free and will always be preferred, however organic reach can be quite limited on social channels, email lists can see limited open rates, and so other paid media channels can be worth considering. So let’s look at the results…
Firstly the benchmark: how much traffic were our regular blog posts getting?
Looking at our blog posts over the past 3 months (excluding our content promotion blog post which we boosted), we can see that they get an average of 31.5 page views each.
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Based on an estimated cost of $200 per blog post, this works out to be $6.35 per visitors. This is usually the result of visitors seeing our Facebook posts or coming across our articles in search results.
When comparing this to the results of our boosted blog post we can see that this attracted 116 page views, so over 3X the usual average number of visitors.
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Content creation can take a lot of time, so this is a conservative estimate, when considering how much time and resources can go into some articles, email newsletters, or blog posts. With the goal of using this experiment to measure the value of content creation vs content promotion, we based this on an estimated creation cost of $200 and boosted the post on social media with an ad budget of $200 also.
So our total cost of creating and promoting this blog post was $400, which generated 116 pageviews, which works out at $3.45 per visitor. As we can see, this delivered a much more favourable outcome, despite the small experiment size.
In order to look at the bigger picture, let’s look at the cost per visitor of each of our blog posts over the past 12 months.
Based on the estimated price of $200 per blog post created, the chart below shows the calculated cost per visitor of each blog post, with our boosted experiment in grey.
As this is a cost per acquisition, the lower the better, and as we can see, out of the 21 blog posts published on our website over the past year, our promoted post had the 4th best cost.
The blog posts which performed better were our articles on:
- Top 5 Graphic Design Trends for 2019
- Sarah’s Small Business Success Story!
- SIX ways to choose a creative agency, the must have check list…
What does this tell us about our content promotion results?
The results here show us that our boosted post certainly did attract a higher number of readers and lower cost per visitor than the average blog post on our website.
Worth mentioning that if conducting this sort of activity on a larger scale, it would be important to include other metrics in the goals being reported on also, such as newsletter sign ups, enquiries, conversions, etc.
However was it the best performing blog post? No.
With 3 posts doing better in terms of cost per visitor, it is a good reminder that high quality content which appeals to visitors should always be the focus. There are of course many factors which play into this, such as the likelihood of appearing in organic search results, and the likelihood of being shared on social media etc.
We can see that these top 3 performers all feature one of these 2 qualities, with our posts on graphic design trends and ways to choose an agency being highly valuable posts to businesses and marketers, while our small business success story came with a personal connection to the business, ultimately increasing the likelihood of the link being shared along with an interest to click on the link.
So should you be promoting your content? What do we recommend?
The short answer is yes. We do recommend promoting content, especially considering the time and resources going into each article or post your business creates. Should you promote all/any content? Probably not, as there will always be better or worse performing posts.
One way to determine which posts you promote is to look at those which have performed best in recent months. Those with the highest page views and best quality metrics such as the highest time spent on site, lowest bounce rates, etc. would be a good start. This content is already of interest to your readers, so should perform well if promoted to a wider audience.
In addition to that, it’s worth promoting the content that will have the biggest potential positive impact to your business. Perhaps posts about your USPs, success stories, etc. it never hurts to promote these pieces of content, as they essentially function as an ad for your business.
So summing up, promoting content does work, but keep in mind what content you promote. Begin with creating quality content in the first place, observing what readers are most interested in, and use this to improve results and get more traffic.