30 Articles in 30 Days: An Update on Our Content Marketing Project

MarketingProfs featured our article about glassCanopy’s content marketing project on their homepage this morning and we’ve seen a deluge of traffic. So, I thought I’d offer a quick update.

It’s been three months since we published “Content Marketing Lessons: 30 Articles in 30 Days.” Since then, we’ve posted 59 additional articles to bring us to 99 total articles published since December 1st. This will be our 100th article over a four month period.

Our original planned scope was:

  • 100 short “Q&A” articles
  • 18 “medium” articles
  • 3 “long” articles
  • 3 Interviews

Total = 124 articles by end of March

So, we failed.

Obviously, we fell short of our stated goal of 124 articles in the first three months.

But we succeeded.

However, the articles that we have published are almost all significantly longer than the anticipated Q&A posts that we originally expected to make up the bulk of our publishing schedule. And the overall output has greatly exceeded what we anticipated in both quantity (total words) and quality (we’ve written some good stuff).

More importantly, we’re still writing.

I’m pretty proud that we’re still chugging on. Despite the usual challenges of running a busy agency and servicing our clients, we’ve settled into what feels like a sustainable 5-7 articles a week. Not only that, I’m quite certain that I’d face outright rebellion if I ever tried to close down the project. Creating content has become a key part of who we are.

The results (so far):

We’ve been hacking away at this project for four months now. Here’s what we’ve seen (compared to the same period in the preceding year):

Traffic:

  • Visitors: Up 206%
  • Pages/Visit: Up 11%
  • Direct advertising costs: Down 55%
  • SEO: Significant improvement including 1st page results for several key phrases in Google

Leads:

We’ve seen a big jump in both unqualified raw leads as well as a number of qualified leads. In the past months, we’ve closed one new client and pitched two more — all directly attributable to our content marketing efforts. And additional qualified leads are in the hopper.

That might not sound like much if you’re a product or SaaS company, but it’s pretty respectable for a small marketing agency that’s really picky about the clients they take on.

Human Capital:

With apologies to Marcus Sheridan, who’s always preaching this stuff — I didn’t see this one coming. In my opinion, the most important impact of our project has been an immense improvement in our human capital. No, we didn’t hire anyone new (yet), but the effectiveness of our team has substantially increased. And we’re getting more comfortable giving voice to the thought leaders who have quietly dwelled in each of us all along.

This has been, by far, the most effective professional development project in which I’ve ever been involved. Writing has forced everyone to reflect deeply on the subjects they are writing — thoughts which they then naturally apply to client projects. And the exposure to a wide-range of thinking outside their immediate area of expertise has allowed them to further improve their work as they start to better appreciate the big picture that is modern marketing.

Everyone on the team has improved:

  • Expertise in their own area
  • Their professional profile
  • Overall marketing knowledge
  • Social media skills
  • Communication skills

This has resulted in better work for our clients, higher morale, and improved agency capacity for future projects.

Conclusion:

We started our own content marketing project as both a marketing technique to drum up new leads for the agency, and as a way to better serve our clients by eating our own dogfood. So far, we’ve seen great results in both of these metrics.

But the largest impact? The increase in our individual and collective capacity for excellence. Writing about what we thought we already knew has forced us to research and to think… and it turns out that’s the biggest benefit of all.

As soon as we hit the magic number 124, I’ll write more about the tactical lessons learned in cranking up an ambitious content marketing program from scratch.

For now, thanks for reading! And if you like what you’ve seen so far, please consider subscribing to our newsletter (the little “Marketing roundup” box on the right side of our blog), wherein we give you 5 original articles and 5 of the best marketing articles from around the web, once a week.

Rich Quarles

Rich Quarles

Rich is a marketing strategist focused primarily on startups, technology, and financial services. He has advised startups that have collectively returned almost $2 billion to founders and investors. Rich founded glassCanopy in 2001.
Rich Quarles

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