November 14th, 2017
It started in a hotel lobby. Not the kind where there are cocktails and canapes. (After the show, it’s the afterparty—holla!) No, this one had Starbucks and notebooks and a problem.
The problem was two-fold:
First, a survey that many of YOU filled out earlier this year revealed that most people don’t recognize Convince & Convert (tear) without our esteemed leader, Jay Baer. Jay is the person our audience trusts. He’s the thought leader in our industry with the household name. His insights are the ones that resonate.
Second, our website traffic has plateaued and was starting to decline. This is something we cannot have here at C&C.
As a result, much of our strategy, our branding, and our vision needed a major refresh (and the C&C team ego was offended—just kidding!).
An Identity Crisis
You see, the Convince & Convert you experience through the blog has other parts as well. The extended team includes some of the most experienced and highly qualified consultants on the planet. The consulting team services clients every day by creating strategic programs that double clients’ results in digital marketing. This part of the business is not only fulfilling work but also a significant part of our business, making up about a third of our overall revenue.
Yet, Convince & Convert Media (including our blog and so much more) is competing against some of the biggest content marketing companies that work almost exclusively as media companies, not as a combo-pack of media, consulting, and speaking like we do. In some ways, we don’t have the level of resources to keep up the same level of production and analysis as other giant media companies, nor, arguably, would we want to. But our small, scrappy team works hard to bring the “and therefore” of digital trends that Jay is so well-trusted for to the blog each day.
A Drop in Organic Traffic
While we thought we were doing a good job keeping relevant, consistent content flowing on the blog, our traffic began steadily declining without apparent reason. We had a 30 percent drop in traffic to blog posts over the course of three months, so we knew it wasn’t a fluke.
After a few rounds of internal debate and hypothesizing, we reached into our network of experts for an outside analysis of our traffic dip. As you know, Google updates its algorithm periodically, and publishers experience a positive or negative effect of this change. Lucky for us, most of Google’s algorithm updates have not severely impacted our traffic negatively over the years. The latest update, however, favors answering user’s questions, being extremely mobile-friendly, having a fast load speed, and updating old content.
As with many other publishers, we were definitely hit by this update.
We also had to take some of our own consulting medicine in realizing (again) that more content doesn’t mean better content. Couple that with the pressure of maintaining a rotating editorial calendar including podcasts, emails, ebooks, and it was a little too crazy, even for us. We needed a reset on our content calendar that was data-driven and would boost our organic, social, and search traffic.
Analyst on Board!
Enter Christina Moravec. Christina is a new addition to the Convince & Convert team and has been helping us crack the data code since the summer so we can understand what’s resonating, what we should do more of, and of course, what we should stop doing immediately.
Which brings us back to that hotel lobby in Toronto. We knew we had a problem. We knew some data around why it may have been a problem. Now, it was time to brainstorm ways to solve the problem.
A Strategic Content Shift
The truth is, we have never had a real CMO or Content Marketing Director at Convince & Convert. Those roles have always lived under Jay’s umbrella. But if you’ve ever had a look at Jay’s Google calendar, you’ll know that combining 50 weeks on the road with overseeing the entire consulting division plus providing direction for the media side of the company is a lot for one person to handle. (Jay is a superhero, though, and has managed to do it for many, many years!)
It was time for the strategic content marketing hat to go back on the Baer head, and together, Jay and Jess created a new editorial calendar that, based on data, research, and years of marketing experience, would make a positive difference in the number new and returning visitors to our blog. Our content would be well-researched, well-written, and continue to bring the “and therefore” content of digital marketing to you.
This new editorial calendar’s launch would coincide with the website launch. We would also launch a new podcast (Experience This!) and switch to a new email marketing service provider (ConvertKit).
October 1st will live forever in our memories as the day when we launched all the things! (It is also International Coffee Day. Coincidence? We think not.)
Often in our consulting practice, we advise clients to think like a television network. This means that each “show” has a defined audience and a narrative arc. Shows have consistent schedules (Walking Dead Sunday nights, anyone?) that audiences look forward to and plan around. By shifting our blog editorial into this type of thinking, we created two distinct benefits:
- We put our audience first by ensuring consistency and the content you care about is always available.
- We allowed our editorial manager (Hi Jess!) new focus because she now matches content to shows and can be increasingly selective.
(Can you feel the zen?)
How Are We Doing?
It’s only been a few weeks since we launched all of these new things, and time will tell how they affect our traffic and rankings. In tandem with this new editorial approach, we have also implemented a plan to refresh old content that previously was performing well. This is an ongoing strategy that we’ll be revisiting every quarter. So far, though, we’ve received some positive feedback from you, and our internal team has regained confidence in our content selections. And that is an early win.
Finally, we are working with Written to identify duplicate content around the web that could be sucking away some of our SEO juice. We’re determining a plan of action for getting the right canonical tags on those pieces of content or asking the publishers to remove them entirely if they are simply scraped.
But we’d love to hear more about how you like our new podcast, our new editorial calendar, and our new Shows. What do you think? Are we providing anything that knocks your socks off or makes you fall asleep? Is there more or less that you’re seeing that you like (or dislike)?
In marketing, a big part of our job is constant improvement, so we’re always tinkering and tweaking everything we can to make it right. Of course, as soon as we get it “right,” we’ll have to go on changing things again, but isn’t that fun?