Hard Proof That Content Marketing Works—A Professional Speaker Case Study

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Hard Proof That Content Marketing Works—A Professional Speaker Case Study
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At the end of the day, what we (and our clients) really want is for the phone to ring, the email inbox to fill up (with real and relevant inquiries) and/or for people to walk through the door.

We don’t care about a lot of traffic. We care about getting the right traffic, visitors who are interested in us because we can serve them. We don’t want people pushed to our site. We want people to come looking for us. We want to pull them in.

Question: Can Content Marketing deliver the desired results?

Answer: Absolutely.

Case Study – Speaker Education

Wee bit of history in the company: Two old guys found themselves in the enviable position of being asked to give lectures, seminars, and destination talks on cruise ships. You know, those big behemoths that sail the world. The two fellows traveled for free with their wives in tow, so much so that before long their friends and acquaintances started asking them, “How’d you get that gig? Can you teach me how to do it?”

One of the fellows was old school – go to networking events, meet people, strike up conversations, hand out business cards, talk to the guy in the neighboring stall – that sort of thing. The other was just old. But he knew something about online and content marketing and how to get visibility via organic search.

The latter talked his friend into putting up a basic web site. SpeakOnCruises was born. (FULL DISCLOSURE: The site I am exposing here is one of mine. I asked myself if I could open up my dashboard and show you actual results and I said ‘yes.’ No need to click through unless you want to verify for yourself that the site exists or are interested in the content of the site.)

In the process of setting up the site and putting up basic content to define what the site was about, each sailed again and the site lagged somewhat. Him-hawed is the technical term.

Once back from cruising (and in lieu of working off the extra pounds from the ship’s buffet), the old dude talked his old school partner into hunkering down and putting up more relevant content to their site. He didn’t call it content marketing for fear the old school dude would have balked, signed on for another cruise and nothing would have happened to the site.

What they did:

“Just write more and follow a few guidelines,” was all the old guy advised (he wrote, too).

What they did NOT do:

1. They did NOT do keyword research.

They decided they wanted to write about speaking and cruise ships and lectures and seminars and destination and special interest talks and stuff they were interested in. They did NOT want to write about topics they didn’t care about and use keywords just because it might be more ‘search friendly.’

“If I wanted to do something I didn’t really care about I’d go back to work for Sun,” said the old school guy.

2. They did NOT do keyword frequency use.

They had no idea and still don’t know how many people might be interested in speaking on a cruise ship. They just wanted to write about something they cared about, something they were experts at, and see what kind of response there was.

3. They did NOT spend money on a template or anything else for that matter.

(Just a domain name and they put the site on an existing shared hosting account).They were too cheap. They tweaked a free template in the WordPress repository with the old dude’s limited know-how and started writing in earnest … from November 1st, 2013.

What Happened

Compare the results of three months of plodding – August, September, and October to three months of posting content regularly in November, December, and January.

SpeakOnCruises 6

SpeakOnCruises  6 month History

Unique visitors and page views are way up in the second three months.

The kind of results is important, too, as in where the traffic came from.

Speak On Cruises Organic Results

Speak On Cruises Organic Results

Organic traffic is way up. Feedburner traffic is up as well. And the only difference was MORE relevant content.

One more thing is important, even critical.

Dumb as grumpy and grumpier were, they did think to include a basic call-to-action button on their website. When clicked, the button took readers to one of three contact forms – hire us, contact us, and contact us/thank-you.

Question: Do visitors from search act on calls-to-action?

Answer: A resounding yes.

Speak On Cruises Conversion

Speak On Cruises Conversion

From November 1 – January 31st they had 1,439 unique visitors. Of those visitors 279 went to the contact form = 19.4%. And more than 100 of those filled the form in and hit send.

An actual inquiry (with details of the sender removed)

Speak On Cruises Actual Inquiry

Speak On Cruises Actual Inquiry

The content they created went to market for them.

Question: How much more content was published in the three months – Nov – Jan compared to the three months Aug – Oct?

Answer: There were 50 posts made from Aug-Oct – about one post every other day. There were 250 posts made from Nov-Dec – almost 3/day.

Conclusion

MORE relevant content posted at regular intervals with the right formatting gives better organic search results = better conversion. Simple as that.

If you want your phone to ring, more relevant email inquiries, and/or more people to come through the door, give them more reasons = more content, to do so.

Content marketing works.

All screenshots from Google Analytics, taken in February 2014.
Screenshot of SpeakOnCruises taken in February 2014.
Featured image is screenshot of SpeakOnCruises taken in 2014.
Next post – What’s the difference between online, inbound, social media and content marketing?

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Bill Belew
Professor, Speaker, Author, blogger, all-around old man. Having taught a full 48-hour MBA course in Marketing with Social Media at a graduate school in Silicon... Read Full Bio
Bill Belew
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