5 tips for turning a blog into a content marketing campaign that can last for months

eNitiate | Content Marketing | Feb 2020

Development of high-quality content is one of the most challenging aspects of  content marketing. My conclusion is based on the observation of the many companies across all sectors of the economy that are battling to keep up. 

This is despite my view that companies are awash with many brand stories that are screaming to be told.  

Overlay the companies’ inability to publish high-quality content with high frequencies, and the challenge becomes even bigger. 

And yet, this element of content marketing is key for successful brand development.

I shall have you know that we use blogging at eNitiate actively to build our brand and market our services. And we have seen the results. 

In this blog I share the 5 tips for turning a blog into a successful content marketing campaign that can last for months.   

Here is a table of main sections for navigating this blog

It has become my trademark that I develop long form blogs. Clearly, I have a lot to say.

To help you with biting my published content in chunks you can chew, I shall be including a table of sections in all my blogs going forward, and enable you to tap on any section to go directly to it if you would prefer this approach to taking it all in at your own pace and time. But if you do, please remember to keep coming back until you complete reading the blog, ok?

Here goes.

The value of content marketing to eNitiate

Here are some interesting stats to set the scene:

  • Our first official blog was publish on the 2nd of October 2009
  • We have to date published 532 blog posts. Counting the number of weeks since the date of the first official blog – 537 as at the date of publishing this blog, we have been blogging almost every week 😎

Our secrete for achieving the number of blogs to date? I have grown to appreciate the value of blogging as a marketing tool for our business, so I drive this activity aggressively, using all arsenal at eNitiate’s disposal. 

As part of the blogging drive, all our employees are encouraged to blog about their roles and topics of interest. Myself included, of course!

As a result of the contribution by employed media (my reference to the eNitiaters), we have plenty of stories to tell on the official Website. Yes, we do not always get it right, but we keep at it regardless. 

How our blogging has changed over time

We became smarter with our blogging activities as our expertise and confidence in this form of content marketing grew. 

We now increasingly spend less time chasing numbers and more time developing high-quality, evergreen content. 

We have gone a step further and now turn some of our published content pieces into content marketing campaigns. 

This ensures that our content works harder as we optimise it over longer periods of time, across multiple content platforms and media channels.

To guide our content optimisation efforts, we developed the Content Marketing Continuum

See the diagram below:  

Note that the connecting arrows in the Content Marketing Continuum go in both directions. This signifies the fact that content marketing is a dynamic, iterative process. 

Equally importantly, there is no linear way in which the Continuum’s process flows either. As we have come to learn, there are instances when multiple activities take place before, during and after publishing of evergreen content. The trick is to always be ready to spot opportunities and leverage them as they present themselves.

We do not tick every box in the Continuum with our evergreen content pieces, but we certainly get more for our content marketing efforts now more than ever,  as confirmed by the Web metrics that we track. There is more about this Sections 1.3 and 4 of this blog. 

In this post, I am going to demonstrate how I have used the Continuum with my two “O Jewa Ke Eng” blogs.

1. Blogging as a form of content marketing

1.1. Ideas

Blog ideas can come from any source. But, we have come to find that blog content that has high relevancy – that is based on trending topics or current, relatable events – drives more traffic to the eNitiate site. 

O Jewa Ke Eng?, a topic that trended on Twitter for many months in 2019, is one such example.   

There is increasing leaning towards trending topics as a source of inspiration for blogging ideas. We have two caveats, though:

  •  As a minimum, trending topics should transcend geographies, or should offer opportunities for universal learnings. 
  •  A delicate balance must always be kept between blog content that is inspired by trending topics and ensuring that we attract traffic with higher propensity for business.

1.2. Our content development template

The blogging rule at eNitiate is that we do not blog like reporters. We blog in the role of subject-matter experts

In line with our point of departure above, the blogging formula that we follow for our published content is that it must have learnings that current and prospective clients and the digital marketing community at large can benefit from.   

In the application of our blogging formula, generous space is left for personal voices of the various eNitiaters who contribute to come through. 

As an example, my voice is more businesslike, while other eNitiaters use more playful language in their blog content. 

In addition, experimentation is encouraged. Many of the learnings come from this. 

As an example, we discovered that developing blog series adds to richness and increases lifespan of published content. 

My previous blog, about “O Jewa Ke Eng“, was the second in a 2-part series. More about this topic in Section 5 of this blog.

1.3. Structuring the content according to devices

Knowledge of content consumption habits that are influenced by devices is key.

at work, sitting down, has time ☞ long form content can work

on-the-go, multi-tasking, limited time ☞ short form content is ideal

See how, for the past month to 1 February 2020, durations linked to visits to the eNitiate Website differed for desktop and mobile devices.

0
Seconds

Desktop

0
Seconds

Mobile

0
Seconds

Average

Simply put, users spent 5 times more time on the eNitiate Website using desktop computers as compared to mobile devices.

The results above point to the fact that device-influenced user experience should be incorporated as part of content optimisation efforts. 

2. Repurposing of published content

Blogging tends to kickstart the process of our content marketing activities. While I indicated above that trending topics are increasingly providing a well of inspiration, this is certainly not the only source for topic ideas. 

There has been a fair share of my blogs that were inspired by my travels on the continent.

The next step after publishing a blog is the exploration of opportunities for repurposing the content. This can take any form, as depicted in the Content Marketing Continuum diagram above.

In the case of “O Jewa Ke Eng” blog, a radio interview was secured to discuss the 12 lessons I share in the blog, leveraging on the fact that the topic was trending at the time of publishing the post, and this was subsequently turned into a podcast. 

More about the role traditional media plays in content marketing in Section 3.3.

3. Promoting published content

3.1. Integrated media promotion calendar

  • Stretch the life of your evergreen blog for as long as it is possible. 

Rationale? 

  • Developing high-quality content takes effort and time. It does not make sense to not put similar amount of effort and time behind maximising opportunities for the published content to be seen.
  • Bursts of traffic followed by long periods of low to no-traffic in between are not great for search engine optimisation. 

A promotion calendar that incorporates all the accessible types of media, scheduled over the longest possible time, is preferable. Consider the following channels:

  • Mainstream social networks. Schedule daily posts with excerpts of the blog to increase interest.
  • LinkedIn Groups. Needless to say, this additional channel is a great source of professional traffic that cannot be accessed using only one’s or company’s feeds.
  • Google My Business. Publish a post on this platform, with a link to the post for Google traffic.
  • Newsletter. Don’t forget to send out a newsletter, still one of the most effective digital marketing platforms.
Is the list above exhaustive? Certainly not.

3.2. Value of Whatsapp

I have come to appreciate the value of Whatsapp as part of the channels for the promotion of evergreen content.

If Whatsapp used sensitively, this channel is effective for accessing mobile contacts. Whatsapp groups are an extended source, given some of the contacts in them are not direct. 

In my case, many of my Whatsapp contacts and groups are professional. What’s more, some of the contacts and group members are scattered around the African continent 👌🏾

3.3. What about traditional media opportunities?

Traditional media are a key part of integrated media. They must be targeted for the promotion of evergreen content. 

As I mentioned in the previous section, the “O Jewa Ke Eng” blog was also promoted on radio. The said interview lead to a new wave of social media activity, which earned this content pice extra eyeballs, and extended its lifespan.  

Here is a tip: All media houses – digital and traditional alike – are always on the hunt for high-quality, relevant content. However, they will not always discover it on Google. You have to bring your published content to their attention if you believe it passes this test! 

Some of my Whatsapp contacts are radio and tv producers. I make it my business to share with them published content that I believe stands a chance of attracting their interest. This is how I was able to secure a radio interview for the “O Jewa Ke Eng” blog.  

4. Analyse performance of your content marketing campaigns

Both the “O Jewa Ke Eng” blogs have been the top 2 most viewed pages on the eNitiate Website for last month. This is the first time since 2014 where the eNitiate Home page was not the most viewed page. 

The stat above alone shows that the campaign to promote the 2 blogs has worked thus far, and I am happy with this finding. 

As a reminder, I shared stats on session durations of desktop and mobile devices in Section 1.3. In addition, last month was the first time for eNitiate Website to be viewed on mobile devices ahead of desktop. I am tempted to beat the revamped Website victory drum for this swing, but I shall curb my enthusiasm.

Make it a habit to check your Web stats to assess the performance of your content marketing efforts on an ongoing basis.

 There will be more about this 2-part blog series here below.

5. Publish a blog series

It is far easier to extend the life of already successful content marketing efforts, than to come up with new ideas all the time.

Hollywood blockbusters such as James Bond and The Fast and Furious franchises understand this very well. 

In the case of “O Jewa Ke Eng” 2-part series, the first blog was published in July 2019. The second one in early January 2020. This has created many opportunities to maximise the two blogs over a longer period of time, and the latest Web stats that I shared in Section 4. show that this has worked!

Is there an opportunity for a third blog under the theme above? We will keep assessing, but suffice to say this very blog was made possible by this latest content marketing success 😉.

Bonus tip

Added on 18 February 2020. 

The bonus tip that I promised to share by the date above, as part of keeping the content of this blog fresh, is the incorporation of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in your blogging efforts. 

Blogging without SEO is tantamount to developing content that cannot be found without you actively pushing it to the relevant online media platforms. This can be daunting when you think about it. 

Yes, I know the tension between blogging for humans versus doing so for machines. However, there is no reason why the two can’t live side by side.

As part of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s before you publish your blog, take some time to enhance the chances for the content you developed to be found on search engines. The “free” traffic from this source is golden, and it does not need you to do anything else for it to be sent your way.

Luckily, plugins such as Yoast SEO come in handy for on-page SEO, without the need to be a SEO expert yourself.

Feel free to Google “SEO” if you want to know more about the subject. You will find volumes of information about it.

Recap on the 5 (+ bonus) tips shared in this post

I am the first one to admit that the “O Jewa Ke Eng” content marketing series is our biggest success in all our years of blogging.

I am not going to speculate on why it took so long. I shall say this though, this very phenomenon is rare in the whole of Twitterverse itself! We are glad that we spotted the opportunity of blogging about the phenomenon, while also playing a part in chronicling events surrounding it for posterity. 

In a way, this blog is journaling the learnings of our content marketing successes, and which we will use in the future – both for eNitiate’s and our clients’ content marketing campaigns.

I am hoping you found the 5 tips (+ the bonus) useful for your own content marketing purposes.

Review of the performance of this blog after one month of publishing it

Added on 4 March 2020.

I promised that I shall share the 1-month promotion calendar that I used for this blog by the 3rd of March. So, I am one day late 🤦🏽‍♂️. Here goes:

  • Week 1 of February:
    Promote the blog generically on multiple distribution channels. ✅
  • Week 2:
    Promote 1 tip a day for 5 days. ❌
    Publish newsletter on Tue. ✅
    Publish the blog’s link on LinkedIn groups on Wed and on WhatsApp on Thur. ✅
  • Week 3:
    Add bonus tip to the site, and re-share the blog on social media. ✅
  • Week 4:
    Update the blog with the content calendar, and share Web stats ✅

All but one of the planned tasks were executed. As other business priorities got in the way, the one affected task above (marked by ❌) had to be dropped.

According to Web stats, the blog was in the top 18 most viewed blogs and in the top 21 most viewed pages on the eNitiate Website overall for the month of February. 

I am not 100% satisfied with the blog’s results above. My target was a top 10 showing overall. However, the evergreen content of this blog allows for multiple promotion opportunities in the future.

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