I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Content is king!
In fact over the last 5 years, content marketing has been an ever-increasing search term. In today’s modern age, it’s the ‘tops’.
In case your behind on the topic, check out this blog post for getting started with content marketing.
But if you are savvy, keep reading.
What you are about to read is a case study, by the folks over at Distilled, who produced a simple unique piece of content they used to bolster huge spikes in both traffic, as well as revenue (typically, you won’t want to approach your marketing/branding with only 1 piece of content. If you build it, doesn’t always merit, they will come.)
Source: Google Trends
Our client is Ginny’s (shoutout to Matt and Cailey). Ginny's is an ecommerce business based in the beautiful state of Wisconsin.
The process of creating a link-worthy story
Here are the steps my team and I went through for this particular client.
The first step in the creative process is ideation, because without great ideas you can’t a have a great piece of content. It’s important to give yourself enough time for ideation. Don’t rush it, and be sure to include various team members with different backgrounds to get as many ideas as possible. Note: stock up on coffee/Red Bull and snacks for this.
Typically after an ideation session you'll have many potential ideas. It’s important to go through and validate them. When I say “validate,” I mean making sure others haven’t already done something similar, or that creating the piece is actually possible (you have access to the right data, etc.)
At this point you'll have a handful of ideas that are not only on-brand and interesting, but have great potential in being picked up by various sources. Put together a nice deck and pitch your ideas to the client. The goal is to get your client to pick one (or a few, depending on the budget).
Gathering the data
Once your client signs off on a piece, it’s time to dive into the data! Depending on the piece you're creating, this might look like scraping websites and doing a ton of research to get the right data you need. Take your time on this, as you want to make sure your data is accurate and relevant.
During this part of the process, it’s a great idea to start mocking up some potential designs. If your piece is smaller, this might be a quick and simple task. If you have a data visualization, this will be longer. Typically, it’s a good idea to create 2–3 mockups and give your client some options.
Once your client signs off on a particular design, it’s time to dive into development.
The actual copy for the piece doesn’t have to happen after the development, but it’s usually a good idea to allow the copywriter to see how much space they have to work with. What you don’t want is for your copywriter to write 500 words when the designer has made space for 100. Communication is key in this process.
Once the piece is built, it’s important to test it out on various browsers and devices. Ask people to give it a run and try to fix as many errors/bugs as possible.
Depending on your timeline, you might want to start promotion sooner than this. The important thing to note is to consider pre-pitching and reaching out to contacts to gauge their interest in the piece as soon as possible. Keep your contacts updated and be sure to give them everything they need for their stories.
It’s time to launch!
On the day the piece launches, be sure that you are reminding journalists, reaching out to contacts, sharing the piece on social media, and making your social campaigns live.
There are a lot of steps to building a creative piece, so don’t underestimate the work that goes into it! After you launch the piece be sure to have a beer, give yourself a pat on the back, or do whatever it is you need to do to celebrate.
Post-ideation: What we came up with
After the process outlined above, our team came up with 50 States of Bacon.
The idea was simple: Everyone likes bacon, but who likes it the most? Ginny’s caters to a lot of people who love deep frying, so this was on-brand. We decided to use Instagram’s (now difficult to access) API to extract 33,742 photos that were tagged with #bacon and located within the USA. To normalize for population distribution and Instagram usage, we also collected 64,640 photos with the tags #food, #breakfast, #lunch, and #dinner.
What happened after we launched the piece?
So, what happened after we launched the piece? Let’s dive in.
Here are some of the larger websites 50 States of Bacon got picked up on.
Tweeted from account (115K+)
Tweeted from account (6.95M+)
Referred 1,200+ visitors
Tweeted from account (274K+)
Here is what the LRDs and DA looked like before we launched the piece, and then after 4 months of it being live:
4 Months Later
Linking Root Domains
Let’s break this down by metric. Here's a graph of the LRDs over time (we launched the piece at about the start of the uplift).
The domain authority didn’t budge until about 4 months after we launched the piece. We weren’t actively pursuing any other link-based campaigns during this time, so it’s safe to say the creative piece had a lot to do with this boost in DA.
Note: Since DA is refreshed with new pools of data, this observation wouldn’t have been as valid if the DA only moved one or two positions. But, since it moved 7 positions so close to the launch of this piece, I feel like it’s safe to assume the piece contributed greatly.
Does this mean if you do a similar piece that your DA will also increase? No. Does it give us a good example on what can happen? Absolutely.
Pretty cool right? I mean everyone loves bacon so the ideation to centralize around such a popular food item was a big success.
if you want to read more about the full story, check out the full article here over at Moz.com
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