Measuring Results and Maintaining Momentum
So now I wanna talk about measuring results and maintaining momentum, and I wanna start by talking about how often should you be blogging? We've kind of danced around this issue, but once again, here we are towards the end of this class, and we're kind of only now tackling the frequency question. And again, that's because my biggest goal here was getting you guys to take action, and once you take action, then it becomes easier to sort out some of these details like how often should I be doing this? So what you wanna remember is that every new blog post is another opportunity for growth. So blog traffic is like compounding interest. The more you blog, the more traffic you get. And that means more opportunities to sell your product. Because, again, that's why we're here. We're trying to sell our product. There's a reason that we're checking to make sure our posts link to our products, right? We're checking to make sure that we can keep those things related, because ultimately we're tryin...
g to sell products. And every time you blog, it's another opportunity to get that. So I wanna show a couple of graphics from this really great article that Hubspot put out a few years ago. And Hubspot is a platform that teaches inbound marketing, and inbound marketing is a fancy way of saying blogging for your business. And so that's what Hubspot did. And they did a survey of all of their members, and they wanted to see the impact of monthly blog posts on inbound traffic. And what you can see here is where it really starts to jump is when you get to the 11 to 15 blog posts a month mark. Now, I realize that at the beginning of this class, if I had said to you 11 to 15 blog posts a month, you would be like, "Megan, you're insane." But we've already just created two really quickly. So does that feel, like, if I were to say, if you hear this number now, does that sound a little less insane? Tawny, you write long. You gotta fix that one. And I'm not saying you have to go there. You can see that even at five to 10, it starts to go up. So while three to four, so that weekly schedule, can certainly work, just by adding in a little bit more content, it starts to really jump up. And what I think is interesting about this stat is then they broke it out for B2B and B2C. So if you think about it, and this is not universally across the board, but a lot of our B2B, our business to business, is probably where you would lie if you were a service provider or an infopreneur. Most of us are B2C. We're selling to consumers. And look... B2C is blue. Look at how much more of an impact those extra blog posts have on B2C. They make even more of a difference on businesses that are selling direct to consumer. Which is crazy. I would've never guessed that. But, so it makes even more of a difference for businesses like ours. So, that said, you need to find a balance between what will get results and what you can actually sustain. Because it's really well and good for me to say, "Look how much higher it gets when you get to 15 or 16," right? But if you're like, "Megan, I don't have time to write 16 blog posts "in a month," then you don't have time to write 16 blog posts in a month. That's a lot of content. So as we're talking about this frequency piece, I want you to think about what that balance is. So is it one post a week? Is it two posts a week? Is it three? Is it four? Is it everyday? What do you think can work for you? The other thing that I like to think about is this idea of developing a habit versus making a push. So there's a lot of people, myself included at different times, who preach this idea of habit, where, like, every week you write a blog post. And it's a little bit hypocritical for me to do that because that is so not my style. I am, like, an all in, hot and heavy kinda girl, and then I gotta take a break and back it up. And then for a while I'm all in, hot and heavy, and then I have to take a break. So you have to know which kind of person you are and figure out if you're the kind of person that, in order to make blogging happen, you need to develop a habit, or if you're the kind of person who wants to make a push, get a lot of content out there, reap the rewards for a while, take a break, and then do it again. So think about it this way. Would you rather commit to writing one blog post a week every week, or commit to a more intense blogging schedule for a shorter time frame and then take a break? So, for example, I'm going to write a blog post every day for the next hundred days, and then I'm gonna give myself three weeks off. It's not the, that's not the exact thing, but think about this. Which one sounds more like you? So a weekly habit is best for you if you don't wanna get overwhelmed. If the idea of making a massive content push seems overwhelming to you, stick to a weekly habit. It's also best for you if you like to have a regular schedule for your marketing activities. If you're the kind of person who likes to know every Tuesday morning I write my blog post and every Thursday morning I write my email to my list and that feels comfortable to you, there's no judgment here. This is all about what works best for you. So if that works best for you, that's great. It also works best for you if you need time between each post to develop new ideas. So if developing post ideas feels like a lot of effort to you and you need time in between each one to be like, okay, I had an idea, I got it out there, now I need time to think on the next one, a weekly habit is better. And if you think that 50 to 60 blog posts a year is really all you can handle, and that's what once a week gets us, right? If we can sneak in a couple other ones to get us maybe that five a month thing, then I would stick to the weekly habit. Maybe there's a day, week where you're really fast and you occasionally throw in two posts in one day. A shorter push is better for you if you have the time to make a bigger commitment over the next few months. You watched this whole class, and you were like, I get it, Megan. I totally see what blogging does, and I'm gonna make a commitment to this, and for the next couple of months, this is gonna be my focus. It's also right for you if you like to work in cycles instead of regular schedules. I'm a person who does not like routine. I own my own business because I do not like the idea of having to show up at work at the same place every day. Horrifying to me. So I would much rather work really cyclically. It's also best for you if you can generate a lot of content ideas quickly. I go into Polyvore, and in, like, an hour, I can have 20 outfit ideas, 20 blog posts. You may not think like that. You may not, that may not be how your brain works. You may not be able to generate content that quickly. And it's best for you if you want to commit to publishing 100 or more blog posts a year, 'cause it's easier to commit a lot of content when you're making big pushes around it to create that content. So then the other question that comes up is do you need an editorial calendar, right? Every piece of blogging advice everywhere says, "You need an editorial calendar." I have never made an editorial calendar for my blog in my life. And the reason that I'm gonna tell you you don't need one is not because they're not valuable, because there are. Ironically, I had people make editorial calendars in our email marketing class. I actually firmly believe in them in email marketing. But I don't believe in them in blogging so much because an editorial calendar prioritizes planning instead of action, and I want you guys to take action. It's really easy to sit down and make an editorial calendar, and then you're like, "Okay, I made an editorial calendar, I'm done." Feels like you accomplished something. But you didn't accomplish anything when you made an editorial calendar. You made a to-do list. So I personally, I'm not a fan of an editorial calendar. That said, if you really need one, if you need to sit down for an hour, brainstorm ideas, and then say this Thursday I'm gonna write this post, and this Thursday I'm gonna write that post, and the next Thursday I'm gonna write this post, that's fine. If you need that to work, you can totally do it. But if the thing that's been holding you back is the idea that you need an editorial calendar, I'm totally absolving you of that right now. The other question that comes up is if you make a push, should you release a lot of content at once or over time? So I know some people who are like, I'm gonna sit down and I'm gonna write 10 blog posts, but then I'm gonna release them once a week. I'm not a fan of that, because I think, what a waste to have finished blog posts sitting on your computer that aren't out in the world starting to draw in traffic. So my attitude with a push is I won't do more than two blog posts in a day. Usually I do one a day when I'm making a push. But if, in a week, I write seven blog posts, I publish them each day that week, because now they are out on the internet and that means that they can start getting crawled by Google, they can start getting found in Pinterest. So I don't like to hold my content. When it's ready, it goes out into the world. 'Cause it only works for you if it's out there. It only works when you hit publish. So don't forget to keep a list of future blog post ideas for when you need inspiration. Whether you're doing a habit or whether you're making a push, keep that list, keep coming up with those ideas, because there are gonna be days where you're like, "I have no idea what to write about." That's okay. Now you have the list. Or maybe you have this handy workbook from this class where you've been scribbling notes in the margins, right? Keep hold of this so that when at times you run out of ideas, you've got something. You can also use your blogging role models for content ideas. Annette, you could go to REI's blog and probably come up with a million content ideas and think about how you could relate them back to you, right? Done, problem solved. Just figured out a year's worth of content. The other thing, again, that you can do is mine your social media for blog post ideas. So from here on out, I know that you guys are gonna start thinking about, oh, I just posted this to Instagram. Would this make a great blog post, too? Cool, I'm gonna post it. But you've been creating content on social media possibly for a while, so go back through your old social media posts. Is there anything that you can now turn into a blog post? If you're still feeling stuck, I can't possibly see how you could be stuck for content ideas at this point. But if you're still feeling stuck, the other thing that you could do is give yourself a creative project to give your content focus. So the outfit posts on my blog literally started as what I was thinking of as a creative project. What happens if I make an outfit post every day for a year? I'm not gonna lie, I did not make it the whole year. But in that one calendar year, I think I wrote about 250 blog posts. That's not, (laughs) that's not bad, right? It's not a bad amount of content. And you can do a creative project that's not a year long, let's be honest about this. You, the popular thing right now is the 100 day project, right? Or maybe it's a 30 day project, or maybe it's I'm going to create a certain number of things. So back in what I like to call the year I wanted to be a painter (laughs) I gave myself a goal that I was going to create 100 paintings. Hundred paintings is a lotta content for your blog, right? So if you're really, really stuck, is there a creative project that you can think of? So I wanna have you guys kind of just share for a second and commit to one of the two. So are you going to commit to a blogging habit, I'm gonna go once a week, or it could be more. If you have the time and you wanna create more content, maybe you're saying I'm gonna commit to twice a week, whatever it is, are you gonna commit to a habit, and tell us what that habit is, or are you gonna do a push, and tell us what the push is. So I've decided I'm gonna make one blog post a day for the next month, or whatever it is. Tracey, what are you gonna do?
I'll blog once a week.
At least once a week.
I'm gonna do a push, try and do a blog post a day for the next 30 days.
Blog post a day?
Once a week.
Once a week.
Great. So then as you're working on this, you're also probably wondering, how do you know if your blogging effort is paying off? First of all, we're gonna ignore our blog analytics for at least the first six months. Just don't look at them. 'Cause remember, no one's reading your blog in the beginning, and it's okay. Blogging grows traffic over time, not overnight. So I wanna show you guys a little piece of data from my own website stats. So I did a little comparison. So this graph at the top is the number of blog posts I created in a month. And you can see here where I made this huge push, right? Huge push. This is the corresponding traffic. Lots of blog posts, not so much traffic. Starts to pick up a little bit. Here is where I had my first viral pin. But it really doesn't start to pick up until over a year later, about a year later is when it really picks up. And then I got momentum out of that for a while. Now, you'll also notice that I got a little lazy over here. (audience laughs) And what I found is that you get about a solid year out of your content, maybe a little more here and there. So you can't, if you're gonna make a push, you have to kinda make a push at least once a year, is what I've learned. Because then eventually it will fall away again. So also use me as a cautionary tale, right? I learned my lesson. Now I know better. But you can see how long it took from when I created a ton of blog content till that traffic really started paying dividends. And also I'd like to point out here this December spike is from a holiday outfit post I wrote a year before, and it went viral on Pinterest the next year. So if you're doing something that's got a very seasonal angle, particularly on Pinterest, it's gonna be a year. So just keep that in mind. So that's why we're going to ignore our analytics for the first six months. Because your numbers are going to be low, and I don't want to let that discourage you. I don't want you to be like, "Ugh, no one's looking at it yet." Right, they're not. That's okay. We're gonna keep working. Now, that said, if six months to a year down the road your numbers are still low, then you may need to go back and look at some things, like am I optimized, am I actually doing the right search things, am I putting the content on Pinterest like I should be? So once we're beyond our at least six months, here are some key blog metrics that you could look at. First of all, look at which posts are getting the most traffic, because obviously those are the posts that are working for you. So which posts are getting the most traffic? And then where is that traffic coming from, right? Did you manage to hit on something in Google? Did you have a pin go viral? Did you get shared somewhere else? Where is that traffic coming from? Then try to take a look at what are people clicking on after they view your posts. We have no time to talk about Google Analytics, but you're gonna talk to some people who know some things, you're gonna Google how to use Google Analytics, and it's gonna tell you some of this information. There's also some things that you can kind of use. So in, I know in Wordpress's analytics that I use for my own site, I can look at what my most popular post of the day is, and then I can also look at what people, what things people were clicking on on my site that day. So I can look at the popular posts and I can kinda make some guesses. Are people joining your mailing list after they're on your post? Are they purchasing products from your shop? Those are the things that I'm going to be paying attention to. I love it when I'm in my shop and the conversion data says, "They came directly from this blog post." Yes! It worked! Always a good sign. And if you're looking at, then, these posts that are getting traffic, what can you do to better optimize those posts if people aren't doing what you want, if they're not doing the actions that you want them to take, how can you tweak the post to get them to do those? Can you add stronger calls to action or more obvious links? Can you add additional images to better highlight your product, right? I mentioned that sometimes I add pieces down here at the end so that people know, right, here's the whole roundup, but remember, these are mine. You should shop those. They're the best. Don't say it like that, but that's really the point. Clearly that's not a ton of detail about data and metrics, because you can see I'm not real worried about it, especially in the beginning. I want you guys to take action. Do you guys have any questions about metrics or data or measuring results? Annette.
What are your thoughts on comments? Allowing comments, dealing with comments.
I have turned mine off at this point for two reasons. One, I just got sick of having to moderate spam comments, and two, the general rule of thumb conversation around the blogosphere is that people don't comment like they used to because the conversations are happening on social media. So I just turn mine off 'cause it's a lot less stress.
Good question. Anything from our online group? We're good. Perfect. And the other reason that we're not focusing too much on metrics here is because it's also important to remember that not every purchase path is a straight line. We would like to think that it is, right? Life would be easier if it was. But we all know, because we're humans who buy things, that we don't always make really linear purchasing decisions. So you might've read a blog post, and then maybe six months later you saw another blog post, and then a friend mentioned, "Hey, did you hear about these cool earrings "that are made 'cause this girl melts glass with the sun?" "Oh yeah, I think I was on her blog, like, six months ago." And then they Google sundrop jewelry and I'm up there. And you're like, "Well, they found me through a Google search." When really it was a couple of exposure to your blogs that made a difference. So we don't always know because it's not always a straight line. And so I think when we obsess about the data, we stop doing this thing that adds energy to our business. So I can say that when we looked at that chart where I was getting a lot of traffic and then it fell off when I got lazy, the reason that I got lazy is because I was, I was like, well, I can't measure this in a straight line, so it's clearly not working. And then one day I was like, I feel like all the energy dropped out of my business. So I looked at my stats and I was like, whoa, where did all my traffic go? Oh, right, I stopped blogging. So it's one of those things that, as much as we wanna measure it, it also has an intangible factor that we just can't quantify. I know there are people who are like, "Everything can be analyzed, Megan." I do not believe that for a second because we are dealing with humans, and we are dealing with products that have emotional reasons to buy, right? Not everything is linear. So instead, I want you to focus on consistently creating content that connects with your ideal customers and not worry about the metrics. I want you to think about how you can draw your ideal customer in. What kinds of posts are going to do that? And then eventually what kinds of posts are going to draw that person to your product? Well, we started this class by talking about the fact that most of us want more traffic, right? And the way to do that is to think about not obsessing over metrics, but thinking about consistently creating content that's going to connect you with your ideal customer. So again, keys to consistent blogging. Here is how we build consistency. Write short, Tawny. Write short. You do not have to write marathon, epic blog posts. Start with an image in mind. What do I want to show? Not what do I wanna say, but what do I wanna show? What do I want my ideal customer to see? Don't set yourself up for failure. Do not decide that you're gonna take a picture of yourself in an outfit every day when you hate pictures of yourself. Do not say that just because Megan does outfit posts, I need to do outfit posts. If you think that's gonna be hard, don't do it. Don't set yourself up for failure. And when you're stuck, mine your social media and your blogging role models for ideas. There's so much inspiration out there. I find that I have a hard time blogging if I'm not taking in content. If I'm not hanging out on Pinterest a lot, it's really hard to generate blog ideas, because I'm like, I don't know what goes together in an outfit post. But as soon as I'm on Pinterest for a while, then I go back to Polyvore and I'm like, well, this could be a thing and that could be a thing and that's an outfit. Sometimes you have to take in some inspiration when you're stuck for ideas. And most importantly, set aside time to blog. Whether you're making a habit or making a push, put time on your calendar. Every morning I'm gonna get up and I'm gonna, not gonna go to my studio until I write a blog post. That's how I wrote 250 blog posts in a year. And I gotta tell you, most days I was in my studio by 9:00 a.m. So it doesn't have to take up your whole day or even half your day, and definitely not many days, Michelle. (laughs) It does not have to take up that much time. So I want you to think right now about what time you're gonna carve out for blogging in the next month. Maybe it's every Thursday morning. Maybe it's every morning, or whatever it is. Write it down right now, this is the time I'm gonna commit to blogging over the next month. And I want you to remember why you're doing this. What brought you here. So we're not blogging because blogging is fun. Blogging may never feel fun to you, and that's okay. Now, it should feel easy. There's a difference, right? It may never feel fun, but I want it to feel easy. But we're not doing this because yay, it's fun to be a blogger. We're doing this because we have products that we wanna get out into the world, and we need to connect those with people who are going to buy them. And so I want you guys to keep remembering why you're doing this. So think about this. Why are you going to make blogging part of your marketing strategy? And "because Megan said so" is not a good reason. (laughs) It's an okay reason, but it's not a great reason. So remember what's important to you, why you are trying to sell your products. And then think about what blogging can do for your business. Imagine how it could change you, right, if you're connecting with your ideal customers, if you're bringing people in, if you're getting more traffic. Remember, this class is all about action, right? That's the most important thing for me here. Because this strategy only works if you do it. There is no magic, I thought about my blog and suddenly I have customers process. That'd be so nice if there was, but there's not. The only thing that works is taking action. So I wanna ask you guys, we're gonna end with some sharing, and you guys can share online, too. What is one action you can take today to build momentum for your blog and your business? Tracey, what's one action you can take today?
Mining my social media for things that already exist.
Okay. Your social media is good, too. (Tracey laughs) You've got, like, so many posts just right there. It's gonna be so easy. Tawny, one thing you can do today.
Changing my blog sidebar.
Set up a shop and blog on Shopify.
Actually start a blog.
Yes. (laughs) So that means writing a blog post, right?
Not thinking about what the blog's gonna look like, but actually starting a blog is writing a blog post.
I was gonna say write my first blog post.
Perfect. And what are we seeing from online?
I wanna share a great comment that just came in from Dee Couture, who said, "I just wanna say I always love Megan's classes. "This was not on my agenda today, "but I had to watch it and I had to learn. "I'll be staying up late tonight "and doing the work that I should've been doing "prior to today's class." (laughs) So for right now, thank you so much for watching our blogging class. We will see you next time. That's a wrap. (applause)