FYI… this post is geared towards helping small business and insurance peeps with their business blog. So to all my insurance consumer readers no hard feelings if you’re not into this one… Check out The Murray Group I’ve been publishing more of my strictly insurance content there. Much love…
For all the hardcore blogging ninjas (barf) reading this, a 37.5% increase in blog traffic may not seem like a huge jump. I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of blog posts you can Google that claim to be able to help you achieve 100%, 200%, even 500% increases in blog traffic…
But for me (and many of you I’m sure), a professional that mostly writes about my insurance business and the insurance industry (and small business sales and marketing a little) a 37.5% jump in traffic is exciting and fun and is the type of event I feel is worth sharing with you.
OK, with the preamble out of the way let’s get back to increasing your business blog traffic - The reason I feel my 37.5% increase in blog traffic is worth sharing is because I can point to one very specific change (which is applicable to any business industry not just insurance) in the way I produce new posts that is directly responsible for the traffic increase.
Below is a snapshot of my Google Analytics chart over the last two years (these are unique visitors not pageviews). If it’s not blatantly obvious the two big red arrows are the increase that I will be referring to throughout this post. Kinda cool right? Makes me feel like all the time I spend writing isn’t for naught…
Traffic Means Nothing
I know what you’re saying right now, “Ryan, traffic means nothing. Counting traffic numbers is for egomaniacs…” Then I chuckle to myself a little in agreement because you are both right and you used the word “egomaniacs” which is kinda funny in a casual conversation…
Yes, counting traffic is definitely for the birds. What truly matters is engagement, subscriptions, and conversions. Because of this one change and some other things I have learned from these people, 11 Blog Feeds That Will Change the Way You Market Your Business, engagement, subscriptions, and conversions have been up as well.
But you have to build it before they will come… Today we are talking about building. We have to get more eyes to your blog first because no matter how great your value proposition is it takes a lot of eyes to get one click. (If you want to learn more faster Hire Me to Speak to Your Group or Business).
The One Change I Made
Here is where we get to the Meat and Potatoes of this discussion. The one change I made is simply this:
I stopped producing content and started creating content!
“Aaaaahhhhhhh! Ryan, what the hell does that mean?!”
That was very Ethereal Blog Speak and I know your pragmatic, reality-driven business mind is spinning. But I promise my advice to follow is very actionable… So let’s get to it.
So we can have productive conversation let’s start by outlining what I mean by Producing Content and Creating Content:
- Producing Content – When I say producing content I mean Writing to Write, I mean posting blog articles because you’re supposed to, I mean looking at Insurance Information Institute, ripping some coverage language and adding something about your agency and posting to your blog. Content that is produced is the crap content we all start out writing because we have no clue what we’re doing… It’s content for content’s sake.
- Creating Content – When I say creating content I mean writing with purpose and direction. When I create a blog article that article serves a very specific purpose in the grand scheme of my online presence. I use the tactics of content and inbound marketing (Marcus Sheridan) and psychological triggers (still working on this) to help push engagement and subscriptions and conversions… When you create content you are doing so for a reason (see If You Work in Insurance, This Should be the Only Article You Read on the Future of Social Media).
When I wrote the Future of Social Media piece I did so because I see the potential for what I feel to be a horrible ideology rapidly spread throughout the independent insurance agency system. I wanted to stem the epidemic in the only way I can, create a discussion.
You’re an insurance agent, why would you write about such thing?
Second, and more importantly the way independent agency competitors present themselves directly effects the perception of profession and subsequently my ability to deliver value to potential clients. That is a big deal to me. When a professional gives really crappy service the affected customer doesn’t just apply a negitive perception to that individual, they apply the perception to the entire profession as a whole.
Have a bad experience with a lawyer… “Lawyers are all arrogant crooks.”
An account over bills you… “Every accountant steals billable hours from you.”
Now you come in and try to help one of these scorn customers and the majority of your time is spent dispelling the customers fears about your profession instead of the important work you are trying to perform.
I’ve gotten off topic here, (if interested in learning more please read the Future of Social Media article above), so let’s put the train back on the tracks.
I created the Future of Social Media article with the goal of rallying independent insurance agents around the idea of Deliver Value First. What I hoped to gain out of the article and the reason I created the content was to draw liked minded insurance and small business professionals into my community (Subscribe to my newsletter).
The Future of Social Media article is original content with original ideas expressed in my unique way. You have to come to My Blog to find that content. If you are interested in my thoughts on the Future of Social Media in the Insurance Industry you have to come right here… To RyanHanley.com.
That is sexy… That is creating content. That is content with a purpose.
If someone wants to know “X”, whatever it is you write about, they have to come to your web presence. The difference between Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value has been written 500 times. Your potential customer can find the answer to Replacement Cost versus Actual Cash Value anywhere.
If you waste all your blogging time writing posts that can be found in hundreds, if not thousands, of locations online then you are just producing content… and wasting your time.
5 Things You Need to Get Over About Creating Content
Get over the “I’m not a writer” thing. I’m not a writer either I’m an insurance agent. If you can form even moderately coherent sentences and you know how to type on a keyboard you can create blog posts. The way this post is written is exactly how I talk. Do a really strong, confident, sexy male voice-over while you’re reading this… That’s me.
Get over having to post something every day or every week or even every other week. If you only post once a month, that is perfectly fine, as long as the content is unique, delivers value, and drives action from the readers.
Get over typos… They happen. Your blog is not the Wall Street Journal.
Get over the “I want my blog to look professional” thing. You want your blog to look professional and your customers want a valuable resource they can reference to help them become a more informed consumers… Who’s “Want” is more important?
Get over the ROI of social media. If you need to justify everything you do and everything you write on your blog or in social media with return on investment you will never be successful. Give up now and start a cold calling campaign. Then you can tell your boss that for every 50 calls three people didn’t tell you to go jump off bridge… Then despite having wasted a ton of time you’ll have solid ROI numbers. I’m not saying that their aren’t counting numbers associated with your blog, (I increased my traffic by 37.5% in two weeks), but in general it is extremely hard to attach a specific action with a specific result. (If you don’t like that answer read Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard amazon link).
I increased my blog’s traffic 37.5% in two weeks because I decided to start Creating Content with a purpose. I made a list of topics that I felt were of interest to my readers and then I started creating original content in my own unique voice that addressed those topics of interest.
This is a simple, non-tech change you can make to blog today, to your very next blog post that I promise will drive more traffic to your site. We’ll address what to do with that traffic in future blog posts… For now let’s just get more great content on your site and more eyeballs reading that great content.
Thank you and good luck,