1,000 visitors a day from a single blog post



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*Update this post was originally titled ‘600 visitors a day from a single blot post’ but has since been updated to 1,000 visitors a day. The post referenced is well over 7 years old and continues to grow and drive search traffic.

How do you develop a content strategy? What is the value of a blog post? Is blogging even right for your destination marketing strategy? These are questions we get a lot when discussing marketing goals and strategies with clients. To help answer these questions, we’d like to highlight a case study of a single blog post on our site that will illustrate the value of a good content strategy as well as the process it takes to get there.

As you can see from the screenshot above, this single blog post delivers about 1,000 visitors every day to our site. This is extremely valuable traffic to our agency, and this is all from just one blog post.

Within this blog post, we have a call to action for a relevant download which as of writing has given us over 2,000 leads. Imagine if your destination produced a post like this every week. While not every post will be a homerun and drive that level of engagement, a consistent content strategy greatly increases your chances of developing content that drives ongoing engagement for many years from a single post. The cumulative effect of that traffic and leads would drastically change your marketing pipeline.

This type of content marketing strategy consists of three steps:

  • Developing content to attract targeted visitors to your site (this is the original post).
  • Developing content to capture those visitors and turn them into leads (this is the download offer)
  • Developing content to nurture those leads into becoming customers (these are follow-up email campaigns)

Content marketing with these three steps is ideal for industries with longer sales cycles and researched decisions such as someone choosing where to live, where to go on vacation, or where to open or start a business. These are all things that our clients are regularly looking to achieve with destination marketing and economic development marketing strategies.

Content Marketing mistakes

The screenshots and data in this example all pertain to a single blog post on our website. That’s an important fact to point out because it addresses two mistakes most entities make with content marketing. The first is that they view a “blog” as a daily journal and wonder, “Why would anybody come back on a regular basis to read our blog? The second is that they put the value of a single blog post very low because they view it as something that gets old and is only relevant when it’s the latest post – so they need a lot of them and need them to be cheap.

To address the first issue, we always point out that for most entities, a blog isn’t really the right term. It’s likely more just articles as it isn’t about having regular readers who come back to your site to keep up with your latest post. Many blogs have that goal, but that’s generally not the goal of in our industry and with our clients.  We hesitate to even use the word blog because it gives the wrong idea and sounds like a personal journal. Instead, the goal is to create posts or articles that someone who is currently unaware of your destination or entity finds via Google in search for information. That also addresses the second mistake mentioned above. When you create a post that is indexed by a search engine, it’s there until you take it down. So it doesn’t matter if the post was written a week ago or seven years ago. That drastically changes the value of a blog post. Many companies will hire an intern, freelancer, or even us AI, to write posts at the absolute lowest cost possible. That’s because they don’t understand the long-term value of a post that will continuously drive traffic to their site. When you calculate the value of a post that will deliver 1,000 visitors a day to your site for several years you are willing to invest more so to achieve that.

It’s also important to note the timeline of traffic of this example post. It took several months for the post to climb Google search results and really take off. For the first several months it got little to no traffic. After about 6 months it started to grow. It then rose to about 600 visits a day to now over 1,000. Many entities would have given up on blogging if after 6 months they weren’t getting the results. It’s all about the long-term cumulative effect. If you’re looking for SEO tricks and instant results you’re looking in the wrong place. It’s like researching weight loss tips online instead of just getting out there and running. Invest in creating good content that answers what your audience is looking for.

Developing Personas

We start every content strategy by first developing audience personas. In developing these personas, we interview our clients, their residents, visitors, and stakeholders, and conduct research to learn about who their best customers are – or who they want their customers to be. We think about that persona’s goals, struggles, and objectives.

Therefore, simply creating a blog post that directly answers a question you think one of your audience personas may search on Google is the first step toward getting those people to your site. Think of the top twenty-five questions each persona may search for and write a blog post for each one – you’re halfway there on developing your content strategy.

A DMO or CVB that may be thinking about an audience persona such as a parent looking to book a family trip. They may ask things like “what are fun things to do with kids in ____ ?” or  “Things to do in _____ when it’s raining.” or “Pet and kid-friendly breweries in ____.”

At CivicBrand, as an agency that work with marketing and communications folks at cities and destinations, our target audience personas are different. One of our audience personas may be a marketing director at a small DMO. Let’s call her Marketing Mary. She likely works with a vendor who manages their website, a freelance graphic designer who helps with print design work, and a company who manages their Pay-Per-Click ads, and a photographer who captures imagery for her. She also works with and manages various printers and vendors. This persona is an ideal target client because they are a perfect fit for our agency. She is likely stressed by managing multiple vendors and the brand suffers because things aren’t as consistent across everything as they could be.

Developing content that attracts

As Marketing Mary works with those different agencies and vendors, one of the things she will always be asked to provide is a vector file of her destination’s logo. Most people don’t know what a vector file is and don’t really understand the difference between all the different image file types out there. Therefore, we identified that as something Marketing Mary would simply turn to Google to answer. She may type in “Vector File” or “What’s a vector file?“. Anticipating this, we spent a good amount of time creating a blog post that would answer that and many other image file type questions.

By writing an informative post that is search engine optimized, we are now getting nearly 1000 potential Marketing Marys coming to our site every day who never would have otherwise visited our site. When Mary found our blog post, she was simply looking for information – an answer to her question. She’s not looking to hire an agency. However, if we can capture her email address and continue to send her helpful and valuable information, over time we will become a respected resource for her and when it comes time to rebrand their destination, update their DMO website, or develop a new campaign then CivicBrand may be top of mind because we’ve built that relationship with her. Certainly, not every visitor will be a Marketing Mary. Some may be students learning design but with 1000 visitors a day, there is a good chance that a number of them are Marketing Marys.

Developing content that captures

To start that process and turn her from an anonymous visitor on our site into a real contact, we need to capture her email address. A general contact form only works for those who are ready to buy. Therefore, we need to place an additional content offer surrounding the blog topic that would provide even more information in exchange for her email. In this case, we created an Images Cheat Sheet. If she enjoyed the blog post she’d likely appreciate being able to download the cheat sheet and have it on file for future reference. This “offer” isn’t about our company or our services, it’s just relevant and helpful information. As you saw above, this has led to over 2,000 new leads.

Developing content that nurtures

Now that we have Marketing Mary’s email we can start sending her additional emails spaced out over time. This series of emails is often referred to as a drip campaign or marketing automation. The mistake companies make here is they immediately go into sales mode and start selling and spamming. That leads to unsubscribes. Instead, we want to continue to focus on giving Mary expert information that positions us as experts in our industry. As that relationship develops, we will introduce other offers. The more offers Mary downloads, the more likely it is that she is shifting from mere consumer of our information to possibly considering hiring our agency.

We do this for our own marketing and specialize in doing this for our clients as well. For many clients, we help develop the brand and content strategy and then set up the marketing automation system and the client takes it from there to create the actual content. For other clients, we work with them to continue to develop and optimize that content for them. It all depends on their in-house capabilities, time, and resources available.

To successfully implement a content marketing strategy takes time and the ability to understand and develop solid personas, the ability to write content that those personas are looking for; the ability to optimize that content so that it gets found, the ability to create downloadable content to capture leads, and the ability to develop content for marketing automation emails to nurture those leads. Additionally, the understanding and use of marketing automation software like Hubspot, Pardot, or Marketo helps in tracking everything, sending automated emails, and measuring effectiveness.

Let’s get started developing personas relevant to your industry and creating a content strategy.

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