Do content marketing reruns work?

I’m glad to be back from vacation after a week completely off the grid. Talk about a drastic change in lifestyle, going to a place where devices don’t even work (thus removing the temptation to “just check in”). I recommend it heartily.

Before I left for vacation, I thought I’d run an experiment using reruns on social media to power my social media postings for the week. Instead of my normal routine of a new blog post each day plus a welcome message (2 links back to my website per day), I went to five reruns plus a welcome message (6 links back to my website per day). Each rerun was a link back to a past popular post of mine from the past two years.

Now, going into this, the logical hypothesis would be a 300% increase in website traffic, right? I literally tripled the number of direct links back to my website. In fact, it should be even more, because my audience has changed and grown in a year. Last year on Twitter alone, I had 7,000 fewer followers:

Followers_-_Twitter_Ads

So with an audience that’s bigger and triple the number of links, let’s see what the results were:

All_Traffic_-_Google_Analytics

Cue the womp womp trumpet, please. Yes, folks, you read that correctly. I had 43% LESS traffic this year compared to the same calendar week the previous year. The traffic source that drove the loss? Organic search traffic, where I had half the visitors from last year.

It’s been shouted far and wide that Google loves relevance, freshness, and diversity of content. Re-runs with no new content paint a bulls-eye on your butt for freshness and diversity, and in the world of the content shock, someone will always be creating more relevant content today than content you made a year or two ago.

The bottom line? Re-runs didn’t work for me in this particular test case. My site took a beating on organic search traffic by my taking my foot off the gas for a week. Does this mean re-runs won’t work for you? Of course not – as always, you need to test for yourself. However, go into that test with a modified hypothesis, now that you’ve seen at least one test case where the result fell far short of the hypothesis.


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My blog is a selfie

I listened with interest to the most recent episode of Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster’s Marketing Companion Podcast (an excellent addition to your lineup if you listen to marketing podcasts) in a discussion about authorship and who we write for. A commercial, corporate blog doubtlessly has done its homework and designed personas for who the corporation writes for. I know we do this on the work blog I co-write for SHIFT Communications. This isn’t a corporate blog, though.

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But who is this blog written for? The short answer: me. I write down things here that I want to remember, write down little words and phrases that I want to save for the purposes of recalling later. I write ideas down that I eventually want to incorporate into talks and presentations. Yes, I could do this in Evernote (and that’s where many blog posts start) but you can’t Google your Evernote notebook. I can Google my site for the vague hint of an idea I wrote down a few years ago and find it more easily.

I blog here daily not for search traffic, not for a keyword list I need to hit, but because it keeps me sharp. My writing skills don’t rust. Blogging is like a mental workout every day. Can I come up with something new? Can I synthesize data into something coherent? Can I figure out what an announcement from a respected company or person means for me as a marketer? If you want to blog successfully for a long period of time, you have to write for yourself first and foremost.

I see selfies on Facebook of friends post-workout every day. This blog is my mental workout selfie, but the difference is that hopefully, you get a little stronger, too.


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The top business-killing habit: silos

If there’s been one overarching theme I’ve heard in dozens of discussions with people the past few months at various conferences, it’s this: so many businesses have put various marketing components in silos that never communicate. Marketing runs email, but public relations runs social media, and the website is handled by IT. The ad agency doesn’t talk to any of them. The result? Brand shear, as the experience a customer gets on different media properties varies wildly. No one’s talking. No one’s collaborating.

Do you want to drastically improve your marketing performance and ROI? Make sure that the team handling execution of marketing programs is sitting as close to the team handling social media and the team handling the website, if they’re not the same people. Make sure that IT, marketing, advertising, and PR all sit down for lunch or beers or coffee twice a month or even weekly, so that everyone’s on the same page and knows what’s going on in other parts of the organization. Give equal billing to each media channel, because different audience members will prefer different methods of hearing from you.

Want to get the most juice for the squeeze? Share data liberally inside your organization. Marketing should have access to web analytics (I’m astonished how many don’t!). Sales should have access to marketing data. Customer service should have access to the sales CRM so that they know what experiences the customer has had already. Put everyone on as few systems as possible, discourage fiefdoms of data, and you’ll win far more than you’ll lose.

The alternative? Incongruous communications that confuse the customer and deter the prospect from doing business with you. Avoid this by putting collaboration and communication as a top organizational priority!


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