Running Out of Fresh Content Ideas for Your Blog? Read This.

 In Content Marketing, Content Planning, Content Strategy

This past September (2012), we attended Content Marketing World 2012 and I sat in on a presentation by Chris Baggott, co-founder of Compendium. His presentation provided the audience with a great list of often-overlooked sources of content  (like the email outbox of your sales people). But one comment he made really forced me to think about my own content strategy and how I advise customers. He threw out the following ugly truth:

“80% of all blog traffic comes from first-time visitors”

Wow. Really? I don’t know about you, but this goes against the grain of the publisher mindset that I’ve tried to infuse into everything we do. Here I am trying to build a loyal readership with our content and I always worry that being redundant with our content topics (sounding like a broken record) will turn our readers away. Therefore, we always need to keep the content fresh with new ideas, thoughts, tools, etc., and never cover a topic more than once. Well, I recently reviewed the last six months of our blog traffic data via Google Analytics and Chris is dead on…80% of our blog pageviews are from new visitors (82.8% to be exact).

Now on one hand, I can look at this single metric and correlate that we must not be doing a good enough job building a loyal blog following. But on the other hand, this data is telling me that my fresh content is generating a lot of organic traffic from search engines and social media. It’s getting in front of new eyeballs and exposing new audiences to our brand, our expertise and most importantly, Divvy. This begs the question…Which is better? A loyal readership that is looking to us to provide new insights (but may not be buying from us)? Or content that is finding new prospects and exposing them to the same, few, core messages that we try to communicate with each post?

Not sure if there is a definitive answer, but we’re selling a software product and the more new eyeballs that learn about Divvy and the expertise of our staff, the better. That is our content marketing goal. What’s yours?

What is Your Data Telling You? Here’s a Step-by-Step to Determine Your New Visit Percentage

Step 1 – Log into your Google Analytics profile, go to the Content section, click Site Content and then click All Pages.

Step 2 – In the upper right, set your date parameters to show you data from the last six months (or your desired date range).

Step 3 – Just above the metrics table, there is a search field (filter). Type in the base URL for your blog posts (ex: /blog/2012/). You should now be looking at a data table of all your blog posts.

Google-Analytics-Returning-Visitors

Step 4 – Under your pageviews graph, on the far left, write down the number of total pageviews by all visitors. The screenshot above shows our total at 13,731.

Step 5 – Directly under the main “Pages” header at the top, click the Advanced Segments button. Click the “New Visitors” checkbox and click Apply. Now your metrics will be adjusted to only show the data from new visitors. Again look for the total Pageviews number on the left under the pageviews graph and write that down. Ours shows 11,373.

Step 6 – Break out your calculator. Divide new visitor pageviews by total pageviews.  Our calculation was 11,373 / 13,731 = .828 (or 82.8%).

Google-Analytics-New-Visitors

4 Ways to Re-Cover Your Existing Blog Content Topics

If this exercise has shown that your new visitors are the big majority, it’s probably time to take an inventory of your existing content and look for ways to re-cover what’s there. Here are a few ideas:

  • A New Angle – You’ve probably developed blog posts that cover the main benefits of your offering. Can you dust those off and come at them from a different angle or perspective? For example: We know that agencies struggle with version control and we created a video specifically showing how Divvy can eliminate those issues. It’s probably not too much of a stretch to assume that brands have version control issues, too. We could create a new video or blog post approaching the issue from a brand’s perspective.
  • A New Story – Hopefully you’re incorporating real-life/real-customer stories into your blog content.  Assuming you’ve been doing this, what new stories have come up recently that also drive home those key benefits? Despite your product/service solving the same problem, each customer story has unique circumstances and details. The more you cover all the possibilities, the more likely a new customer will find something with which they can relate.
  • A New Addition – One great thing about list posts is that you can expand them later. Today I’ve created the “4 Ways to Re-Cover Your Existing Blog Content Topics”. Six months from now, I can come up with “4 MORE Ways to Re-Cover Your Existing Blog Content Topics”, and I’d reference the existing post to give myself yet another internal link. All good.
  • New Packaging – This one is pretty obvious. How might you repackage or repurpose existing content? Example here.

A Loyal Readership or New Eyeballs…Which is More Important to You?

Despite our goals to sell Divvy to a good chunk of the content marketing world, a loyal readership is always something I’ll strive for. I really don’t care if you buy something from me. The teacher in me really cares that you learn something from me. That said…a big part of learning is repetition. So perhaps redundant content is even more important than we may realize…

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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