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Investing in Big Content Assets for Big Returns

Chris Dyson
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There is a lot of debate in the online marketing world about whether investing in fewer larger pieces of content or creating regular small pieces content is the best way to go when it comes to content marketing. Of course this all depends upon your audience and goals but we decided to put a lot of our efforts into one big content project.

For our big internal project last year, we wanted to come up with a piece of content that catered to our strengths but at the same time could become a useful resource to the community as a useful training tool.

From here the "Anatomy of a Perfect Web Page" was born. We decided to create an interactive one page format which users could easily navigate and expand to learn more about the different design and technical elements of a web page.

It took a while to get the best format but we eventually agreed upon on something that offered an easy to understand user interface, which was an important factor considering we now had 33 separate elements.

The top navigation looks like this:

Perfect Web Page Headers

Each subheading expands into a section of its own, and our plans for this content were quite straightforward:

  • Offer brief descriptions with actionable tips
  • Use screenshots of real life best practise
  • Link out to the very best resources on the topic.

We then used Balsamiq to build up annotated diagrams to highlight all the different features on the web page, such as breadcrumbs, schema and call to actions.

Balsamiq Images

Executing a Content Promotion Strategy

As with many big launches the content was shared quite a lot on social media and the links started to come in straight away. In my last Search Engine Watch post I shared my tips for better content promotion strategy.

forrester-owned-earned-and-paid-media-grid-from-2009

Image Credit: Forrester Research

Influencer Outreach

The biggest source of traffic at the start was from the people we had approached in the creation process for feedback who were happy to share it on social media. We also contacted the websites that we had linked out to and let them know about the new project, many of them shared it too.

After the first three weeks we had over 26,000 pageviews:

26k pageviews

Targeting Content Curators

About two weeks later the project was featured in the Moz top 10 which sent a considerable spike in traffic and even more social shares and links.

Traffic spike

Link Reclamation

We setup alerts in Imageraider for any images we had created in the post additionally we setup Google Alerts to send notifications if any copied the text directly from the page so that we could ask them for a credit link.

To date the content has delivered:

  • 49,068 Unique Pageviews

55k pageviews

  • 3000+ Social Shares

3000 social shares

  • More than 5,000 hours of viewing time.
  • More 820 links from 100 different domains.

Even now, more than 40 people per day are visiting the page.

Traffic now

Failing to Execute on the Promotion Strategy

Despite the fact that we met all the goals for our project we still believe we could have had a much higher return on investment from it despite seeing such a positive outcome.

The sad thing was that we launched the project during a very busy period of client work and really should have taken the option to delay the launch by a couple of weeks. Sometimes you're up against deadlines if you're trying to create a piece of content to coincide with an event, but in this case we weren't.

Due to this fact there was little time to promote the content, our influencer outreach plan was cut down considerably and the paid content discovery plan was never carried out.

Plan for Maintenance

As we now have a large piece of content that regularly attracts new visitors to our site we have setup a schedule to maintain it. Quite often you find that clients have already built a very useful piece of content on their site but have failed to make sure that any data or recommendations are still relevant. Many businesses still don't budget for the ongoing efforts necessary.

This is why every eight weeks we check that:

  • The layout and interaction is working as expected across different devices and browsers.
  • The links to external resources are not broken and fixed.
  • Any major changes in the industry may require a new section

Over the Easter weekend we plan to give the whole piece an overhaul and add in any new sections by dedicating 30 hours of internal time to it.

Conclusion

Big content can deliver big returns on investment and despite the ongoing maintenance it means that with every major update you have the opportunity to promote it again. Start out by contacting the people who have helped promote your work in the past as well as try to reach out to the audiences you missed out on the last time around.

No matter how great you think your content is, it's always important to make sure that you promote it heavily.


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