How a Culture of Content Marketing Increased One Company’s Web Traffic by 3000% in One Year

by Marcus Sheridan

Although you may not think this image is applicable to content marketing success, I'd submit it has everything to do with it...

Although you may not think this image is applicable to content marketing success, I’d submit it has *everything* to do with it…

I’ve discussed again and again here at TSL the need every company has, if they truly want to skyrocket their web traffic, leads, and sales—to establish a *culture* of content marketing within the organization. In order to make this culture a reality, it’s critical all employees have a shared vision and understanding of what their roles are within the content marketing process.

One of the best examples I’ve seen of a company that “gets it” with respect to this is Segue Technologies (client), an IT and software development company out of Arlington Virginia. Since the moment their VP Ron Novak decided to embrace doing content marketing from a cultural standpoint, they’ve produced exceptional results. It all started with a full-team content marketing workshop and then became a matter of developing consistent participation from the team members to keep the content efforts going. In order to help each one of these employees catch the vision, Segue produced two exceptional graphics:

Segue_Blog_Guidelines

(If you’d like to see the full, easy-to-read PDF version of this graphic, just click here: Blog_Guidelines)

Make sure you take a moment to really analyze this visual aid. It displays 5 pieces of information that every “content marketing employee” should be aware of:

1. The head of the blogging efforts (Alexa) is shown in the upper right.

2 The 4 main purposes of the blog are shown in the middle section.

3. A simple 3-step method for choosing content is shown in the 3rd section.

4. “Help tips” are mentioned for those employees struggling with producing content.

5. Sharepoint is noted (bottom right) as the content storage area.

In their next visual aid, Segue does a tremendous job showing showing the blogging goals, production, and distribution process:

Segue_Blog_Production_Process

I’m sure you can probably imagine the benefits of introducing visual aids to a company’s content marketing efforts. Sure, this may not be a good fit for a solopreneur or extremely small team, but for an organization like Segue that has dozens if not hundreds of potential content producers, it can make a very big impact on helping create a needed “cultural” approach to long term content marketing success.

Real Numbers, Real Results

In just under 12 months since they began this process, Segue has managed to produce, on average, 4 blog posts per week, which has equated to ever 200 pieces of content during this time. Not only that, but they’ve created some powerful eBooks as well. As you might imagine, their traffic, leads, and sales have been dramatically impacted. Just take a look at the following chart, which shows organic traffic growth to their website during this time period:

13 months of blogging= Incredible Results for Segue Technologies

12 months of blogging= Incredible Results for Segue Technologies

As you can see, by implementing an “all-hands-on-deck” approach, Segue went from less than 1000 organic web visitors a month when they started to roughly 25,000 visitors a month just 12 months later– a 3000% increase and an impressive accomplishment for any company, especially one that’s in a competitive market (web app development). Not only that, but today this very traffic is producing dozens and dozens of web leads per month, something that was almost non-existent before.

I could literally spend much more time discussing all that Segue has done well in this process, but suffices to say their business has been dramatically impacted by doing content marketing the right way, and truly making it a part of their company culture. In a busy world where it’s easy to say “We just don’t have the time,” Segue Technologies is an example of “doing it right,” and my hat tips to their efforts.

Your Turn:

A couple of simple questions I’d love to get your thoughts on: If you’re in a company with multiple employees, have you found ways to get them to buy-in to the process and also contribute content? If yes, please explain. Also, if you’re willing to share, what have been the traffic/leads/sales impact content marketing has had on your company?

 

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Hanley February 20, 2014 at

Marcus,

You’ve been banging this drum for as long as I’ve known you and my own personal experience internally and with clients has shown one simple fact:

Content marketing works, it’s just work.

Those willing to put the thought and effort into living by basic tenets of content marketing ALWAYS SUCCEED.

Great stuff buddy.

Hanley

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2014 at

Love that phrase Hanley: Content marketing works, it’s just work….you need to coin that one brother, otherwise someone like me will steal it!! ;-)

Appreciate the heck out of you my man,

Marcus

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Pat Palingo February 20, 2014 at

Amazing. I love those graphics!

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Andy Brown February 20, 2014 at

Great case study Marcus, you can’t argue with a graph like that! Good consistent effective work – Love it!

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2014 at

Yep, you gotta love REAL numbers Andy!

Have a great Monday!

Marcus

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Kate McQuillan February 21, 2014 at

If that doesn’t make you want to blog 4 times a week then I don’t know what will!! Brilliant!

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2014 at

You’re awesome Kate, thank you! :-)

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joe February 21, 2014 at

Great post Marcus, as always, but….

what were the increased sales.? I see visitors, leads, etc. but how much have their sales increased over the last 12 months from the start of content marketing.?

And, can that be tracked directly to web site leads.

Finally, here’s another question, I go to my boss, say content marketing is the way to go. I tell you what I will do, I will take a pay cut of 30% and you pay me x for every lead/sale that comes in through content marketing.

Is that a deal you could track with analytics.? Thanks again.

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2014 at

Good question Joe. Because each lead that fills out a form on the site can be tracked back to the original source of content that brought them to the site in the first place, Segue has been able to measure an exceptional ROI from this. Not only that, but they were able to fire their SEO company–which was way awesome!

Although I could certainly give more detail here, be rest assured that the sales from the content marketing a now a HUGE part of what drives the company revenue.

Thanks for stopping by bud!

marcus

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joe February 25, 2014 at

Marcus, thanks for the answer. One follow up what is Segue>? is that part of Hubspot.? Thanks a lot.

Joe

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Tim Hughes February 27, 2014 at

Segue is a tech company – they do web, mobile apps, some data work et c. I know from speaking with their owner that the traffic numbers have translated into significant contract opportunities and sales, and this is a B to B company that does significant sized contracts …

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joe February 28, 2014 at

Thanks Tim, appreciate the info.

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Tim Hughes February 28, 2014 at

Quick PS to this – I saw our mutual friend Ron Novak last night at an event and passed along this conversation thread. I hesitate to start quoting numbers, but suffice it to say that Ron was conservatively estimating a very significant sales and revenue growth to this campaign.

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Marcus Sheridan February 28, 2014 at

Thanks for that Tim!

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Davina K. Brewer February 21, 2014 at

I just sent a follow-up to a perspective client and my head was swimming with so many ideas for PR and SM, starting with some quality content development… as I was typing, all I could think was “man does this guy need to talk to Marcus!” FAQs = blog posts FTW. ;-) This is why. It’s the culture that drives this, Communications is key to building that traffic, developing those leads (that will lead not only to sales conversions but build relationships, brand advocates). Good stuff sir. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2014 at

You make me smile big Davina :)

I sooooo hope that prospective client of yours realizes the value of YOU and what you bring to the table!!

Marcus

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Darin "Doc" Berntson February 21, 2014 at

That is an awesome graphic Marcus. I may have to steal this idea for some clients. =)

Also, great to see the success they are having.

At my previous company, when trying to get everyone on board with blogging, I set up contests. Had a “Blog Jar” and for every post that was written by them, they got a ticket. If it was turned in on time they got an extra ticket.

We created a pool of cash, essentially each post was worth $10. So, 40 posts = $400 in the pot. Each month we would review in staff meeting the results, and pick 3 winners to split the cash.

I had 40+ people I was trying to get involved, but still, it was usually a small handful of maybe 10 folks who constantly provided content.

We eventually wanted to tie prize dollars to views/shares etc, and eventually leads/sales, but I was not there long enough to implement.

Impact was huge. It helped the company create multiple voices, all centered under one voice. I wish I still had access to the data, but lead volume did go up, and the evergreen content we created (ebooks etc) did great!

It was a lot of fun running that department… I just wish more of my prospects/clients were like your client here, and my old company. The “too busy” thing always comes up, or the owners are too worried about what someone would say. But, as agencies, we can step in and be the “Alexa” for them, and make sure they always look good.

Thanks again for this post. Gonna rob (i mean borrow) some stuff!

Doc

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Marcus Sheridan February 23, 2014 at

Doc, dude, this was so cool to read! Love what you were doing man and hopefully you’re be able to replicate something like that again in the future.

Appreciate all your support man!!

Marcus

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Vinny Polston February 24, 2014 at

Such a great post Marcus! Those graphics that they created were very solid. I can see how they’d encourage the ‘culture’! Anyways, you rock man. Keep it up!

I work at a computer hardware and services company. About 5 employees. As of now I’m really the only one producing content. Got to get them motivated!

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Marcus Sheridan February 28, 2014 at

Vinny, your life could be so much easier if you were using them, no doubt.

And remember, every time they answer/send an email that is explaining something to a prospect or customer, you likely have a new blog post there. So make sure they’re attaching you on those emails!!

Best,

Marcus

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Vinny Polston March 1, 2014 at

Hey Marcus,

Thank you for the advice! You’re definitely right that my life would be so much easier. I’ll keep the emails in mind! I typically handle most of the email support; but could definitely re-construct them into posts. Brilliant!

Thanks again for the advice!

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Tayyab February 25, 2014 at

Extremely Helpful stuff

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rakesh kumar March 3, 2014 at

Dear Marcus,

In this digital world, it is much more pertinent to produce relevant content for your reader so that they can feel comfortable with your product and services, a blog is the best solution in this case and how much interaction it gets from its reader ultimately define the success of your brand.

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Diego Gualdoni March 3, 2014 at

Figuring out how to build up traffic to site with content marketing is your key to online victory. The phrase “content is the king” is still actual. And I never seen a succesfull site without new and fresh content.

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imran March 12, 2014 at

It’s really beneficial to do guest blogging. Yes, I believe Google is a great place to start looking for guest blogging opportunities.

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Landon A. Clifford March 26, 2014 at

Hey Marcus,

I am a college student interning at a marketing firm part-time. Although my job description consists mostly of sales, I was tasked with designing a marketing plan and budget for a new accounting software company (PhrenFin). I implemented what I learned from this article, and everyone loved it! Thanks to you, I am on my way from having the intern title changed to employee.

Best wishes,

Landon A. Clifford

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Marcus Sheridan March 27, 2014 at

Thrilled to here it Landon! :0

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Shiv Sharma April 11, 2014 at

Its certainly true for any websites ranking good with good quality content marketing services. Content is the main priority factor for Google as per recent new updates. Doing quality guest posting for a site will definitely lead in the competition.

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