At the risk of sounding incredibly cliché, 2014 was a great year for the HiP Blog. In early June, we revitalized our efforts with a brand new content strategy and a set of dedicated writers. With these pieces in place, we pumped out nearly one hundred posts over the final half of the year. This content has helped us to carve out a small, but growing following in our niche.
With 2014 coming to end, we crunched the numbers on the year’s posts. Overall, we were thrilled with the results. The new blog contributed to a 97% increase in overall traffic, a 121% increase in returning visitors, an 11% increase in average time on page, and, despite limited collection processes, a noticeable increase in inbound conversions.
From post to post, as one might expect, there were winners and losers. An average post might get between 60 and 90 unique views, while some of our top posts easily tripled these numbers. It was interesting to see which posts struck a chord and this knowledge will certainly help to shape planning for 2015.
As a salute to our readers and the year gone by, we’ve chosen to put together a list, highlighting our top five posts of 2014 (as defined by your viewership).
5. “21 Surprising (and Tweetable) Lead Generation Statistics” (October 9th, 2014)
This post is a compilation of some interesting statistics related to the topic of lead generation. These statistics were collected from a variety of reliable sources from around the Web. They cover topics ranging from lead generation techniques to lead generation outcomes.
“21 Surprising (and Tweetable) Lead Generation Statistics” is one a handful of statistics posts on the HiP Blog. To be honest, statistics posts are some of the most fun for me as a writer. The best thing about them is that I learn something every time I make one. While researching and arranging the statistics, I come across a wide variety of insights and trends. I often find myself referencing these insights in subsequent conversations or posts and, in some cases, they even inspire new content. Evidently, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Statistics posts are an interesting contrast to a typical post. They’re shorter – a quick read. They simply present the facts without any sort of analysis. They let the reader draw conclusions. These factors are exactly what makes the post work. In a few minutes, a reader can go through the post and pick out a couple of insights that surprise or interest them. This post in particular was successful because it incorporated “Click to Tweet” buttons accompanying each statistic, enabling quick social sharing.
4. “The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing Content” (July 9th, 2014)
Drawing from information in HiP’s email best practices guide, this post covers the most important points for writing email marketing copy. It speaks to the difficulties in balancing the preferences of spam filters and users in email copy.
There are two elements that make this post particularly successful.
First, like the previous post, it’s extremely scannable. In a couple of minutes, a reader could quickly read through the lists and ensure that they were doing the “Do’s” and avoiding the “Don’ts”. The short blurbs following each point provide an extra detail or two, but never exceed a handful of sentences.
The other component that makes this post successful is that it’s supported by the more robust HiP Email Best Practices document. Having this document as an accompaniment, allows the post to touch on the major points and the refer readers to then longer document for more detail.
3. “13 Free Content Creation Tools You Can’t (or Shouldn’t) Live Without” (July 28th, 2014)
For this post, we compiled a list of some of our favorite free content creation tools. Our list contains tools for graphics, copywriting, and various miscellaneous functions – animations, icons, and “Click to Tweet” buttons to name a few. Though many of the tools are fairly specialized, they’re certainly worthwhile to keep on hand (especially considering they’re free).
Utility is the name of the game for this post. There are few content creators that wouldn’t be able to make use of at least one of the tools in the post. These help to address two of the biggest problems for content creators: time and quality. They allow creators to produce impressive, engaging content much more quickly.
With links to access the tools, blurbs explaining their basic function, and screenshots demoing major features, the post adds value by making these tools available and easy to evaluate. Such curated posts can prove invaluable as a one-stop-shop for information that would otherwise have taken significant research (and motivation).
2. “8 Phrases that Will Land You in the Spam Folder” (July 16th, 2014)
The strong performance from the month of July continues with “8 Phrases that Will Land You in the Spam Folder”. Based on a longer study of Apache SpamAssassin, this post outlines eight phrases that spam filters specifically target in email copy. Some of the phrases are the expected ‘spammy’, Nigerian Prince-esque terms, while others are much more surprising.
Like the “The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing Content”, this post benefits from leaning on a longer document. In this case, the full document provides examples and in-depth explanations, while the post is able to speak more generally.
The other, arguably more important, element of this post is its subject matter. Email marketers understand the implications of spam filters on their campaigns. They are to be respected (and even feared). At the same time, variance between major spam filters and corporate filters makes the rules and operating principals of spam and deliverability esoteric. Most posts about spam speak in abstract terms. This post is somewhat refreshing because, though it is by no means comprehensive, it picks a major spam filter and makes specific references.
1. “What is a Lead? What is a Prospect? What’s the Difference?” (September 24th, 2014)
“What is a Lead? What is a Prospect? What’s the Difference?” was this year’s top post – and it was the top post by a large margin. Even months after it was published, this post remains one of the most popular on the blog. For comparison, this post received over 12 times our average number of views. It had more than three times as many views as the next most popular post.
This post has an extremely simple concept. It examples two commonly used terms – “Lead” and “Prospect” – and attempts to arrive at an agreeable definition. To do so, it begins with the non-business, dictionary definitions of the words and then applies those roots to a business context. The post then outlines differences between the two terms.
So, why was this post vastly more popular than its counterparts? Well, from a content standpoint, it addresses a set of common and crucial questions. As the post says, “Lead” and “Prospect” are terms that are thrown around a lot in B2B marketing. The two terms are often used with the assumption that readers share the same industry-specific or company-specific definitions. These diverging definitions often incongruent, if not directly contradictory, to one another. A shared definition and agreed-upon relationship between terms is imperative, especially for a blog that discusses topics surrounding lead generation.
In a more literal sense, this post was successful due to search engine traffic. Over 90% of the traffic to the post came from organic search. This post has the benefit of a very SEO-friendly title. Questions like “What is _____?” and “What’s the difference between _____ and _____?” are some of the most common long-tail keywords. The repetition of these terms through the post and the metadata help the post to rank high in these common searches and drive a particularly large amount of traffic. It’s certainly something to remember for future writing.
Let us know what you think:
- What was your favorite post in 2014?
- Did your favorites make the list?
- What would you like to see more of in 2015?