One of the things my team and I are working diligently on is finding new ways to distribute content and engage new audiences.
For instance, it’s quite lovely that PR Daily syndicates our content, but every time I see someone tweet something we’ve written from there, instead of here, I go a little bit more mental.
Those people have no idea the content isn’t unique to PR Daily and that there is an entire blog over here that focuses on education for our PR peers.
We love getting the extra awareness, but would love to also see our subscribers increase because of it. Not so much.
There also is an entire subset of communicators who have no idea we exist: Those who work inside corporations.
I get it. We work on the agency side so a lot of what we talk about is from that perspective. But we also create content and bring on guest authors to speak to those other audiences.
So content distribution is a huge push for us, particularly as we look to continue growing in 2015.
A Content Distribution Test
Sometimes, though, content distribution happens accidentally, as was the case with “How to Capture Blog Post Ideas” from August.
The post ran on August 5.
On August 8, Buffer included it in their newsletter (thanks, guys!) and it went out-of-control.
I love seeing those huge numbers, but they’re vanity metrics so I took a look at what kinds of traffic it drove…mostly because I was curious if people were just sharing and not actually reading.
Before Buffer highlighted the blog post, we had 908 visitors to that page and people spent an average of six minutes reading it.
After they highlighted it, we had an additional 1,019 visitors, but the average time spent dropped by a minute. The bounce rate also increased (not good).
Between the two, we had nearly 2,000 visitors in five days, with an average time spent of more than five minutes. We also gained 12 new subscribers, but considering we had more than one thousand new visitors, that’s not a very good conversion rate.
What is also interesting is several of the comments were from people who sell software that helps you capture blog post ideas and develop your content (asking our readers to buy their product). Not our typical community members.
Content Distribution Data
Here is what that data tells me:
- Content distribution through Buffer is an amazing gift because it provides social proof that people like your stuff (click to tweet). And, like it or not, people see those big numbers and think, “Wow. They must really know what they’re doing.”
- It didn’t bring the right audience to our blog. Sure, some may have come because blogging is interesting to them, but they didn’t stay because they’re not communicators and blogging is not our focus.
- More than 2,500 social shares does not equate the same in visitors. People share because they like the title and think it’ll make them look smart, but 25 percent don’t actually click on the link (fascinating!).
- All of those unqualified leads hurt your averages. Yes, I know averages are lies, but just by comparing the top two analytics screen grabs, you can see it was harmful.
- If you do a test with Buffer or Outbrain or another site that is meant to drive traffic, do it on a blog post that is focused on your niche. For instance, I might ask Buffer if they would kindly highlight a PR metrics post, for comparison.
There are lots of ways for interesting content distribution to find new audiences, increase your subscribers, and generate new leads. But they must bring the right people in because, well, those big numbers are lies.
Thanks to Danny Brown for working through this post with me.