After more than eight years and 2,564 blog posts, this is my last day as Editor at Econsultancy. 

In my last post I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned about blogging over the years…

It works if you do it properly

This blog was initially launched as an alternative to using other forms of marketing such as PR.

It was a great fit for our paid research, events and training, allowing us to demonstrate our knowledge of digital marketing, and also to help us to learn along the way.  

Most importantly, we’ve produced orginal content that people couldn’t always find elsewhere. That has helped us to build an audience.

We’ve also generated countless sales and leads from the blog, by raising awareness of the company, referring visitors to our products, generating search traffic and more. 

Keep it simple

It’s very easy to make digital sound complicated and intimidating to newcomers, and there are some complex concepts in digital marketing. 

However, I’ve always felt it was our responsibility to explain potentially complex subjects (RTB, etc) in plain English. 

If you can’t explain it clearly yourself, perhaps you don’t understand it. 

The importance of content for SEO

Way before content marketing become the next big thing, and before the backlash, we benefitted from excellent search visibility. 

We’ve been ranking highly for digital marketing terms, especially those that relate to our products, and search has been a valuable acquisition channel for the business. 

This has come through content and writing with SEO goals in mind (though quality comes first). While we have used the services of various SEO agencies from time to time, we’ve never had a full time SEO person. We’ve just relied on content. 

Measurement is key

We’re not slaves to data and we don’t set impossibly hard traffic targets for writers, but we do take note of what the stats say. 

We want to know which content is effective in funnelling traffic through to other areas of the site, which content hits the mark with our audience, and which topics and themes are working well. 

There are lots of content marketing metrics to look at, and the ones you choose will depend on business goals. 

I like metrics that measure engagement with our site, such as this chart which looks at the number of visitors viewing three or more pages.

If this is moving in the right direction it indicates that content is hitting the mark and that related content recommendations are effective, as people are sticking around longer. 

Learn from your peers

Fortunately this industry is full of talented people who know their stuff and are prepared to share what they have learned. 

As well as my colleagues at Econsultancy, countless industry experts have been willing to lend their opinions and advice to help me to write posts. Thanks to all of you. 

In addition, I’ve learned loads from some of the excellent speakers at Econsultancy and other industry events such as BrightonSEO

The importance of the details

We’ve taken care over details like headlines, anchor text, which pages to link to internally, and so on. 

Our primary task on the blog has been to write articles that our readers find useful, but details like these ensure that the posts we spend time writing find an audience. 

It also marks the difference between a useful blog which brings in some traffic, and a proper content strategy. 

Original and useful content works 

There are thousands of marketing blogs out there, and lots of them are just writing the same articles. 

I recieve most of the same press releases, and so often they’re just copied, barely edited into some digitial news site or other. 

This is not to say there’s no value in press releases, or that we never just write about a survey or a piece of news we’ve seen, as these posts can be useful sometimes. 

However, the best content, and that which is most popular on the blog and keeps traffic coming in long after being published, is that which is original. Or evergreen

My experience with this blog is that people want to read something that helps them do their jobs better or that tells them how to make sense of recent trends. This is what works long-term, and is why sites like Smashing Magazine are so useful. 

Thanks to everyone who has read and commented on my articles and this blog over the years…