#OpenBlog Progress Report 1 – October 2016

#OpenBlog Progress Report

This is the first #OpenBlog Progress Report. Every month we’ll be sharing updates as we try to grow our blog to 100,000 visitors.

To find our how we’re doing, read on!

#OpenBlog Progress Report

Here are our monthly stats as of 8th October 2016:

This Month’s Goal

Since this was our first month of the #OpenBlog experiment we didn’t focus too much on metrics as we had no real baseline to compare them with. Instead, our main goal in the first month was to get into a rhythm of regularly publishing and promoting new content.

This is something that we never managed to do in the past. Despite our best intentions we never had any sort of plan for publishing content. We just wrote posts whenever it suited us. This was mainly because we’re a small team. While we were used to fulfilling multiple roles, publishing and promoting content usually got pushed down the list as tasks in our natural comfort zone were prioritised.

To avoid that with the #OpenBlog we did two things:

1) Created an Editorial Calendar

The #OpenBlog editorial calendar

We now use Co-Schedule to help us plan content in advance. When we set time aside for brainstorming each month we are able to generate more ideas for good blog content. We put together a general outline for about 4 different articles at the beginning of the month. We then write the full post a week in advance of the publish date.

Since we have already done the creative brainstorming and decided on the general outline of a blog post it is much easier to do the research and writing quickly.

Co-Schedule also helps with the promotion of individual articles. Scheduling social media updates to promote a post in the weeks and months after it is published means that we don’t have to constantly remember to promote older content.

2) Got Help From Freelancers

#OpenBlog marketing team

We brought in freelancers to help with both writing and promotion. In total we spent £530.84 on content marketing this month. This has worked really well as it has been great to have someone else to bounce ideas off and come up with fresh ideas from an outsider’s perspective.

In the medium to long term these are definitely tasks that we would love to hire someone for on a permanent basis. For now, working with freelancers has helped to paint a better picture of what we should look for in a full time employee.

Next Month’s Experiments

Over the course of the next month we want to try a number of experiments to see what changes we can stimulate.

1) Facebook Ads

We have tried Facebook ads in the past to promote our main website. My feeling is that these ads work best when promoting to consumers. Since we’re promoting to other businesses it hasn’t really worked for us. I have heard of some B2B success stories when promoting content rather than products so we’re going to give that a try.

2) Guest Blogging

Since we announced the #OpenBlog last month we have received several offers from readers to publish content on the Beacon blog. Again, this isn’t something that we have done before so we are definitely willing to experiment here. If you’re interested then please let us know via this form.

What Are We Missing?

We’re quite fortunate in that Beacon’s audience is made up of professional marketers. You have all been incredibly helpful and supportive since we announced the #OpenBlog. With that in mind I would love to open things even further and ask – what are we missing? Is there something we’re not doing that we absolutely should? Let me know in the comments – it would be great if this discussion can help other people in the same situation.