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In 2007, I moved from a small town in Ohio to the major city of St. Louis. If you’ve ever heard me speak on blogging, you may have heard this story. Because it was within a few years of moving that I started an internet marketing company, and within a couple years I had started to create blog content.
The interesting thing is, those early blog posts got very little traffic at all. Yet despite that apparent lack of success, I decided to launch The Social Media Hat in 2011. With a few initial posts migrated from my old site and business, I started on an amazing journey that has led me to today:
So while I normally end each year with a look back at my best performing posts of that year, I think it’s fitting that I take a moment to reflect on what the past decade has wrought, and share with you some of my best articles of the 2010’s.
PUBLISHED DATE: May 30, 2014
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 10
SUMMARY: This article began by listing the top 8 social networks in 2014 and noted each network’s launch date and current reported monthly user activity. It ranked the networks by that activity, showing us the most popular networks of the time. Over the years it has been updated as networks reported new usage values and some networks dropped off completely. Updates stopped entirely though earlier this year when Facebook stopped reporting separate monthly usage for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, effectively eliminating any indication of how each individual network is performing.
WHY I WROTE IT: While it was fun to see how the networks stacked up against each other, the real purpose was to demonstrate that a business could prioritize virtually any social network and still have a potential audience of tens of millions.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This article is no longer relevant, but you might find it fun to see how the networks stacked up as of the last update, 11/5/18.
PUBLISHED DATE: May 31, 2013
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 10
SUMMARY: The lone guest post to crack the top ten, this article lists 5 issues the author had while starting his fledgling business.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: The author succinctly outlines several key issues that new startup founders should be aware of, and the article continues to get organic search traffic today as a result.
PUBLISHED DATE: September 22, 2016
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 80
SUMMARY: A brief post demonstrating how to turn off annoying Pinterest Board notifications.
WHY I WROTE IT: After being annoyed myself for days with new notifications, I figured out how to disable them and published the instructions.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: In addition to sharing good information, this is a great example of how even a short blog post can rank well and achieve success IF it solves a problem other people have.
PUBLISHED DATE: January 9, 2013
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 100
SUMMARY: An excellent listing of Bible verses that specifically address or speak to business or business dealings. It’s a great resource for business people of Faith who want guidance on how to treat customers and partners. Which means it’s actually a good resource for anyone to study.
WHY I WROTE IT: As a Christian, understanding how to do business with others in a way that aligns with my Faith has always been a challenge and, I realized, I am not alone in that.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: In addition to the excellent advice, you’ll find this to be one of the first 2500+ word articles that I published and it continues to successfully drive traffic to this day with very little optimization.
PUBLISHED DATE: June 19, 2017
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 175
SUMMARY: A complete reference for Facebook’s mention and tagging features.
WHY I WROTE IT: Many casual users of Facebook, as well as business owners, find mentions and tagging to be confusing. This resource helps them understand the differences, what works where, and how to optimize those features to help them reach their goals.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This was a strategic effort to rank content specifically for Facebook and Facebook users and it worked remarkably well. Within a few weeks the article was the top-ranking resource for related searches and continues to drive traffic today.
PUBLISHED DATE: Oct. 7, 2013
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 40
SUMMARY: This piece helps Facebook users who struggle to find specific sharing options, particularly when they’re on their smartphones.
WHY I WROTE IT: Like so many other posts, I had run into this particular issue myself and wanted to show others how it was done.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: This is a great example of figuring something out and then sharing that information with your audience effectively. It’s a niche topic, to be sure, but one that’s perfectly suited for my blog.
PUBLISHED DATE: Oct. 27, 2016
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 50
SUMMARY: When Vine announced that they were shutting down on 10/27/16, I was the first to report on it and share not only the details, but advice on what to do next. As a result, this piece went viral for days, and continued to drive significant interest for months.
WHY I WROTE IT: After reading the shocking announcement from Vine, I knew Vine users and my audience would have a lot more questions than were answered and set out to help them sort things out.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: I use this article as a Case Study in newsjacking today. Not only was it timed perfectly thanks to prior positioning (I had subscribed to the Vine blog and therefore received notification of the event), the ongoing updates made it a truly valuable resource to Vine users.
PUBLISHED DATE: May 27, 2015
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 20
SUMMARY: This guide walked users through each section of a LinkedIn profile and provided recommendations and best practices.
WHY I WROTE IT: As an entrepreneur, I’d found LinkedIn at the time to be heavily focused on employment and too often, other entrepreneurs were failing to optimize their profiles to read like more than just a resume.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: For years this was the best resource on LinkedIn profile optimization. It is now woefully out of date as LinkedIn complete revamped profile arrangement, capability, and the editing process. At the time, though, this article became a pillar post and was one I was able to produce over a weekend. It incorporates many advanced blogging techniques such as anchored sections, custom graphics, and influencer involvement.
PUBLISHED DATE: June 8, 2015
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 30
SUMMARY: Twitter released an iOS app update in June of 2015 that allowed, for the first time, the ability to switch between profiles without having to log out and log back in. The initial published blog post was probably under 500 words! But over time I added Android options and information about third party tools like Agorapulse, to create a resource that’s still referenced today.
WHY I WROTE IT: It was big news at the time, as switching profiles was a serious frustration for those with more than one Twitter account. It was also during these early years of the blog that one of my monitoring techniques was to read every social media app update and blog about most of them.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: It’s a great example of how a newsjacking post can help you achieve initial awareness and traffic, and then with continued updates and optimizations, ongoing success.
PUBLISHED DATE: May 7, 2015
DAILY VIEWS TODAY: 130
SUMMARY: While social media pro’s know this trick for most every social network post, casual Facebook users often struggle when they want to share a link to a Facebook post to someplace other than Facebook, such as an email. This blog post shows them how.
WHY I WROTE IT: It was a question I had seen come up time and again, and when you see questions like that, they’re golden opportunities to create content, as you can see here!
WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: While not particularly long, this piece excellently answers a pressing question and has resulted in nearly half a million views over the past 4 years. Not too shabby for a couple hours work!
For fun, I added up all of the page views for the above articles and came to one million, eight hundred and twenty six thousand, one hundred and twenty three (1,826,123). The total page views for The SocialMediaHat.com over the past decade was 4,474,018 which means these ten articles represented nearly 41% of my site’s traffic and success.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you. Not only is this a non-typical article and somewhat more challenging to maintain interest, I’ve also saved a pearl of wisdom for you for the end.
If you skim back through these articles, and consider the bit of math I just shared, you’ll note that many of these articles are many years old, yet they continue to generate blog traffic today. In fact, a few of the articles continue to improve in performance as other SEO factors have impact.
So what’s the lesson?
Content Marketing works. If you take the time to create the kind of 10X content I teach, whether it’s blog posts or YouTube videos, there’s great potential over time for that content to continue working for you and create a cumulative effect. Not every article I’ve ever written performs well, of course. And some were only intended to be of interest for a short amount of time. But of those others, we can clearly see longterm benefits and effects far outweighing the few hours I may have put into creating them.
What started a grand experiment on my part – creating a blog about social media and online marketing with no immediate monetization method – has evolved into something great and wonderful. Readers like yourself have been generous with their time. Friends and colleagues have been extremely generous with their input and support. And as I created business goals and monetization options, customers were generous with their funds and interest.
Some important milestones:
So as we say farewell to 2019 and the previous decade, allow me to conclude with a sincere THANK YOU to all who have helped me accomplish what I have. It’s humbling and exciting, and I am sincerely looking forward to how much we can accomplish together in the coming years.
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