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on September 28, 2022 (last modified on September 12, 2022) • 4 minute read
Learn how Emilia Korczynska (Head of Marketing at UserPilot) grew organic visitors by 299% & conversions from organic content by 59%.
In the first year, Emilia was the only marketer at Userpilot.
They tested just about every channel to try and get early traction: paid, webinars, events… they tried everything. But she was spread thin, and attribution was hard with so many experiments. The company was growing, but she needed to focus.
She joined our very own John Bonini’s content marketing community, where she got advice to just focus on what she knew was working. And what was working, was organic traffic. It drove 70% of signups at the time. So in 2021, they went all-in on organic content.
She set a goal of 10x’ing article output: from publishing 4 articles per month to 40. After setting the goal, it was time to define topics and the scope of the content. By this time, they had 2 years’ worth of content, so she began to identify what was working, and what wasn’t.
She divided their blog topics into content clusters, and then assigned those clusters as “bottom of funnel” (BOFU), “middle of funnel” (MOFU), or “top of funnel” (TOFU) content. She also focused on what Grow And Convert calls “Pain Point SEO”: focusing their content around the pains their customers felt, and the solutions the product provided.
To help identify topics, they interviewed customers, found derivative keywords, performed a content gap analysis, and identified topics that relevant Slack groups were talking about.
Then came the hard part: finding writers. They initially tried to use freelancers to handle research, writing, and a tie-in to the product. But they found it incredibly difficult since the product was fairly sophisticated.
So Emilia started looking for unicorn content writers: People who wanted to work in-house, were familiar with the industry, had experience working with product teams, and were amazing writers. She eventually found them and built a small team.
But after a number of months, just about all of them had left, because they wanted to grow beyond the role. They were talented, smart, and ambitious, and over time – they became burned out with only writing SEO-focused articles. Emilia concluded she needed to build a better system rather than relying on better people. This meant going back to freelancers, but this time with a new system.
She built a small internal team of content editors. These in-house pros would create detailed briefs, which included the outline (links, headings, subheadings, images) and talking points (what to say, in what order, goes in each paragraph), along with additional resources. This way, freelance writers could just focus on writing, and the in-house pros could focus more on high-level strategy, and lean into their product expertise. This system allowed them to increase output to 50 high-quality articles per month.
Each main topic would become a “milestone” in Asana, and each blog post would become a task. When each contributor was finished with their stage of work, they’d pass each piece of content “down” to the next stakeholder, using a kanban board. She also focused on building the most high-quality links she could, until they reached a domain authority (DA) of 70.
At that point, they performed tests and found that after 15~ links to any single piece of content, there were no significant increases in search engine rankings. So rather than spend more time and money on link building to the highest domain authority sites they could find, they focused more on links from domain-relevant sites. She also started measuring which keywords were driving the most conversions.
She created a few dashboards. One listed all articles and was sorted by the highest conversion rate. Another showed each article and the top keywords that the article was ranking for. And another which consolidated data of “top converting keywords”. These visuals also gave them a better of why signups might be spiking or dipping any given month.
Finally, she compared how BOFU content compared to TOFU content when it came to driving conversions and found something interesting. She found if a user consumed one BOFU article and converted, they didn’t retain as well as the ones who would start at TOFU content and consume multiple pieces of content. Visitors who started on 1 piece of BOFU content typically only had 1 use case or pain they wanted to solve. This meant it was harder for them to see why they should pay a premium to buy into a platform that offers a myriad of tools to solve a myriad of problems.
On the flip side, if a visitor consumed multiple pieces of MOFU or TOFU content, and converted later, they had a higher retention rate. This indicated they were likely looking to solve many problems and could make full use of the entire product.
About 18 months after making the commitment to go all-in on high-quality, organic content, they saw exponential growth. Organic visitors grew by 299%, and conversions from organic search went up by 59%.
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