The £100,000 Blog Post


In this Growth Through Content case study, you'll learn how I was able to write a blog post that generated over £100,000 in revenue.

Also, you'll learn.

  • Why trying to judge the ROI of SEO can be pointless.
  • The behavioural science behind why the post made £100,000.
  • You'll be able to read the post that made the money.
  • And discover the strategy that you can use to earn high revenue from content.

Let's dive in.

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How I Actually Earned £100,000 in Revenue From a Blog Post


Before I start I need to make it clear, SEO is a brand marketing activity and not a direct advertising one.

You might make money from SEO and there are ways to make this even more likely.

But primarily, SEO is all about brand discovery and exploration, all so that a customer can make their mind up about buying from you.

Now that's out of the way, here's the actual blog post.

It's a review I did of Brian Dean's SEO That Works course.

And as you can see, it's had quite a long time on page 1 of Google.

Now you'll be forgiven if you think I earned this revenue via some kind of affiliate scheme...I didn't.

I'm not actually aware Brian ever had an affiliate scheme, I've never asked.

So how did I earn money?

The post generated me clients over several years. 

These clients took 2 forms.

The first were clients with their own businesses needing SEO support.

The second were clients who were ad agencies that had a whole bunch of clients of their own (that needed SEO).

And having read my review, they decided against buying the course and instead hired me.

But how did I know that this post generated me the revenue?


The Simple Way to Establish ROI


If you want to know how people find your business, often it's best to ask them.

And that's what I've done for years.

As a boutique agency, we don't get a truckload of SEO traffic, nor have I ever tried to.

Why? Because I never needed to. Remember at the beginning of this article, I mentioned that SEO is a brand marketing activity, not direct advertising.

Knowing this I've made a lot of effort to show up in a few keywords that while are low traffic have always generated me clients (but more on that later).

This, when combined with my other marketing on platforms like Linkedin and previously Facebook, I've always had my hands full with work.

With some clients staying with me for over 5 years.

But getting to the point, I always ask my leads where they found me and often this has led to some amazing insights around search and content marketing.

But, why did I decide to write this review in the first place?


The Article With No ROI

It's a pet annoyance of mine when marketers obsess around keywords and search volume.

Of course, this should be a major factor in any SEO decision process because it helps with brand discovery.

But not every article should be created because you think it will bring in loads of traffic or indeed money.

Sometimes it makes sense to create content for your audience as a gift.

Take the keyword SEO That Works Review.

Ahrefs tells me that it generates just 100 searches a month and the traffic potential if I rank at pos 1 is just 20 visits a month.

Well, I can tell you that this search term on average generated only 40 clicks in the last 12 months.

From looking at this at a traffic level or even click volume, it would be madness to write this content.

So, why bother?

I wrote it to help people who were thinking about buying the course (which is amazing by the way).

At the time it never even came to me that I'd earn income from it.

The thing is, most marketers would tell me not to waste my time on writing that post.

Think about it.

  • Low traffic
  • No clear revenue path
  • It's a course for people who want to learn to do SEO, not buy SEO services.

OK, so why did people choose me to do their SEO then?


The Behavioural Science Approach to SEO


I'm not going to overstate the science thing here.

Because I'm not a scientist and this wasn't a scientific experiment.

But based on what my clients said to me, it's fairly clear what is going on.

Almost every client that came to me via this article had the same issue.

They were thinking of doing SEO either for their sites or for clients.

And so, they'd researched and evaluated a range of options long before reading my article.

They had all ended up with Brian Dean's SEO That Works course as an option.

Now, it was a choice of either buying the course or not.

And my review showed up online to help them to make their decision.

If we look at this from a logical perspective.

These people were thinking of buying the course and I'm saying how great it is.

Logic says that it should be an easy purchase decision.

WRONG.

The clients that came to me all said pretty much the same thing.

"If I buy the course, I'd have had to do the work and spend my time and money, so I'd rather pay you".

And so, they made a decision based on various factors.

These include:


Valuation of the price: What is their time worth, when compared to outsourcing the SEO? What value does the course bring, what value does outsourcing the work bring?


Friction: They have to buy the course, start learning and then do the work long before they see results. The route with less friction is paying a successful graduate.


Again, I got this information by asking them.

This fits in with Rory Sutherland's quote of "the opposite of a good idea can be another good idea".

It's a good idea to do your own SEO.

It's also a good idea to outsource your SEO.

The choice will depend on personal circumstances.

But how can you leverage this kind of approach?


Why Helpful Content Matters


As someone who has been a blogger for over 12 years, I've written more non SEO focused content than content designed to rank and get traffic.

Why?

Because in the early days, I never thought about SEO.

I just had a subject I was keen on and wanted to write about it.

That's all I did.

Put my thoughts out into the world in the hope that someone might find them useful.

And they did.

People said to me how much they enjoyed the content, how it got them thinking and so on.

I'd say that I've made more meaningful connections through this type of content than anything designed to rake in high traffic.

And that's the approach you should take away from this article.

That content that is helpful, can often generate the most revenue because it helps people to make decisions.

But how can you create revenue-generating content?


Reverse SEO


I only discovered that my leads came from reading that post because I asked them.

You wouldn't really be able to tell from analytics.

But how can you leverage this approach?

The answer is reverse SEO.

Here's how to do this.

Let's say you run a beauty salon (or do their marketing).

What do people do before they come to your salon?

I'm willing to bet people try to do their own beauty treatments at home.

A quick bit of keyword research finds a content idea.


'How to do your own eyelashes'.

OK, so as I don't do any beauty treatments, this might not be a good fit.

But you get the idea.

Here's another variation.

Let's say you're an accountant.

This search for how to do your own accounts generates little traffic according to Ahrefs.

But sure enough, an accountancy firm has written an article on that subject.

But when we delve deeper and check this article out, it ranks for some serious cost per click keywords.

It's on page 1 for a $2.50 keyword, and on page 2 for $8 keywords.

This tells me that this page has commercial value.

So, the reverse SEO approach is thinking backwards from a customer making a purchase and running down the things they do before they actually purchase.

And then create helpful content.

But should you do keyword research?

Well, you can, but this shouldn't detract you from making relevant and helpful content.

The key to this approach is about using your brain more than research tools.

Let's look at a few ideas.

You sell SEO - People try to or consider doing their own SEO first.

You're a painting company- People try and paint their own homes first.

You sell swimming pools - People think about how they can build and install their own.

You're a copywriter - people try and write their own sales pages first.


Think what you know that might help people to achieve success when doing it for themselves. 

And then write content that helps them to do this.

Because when they read how to do it, they might see that expertise matters and choose your products or services instead.


Final Thoughts

It's tempting to rely on SEO tools for decisions, but when we look at the success of the post I wrote, it makes no sense to write it.

But when we consider our target audience and the steps they go through before buying from you or me, it does.

My advice, sprinkle some content like this into your blog and you might see some more leads coming in.

Thanks for reading.

Andrew

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Each Thursday I'll send you a new content marketing or SEO case study directly to your inbox.

posted February 10, 2022

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