Back in 2014 there was a blog with very odd traffic. Fast forward to 2016, the blog gets meaningful traffic that fits the goals of its owner. It was an uphill battle ’til it got to where it is now, but it was all worth it.
This blog post tells the story of the epic battle that raged on and how Rob, the owner of Renegade Citizen teamed up with the Agency of Squirrly to craft impressive content and engage a passionate community.
In the beginning:
People came to read the blog, but they felt like the content on the blog wasn’t meant for them. And, truth be told: it really wasn’t.
That is when Rob reached out to our agency and told us that the blog didn’t get the traffic it deserved. What people usually understand here is that the blog didn’t get enough traffic. While that is correct, it is not completely relevant to this specific case.
Read on to see the biggest problems that most blogs have related to traffic:
What odd traffic blog are we talking about and why didn’t people like it?
The blog was an impressive concept in its industry. Instead of discussing the same old, same old, about gaming and mobile games, the owner of this blog wanted something different.
While Kotaku and the others focus on gaming and general game talk, the plan for Renegade Citizen was to dissect each and every mobile game that stood out from the crowd and tell the audience how every single detail was put together.
[bctt tweet=”Building a #blog that’s out of the ordinary is not a simple task. If you build a Purple Cow, you’ll need a great audience for that.” via=”no”]
Rob already had great content on the site. He just couldn’t get the right kind of traffic to it.
That’s when he reached out to us, sat down with one of our content strategists and let us know what he needs us to do.
We told him that it was not about the numbers when it came to getting traffic.
After Rob made us fully aware of who we need to target, we ran some analysis on everything that was going on and we found out that there was a huge mismatch:
The articles were written for Mobile Game Developers, yet the traffic was coming from Gamers and sometimes just random developers who have never developed a mobile game and were not interested in mobile gaming.
Most blog owners think that people don’t like their blog, but it’s a common case to bring the wrong crowd to your website. Understanding the numbers is harder than looking at the numbers.
When you see that 100 people left the site 2 seconds after they landed on that page, it can mean a lot of things. You can only say that those readers don’t like your site after you’ve taken quite a few cases into account. There can be many reasons for why they left.
[bctt tweet=”You can’t look at data in Google Analytics and instantly assume that you know what it means.” via=”no”]
The Mismatch Between The Desired Audience and the Actual Readers Was the Villain We Had to Eliminate
This was the source of the odd traffic. People came in and left immediately. Few people shared anything.
Evil Mr. Mismatch was behind everything.
Rob became our client and the way it all worked is that we’ve un-officially become his marketing team.
Creating the kind of content that is written on renegadecitizen.com takes a lot of hard work so he wanted us to take care of that aspect as well moving forward. He had to focus on his game development business.
[bctt tweet=”A Mismatch between your content and the audience you attract will kill your #blog faster than a speeding bullet.” via=”no”]
He had experience with creating mobile games and he knew that in order to succeed with new titles, Renegade Citizen had to become something more. More than just a mobile games showcase site. It was supposed to become a thriving community.
Squirrly was supposed to make all of this happen.
The Objectives Were Now Clear:
- Get a following that would help him with feedback and new ideas.
- Educate and inform his audience on game mechanics.
- Create a pool of potential customers.
- Build a strong online community where game developers can share knowledge.
Needless to say, we were happy to take up the challenge.
How Do You Eliminate Such a Mismatch? – The Step-by-step process we followed.
In order to get rid of this villain we had to come up with a solid plan.
Making the wrong audience stay away.
From writer, to Quality Assurance Expert, to Proofreader, every person working on articles for Renegade Citizen knew that we must target the articles at game developers, not gamers.
The secret here was to make the content sound exclusive. Like it was only intended to be read by developers.
The titles became long and descriptive (we had to write over 75 characters, and the proof was in Google Analytics, which is really counter-intuitive, but that’s how it works for this industry).
There was no real talk about how cool the game is and bla bla. All the content was speaking directly to the mobile game developer and telling him / her how the game mechanics were put together, how the on-boarding process worked, and other technical details. All of these details would only be sought by developers, never by gamers.
Don’t get me wrong. We love gamers. Some people on my team over at Squirrly are gamers. But gamers were not supposed to go to that site. It was not for them.
After the first few months, gamers stopped going to the blog.
After darkness comes the dawn.
In this case, the dawn is the arrival of mobile game developers.
Whenever a mobile game developer clicked on social media on any article from Renegade Citizen, they got to see that on the other side was an article, crafted strictly for them.
Each developer felt like they belonged. Finally, someone was writing for them.
We saw that this started to happen. We took action and made sure that more mobile game developers would see Rob’s posts on social media.
Out with the Old. In with the New.
We unfollowed most of his audience. We did this to see if they would unfollow us as well. Most of them did and we were happy about it.
In order to build a growth engine, now that everything started to become very targeted, we had to make sure we can’t get “bad traffic”.
[bctt tweet=”Sometimes in order to fix something, you have to replace it: completely.” via=”no”]
Some of the followers he had before working with us left because the new content was clearly not for them. The others left because we kept unfollowing them. Which was perfect.
We leveled the playing field and then all we had to do was to attract the right audience.
In a few months, the Twitter account became clean and 90% of his followers were mobile game developers. We brought thousands of targeted followers. We had to run a deep analysis of all the followers to make sure we were spot on. The results were positive. It was a success.
Because we’ve cleaned his Twitter account like this and brought in the right kind of followers for his blog, the traffic became great!
Mobile Game Developers started showing up in larger numbers.
To give you some ideas on what we did for growing these numbers:
Rob had under 1.000 followers when he first reached out to us in the beginning of May 2015. Now he’s up to 15.400 followers, and counting. That’s a growth of 1.540% in less than a year!
All the “get followers” schemes on the internet are lame, because they bring super-low quality followers.
In this case, our client got 100% high quality audience, with 90% of them being the exact match of what he was looking for in the first place.
The other 10% were: gamers (yup, we couldn’t get rid of all of them, because these guys seemed interested in developer-oriented content as well), journalists, other kinds of developers and game designers.
Operation “Publishing to Communities” Commenced immediately after securing this win.
Alright. We came this far and we’ve managed to:
- create the right kind of content, from a marketing perspective.
- create a targeted Twitter following, a great and clean account, 90% fit.
It was now high time that we got even more game developers to the blog.
Our Agency is focused on giving you marketing support, along with the articles. That’s why our writers are also trained in inbound marketing ideas like: marketing funnels and Customer Journeys.
The funnel that we had in mind was this:
Get lots of mobile game developers from social media. We set a target for the traffic and we started guaranteeing it to Rob. (on most cases we’ve over-delivered).
After we see that we can get constant traffic, start getting people to comment. Win the hearts of the mobile game developers community.
The third step after all of this was: get email subscribers, through smart and well-placed conversion elements. (elements that you have in the site and which help with Conversion Rate Optimization).
So, get traffic -> make them comment -> make them join the mailing list.
We were still in the get targeted traffic part. In order to get visitors to his blog from Facebook, LinkedIN and Google Plus, guess what we did?
We made our social media managers follow the exact steps described in the course we send to our Exclusive Community. There’s a course that shows you how to get 10,000 visits from social media this month.
It simply worked. Actually, it worked even better than it initially worked for us, when we did this for Squirrly.
The time investment for getting all of that done is huge, but it was worth it.
The blog was getting lots of targeted traffic from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and Google Plus.
Uphill battles with Reddit.
Lucian, the VP of Agency at Squirrly kept insisting that we try reddit for Rob. He kept saying that Reddit would make perfect sense for this kind of content and the audience of the social media site in general.
He embarked on his own mission for figuring out how to make this happen and it was a pleasant surprise to see that it worked out very well.
It didn’t happen over night. It took us a lot of time to perfect (and some shadow banning that we’ve received), but then we finally started speaking the Reddit language and people started seeing that we publish meaningful content that made sense for them.
Every message was cleverly crafted and it got the Renegade Citizen thousands of views from the right audience.
The best part about Reddit, though, is that it lead us to the next big part of the funnel we had in mind: moving people from just reading articles, to actually engaging in active conversations over the articles they read on the blog.
Some of the articles we published on Renegade Citizen, and after that on Reddit have sparked pages of comments. Many game developers from the Reddit community have shared their own ideas, experiences. For Rob this was a dream come true. It was what he wanted to see happening from the start.
After having dealt with that mismatch between content and audience, the traffic that the blog received was amazing. The developers were spending a lot of time on the site and reading everything.
Because all this machine was now well-oiled, Rob started seeing a lot of engagement on Twitter as well.
The Community Has Come to Life.
We took this blog from low and odd traffic, to getting many targeted people to read the blog. A Twitter following was built. Mobile Game Developers on Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIN and Google plus engaged with his posts on and on.
Even though it all sounded great, the people from my team were only really happy when we started seeing the many comments about renegade citizen that were posted on Reddit.
Something happened after this moment, and more people kept getting in touch with him via Twitter, email, etc.
There were partnership opportunities, new developers that wanted to get their games featured and many others.
The lesson that we’ve learned from the experience of working with this blog is: you can’t win unless you find a great match between content, how the content is built (not just written) and the audience. When these elements become aligned there’s a clear path to victory. Until that moment, though, it’s a tough struggle.
The Journey Has Just Begun.
We’re now working on a unique, 100% original guide about outsourcing game development tasks, the Renegade Citizen way!
This will provide even more value for the mobile game developers community and it will help Rob build an engaged email following as well.
RenegadeCitizen.com is now a thing of its own, and we’re glad to be a part of it. There’s always another step to take, a next level. We love playing the game so, for us, this is great news!
Like what you’ve read and want to get the same treatment? Don’t be shy, let’s get in touch!
It doesn’t matter what level you are right now. We’ll do our best to make sure you are our next success story. We’re always aiming for that next chapter!
Find out how we can help you get your blog to the next level through content marketing.