April 14, 2011

Blog Content Test: Short-Term Popularity vs. Long-Term Success

You don't know this, but this week, you were part of a content test.

No, not an A/B test (sorry analytics gurus), but rather, a change in direction regarding the content published on this blog.  For the past three days, I eliminated math from my discussions.

Result:  Readership is up about 35%.

Observation:  The more complicated, "math-based" posts cause people to hire me.

This is the challenge we all face.  It is easy to let popularity dictate content.  It is much harder to sacrifice popularity and short-term gains for long-term benefits.

Speaking of long-term benefits, I've always said that this blog generates 70% of my consulting revenue.  This spring, the relationship is changing:
  • 40% blog.
  • 45% booklets.
  • 15% word-of-mouth.
The booklets were published last fall, but this spring, they are producing long-term benefits.  This is another quirk that business experts have a hard time understanding.  Go out to Amazon, and take a look at where each of my books rank, in terms of sales.
By any account, folks would look at this and say "Why do you waste your time on this?"  In fact, one of the most reputable catalog marketing consultants (you'd know this person) told me just that ... said I was "wasting my time" writing content that is published in print, or via Kindle.  And yet, 45% of my business this spring comes from booklets written last fall.

Short-term success and long-term success are measured differently.  Both play a role, mind you, but the elements of long-term success are much more nuanced, requiring patience.