Most marketers want to spend their weekends with family or friends rather than thinking about ways to get more leads, what keywords to buy or how to plan that next big email campaign.
Rob Stokes, CEO, Quirk, and GottaQuirk blogger, was in that situation about 18 months ago. His technology and marketing blog attracted plenty of traffic during the week but almost no visitors on the weekend. “Our traffic graph was just up and down, up and down, up and down. Good traffic during the week, nothing on the weekend.”
What did Stokes do? He reversed the weekend wane by featuring viral videos. Every Saturday and Sunday, he posted a funny video with a critique of the clip’s chances of spreading across the Web.
The laid-back, still somewhat industry-related content worked, and now GottaQuirk’s weekend traffic is up four-fold. Weekend blogs now attract 80% of the typical weekday traffic -- as opposed to the previous 20% -- and weekdays have grown substantially as well, says Stokes.
Because of the traffic, Stokes and his team have solidified their expertise in the industry, and they’ve seen an increase in leads. “A really big global brand called me up, said, ‘I’ve been reading your blog for about six months. We really need to chat.’ That’s the kind of person who if I called, I wouldn’t be able to talk to. It’s about keeping top-of-mind awareness, demonstrating your opinion leadership and keeping a dialogue going.”
Does your website need a shot in the blog on the weekend? Here are seven tips from Stokes:
-> Tip #1. Remain true to your brand
Weekend content still depends on your audience. Blogging about promotional videos works for Quirk because it’s an Internet marketing agency.
“If you take a silly example, someone that sells tractors, if they had a blog about tips or best practices about your tractor. … Well, Farmer’s Weekly, a popular South African magazine, has a cartoon every week that’s funny to farmers,” Stokes says. “Someone at the John Deere blog could find a couple funny cartoons and even a video that’s more laid back and irreverent.”
-> Tip #2. Stay focused on your mission
Don’t let lighter weekend content throw you. Stay focused on your blog’s mission, which is to build credibility, not just get a few laughs. Remember: Your audience still wants to see a video that relates to the mission of your blog.
“There’s plenty of other places to get videos,” Stokes says. “There’s sites that specialize in cool videos. I don’t think we get readers who are just looking for cool videos.”
-> Tip #3. Be transparent
When Stokes and his team announced the first viral video weekend in November 2006, the post was direct (see hotlinks below).
They noted that:
o Viral clips would be shared
o The clips were intended to attract weekend traffic
o Readers could submit their favorites
This strategy helped prevent readers from getting confused or turned off by the sudden change in tone and focus. GottaQuirk’s post let readers know that “no one needs to read heavy industry analysis over their Sunday morning coffee.” Stokes asked readers for submissions to ensure that the blog still delivered content they wanted.
-> Tip #4. Conserve content
You don’t have to feature 10 videos in a week just because you found them that week. Save them to distribute over time (unless they’re time-sensitive). This will save you from having to dig up content or use weaker content when you’re tapped out. It will also allow you to focus on the more important parts of your business.
Stokes usually features two to four videos every weekend -- rarely more than eight.
Because of the increase in traffic, weekend content has become easier to find. Also, viral seeding agencies, GottaQuirk’s readers and members of his team submit videos found during their regular Web surfing. “I don’t think we’ve had to go looking for a video in a year.”
-> Tip #5. Share content in your newsletter
If you send email newsletters, put some of the lighter weekend content in them as well. The video content has gained quite a bit of traction:
- Average clickthrough on a video post is 4.5%.
- Average clickthrough on a regular article is 1.9%.
-> Tip #6. Run the good and ignore the bad
If you manage a successful blog, you probably get pitched by agencies and PR people. When you change your weekend strategy, you might be pursued by a new group of media hounds. The best strategy for dealing with new pitches is to run the good content and ignore the bad.
Stokes gets pitches from viral marketing agencies and others hawking video content. He has been approached by “hot-shot” agencies with big budgets and bad content. “As soon as you start putting up average content, people will lose interest.”
-> Tip #7. Don’t expect more comments
Don’t expect your blog community to be completely engaged just because you change your weekend approach. Readers will still be more interested in commenting on your heavier-duty weekday content. “We definitely don’t get as many comments on the weekend.”
GottaQuirk’s readers are focused technology and marketing -- that’s why they started coming to the blog in the first place. They will be more willing to provide thoughtful commentary about an advertising network, for instance, than a funny video. Useful links related to this article
Creative samples from GottaQuirk: