What's Your Question?
What Is a Case Study?
When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.
Deep Dive into a Topic
At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.
As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.
Study a Pattern
One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.
During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.
As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.
Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.
MORE FROM QUESTIONSANSWERED.NET
- Hubspot Blog
Oh no! We couldn't find anything like that.
Try another search, and we'll give it our best shot.
28 Case Study Examples Every Marketer Should See
Published: December 27, 2022
Putting together a compelling case study is one of the most powerful strategies for showcasing your product and attracting future customers. But it's not easy to create case studies that your audience can’t wait to read.
In this post, we’ll go over the definition of a case study and the best examples to inspire you.
What is a case study?
A case study is a detailed story of something your company did. It includes a beginning — often discussing a conflict, an explanation of what happened next, and a resolution that explains how the company solved or improved on something.
A case study proves how your product has helped other companies by demonstrating real-life results. Not only that, but marketing case studies with solutions typically contain quotes from the customer. This means that they’re not just ads where you praise your own product. Rather, other companies are praising your company — and there’s no stronger marketing material than a verbal recommendation or testimonial. A great case study is also filled with research and stats to back up points made about a project's results.
There are myriad ways to use case studies in your marketing strategy . From featuring them on your website to including them in a sales presentation, a case study is a strong, persuasive tool that shows customers why they should work with you — straight from another customer. Writing one from scratch is hard, though, which is why we’ve created a collection of case study templates for you to get started.
Fill out the form below to access the free case study templates.
Case Study Kit + Templates
Fill out this form to access free case study templates..
There’s no better way to generate more leads than by writing case studies . But without case study examples to draw inspiration from, it can be difficult to write impactful studies that convince visitors to submit a form.
Marketing Case Study Examples
To help you create an attractive and high-converting case study, we've put together a list of some of our favorites. This list includes famous case studies in marketing, technology, and business.
These studies can show you how to frame your company offers in a way that is both meaningful and useful to your audience. So, take a look, and let these examples inspire your next brilliant case study design.
These marketing case studies with solutions show the value proposition of each product. They also show how each company benefited in both the short and long term using quantitative data. In other words, you don’t get just nice statements, like "This company helped us a lot." You see actual change within the firm through numbers and figures.
You can put your learnings into action with HubSpot's Free Case Study Templates . Available as custom designs and text-based documents, you can upload these templates to your CMS or send them to prospects as you see fit.
1. " How Handled Scaled from Zero to 121 Locations with the Help of HubSpot ," by HubSpot
What's interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. That reflects a major HubSpot cornerstone, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why the CEO of Handled founded the company and why he thought Handled could benefit from adopting a CRM. The case study also opens up with one key data point about Handled’s success using HubSpot, namely that it grew to 121 locations.
Notice that this case study uses mixed media. Yes, there is a short video, but it's elaborated upon in the other text on the page. So while your case studies can use one or the other, don't be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project's success.
Key Learnings from the HubSpot Case Study Example
- Give the case study a personal touch by focusing on the CEO rather than the company itself.
- Use multimedia to engage website visitors as they read the case study.
2. " The Whole Package ," by IDEO
Here's a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, they’re greeted with a big, bold photo and the title of the case study — which just so happens to summarize how IDEO helped its client. It summarizes the case study in three snippets: The challenge, the impact, and the outcome.
Immediately, IDEO communicates its impact — the company partnered with H&M to remove plastic from its packaging — but it doesn't stop there. As the user scrolls down, the challenge, impact, and progress are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and intriguing visuals.
Key Learnings from the IDEO Case Study Example
- Split up the takeaways of your case studies into bite-sized sections.
- Always use visuals and images to enrich the case study experience, especially if it’s a comprehensive case study.
3. " Rozum Robotics intensifies its PR game with Awario ," by Awario
In this case study, Awario greets the user with a summary straight away — so if you’re feeling up to reading the entire case study, you can scan the snapshot and understand how the company serves its customers. The case study then includes jump links to several sections, such as "Company Profile," "Rozum Robotics' Pains," "Challenge," "Solution," and "Results and Improvements."
The sparse copy and prominent headings show that you don’t need a lot of elaborate information to show the value of your products and services. Like the other case study examples on this list, it includes visuals and quotes to demonstrate the effectiveness of the company’s efforts. The case study ends with a bulleted list that shows the results.
Key Learnings from the Awario Robotics Case Study Example
- Create a table of contents to make your case study easier to navigate.
- Include a bulleted list of the results you achieved for your client.
4. " Chevrolet DTU ," by Carol H. Williams
If you’ve worked with a company that’s well-known, use only the name in the title — like Carol H. Williams, one of the nation’s top advertising agencies, does here. The "DTU," stands for "Discover the Unexpected." It generates interest because you want to find out what the initials mean.
They keep your interest in this case study by using a mixture of headings, images, and videos to describe the challenges, objectives, and solutions of the project. The case study closes with a summary of the key achievements that Chevrolet’s DTU Journalism Fellows reached during the project.
Key Learnings from the Carol H. Williams Case Study Example
- If you’ve worked with a big brand before, consider only using the name in the title — just enough to pique interest.
- Use a mixture of headings and subheadings to guide users through the case study.
5. " How Fractl Earned Links from 931 Unique Domains for Porch.com in a Single Year ," by Fractl
Fractl uses both text and graphic design in their Porch.com case study to immerse the viewer in a more interesting user experience. For instance, as you scroll, you'll see the results are illustrated in an infographic-design form as well as the text itself.
Further down the page, they use icons like a heart and a circle to illustrate their pitch angles, and graphs to showcase their results. Rather than writing which publications have mentioned Porch.com during Fractl’s campaign, they incorporated the media outlets’ icons for further visual diversity.
Key Learnings from the Fractl Case Study Example
- Let pictures speak for you by incorporating graphs, logos, and icons all throughout the case study.
- Start the case study by right away stating the key results, like Fractl does, instead of putting the results all the way at the bottom.
6. " The Met ," by Fantasy
What's the best way to showcase the responsiveness and user interface of a website? Probably by diving right into it with a series of simple showcases— which is exactly what Fantasy does on their case study page for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They keep the page simple and clean, inviting you to review their redesign of the Met’s website feature-by-feature.
Each section is simple, showing a single piece of the new website's interface so that users aren’t overwhelmed with information and can focus on what matters most.
If you're more interested in text, you can read the objective for each feature. Fantasy understands that, as a potential customer, this is all you need to know. Scrolling further, you're greeted with a simple "Contact Us" CTA.
Key Learnings from the Fantasy Case Study Example
- You don’t have to write a ton of text to create a great case study. Focus on the solution you delivered itself.
- Include a CTA at the bottom inviting visitors to contact you.
7. " Rovio: How Rovio Grew Into a Gaming Superpower ," by App Annie
If your client had a lot of positive things to say about you, take a note from App Annie’s Rovio case study and open up with a quote from your client. The case study also closes with a quote, so that the case study doesn’t seem like a promotion written by your marketing team but a story that’s taken straight from your client’s mouth. It includes a photo of a Rovio employee, too.
Another thing this example does well? It immediately includes a link to the product that Rovio used (namely, App Annie Intelligence) at the top of the case study. The case study closes with a call-to-action button prompting users to book a demo.
Key Learnings from the App Annie Case Study Example
- Feature quotes from your client at the beginning and end of the case study.
- Include a mention of the product right at the beginning and prompt users to learn more about the product.
8. " Embracing first-party data: 3 success stories from HubSpot ," by Think with Google
Google takes a different approach to text-focused case studies by choosing three different companies to highlight.
The case study is clean and easily scannable. It has sections for each company, with quotes and headers that clarify the way these three distinct stories connect. The simple format also uses colors and text that align with the Google brand.
Another differentiator is the focus on data. This case study is less than a thousand words, but it's packed with useful data points. Data-driven insights quickly and clearly show how the value of leveraging first-party data while prioritizing consumer privacy.
Key Learnings from the Think with Google Case Study Example
- A case study doesn’t need to be long or complex to be powerful.
- Clear data points are a quick and effective way to prove value.
9. " In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study ," by Switch
Switch is an international marketing agency based in Malta that knocks it out of the park with this case study. Its biggest challenge is effectively communicating what it did for its client without ever revealing the client’s name. It also effectively keeps non-marketers in the loop by including a glossary of terms on page 4.
The PDF case study reads like a compelling research article, including titles like "In-Depth Performance Marketing Case Study," "Scenario," and "Approach," so that readers get a high-level overview of what the client needed and why they approached Switch. It also includes a different page for each strategy. For instance, if you’d only be interested in hiring Switch for optimizing your Facebook ads, you can skip to page 10 to see how they did it.
The PDF is fourteen pages long but features big fonts and plenty of white space, so viewers can easily skim it in only a few minutes.
Key Learnings from the Switch Case Study Example
- If you want to go into specialized information, include a glossary of terms so that non-specialists can easily understand.
- Close with a CTA page in your case study PDF and include contact information for prospective clients.
10. " Gila River ," by OH Partners
Let pictures speak for you, like OH Partners did in this case study. While you’ll quickly come across a heading and some text when you land on this case study page, you’ll get the bulk of the case study through examples of actual work OH Partners did for its client. You will see OH Partners’ work in a billboard, magazine, and video. This communicates to website visitors that if they work with OH Partners, their business will be visible everywhere.
And like the other case studies here, it closes with a summary of what the firm achieved for its client in an eye-catching way.
Key Learnings from the OH Partners Case Study Example
- Let the visuals speak by including examples of the actual work you did for your client — which is especially useful for branding and marketing agencies.
- Always close out with your achievements and how they impacted your client.
11. " Facing a Hater ," by Digitas
Digitas' case study page for Sprite’s #ILOVEYOUHATER campaign keeps it brief while communicating the key facts of Digitas’ work for the popular soda brand. The page opens with an impactful image of a hundred people facing a single man. It turns out, that man is the biggest "bully" in Argentina, and the people facing him are those whom he’s bullied before.
Scrolling down, it's obvious that Digitas kept Sprite at the forefront of their strategy, but more than that, they used real people as their focal point. They leveraged the Twitter API to pull data from Tweets that people had actually tweeted to find the identity of the biggest "hater" in the country. That turned out to be @AguanteElCofler, a Twitter user who has since been suspended.
Key Learnings from the Digitas Case Study Example
- If a video was part of your work for your client, be sure to include the most impactful screenshot as the heading.
- Don’t be afraid to provide details on how you helped your client achieve their goals, including the tools you leveraged.
12. " Better Experiences for All ," by HermanMiller
HermanMiller sells sleek, utilitarian furniture with no frills and extreme functionality, and that ethos extends to its case study page for a hospital in Dubai.
What first attracted me to this case study was the beautiful video at the top and the clean user experience. User experience matters a lot in a case study. It determines whether users will keep reading or leave. Another notable aspect of this case study is that the video includes closed-captioning for greater accessibility, and users have the option of expanding the CC and searching through the text.
HermanMiller’s case study also offers an impressive amount of information packed in just a few short paragraphs for those wanting to understand the nuances of their strategy. It closes out with a quote from their client and, most importantly, the list of furniture products that the hospital purchased from the brand.
Key Learnings from the HermanMiller Case Study Example
- Close out with a list of products that users can buy after reading the case study.
- Include accessibility features such as closed captioning and night mode to make your case study more user-friendly.
13. " Capital One on AWS ," by Amazon
Do you work continuously with your clients? Consider structuring your case study page like Amazon did in this stellar case study example. Instead of just featuring one article about Capital One and how it benefited from using AWS, Amazon features a series of articles that you can then access if you’re interested in reading more. It goes all the way back to 2016, all with different stories that feature Capital One’s achievements using AWS.
This may look unattainable for a small firm, but you don’t have to go to extreme measures and do it for every single one of your clients. You could choose the one you most wish to focus on and establish a contact both on your side and your client’s for coming up with the content. Check in every year and write a new piece. These don’t have to be long, either — five hundred to eight hundred words will do.
Key Learnings from the Amazon AWS Case Study Example
- Write a new article each year featuring one of your clients, then include links to those articles in one big case study page.
- Consider including external articles as well that emphasize your client’s success in their industry.
14. " HackReactor teaches the world to code #withAsana ," by Asana
While Asana's case study design looks text-heavy, there's a good reason. It reads like a creative story, told entirely from the customer's perspective.
For instance, Asana knows you won't trust its word alone on why this product is useful. So, they let Tony Phillips, HackReactor CEO, tell you instead: "We take in a lot of information. Our brains are awful at storage but very good at thinking; you really start to want some third party to store your information so you can do something with it."
Asana features frequent quotes from Phillips to break up the wall of text and humanize the case study. It reads like an in-depth interview and captivates the reader through creative storytelling. Even more, Asana includes in-depth detail about how HackReactor uses Asana. This includes how they build templates and workflows:
"There's a huge differentiator between Asana and other tools, and that’s the very easy API access. Even if Asana isn’t the perfect fit for a workflow, someone like me— a relatively mediocre software engineer—can add functionality via the API to build a custom solution that helps a team get more done."
Key Learnings from the Asana Example
- Include quotes from your client throughout the case study.
- Provide extensive detail on how your client worked with you or used your product.
15. " Rips Sewed, Brand Love Reaped ," by Amp Agency
Amp Agency's Patagonia marketing strategy aimed to appeal to a new audience through guerrilla marketing efforts and a coast-to-coast road trip. Their case study page effectively conveys a voyager theme, complete with real photos of Patagonia customers from across the U.S., and a map of the expedition. I liked Amp Agency's storytelling approach best. It captures viewers' attention from start to finish simply because it's an intriguing and unique approach to marketing.
Key Learnings from the Amp Agency Example
- Open up with a summary that communicates who your client is and why they reached out to you.
- Like in the other case study examples, you’ll want to close out with a quantitative list of your achievements.
16. " NetApp ," by Evisort
Evisort opens up its NetApp case study with an at-a-glance overview of the client. It’s imperative to always focus on the client in your case study — not on your amazing product and equally amazing team. By opening up with a snapshot of the client’s company, Evisort places the focus on the client.
This case study example checks all the boxes for a great case study that’s informative, thorough, and compelling. It includes quotes from the client and details about the challenges NetApp faced during the COVID pandemic. It closes out with a quote from the client and with a link to download the case study in PDF format, which is incredibly important if you want your case study to be accessible in a wider variety of formats.
Key Learnings from the Evisort Example
- Place the focus immediately on your client by including a snapshot of their company.
- Mention challenging eras, such as a pandemic or recession, to show how your company can help your client succeed even during difficult times.
17. " Copernicus Land Monitoring – CLC+ Core ," by Cloudflight
Including highly specialized information in your case study is an effective way to show prospects that you’re not just trying to get their business. You’re deep within their industry, too, and willing to learn everything you need to learn to create a solution that works specifically for them.
Cloudflight does a splendid job at that in its Copernicus Land Monitoring case study. While the information may be difficult to read at first glance, it will capture the interest of prospects who are in the environmental industry. It thus shows Cloudflight’s value as a partner much more effectively than a general case study would.
The page is comprehensive and ends with a compelling call-to-action — "Looking for a solution that automates, and enhances your Big Data system? Are you struggling with large datasets and accessibility? We would be happy to advise and support you!" The clean, whitespace-heavy page is an effective example of using a case study to capture future leads.
Key Learnings from the Cloudflight Case Study Example
- Don’t be afraid to get technical in your explanation of what you did for your client.
- Include a snapshot of the sales representative prospects should contact, especially if you have different sales reps for different industries, like Cloudflight does.
18. " Valvoline Increases Coupon Send Rate by 76% with Textel’s MMS Picture Texting ," by Textel
If you’re targeting large enterprises with a long purchasing cycle, you’ll want to include a wealth of information in an easily transferable format. That’s what Textel does here in its PDF case study for Valvoline. It greets the user with an eye-catching headline that shows the value of using Textel. Valvoline saw a significant return on investment from using the platform.
Another smart decision in this case study is highlighting the client’s quote by putting it in green font and doing the same thing for the client’s results because it helps the reader quickly connect the two pieces of information. If you’re in a hurry, you can also take a look at the "At a Glance" column to get the key facts of the case study, starting with information about Valvoline.
Key Learnings from the Textel Case Study Example
- Include your client’s ROI right in the title of the case study.
- Add an "At a Glance" column to your case study PDF to make it easy to get insights without needing to read all the text.
19. " Hunt Club and Happeo — a tech-enabled love story ," by Happeo
In this blog-post-like case study, Happeo opens with a quote from the client, then dives into a compelling heading: "Technology at the forefront of Hunt Club's strategy." Say you’re investigating Happeo as a solution and consider your firm to be technology-driven. This approach would spark your curiosity about why the client chose to work with Happeo. It also effectively communicates the software’s value proposition without sounding like it’s coming from an in-house marketing team.
Every paragraph is a quote written from the customer’s perspective. Later down the page, the case study also dives into "the features that changed the game for Hunt Club," giving Happeo a chance to highlight some of the platform’s most salient features.
Key Learnings from the Happeo Case Study Example
- Consider writing the entirety of the case study from the perspective of the customer.
- Include a list of the features that convinced your client to go with you.
20. " Red Sox Season Campaign ," by CTP Boston
What's great about CTP's case study page for their Red Sox Season Campaign is their combination of video, images, and text. A video automatically begins playing when you visit the page, and as you scroll, you'll see more embedded videos of Red Sox players, a compilation of print ads, and social media images you can click to enlarge.
At the bottom, it says "Find out how we can do something similar for your brand." The page is clean, cohesive, and aesthetically pleasing. It invites viewers to appreciate the well-roundedness of CTP's campaign for Boston's beloved baseball team.
Key Learnings from the CTP Case Study Example
- Include a video in the heading of the case study.
- Close with a call-to-action that makes leads want to turn into prospects.
21. " Acoustic ," by Genuine
Sometimes, simple is key. Genuine's case study for Acoustic is straightforward and minimal, with just a few short paragraphs, including "Reimagining the B2B website experience," "Speaking to marketers 1:1," and "Inventing Together." After the core of the case study, we then see a quote from Acoustic’s CMO and the results Genuine achieved for the company.
The simplicity of the page allows the reader to focus on both the visual aspects and the copy. The page displays Genuine's brand personality while offering the viewer all the necessary information they need.
- You don’t need to write a lot to create a great case study. Keep it simple.
- Always include quantifiable data to illustrate the results you achieved for your client.
22. " Using Apptio Targetprocess Automated Rules in Wargaming ," by Apptio
Apptio’s case study for Wargaming summarizes three key pieces of information right at the beginning: The goals, the obstacles, and the results.
Readers then have the opportunity to continue reading — or they can walk away right then with the information they need. This case study also excels in keeping the human interest factor by formatting the information like an interview.
The piece is well-organized and uses compelling headers to keep the reader engaged. Despite its length, Apptio's case study is appealing enough to keep the viewer's attention. Every Apptio case study ends with a "recommendation for other companies" section, where the client can give advice for other companies that are looking for a similar solution but aren’t sure how to get started.
Key Learnings from the Apptio Case Study Example
- Put your client in an advisory role by giving them the opportunity to give recommendations to other companies that are reading the case study.
- Include the takeaways from the case study right at the beginning so prospects quickly get what they need.
23. " Airbnb + Zendesk: building a powerful solution together ," by Zendesk
Zendesk's Airbnb case study reads like a blog post, and focuses equally on Zendesk and Airbnb, highlighting a true partnership between the companies. To captivate readers, it begins like this: "Halfway around the globe is a place to stay with your name on it. At least for a weekend."
The piece focuses on telling a good story and provides photographs of beautiful Airbnb locations. In a case study meant to highlight Zendesk's helpfulness, nothing could be more authentic than their decision to focus on Airbnb's service in such great detail.
Key Learnings from the Zendesk Case Study Example
- Include images of your client’s offerings — not necessarily of the service or product you provided. Notice how Zendesk doesn’t include screenshots of its product.
- Include a call-to-action right at the beginning of the case study. Zendesk gives you two options: to find a solution or start a trial.
24. " Biobot Customer Success Story: Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida ," by Biobot
Like some of the other top examples in this list, Biobot opens its case study with a quote from its client, which captures the value proposition of working with Biobot. It mentions the COVID pandemic and goes into detail about the challenges the client faced during this time.
This case study is structured more like a news article than a traditional case study. This format can work in more formal industries where decision-makers need to see in-depth information about the case. Be sure to test different methods and measure engagement .
Key Learnings from the Biobot Case Study Example
- Mention environmental, public health, or economic emergencies and how you helped your client get past such difficult times.
- Feel free to write the case study like a normal blog post, but be sure to test different methods to find the one that best works for you.
25. " Discovering Cost Savings With Efficient Decision Making ," by Gartner
You don't always need a ton of text or a video to convey your message — sometimes, you just need a few paragraphs and bullet points. Gartner does a fantastic job of quickly providing the fundamental statistics a potential customer would need to know, without boggling down their readers with dense paragraphs. The case study closes with a shaded box that summarizes the impact that Gartner had on its client. It includes a quote and a call-to-action to "Learn More."
Key Learnings from the Gartner Case Study Example
- Feel free to keep the case study short.
- Include a call-to-action at the bottom that takes the reader to a page that most relates to them.
26. " Bringing an Operator to the Game ," by Redapt
This case study example by Redapt is another great demonstration of the power of summarizing your case study’s takeaways right at the start of the study. Redapt includes three easy-to-scan columns: "The problem," "the solution," and "the outcome." But its most notable feature is a section titled "Moment of clarity," which shows why this particular project was difficult or challenging.
The section is shaded in green, making it impossible to miss. Redapt does the same thing for each case study. In the same way, you should highlight the "turning point" for both you and your client when you were working toward a solution.
Key Learnings from the Redapt Case Study Example
- Highlight the turning point for both you and your client during the solution-seeking process.
- Use the same structure (including the same headings) for your case studies to make them easy to scan and read.
27. " Virtual Call Center Sees 300% Boost In Contact Rate ," by Convoso
Convoso’s PDF case study for Digital Market Media immediately mentions the results that the client achieved and takes advantage of white space. On the second page, the case study presents more influential results. It’s colorful and engaging and closes with a spread that prompts readers to request a demo.
Key Learnings from the Convoso Case Study Example
- List the results of your work right at the beginning of the case study.
- Use color to differentiate your case study from others. Convoso’s example is one of the most colorful ones on this list.
28. " Ensuring quality of service during a pandemic ," by Ericsson
Ericsson’s case study page for Orange Spain is an excellent example of using diverse written and visual media — such as videos, graphs, and quotes — to showcase the success a client experienced. Throughout the case study, Ericsson provides links to product and service pages users might find relevant as they’re reading the study.
For instance, under the heading "Preloaded with the power of automation," Ericsson mentions its Ericsson Operations Engine product, then links to that product page. It closes the case study with a link to another product page.
Key Learnings from the Ericsson Case Study Example
- Link to product pages throughout the case study so that readers can learn more about the solution you offer.
- Use multimedia to engage users as they read the case study.
Start creating your case study.
Now that you've got a great list of examples of case studies, think about a topic you'd like to write about that highlights your company or work you did with a customer.
A customer’s success story is the most persuasive marketing material you could ever create. With a strong portfolio of case studies, you can ensure prospects know why they should give you their business.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Don't forget to share this post!
What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]
What is an Advertorial? 8 Examples to Help You Write One
How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template
How to Create Marketing Offers That Don't Fall Flat
20 Creative Ways To Repurpose Content
How to Market an Ebook: Don't Let Your Content Offers Collect Dust
16 Important Ways to Use Case Studies in Your Marketing
10 Pieces of Content Your Audience Really Wants to See [New Data]
11 Ways to Make Your Blog Post Interactive
Showcase your company's success using these free case study templates.
10 Case Studies: How to Increase Organic Traffic with Blogging
by Ryan Nelson | Oct 27, 2017 | Case study | 0 comments
There’s no question that a blog can drive traffic to your website and build brand loyalty. But it takes strategy—simply having a blog isn’t good enough.
There are thousands of posts promising the secret formula your organization can use to get more traffic, leads, and revenue through blogging. Hypothetical situations can only take you so far, though.
Plenty of companies are willing to tell you what they did and how you can do it too—but most of these guides are glorified ads that don’t even have data to back up their claims. But buried in the abyss of the Internet, there are legitimate case studies that walk you through the who, what, where, when, and how of an organization’s blogging journey.
We pulled together 10 concrete case studies of organizations and individuals that used blogging to bring significantly more traffic to their sites—with the data to back it up. We’ll talk about the methods they used and why it worked for them. If anything grabs your attention, we’re also linking to the original case studies so you can get a more in-depth look.
Some of these organizations are startups, and others are mature businesses. Some of them had blogs that weren’t working well, others started from scratch, and some were wildly successful from the beginning. No matter where you’re at, you’ll find helpful takeaways in these tangible examples.
Check out these 10 case studies on using blogging to increase organic traffic:
1. Ahrefs: Deleted 49% of their posts and increased traffic
Industry: SEO SaaS software Key stats:
- 89% traffic increase in three months
- Deleted 266 posts that weren’t getting traffic (49% of their total posts)
How they did it:
- Content auditing
- Keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Promoting the blog on other channels
Where the study came from: Ahrefs published the original case study on their blog in 2016. The changes were made in November 2015, and the study lasted until February 2016.
It might seem crazy to delete old posts—and usually, it is. Good blog posts provide value long after you write them—that’s the whole point of search engine optimization. But in 2015 the SEO experts at Ahrefs realized that nearly half of all the blog posts they’d ever written were getting a grand total of zero visitors each month. That’s not good.
“If we consider that user signals will become more and more important to Google over time (and we do) ,” Ahrefs says, “then all those posts with ZERO visits and ZERO engagement can’t be sending Google good vibes. Unfortunately, there were LOTS of posts like this on the Ahrefs blog.”
After a thorough content audit, they deleted 266 blog posts from their website. They totaled just over 179,000 words—less than 700 words per post. But they didn’t just throw away all of their backlinks, either. When another site links to your content, it benefits your whole website, not just that one post. So Ahrefs created a redirect for any post that had backlinks, sending any future visitors to either a related blog post or their home page.
But “out with the old” was only half the process. Now they had to revamp their strategy—“in with the new.”
Before they did the content audit, Ahrefs had been cranking out four of these short little posts per week, subscribing to the old SEO mantra that more content means more traffic. After the audit, they cut their posting frequency in half, giving them more time to focus on quality.
Now the Ahrefs blog is a prime example of The Craftsman method : they take their time to produce the best possible posts on every subject they address. They use keyword research to determine groups of keywords they want to go after, so they can rank for thousands of long-tail keywords, not just the one broad keyword their competitors are thinking about. Then with competitive analysis, they pick apart the competition.
I don’t doubt that deleting useless posts affects how valuable Google considers your site, but it’s hard to say which of the many changes Ahrefs made had the biggest impact on their increase in traffic. Unfortunately, this case study doesn’t let us separate the effect of the “out with the old” and “in with the new” pieces of their blogging strategy—they implemented all of these changes at once.
Image source: Ahrefs
Still, an 89% traffic increase is a huge improvement in three months, and since Ahrefs made these changes all at once, it’s probably safe to conclude that the audit of past content and the improvements to future content both contributed to their success.
2. Buffer: Grew traffic to 1.5 million monthly sessions
Industry: social media management software Key stats:
- Over the course of six years, Buffer grew their monthly blog audience from zero to 1.5 million
- Capitalizing on trending topics
- Headline testing
Where the study came from: Buffer published this case study on their blog in 2017, and the data spans from 2011 to 2017.
For a while now, Buffer has been a poster child for content marketing in the SaaS space. But they didn’t come right out of the gate with thousands of regular readers. Like all organizations, they got where they are through trial and error.
Image source: Buffer
Unlike Ahrefs, Buffer didn’t do a content audit to wipe the slate clean and erase any blemishes on their blog. Instead, they used their past content to learn what was resonating with their audience—so they could make more of it. “We uncovered that our audience enjoys our long-form, educational blog posts,” Buffer writer Alfred Lua says. As they discovered which posts performed the best, Buffer focused on replicating that success.
Buffer’s blog takes full advantage of The Producer methodology . Social media and content marketing are constantly evolving, and with every change, Buffer has something to say about it, making them a go-to resource for people who want to keep up with the industry. They write about anything and everything related to their market, so they’re always facilitating and contributing to relevant conversations.
Buffer also dug through outdated posts to find content that had a steady stream of organic traffic, but that could be improved with minimal effort. By updating posts with outdated information and republishing them, Buffer often increased the post’s organic traffic. This post about social media analytics tools went from about 300 organic views per day to about 700 after being updated and republished:
Buffer doesn’t just write valuable long-form content though. They also test the heck out of each post’s title, often working through 20+ titles per post. This gives them plenty of fodder for reposting old posts on social media, and it helps them find the post titles people are most likely to click. (They have a handy post on headline formulas to help you do the same.)
This case study has a lot of helpful insights into how Buffer maintains this massive blog. But six years is a long time. They didn’t hit 1.5 million monthly sessions overnight. Looking at their graph spanning from launch to the time of the study, I’m most curious about what happened in 2013, when they experienced the most dramatic growth.
It’s possible that it was around this time that they really perfected their technique and landed on the strategies they’ve outlined in the case study—or that it took about that long to rank for competitive terms —but an analysis of a smaller time range might lead to new insights.
Overall though, Buffer provides a helpful model of how to grow and maintain a steady stream of traffic on your site through blogging.
3. The Renegade Pharmacist: nearly 1,000 backlinks from one infographic
Industry: Health/alternative medicine Key stats:
- Earned nearly 1,000 backlinks from a single post on a brand-new site
- Increased domain authority led to ranking for hundreds of keywords
Where the study came from: Ahrefs published the case study on The Renegade Pharmacist in 2016, more than a year after the site became famous for its controversial infographic.
In 2015, a brand-new site used a nearly 10 year old article about how Coke affects your body to create this infographic:
Image source: The Renegade Pharmacist
A blog post accompanied the image, but about two months after the post went live, the infographic started showing up everywhere. Ahrefs put together this delightful graph showing backlinks to TheRenegadePharmacist.com:
And take a look at where some of the first backlinks came from:
After about two months without getting much traction, the infographic was shared to a popular subreddit, where it immediately took off.
So how did all of those backlinks affect The Renegade Pharmacist? Ahrefs used their site explorer to check out organic traffic around the time the infographic came out:
And all those backlinks from major sites lent TheRenegadePharmacist.com some serious domain authority, which led to a massive jump in the number of keywords the site ranked for:
You can’t force something to go viral, but with the right combination of factors, even unknown brands can explode onto the scene and stay there.
The Renegade Pharmacist pulled off a challenging strategy we fondly refer to as The Mad Scientist . Nobody saw this infographic coming, and it had the perfect concoction of intrigue, authority, controversy, shareability, and placement. It validated concerns people already had about the sugar content of soda, pointed fingers at a popular brand everyone knew, and stirred up conversations from media and health professionals alike about the things we put in our bodies.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that The Renegade Pharmacist tried to replicate the success of this infographic with a Diet Coke version . But it was the same idea, so it didn’t produce nearly the same traffic. That’s the challenge with The Mad Scientist approach—you have to constantly innovate, or else embrace the diminishing returns.
4. Snack Nation: 59% increase in homepage traffic from blogging
Industry: B2B snack delivery service Key stats:
- 10,000 page views per month on a single post
- Post led to a 59% increase in homepage traffic
- Drives $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue
- Skyscraper technique
- Blogger outreach
Where the study came from: Inspired by Brian Dean’s famous skyscraper technique , Snack Nation set out to write the most thorough post possible on employee wellness. Brian Dean then published this case study on Backlinko .
Snack Nation had a blog, and they were using a pretty common formula for their posts. “They were publishing generic posts like, ‘3 ways to do X’ and ‘5 tips for Y’.”
It wasn’t working for them:
“When we first started out, the blog had a couple of okay posts. We weren’t going after keywords that were outside of our really tiny niche. There’s only so many things people are looking for in terms of office snack delivery.”
Through keyword research, Snack Nation could see that only about 20 people per month were searching for the most relevant term they wanted to rank for: “healthy office snack ideas.” “Wellness program ideas,” however, had far more monthly searches and high commercial intent—meaning companies paid good money to advertise for this term, and people searching for it were likely to buy.
After identifying the keyword they wanted to rank for, Snack Nation scoped out the competition—and it was bad. Once you got through all those ads, about half of the top results were PDFs, which provide a pretty terrible user experience. Some of the others were posts listing ideas with no explanations, which isn’t very helpful.
So Snack Nation set out to list more wellness program ideas than anyone else and to provide more information for each one. After exhausting the ideas they could come up with internally, Snack Nation reached out to their customers for more ideas, as well as other bloggers who wrote about employee wellness.
Using customers and bloggers to generate more ideas also led to easy outreach opportunities—people were happy to share a post that they’d been featured in.
It wasn’t enough just to write the best content. Snack Nation also had to take a systematic approach to outreach in order to build reliable backlinks fast. For more on what that looked like, you should definitely check out Brian Dean’s full report , along with our guide to B2B SEO for more tips and best practices on blogging in the B2B space.
The result of all that effort on a single post? A sweet increase in homepage traffic: 59.2%. And a steady flow of 10,000 blog views per month.
5. Vero: 36,000+ pageviews from a single post
Industry: email marketing software Key stats:
- Ranked #2 for highly competitive keyword (email marketing best practices)
- 4,865 pageviews on a post within a week of publishing
- 36,000+ pageviews at the time of the study
- 953 email signups from the post
- 256 free trial signups
Where the study came from: This is another super detailed case study from Brian Dean’s school of skyscraping, circa 2015. The post Brian Dean analyzed was published in 2014.
Vero’s case study has a lot in common with Snack Nation. With thorough keyword research, they constructed a 5,000+ word blog post that outclassed the competition. They also focused on creating a far more user-friendly post. Vero made their email marketing tips easy to navigate and provided real-world examples and quotes from industry leaders with each tip. They also spent some design time on this post, helping it make a strong first impression:
Image source: Backlinko
All of those examples and quotes also led to great opportunities to build backlinks and get some valuable social proof (this post about email marketing has over 5,000 social shares).
The case study can walk you through Vero’s outreach process for landing backlinks.
6. KISSmetrics: 2.5 million visitors from 47 infographics
- 2.5 million visitors and 4,000+ backlinks from 47 infographics
- 100,000 monthly visitors in less than 12 months
- Social sharing
Where the study came from: In 2012, Neil Patel published a KISSmetrics case study on Quicksprout.
When Neil Patel put together this case study, the blogging world was still coming to grips with the fact that longer posts generally perform better than shorter ones. But what’s fascinating about the way KISSmetrics approached blogging is their focus on infographics.
“Within the two-year period, we’ve generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains, all from those 47 infographics.”
As an email marketing SAAS company, KISSmetrics has access to a lot of data. They distill all that complex information into simple, useful infographics people can trust and share. And if those numbers aren’t convincing enough, Neil Patel breaks down what that kind of traffic would cost if you paid for it:
“If you decided that you want to buy 2,512,596 visitors, it would cost you $125,629.80 if you paid 5 cents a visitor. If you bought 41,142 links from a service like Sponsored Reviews at a rate of $20 a link, you would have spent $822,840. And that wouldn’t even give you high quality links. We naturally got our links from sites like Huffington Post and Forbes.”
In comparison, a top-notch infographic cost them about $680 to create.
7. Slidebean: How a $70k content budget made $200K in revenue
Industry: presentation software Key stats:
- 50,000+ monthly visits to their website
- $206,334 in revenue from content marketing traffic
- Targeted advertising
Where the study came from: Slidebean posted this case study on their blog in 2016, recounting their successes from the year before.
This is a handy case study for startups because it walks through the fundamentals of blogging (including choosing a domain and content management system) and lays out the total costs including labor.
What’s interesting about Slidebean’s approach to SEO is their emphasis on targeted advertising. They realized organic search results were getting the vast majority of traffic, so they used advertising to help their posts climb the ranks.
They spent about $4,300 per month on advertising and a total of about $70,000 for 12 months of content marketing.
Image source: Slidebean
Obviously to get that kind of return, they weren’t just throwing money around willy-nilly. “The key to our success here was confirming that the keywords we were going to target were actually going to bring qualified traffic,” Joe Cayasso from Slidebean says. “Adwords helped us do that in a few weeks.”
Slidebean discovered that one particular keyword—“pitch deck”—was giving them a far greater return on investment, so they built their entire campaign around it.
When Slidebean started their blogging journey, the CEO was writing all of their content. They transitioned to a small team, and to scale their efforts even further they delegated some articles to a group of freelance writers.
8. Scoro: an 11-month journey from 6K to 31K monthly visits
Industry: Work management software Key stats:
- Traffic increased by 1,843% in the 12 months prior to the study
- Went from 6,000+ monthly visits to 31,000+ in the last 11 months
- Focusing on quality over quantity
- “Content bundles” (series of related posts)
- Interlinking posts
- A/B testing titles
Where the study came from: This case study was published on Aggregate Blog in 2017.
Scoro began its blogging journey by buying 800-word posts from an agency. These posts had little short-term or long-term impact, which led this SAAS startup to learn how to blog on its own.
The case study is really transparent: Scoro shares about the many blunders they had along the way and the strategies that ultimately turned things around for them. Rather than focusing on a single post, the study discusses their high-level strategies for the blog as a whole, which took them months to get right.
One of the key differentiators with this case study is the addition of interlinking. While plenty of the other sites we’ve looked at used interlinking, they didn’t talk about it in the case study. Here we see how Scoro intentionally focuses several posts on related topics to build a network of pages that link to each other. Think of it like sending out a team of baseball players to catch fly balls—instead of having one person cover the whole field.
If you’re having a hard time getting backlinks from reputable sites, internal links can still be a great way to make your blog posts more valuable to readers—and just as importantly, more valuable to Google.
9. Nat Eliason: taking your site from 0-10K monthly visits
Industry: marketing Key stats:
- Nat’s personal site gets 50,000 monthly visits
- This is a roadmap for going from 0–10,000 monthly visits in a few months
- Detailed content planning
- Guest posting
Where the study came from: Nat Eliason shared his startup blogging strategy on the Sumo blog in 2017.
In this study, Nat Eliason demonstrates how he planned months of SEO-focused blog posts (and it’s insanely simple). It walks through a hypothetical tea-related website, but this was his methodology to grow his personal site to 50,000+ visitors per month.
Working backwards from his goal (in this case, 10,000 visitors a month), Nat turned this ambitious number into something more tangible. He determined he needed about 333 visitors per day, which he could achieve with just six blog posts, assuming they each got between 30 and 60 visits a day.
Sounds surprisingly doable, right?
Nat implements a lot of the usual strategies regarding keyword research and SEO, but what makes his example so valuable (and repeatable) is his content creation strategy.
Nat built a massive list of possible blog post ideas, and then before digging into keyword data, he sorted posts based on how in-depth he felt he could go on the topic. Then he prioritized the lengthiest posts using keyword volume. This ensured that he only spent time on posts that could pack the biggest punch.
When you want to know how much competition there is for a keyword, you might think Google Keyword Planner is the best place to look, but Nat thinks bloggers need to use a different definition of competitive:
“What I mean by competitiveness is who else is ranking for this keyword in Google right now.” With a brand new blog, Nat knew it’d be hard to take on big domains, so he focused his efforts by starting on posts that only had to beat small websites.
That’s The Maverick methodology at work: Nat used his blog to snatch up traffic his biggest competitors overlooked.
10. Honorable mention: 800 views in a single day on a new blog
I couldn’t resist throwing in this brief case study from Social Triggers . With a sly tactic called “drafting” a new blog landed a nice little bump like this:
Image source: Social Triggers
So what’s “drafting”? Well, when your competitors get featured on a popular website, instead of saying, “Shoot, I wish I could get featured on there,” you weasel your way into a follow up article.
Social Triggers recommends you “analyze the story about your competitor. Were there any holes? Concerns? Or was there room for additional commentary?” Basically, you’re looking to add value by responding to the piece that was already written.
This technique isn’t nearly as reliable as the others we’ve looked at, but you should always keep tabs on your competitors anyways, right? You could set up some Google Alerts , or just use Google’s search tools to filter for recent results:
This definitely shouldn’t be your primary tactic, but it could be a way to get some quality backlinks with minimal effort.
The best blogs have a lot in common
Each of these companies had different strategies to increase organic traffic through blogging, but here are some proven tactics that show up time and time again:
- Competitive analysis
- Backlink building
- Thorough, high-quality content
- Leveraging other channels like paid advertising, email, social, etc.
- Improving old content
The bottom line is if you want to increase organic traffic, you need to blog strategically.
(And we can help you find both the strategy and content that works best for your organization— reach out to us here .)
Guaranteed to make you look smarter. (Cuz you will be.)
Start every week with all the content marketing stories, data, teardowns, case studies, and weird news you need to drop in your next marketing standup meeting.
No ads. No sponsorships. No crap. Unless it’s hilarious crap. We love that.
You have Successfully Subscribed!
Submit a comment cancel reply.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
Get weekly content strategy news
- The Beginner’s Guide to B2B SEO Strategy in 2022
- 12 SEO Tips for B2B SaaS Industry Pages
- 9 SEO Tips for B2B SaaS Solutions Pages
- Product Category SEO: How to Get High-Intent B2B Traffic
- 10 SEO Tips for B2B SaaS Product Pages
- Industry report
If you want to pick our brains, this is the place.
How we helped lever create 22 case study assets in 12 months.
In a highly competitive industry, Lever’s ATS and CRM platform was gaining ground. But in order to truly rise above the crowd, they needed to turn out strategic case studies at scale. With eager customers lining up to share their successes, the small customer marketing team only lacked the time to produce the stories effectively. With Case Study Buddy, Lever gained a partner with tactical expertise and an enterprise-friendly process that delivered: 🎯 22 targeted case study assets produced in...
What the Top 50 SaaS Companies Do With Their Case Studies (Free Report!)
Learn valuable lessons for creating your customer case studies and video testimonials at scale. If you’ve ever looked at your company’s case studies and wondered: How many customer success stories should you have? Should you prioritize written case studies over video testimonials? Or vice versa? How long should your written case studies be? How can you help prospects (and your sales team) find case studies that are most relevant to them? How should you lay out your written case studies...
How to Get Buy-in for Your Case Studies
For most companies, getting buy-in is by far the hardest part of the case study process. Sure, you might also struggle with defining strategy or finding the internal bandwidth to create case studies. But for most companies, getting a yes in the first place is the biggest hurdle. And that “yes” needs to come both internally (from within your own organization) and externally (from the customer). Getting external case study buy-in When a customer says no to being in a...
How to Build Case Study SOPs
By our estimates, only 1% of companies manage to publish a steady stream of customer stories. Want to join them? To build case studies at scale, you need to set up a systematic, step-by-step process for surfacing good candidates, making the ask, and producing a study that will convince prospects and wow leads. In other words, you need some standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your case study production process. 1. What is a case study SOP? A standard operating procedure...
How the Top 1% of Companies Scale Their Case Study Production
We’ve worked with 300+ companies on customer success stories. Here’s what 99% aren’t doing that would change everything. Since 2016, I’ve had a front-row seat to see how hundreds of companies come at the challenges of customer success stories. My team and I have had hundreds more conversations with B2B’s ranging from 10-person startups to 2,000+ person enterprises. It’s a rare position that’s offered an incredible level of insight into what works—and doesn’t—when it comes to scaling up strategic, meaningful storytelling....
Why Your Case Study Needs a Customer Headshot
In a recent survey of the customer success pages of the top 50 SaaS companies, we were surprised to find that only 28% of those companies included a headshot of the customer interviewed in their case studies. And even where we did find headshots, they weren’t always included consistently. This lack of customer headshots is troubling because they’re an important trust indicator. They make the customer success story more believable and demonstrate that a real, living person is saying all...
How Long Should Video Testimonials Be?
Video testimonials are one of the best ways to demonstrate to prospective SaaS customers that you’ve solved complex problems for customers just like them—problems that they share. So it’s no surprise that most enterprise SaaS companies are already creating customer video testimonials at scale. (Keep an eye out for our upcoming research report that confirms this finding.) But there’s one area of video testimonials that’s subject to a lot of debate: How long should video testimonials be? Some say 45-60...
How to Get More Enterprise Case Studies and Overcome 4 Common Challenges
Most enterprise companies know the value of arming their sales and marketing teams with case studies that provide hard evidence of their ability to solve problems experienced by their customers. In fact, our most recent research has found that 100% of the top fifty SaaS companies have written customer case studies on their websites—and the average number of case studies per SaaS company is 130! But how do these large enterprise companies create those case studies at scale? How do...
How to Help Prospects Find Case Studies on Your Website
Most companies put little thought into how they organize their case studies on their websites—a grid here, a filter there, and voila! Often, they just put the biggest logos or most recent case studies at the top of the page—but the danger with that method is that your prospects are only likely to click on the logos they know, or those closest to the top left. If they’ve put a bit more thought into it, they might offer some basic...
Let’s tell your stories together.
Get in touch to start a conversation.
SaaS Industry Report
The state of saas customer success stories in 2023.
See what the top 50 SaaS companies are doing with their case studies and video testimonials.
Get valuable takeaways you can use to level up your own marketing, applicable to any size or type of company.
5 Inspiring Blogging Case Studies
- Posted on September 4th, 2013
- | Categories: Content
What could blogging do for your career, or your small business?
You might feel that blogging is something you “should” be doing – perhaps you have an idea of some of the advantages it might bring – but it may be very hard to find the time or motivation.
We’ve collected together five case studies to inspire you, covering five very different blogs that all brought their authors huge benefits.
As you read each one, ask yourself whether a successful blog could do the same for you…
#1: Digital photography school, the blog that became a business
Although we believe that blogs are powerful ways to boost your business, we also know that some bloggers begin the other way round: they create a blog first, then turn that blog into a small business.
Darren Rowse started his blog Digital Photography School (dPS) in April 2006, writing all the posts himself. You might like to take a look at his initial goals for the dPS blog, posted in August 2006 on ProBlogger . At that point, he wrote:
“This week [dPS is] averaging around 3000 RSS readers (this number goes up and down significantly)
My [dPS] newsletter subscriber list has grown to around 1800 subscribers”
Those are some great stats for a blog that was less than two months old … though keep in mind that Darren already had a strong blogging presence with ProBlogger, and was able to bring in readers from some of his earlier photography-related sites.
It wasn’t until 2009 that Darren launched his first ebook for dPS ; until that point, he’d been monetising the blog through other methods like advertising and affiliate links. In $72,000 in E-Books in a Week – 8 Lessons I Learned , he wrote:
“Both with this Portrait e-book and the development of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook I’ve discovered that having a product of your own is something quite powerful. Not only is it an income stream – but it’s something that has a real impact upon both your readers and your standing in your niche/industry.”
Now, in 2013, Digital Photography School is a huge site – and a full business. The blog has over a million RSS / email subscribers. It sells ten photography-related ebooks , by a number of different authors, and also runs some advertising.
Could this be you?
If you already have a blog, perhaps focusing on one of your hobbies or career interests, could you turn it into a small business?
You might already have tried some monetisation methods, like putting ads onto your site, or promoting affiliate products … but, as Darren found, the best way to make serious money from a blog is by selling something of your own. That could be your services (e.g. web design, copywriting, consulting) or your products (particularly electronic ones, like ebooks, which have no overheads).
#2: PluginID, the blog that had huge SEO benefits
Just as flowers attract bees, who make honey, great blog posts will attract links – which produce “link juice.” This link juice is what makes your site look attractive to Google and other search engines, like a delicious jar of honey – and it means your site will rank more highly in search results.
When 19-year-old Glen Allsopp started PluginID, he knew he wanted to build it into a big player in the already-crowded personal development niche – and that meant paying close attention to SEO.
It helped that Glen had spent several years learning about SEO and social media: he built his first website at the age of 15, and when he was 18, he was social media manager for huge brands like Land Rover and Hewlett Packard.
His site PluginID took off – thanks largely to his powerful, attention grabbing blog posts, which won attention and links from other bloggers. As Glen explains in How I Really Built a Blog with 6,500 Subscribers :
“I paid $100 to have someone code me a rankings script that showed the top sites in my niche, and then I emailed every individual blogger to congratulate them for their rankings.
I had created something that people naturally wanted to share (especially if they were ranking highly), something that people would come back to in order to check their position, and most importantly: I had interacted with the top 100 bloggers in my industry.”
As well as high-quality posts on his own blog, Glen did a huge amount of guest posting to promote his site, not just to get attention from the readers of other personal development sites, but – crucially – to get links from some of the biggest blogs around.
PluginID became the 10 th largest personal development blog in the world, and Glen sold it after around a year and a half for a five-figure sum. He attributed a large amount of his success to search engine traffic:
“Around 15,000 people land on PluginID every single month directly from search engines and that is constantly increasing. How would 1,000, 5,000 or even 15,000 extra visitors to your site affect your stats?”
Glen wasn’t known at all in the personal development world when he started PluginID – but he quickly built that blog, through the power of great content. He didn’t stop with PluginID either: his internet marketing blog ViperChill has 26,000 subscribers.
You don’t have to be a known expert in your field to produce great content, for your blog and for other people’s. Learn from Glen by producing hugely valuable blog posts (think quality, not quantity) – and use the power of guest posting to gain powerful links that offer a huge boost your SEO efforts.
#3: UnMarketing, the blog (and Twitter account) that built Scott Stratten’s profile
Scott Stratten had a successful business, UnMarketing, which delivered great results for clients wanting viral videos – but he didn’t have a strong social media presence of his own until he started the UnMarketing blog and Twitter account.
He began posting on his blog in mid-2009. Scott’s blog is an interesting example of how frequent blogging isn’t the only key to success – while he began with roughly weekly blog posts, he now only blogs once every month or two. Scott’s strategy revolves around building connections: he emphasises the importance of using Twitter as a two-way medium.
While Scott’s focus has been primarily on his Twitter account , his blog is still crucial: it gives him a place to showcase longer content, and to promote his speaking services and his book UnMarketing , which came out in 2010.
As Scott’s About page puts it:
“ [Scott] now has over 135,000 people follow his daily rantings on Twitter and was named one of the top 5 social media influencers in the world on Forbes.com. It’s the only time he’s felt comfortable being compared to Ashton Kutcher, P Diddy and Justin Bieber.”
As you can see, Scott doesn’t just get attention from the online marketing community: his name has been prominent in international media (Forbes.com), giving him and his business a huge amount of credibility. He’s a regular keynote speaker at conferences, too.
You don’t need to be a marketer (or even an unmarketer…) to take advantage of the power of blogs and social media. By writing great content on your blog, and by building strong social media connections, you can create a name for yourself in your industry.
To build a reputation, make sure you’re producing high-quality content, and try to get across your unique voice and viewpoint (read any of Scott’s posts to see how he does this). Don’t be afraid to occasionally take a controversial stance.
#4: Mint.com, the blog that Brought huge business success
Perhaps you’ve been struggling away with traditional marketing methods for years – like paying for ad space in your local newspaper, or sending out physical mailshots. Blogging (along with other online social media tools) offers business owners much more cost-effective – and often more powerful – ways to raise their profile and bring in new business.
The personal finance niche is perhaps one of the most crowded corners of the online world. When Mint launched in 2006, they were a brand-new start-up in a very busy space, up against established companies like Quicken. But their blogging strategy saw them stand out from the competition, and they devoted significant resources to their blog.
As Shane Snow, writing on Mashable, explains :
“News and tips posts, link roundups, slideshows, videos, and infographics were all key components in Mint’s content strategy, and they were held to a strict editorial standard. By establishing itself as a smart resource that was easy and accessible to the financially curious, Mint was able to leverage its content credibility to convert readers into buyers of its actual product.”
Mint had very high standards for their blog – and worked consistently to produce great content. As well as blog posts, they pioneered the use of infographics (now widespread in the blogging world). You can see one infographic example in their History of Mint timeline here .
Without this content strategy, it would have been very easy for Mint to simply sink unnoticed. Instead, after three years, founder Aaron Patzer sold his company to Intuit for over $170 million.
If you’re struggling to stand out from your competitors, look for ways to use the power of blogging to give you a boost. That means posting great content on your own site that connects with your customers’ needs – as well as reaching out to other bloggers in your industry.
Branch out beyond written content, too: look at ways to use videos, slideshows and infographics to connect with customers in new ways – and to get attention.
#5: The amazing adventures of diet girl, the blog that led to a book deal
Some bloggers, particularly those who see themselves as writers (or harbour writing ambitions), use their blog as a stepping-stone to a book deal. Book publishers are increasingly keen on authors who already have a platform – a blog or mailing list that allows them to market directly to already-interested readers.
In 2001, Shauna Reid decided to lose weight, and started a blog to chronicle her journey. On her About page, she explains:
“Back in 2001, a block of chocolate was an afternoon snack. I couldn’t walk to the end of the street without feeling like my lungs would explode. I had rubbish self esteem and struggled with depression. I’d outgrown the largest clothes in the Fat Shops.
[…] Slowly I began to see how I was letting my weight dictate everything I did with my life, or rather what I didn’t do. It was just a quiet realisation that I couldn’t go on this way any longer. I had to try and turn things around.”
Her blog gradually gained momentum, building a loyal audience of readers who cheered Shauna on in her efforts, sympathised with her when things weren’t going so well, and celebrated her successes.
As well as losing half her initial body weight – a fantastic and life-changing achievement in itself – Shauna landed a book deal. Her memoir The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl was published by Harper Collins / Transworld in 2008.
Shauna didn’t stop with a book deal: she continues to blog, and co-runs e-courses on running . She has over 4,000 followers on Twitter, and over 2,000 “likes” on her Facebook page: very respectable numbers, but ones that show that you don’t necessarily need a massive following to get publishers’ attention.
More and more bloggers are landing book deals from their blogs (Scott Stratten and Darren Rowse, both mentioned in earlier case studies, both have books out). If you want to follow a similar path, the key is to build a blog with a loyal readership – not necessarily a huge one – and to focus on developing and honing your own writing style.
An inspiring personal story, like Shauna’s, can work well: what adventures of your own could you write about? (Perhaps travel, parenting, or overcoming adversity?)
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
GET IN TOUCH
Get support, join the community.
Designed, Built and Optimised by Joe the SEO
Tribe SEO Waitlist
5 day 'quick win' seo challenge, tribe seo newsletter.
- 13 Case Studies on Business Blogging and Long-Term…
13 Case Studies on Business Blogging and Long-Term Profitability
One of the biggest pieces of information I try to convey with both my blog and my sales calls is that a blog is a long-term strategy. Paid advertising, sure, that can get you results immediately. What about flashy conferences and sponsorships? Obviously. But blogging? Blogging is slow.
I usually use the snowball analogy. A few flakes of snow don't add up to much, but when there's enough of them, you can roll it up into a snowball, and that snowball just keeps getting bigger. Roll it down a hill and it can – in the right circumstances – become an avalanche.
There are a variety of different strategies used to accomplish this. The Huffington Post, for example, got its start through volume. They published nearly one post per minute when they first started blogging, flooded the market, and becoming a household name overnight. You can compare that to a blizzard that leaves an entire town buried under feet of snow.
Other companies, like many of the big marketing firms you might think of – Moz, Hubspot, etc – got their starts just providing a blog and a service. They spent years working at it, growing a community, building products, offering information, and growing. It's the slow and gradual snowfall that eventually builds up enough to snowball.
The fact is, most businesses won't see immediate returns from their blogging efforts. Blogging takes time to get established, time to build and grow, and time for people to learn to recognize it. It does help, though, on a long-term scale. You don't have to take my word for it, either; here are a handful of case studies that prove it.
1. Express Writers
Express Writers is a content mill where you can hire freelancers to create quick articles for your site. They've been in operation for eight years, and over that time have gone from a brand new site to pulling in 90,000 visitors per month. On their blog, they have published nearly 1,200 blog posts over those eight years (roughly 150 per year, or once every 2-3 days). Their focus on quality over quantity – something I promote as well – has helped them surge in traffic. I saw the same thing with some of my sites when I moved from 7 posts per week to 2-3 posts per week.
You can see in their charts how their blogging strategy has worked. It's typical of what you'll see throughout these case studies: long-term steady growth. There are a few surges here and there from social media and referral traffic, but for the most part, it's slow and steady winning the race.
2. Tresnic Media
Just because blogging is a long term strategy doesn't mean you can't jump the gun a little bit. Tresnic Media proved this with its surge of content in a strategy similar to the aforementioned HuffPo strategy. They didn't publish a new post every minute, though; they published two new posts per day for five weeks. This totaled up to 50 new blog posts, aimed at creating deep and useful content in their niche.
Rather than just posting content, they made sure to share it as well. Facebook and Twitter were the primary targets, with Google+ in there as well, though you can't use that site anymore. During their experimental period, they saw significant growth in search volume, search rankings, and traffic. In fact, in just eight weeks, they increased their web traffic by 1,000% - not bad for only 50 blog articles. Our clients have seen similar numbers.
One of several case studies described on the page linked above, OptinMonster is one of the world's leading landing page and form creator apps. They weren't always so prominent, however. They got there through an extended campaign of creating high-quality content.
Specifically, what OptinMonster creates is known as pillar posts . Pillar posts are huge, well-written, engaging, and powerful. They take a lot of time to create because they're 10x content; they're extremely deep and actionable in their topics, they're well-proven and full of detailed information, and they're packed with multimedia.
OptinMonster didn't just create pillar posts; they created pillar posts and cross-linked them. That interlinking helped keep people around on the site, and continually proved that the company knows what they're talking about. Altogether, this led to at least 600,000 visitors per month and a position as one of the foremost companies in their space.
UnMarketing is a successful marketing blog that strives to take the traditional knowledge of marketing and turn it on its head. It's an effort and a movement to get away from treating customers as mobile wallets and focus on the relationships and engagement that they represent. They're people, not pocketbooks.
These days, UnMarketing's strategy isn't even that uncommon. Many content marketers today will tell you that the content itself isn't the most important part. The most important part is the relationships you build with your customers. In that way, UnMarketing went from a countercultural movement to the forefront of marketing, simply by being right.
This case study is more about what a blog can do when it's up and running. Long-term, a blog gathers a lot of power, through name recognition, audience and community, and link juice. Scott Stratten, the man in charge of UnMarketing, didn't have a Twitter presence. When he created one, he immediately focused on it as a two-way communication channel for his audience, and people appreciated it. He now has 174,000 followers and regularly uses it to signal boost members of his community while engaging with them personally.
Mint is a personal finance company that was founded in 2006. Personal finance is one of the most crowded and competitive niches online, and they were up against all manner of competition from other small sites and larger businesses like Quicken.
Their route to success was through a variety of different kinds of content, with extremely high editorial standards. Whether it was a news post, a post about tips and tricks, a detailed study, an infographic, or a link roundup, Mint focused on high-quality content above all else.
What this did is allowed them to take a small personal finance blog into the big leagues. Mint made a name for itself, and within a few years – only three, for the founder – it was a great success. The founder sold the site to Intuit for $170 million, based almost solely on the power of the blog.
You all know Ahrefs, the SaaS link analysis company. They're one of the best on the market when it comes to analyzing, recording, and reporting on backlinks. I recommend them as a tool, and so to thousands of others.
Ahrefs went against the grain back in 2015 with a campaign of deleting old blog posts. Now, one thing I often recommend when I analyze a blog that has been running unsuccessfully for years is to delete a lot of their old content. Old content can be of poor quality and can be holding a site back. It's important to know the difference between old content that still has some value and old content that has nothing going for it, and Ahrefs did just that.
Ahrefs ended up deleting nearly 50% of their blog at the time. They nuked 266 blog posts from their site, all of which averaged about 700 words in length. Obviously, by 2016, a 700-word blog post is nothing. It's borderline thin content.
We create blog content that converts - not just for ourselves, but for our clients, too.
We pick blog topics like hedge funds pick stocks. Then, we create articles that are 10x better to earn the top spot.
Content marketing has two ingredients - content and marketing. We've earned our black belts in both.
Combining this strategy with new content production rules moving forward was the key to success. They nuked the old posts, and cut their content production in half, focusing on longer, more valuable posts. You'll recognize those now; they create some of the best posts in the industry on their site these days. The result is what you see before you; one of the best blogs out there.
I wrote an article for The Huffington Post a while back about how I accomplished similar results by deleting old blog posts - while it was anxiety-inducing, my traffic increased by 30% after deleting those posts. Low-quality content can weigh down your site, and this case study is proof of that.
Buffer is another major name in marketing. Their tool is incredible for content creators looking to keep an ongoing portfolio of references and useful items. They weren't always the big name they are today, though.
Buffer's launch was anything but spectacular. They took two solid years of blogging before they caught on, which is pretty standard for a purely organic strategy. The important part was simple: they made their content with a focus on what their users wanted to see. As it turned out, commenting on pretty much anything that happened or changed in the social media space was exactly what they needed to do.
Buffer's content strategy has worked, as evidenced by the fact that most of you know or even use Buffer regularly. It took them six years, but they went from a new site with no relevance to 1.5 million monthly sessions. All it took was a focus on producing content that their users really wanted to see.
8. The Renegade Pharmacist
Link building is one of the core processes in SEO, and it's a huge part of what blogging is all about. Blogging attracts users, yes, but it also attracts links from other sites. Those links might come from other blogs, or they might come from major organizations, like Buzzfeed, Yahoo, and The Huffington Post.
The Renegade Pharmacist shows that content can dramatically accelerate link building, even if the traffic that comes with a viral post doesn't linger. They created an infographic – a surprisingly simple one – to show what happens in the body when you drink a can of Coke. This infographic went viral and received over a thousand backlinks – many from high-quality sites – in a matter of days.
Of course, no one can plan to go viral. It's entirely at the mercy of the whims of the global audience the day the post is shared. The key is to consistently produce content that has the potential to go viral and prepare for when something finally does.
ClearVoice is another marketing agency, perhaps less popular than some of the others on this list, but their results are important. What they show is the importance of having a content strategy, rather than just creating content and hoping something works along the way.
Their B2B blog was languishing with a respectable but small 3,000 monthly visitors. They were growing, but that growth was slow. Year over year, they might only add another 500-1,000 new visitors. When other sites in the same niche can pull in hundreds of thousands, that's not a great rate.
Simply shifting from an unfocused, reactive strategy to a proactive, structured strategy helped them skyrocket their visitors. They performed a detailed content audit – which they describe in the post I linked – and shot from 3,000 visitors to 50,000 in a matter of two years. Not bad!
Scoro was a startup back in 2015 and earlier, averaging a meager 1.5k visitors per month. In a little over a year, they grew to 31k visitors per month, and they did it entirely through content. So what did they do?
The truth is, they didn't have any single strategy. Rather, they progressed through a series of ideas and experiments, some garnered from other sites, some developed on their own. They started creating content bundles, they emphasized technical SEO, and they weren't afraid to abandon ideas that proved they didn't work out .
Neil Patel is one of the foremost minds in content marketing, and he shows it time and again on his blog and related businesses. KISSMetrics is one such blog, and they experimented with infographics as a marketing tool. Remember up above, with the Coke infographic that raked in 1,000 backlinks? What if you were to do that 47 times?
Well, KISSMetrics didn't pull in 47,000 backlinks, only about 4,000. What they did do is pull in over 2.5 million visitors, and settled in at a new high of 100,000 monthly visitors in less than a year . Now, sure, Neil has a lot of name recognition and a lot of resources to throw at any business he chooses to start, so he's working with a head start over other business owners, but nothing he did is impossible to replicate. You can do it too.
Backlinko is another excellent top-end site in the SEO and marketing industry. I've personally linked to their site dozens of times by now, and I know I'm not alone. They have a huge array of useful content on their site, and their resources are top-notch.
Yet still, they can always improve, and this case study (or rather, series of case studies) proves it. In this case, Brian Dean focused on guest blogging. His goals were two-fold; to prove that guest blogging is still a viable strategy, and to grow his brand by doing it the right way. He did just that, and you can click through to his case study to find out how.
13. Social Triggers
Sometimes results can happen quickly, and sometimes they happen slowly over time. Social Triggers manager to create a strategy they called drafting, after the way professional racers huddle in the wake of one another so they don't have to fight air resistance quite as much. When a competitor creates a piece of content for a major site in their industry, they used a bit of clever finagling to get their content featured as well, as a follow-up. The hard work was done; another company led the way. All they had to do was follow up.
The numbers are small; a blog that went from 20 hits a day to 800 hits per day and used it to pull in $2,000 in revenue . Still, it shows that even small-scale success is more than possible.
What did you think of these case studies? Are you convinced that blogging is a great long-term investment? If you have any questions for me, let me know in the comments section below. I respond to each and every comment and would love to hear from you!
James Parsons is the founder and CEO of Content Powered, a content creation company. He’s been a content marketer for over 10 years and writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and many other publications on blogging and website strategy.
Join Thousands of Marketers and Get Free Tips Weekly!
Learn: How Does Blogging Generate Additional Business Income?
Why It’s Worth Investing in Your Business Blog Content
How to Start a Blog Strategy for Your SaaS Business
January 14, 2021 at 4:27 am
Very informative. I want to ask, do you have any ballpark number of how much should I invest? Let’s say if I get an agency to handle my blogs for a year? I want to see if I can maintain that for 2-3 yrs before I have some results. Thanks!
January 14, 2021 at 8:58 pm
I'd imagine any reputable content marketing agency can help you achieve results much sooner than that.
Most of our clients have a 400-600% growth in traffic with us in the first year. It does depend on the size and authority of your site. Brand new sites will grow at a slower rate, and your 2-3 year estimates may be a bit more accurate.
Your industry, your product, and your competition are all critical factors.
We've done wonders with a ~$2,000 per month budget. To answer your question, that's roughly 48k-72k over 2-3 years.
Feel free to drop me a line if you'd like a more personalized discussion 🙂
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Email (will not be published) (required)
Let’s Grow Your Business
Want some free consulting? Let’s hop on a call and talk about what we can do to help.
Revenue River is now an Instrumental Group Company . Learn more.
- our approach
5 minute read
Case studies are great for digital marketing . What other piece of content showcases the authentic, awesome work you did for a customer?
What if I told you there’s something better?
Instead of having your case studies blocked by forms, you should turn your case studies into blogs. Yes, your case studies can be used for lead generation, but they could be doing more. It may sound counter-intuitive from an inbound marketing perspective, but if you make your portfolio of successful client work accessible for every site visitor, you’ll benefit.
The Importance of “Ungated Content”
You might have case studies that have been successful, in that they are heavily used in your sales cycle or that they are heavily downloaded, but they have the potential to do more for your digital marketing efforts. Check out this blog post from the Content Marketing Institute on ungating content .
If you have a PDF-styled case study that site visitors need to submit a form to access, you will never have 100% of the traffic on that landing page view the case study. There is, and always will be, people who immediately bounce from that page. Why? Because they don’t want to receive emails from you. Your prospects already receive thousands of emails and don’t want to sign up to receive another one unless it’s absolutely necessary.
If your case study is ungated, your website traffic can easily end up visiting that page and scanning it to understand how you solved a problem for your customer. In addition, you have another website page that can be indexed by Google, which is a way of increasing Google search rankings. The best part: no emails or form submissions required.
I’ll walk you through steps so you can follow a tried and true digital marketing strategy to creating an effective case study blog post from scratch.
Much like a normal blog post, you need to do the proper amount of research to truly understand the needs and challenges of your client, and what results your company’s work generated for them.
Before you get too far along, make sure your client is okay with you writing about the digital marketing solutions you provided for them. If you have orchestrated success, they will most likely not have a problem with it.
Once you get permission, be very conscious of how you talk about your client. They don't want this article to tell the world how badly they needed your services or how you uncovered a flaw in an aspect of their corporate communications. Rather, they want to see how your software or service solved problems and drove results. I suggest you write about how the strategy fit the needs of the client, and why it was successful.
Take the time to have a physical conversation with everyone involved. Make sure you take notes and record any quotes.
It’s best to start by asking your sales team why they reached out to you in the first place. Get a feel for what their objectives were/are, and their challenges in reaching those objectives. Whoever helped that prospect turn into a client will be able to provide that information.
After that, interview the account manager, client success manager, or the person managing client interactions. They will be able to provide more details about what the client wanted. Ask what tasks they completed to provide value for your client (get them to provide details, as needed), and inquire about any statistics or analytics that you can use later on in your article.
At this point, it’s a good idea to interview your client. But don’t ask them the same questions that you asked your coworkers. Your client is already familiar with what you’ve done to help them. Instead, ask them more concise questions about how they feel about the results. If their response is impactful, consider compiling his or her feedback in a quote for this blog post.
If there’s anyone else to interview, make sure you include them. They can help you make sense of your client’s perspective, and they might be able to give you feedback or be available for questions when you’re actually writing your case study blog post.
Do your own digging
After you’ve interviewed everyone, spend some time finding data worth showcasing. There’s a big difference between data that is indicative of success and raw data.
For example, you could be proud of a marketing campaign that generated thousands of likes on Facebook, but is that truly providing value for your client? Most likely not.
Instead, showcase how you increased lead generation by 250% through inbound marketing , or how you increased organic traffic by 350% . Those are metrics that indicate success and are evidence that you create value for clients.
Organic traffic is traffic from Google. Someone entered in a search term and found you in search results.
You’ve done your research, you have evidence of accomplishments, and you know all about your client. Now you’re ready to sit down and write your blog.
Unfortunately, I can’t help you write your actual post. It’s up to you to accurately to use your mastery of content marketing to describe your client, why they came to you, and how you solved their problems. However, I can help you make sure you don’t forget anything in your writing. Be sure to include:
- Basic information about your client
- Their challenges
- Describe the solution to their challenges
- Display the solution
- Share the results that provided value for your client
If you don’t have upwards of one thousand words in your blog post, then you’re not trying hard enough. Provide details, educate, and give your readers plenty of evidence that you have happy clients from your results.
Lastly, don’t forget to follow best practices for SEO . Make sure you’re linking to your client’s website, and double check that you have alt text if you include images or screenshots.
Once the blog is finished, make sure you let your client know when it’s up on your site. They will be eager to see what you’ve written, and can help promote your work.
Case studies are the perfect piece of content to give people the understanding that you drive results for your clients. If you create multiple examples of your successful client work and reduce the barrier of entry to view that content, you’re putting more eyes in front of those case studies. Ungating your case studies is a great content marketing strategy that you can use to show off your own expertise. Even more, there’s a SEO benefit.
Need inspiration or example of a case study blog post? Check out our portfolio of successful client work .
Creating a successful blog post involves two things. SEO techniques (looking for keywords, internal and external links), AND stylistic techniques that go into the actual writing of your blog post.
Subscribe to The Cutting Edge
- sales systems
- software integrations
- sales enablement
- video services
2081 Youngfield Street Golden, CO 80401
Blogging Her Way
Free blogging bootcamp.
Want to finally start the blog you've been dreaming of and make money blogging? Join over 7,000 other students in my free Blogging Bootcamp to learn how!
Blog Case Study: How I Made $8,400+ in 9 Months with a New Blog
Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link. Full disclosure policy here.
Blog Case Study: Over $8,400 in 9 Months
Today I wanted to share a blog case study with you and show you exactly how I earned more than $8,400 from a brand new blog in just nine months.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I have started quite a few blogs. Five to be exact, three of which I later sold for a profit!
This blog case study income report is going to be for a college lifestyle blog that I started at the end of March 2020, and then sold in March 2021. However, within the first nine months of starting this site, I earned over $8,400 from it.
I’m going to give you an EXACT breakdown of how I monetized this blog so fast.
Haven’t started your own blog yet?
First things first, CLICK HERE to learn the cheapest way to start your blog!
Then continue reading for the next steps of starting your blog today.
If you haven’t started your own blog yet but you’ve been thinking about it, check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog or sign up for my free Blogging Bootcamp course and get the steps delivered straight to your inbox:
Before I get into the blog case study, here’s some background information.
As I mentioned, this blog is in the college lifestyle niche. The main categories on this blog are dorm room, college life, and gift guides.
I started this blog towards the end of March 2020, right after the pandemic began. This ended up being SUPER good timing, because I had not yet realized the effect the pandemic was going to have on my swiftly growing travel blog.
So while my travel blog income ended up completely tanking for the rest of 2020 (after hitting an all-time high in the previous few months) thankfully this new blog came in and saved the day for the rest of 2020.
Monthly Blog Stats
Okay, time to get into this blog case study!
First things first, let’s take a deep dive into the growth of this blog.
Below is an overview of my income and traffic each month since starting this blog. (I’m not including March since I started it late in the month.)
The number in parenthesis is my traffic in page views for that month.
- April: $33.47 ( 9,478 )
- May: $205.42 ( 25,716 )
- June: $681.50 ( 31,835 )
- July: $1,254.74 ( 41,814 )
- August: $999.23 ( 35,258 )
- September : $352.33 ( 20,360)
- October: $1,440.35 ( 42,612)
- November: $1,250.22 ( 29,766)
- December: $2,227.68 ( 41,891)
Total Income: $8,444.94
And here’s how that income breaks down…
- Mediavine: $4,066.20
- Amazon: $4,286.13
The remaining $92.61 I earned came from a handful of smaller affiliate programs.
How My Blog Made Money
So as you can see, I made over $8,400 in nine months on this blog.
But let’s talk about how actually I earned this money.
As you could tell from the breakdown above, almost all of my blog income came from two sources: Mediavine ads and the Amazon affiliate program.
Close to half of my income came from Mediavine ads on my blog.
With the Mediavine ads, I was able to get them on my blog very quickly. I applied once I hit 10,000 sessions on my blog, which was at end of the month of May.
I was able to apply with just 10,000 sessions because I already had another website with Mediavine. However, they have since changed their requirements, and now you need 50,000 monthly sessions to apply regardless.
I got Mediavine ads on my blog in June, and my earnings and RPM (revenue per one thousand page views) fluctuated from month to month, with it being highest around the holidays. (Which is typical for ads.)
The rest of my income came from affiliate marketing, mainly through Amazon.
I wrote a whole ebook about making money from the Amazon affiliate program if you want to learn the exact strategies I use to write blog posts that make sales.
For this blog, I wrote a lot of gift guides and shopping lists. This is a great way to make money from the Amazon affiliate program.
In May and June, a lot of my affiliate sales came from my blog posts about graduation gifts because it’s the time of year when high school and college graduations are happening across the United States and other countries.
In June, July, and August, most of my affiliate sales were coming from blog posts about back-to-school shopping (mainly what to buy for your college dorm.)
Obviously, September was my worst month for traffic and income. I’m honestly not sure why my traffic and income was SO low in September, but I assume part of it has to do with the fact that most college students were already back in school and done with their back-to-school shopping.
In October, I had a blog post about college Halloween costumes that did really well on Pinterest and led to a lot of affiliate sales.
And in November and December, I had blog posts about Friendsgiving and Christmas that made up the majority of affiliate sales. I had a number of Christmas gift guides which got a lot of traffic, including one that ranked at the top of the first page in Google for a very popular search term!
A tiny amount of my income (just over $90) came from a few other affiliate programs, namely for a planner and another blogger’s ebook.
I had affiliate links for a few other products on my blog too, but I never saw any conversions for those, so I didn’t spend much time promoting them.
How Did I Get Traffic?
I was able to start getting traffic to my new blog almost immediately thanks to Pinterest. Pinterest is my secret weapon for getting traffic quickly!
If you need help with using Pinterest to get traffic, I HIGHLY recommend the online course Pinteresting Strategies. It’s affordably priced and it’s what I’ve used for ALL of my blogs for the past three years now. Carly, the blogger who created this course, gets 200k+ monthly page views to her blog from Pinterest.
While I am still nowhere near that level of Pinterest traffic on any of my blogs, I HAVE been able to use her strategies to go from zero to decent traffic within a short frame of time on every new blog I have started.
Her course explains everything in detail, but the basic gist of what I do is create lots of pins for every blog post I write (typically 3-5 for new posts and then more as time goes on) and pin them to my personal boards on Pinterest. I use lots of keywords in my board names, board descriptions, and individual pin descriptions.
I also started getting organic search traffic to my blog, but that took about seven months to kick in, whereas with Pinterest I was getting traffic after a few weeks.
SEO (search engine optimization) is something I really prioritized with this blog.
For every blog post I wrote, I did keyword research (I paid for the $7 trial of Ahrefs and did my keyword research in bulk, but you can also use a tool like UberSuggest or SEMRush , which offer a number of free searches each day.)
I made a spreadsheet where I put the keyword, its monthly search volume, and its ranking difficulty. I made a big list of keywords this way.
Then I targeted keywords with a high search volume and a low ranking difficulty when I wrote my blog posts. Making a big list of keywords ensured that I never ran out of blog post ideas, and that I was strategically creating content.
How Many Blog Posts Did I Write?
A question I hear from new bloggers a lot is how many blog posts they should write. Well, there’s no “magic number” you should have but more is better.
With this blog, I wrote 55 blog posts from March until December of 2020. That works out to 5.5 new blog posts per month. Although honestly, I wrote WAY more over the summer and was churning out a new blog post every few days. Then I slowed down in the fall and posted much more sporadically.
My goal was to get 50,000 words of content written as quickly as possible because I heard somewhere this is a good number to target before you start seeing real results from SEO. (I’d say that’s about accurate!)
I ended up with about 64,000 words written, which works out to an average of 1,163 words per post. So on average, my blog posts are not super long.
I think once you get to the point of having 100-200 GOOD blog posts published that target good keywords, is when you can really expect to see more traffic.
My expenses for this blog were very low.
Actually, the main expense I had was monthly web hosting, but I split that between all my blogs so it was not really a dedicated expense just for this blog.
You can get web hosting for just $2.95 a month for one blog with Bluehost.
(I pay around $12 a month because I’m on a plan that hosts multiple blogs.)
I did spend $50 hiring a graphic design for a couple of one-off tasks as well.
But aside from that, everything I earned from this blog was pure profit! That’s one of the best things about blogging: it has extremely low expenses and higher profit margins that pretty much any other business out there.
I hope you’ve found this blog case study helpful!
I wanted to show that it IS possible to make money with a new blog.
For this blog, I think the most important things I did to grow it quickly were…
Publishing seasonal content
I made it a goal to publish seasonal content a few months in advance on my blog. So this meant publishing high school/college graduation content in March and April, back-to-college content in May and June, Halloween content in July, Christmas content in August and September, etc.
This gave my blog posts a few months to start circulating and getting traffic.
Focusing on Pinterest
The way I was able to get traffic so quickly to my new blog was through Pinterest. I mentioned this above but Pinteresting Strategies is a lifesaver.
Since I was publishing seasonal content a few months in advance, I was also creating and sharing pins for those blogs posts a few months in advance.
Pinterest will work for almost any blog niche, but it’s definitely better for some more than others. (For example, food, lifestyle, or DIY & craft blog are going to do a lot better on Pinterest than a blog about stock investing tips, just because they are more common topics and have more of a presence on Pinterest.)
Affiliate-heavy blog posts
Finally, one of the biggest things I did to earn money from my blog was write MONETIZED blog posts using affiliate links. And the key thing here that so many bloggers miss is that I wrote blog posts that would attract readers who are already in a buying mindset, leading to more conversions.
Shopping and gift guides are the name of the game here!
For example, some of my popular blog posts were on topics like…
- College dorm room essentials
- Graduation gifts
- Christmas gifts for college girls
- Stocking stuffers for college students
- College Halloween costumes
- Dorm room packing list
- Best planners for college students
I utilized Amazon affiliate links in all of these blog posts.
Check out my ebook Amazon Affiliate Affluence for more tips!
Selling the Blog
After I worked on this blog for nine months, I stopped writing new content for it and doing any Pinterest promotion, and just let it sit for about three months.
Then, in March 2021, I sold this blog to a new owner for $22,000. I used a broker to help me find a buyer, so after paying her commission, I walked away with $17,600 profit. (Read more about blog flipping for the details!)
Blog Case Study: Final Thoughts
So that’s exactly how I made money with a brand-new blog!
Not too bad, earning over $8,400 in the first nine months while working maybe five to ten hours a week on this blog in addition to my other blogs.
I hope you enjoyed this blog case study!
For more blogging tips, be sure to read the following:
- How to Start a Blog for Beginners
- 5 Blogging Investments I Made That Helped Me Become a Full-Time Blogger
- The Ultimate List of 200+ Blog Income Reports
- 6 Things to Do Before Starting a Blog
- How I Made Over $7,000 from a Hobby Blog in One Year
4 comments on “Blog Case Study: How I Made $8,400+ in 9 Months with a New Blog”
I really love all your blog posts articles and this is truly an amazing one, your information is very insightful. Thanks for posting!
Thanks Nancy, I’m glad you found it helpful!
This is so helpful!! I’ve had blogs before but didn’t realize flipping them was a thing until recently!! Thanks for the info 🙂
You’re welcome, I’m glad you found this info helpful!
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
- Affiliate Programs
- Ballen Vegas
- Ballen Academy
- Ballen Brands
- Affiliate Disclosure
- Affiliate Programs Directory
- Thirsty Affiliates
- 400+ AI ChatGPT Prompts for Bloggers, Writers, and Content Creators
11 Best ChatGPt Chrome Extensions for Bloggers (With Reviews)
- AIPRM: The Game-Changer for ChatGPT Prompt Templates
- Originality AI Review: AI Content Detector – Jan 2023
- 38 Best Product Review Bloggers for 2023
- Affiliate Marketing For Beginners in 2023
- Business Planning
- 75 Podcast Topics: The Best Conversation Ideas
- Latest Articles
- Mindset and Motivation
- Niche Websites
- Real Estate Business
- Social Media
- 11 Software Like BookBolt Alternatives for 2023
- 8 Best Teleprompter Apps for Mac Devices in 2023
- 7 of the Best Youtube Comments Search Chrome Extensions
- Team Building
- How Much Do YouTubers Make? [2022 List of Top Earners]
- 143 Good, Fun, and Interesting Topics To Write About
- Lori Ballen’s Blog
How To Write a Case Study Blog that is Effective, and Compelling
A case study blog post is an article that describes the process of conducting research and analyzing data. It can describe any type of project, but it’s most commonly associated with business or marketing projects.
Table of Contents
A good example would be how you conducted your market analysis for a new product launch.
You could write about what steps you took to conduct this research and how you analyzed the results.
This content will help potential customers understand why they should buy from you instead of someone else.
I mention publishing case studies as blog posts in the comprehensive guide to content buckets. When done correctly, case studies can generate traffic, gain followers, and build trust and authority.
The product review template: your key to consistent and effective product evaluations, maximizing your blog’s potential with featured posts: how to use them to your advantage, top blogging statistics for 2023 that are actually useful, the importance of writing a blog outline, benefits of a writing a case study, what amazing content will you create with ai.
Discover all the ways the Jasper AI Content Platform can help you create content.
This guide will teach you how to write a case study, showcase study examples, and guide you to case study templates.
Writing a case study blog post has many benefits:
- Provides more information than just one page on your website
- Allows you to show off your expertise by explaining complex concepts clearly
- It helps build trust between yourself and your audience because people like reading articles written by experts
- It gives you something interesting to talk about when meeting clients at networking events
- It makes you look smarter than other companies who don’t have their blogs
- increases traffic to your site
- Improves SEO, which means higher rankings in search engines such as Google
- It shows visitors that you’re active online and interested in them
- Builds credibility among your peers
- Creates opportunities for guest blogging
- Boosts social media engagement
- Can lead to sales conversions
- It is easier to update than regular posts
- It gets noticed faster than regular posts
- Lets you share links to related products/services
- More likely to get shared on Facebook & Twitter
- Easy to link out to other pages within your company
- Better chance of getting featured on industry websites
Case Study Formats
A case study is like a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end that are connected.
There are two main formats for writing an effective case study blog post:
The first format describes the process of researching and developing a specific idea. This format includes all phases of the project, including planning, execution, and evaluation.
The second format focuses only on the final stages of the project. In this version, you’ll discuss the findings and conclusions after the fact.
Both types of case study posts include these elements:
Introduction – A brief introduction where you explain why you decided to do the project
Methodology: The methodologies you use during each phase of the project.
Results: What happened throughout the project? How did things turn out?
Conclusion: Your thoughts on whether the project was successful or not.
References – Links to sources of further information.
Appendices – Any additional materials that support the claims made in the body of the text.
Marketing Case Study Forma
In general, marketing case studies follow the same structure outlined above but focus solely on the topic of marketing strategies. Here’s an outline of the sections you’d need to cover in a typical marketing case study article:
Introduction: Briefly describe the problem being solved by the campaign. Explain why it matters to your target customer.
Methodology: Describe precisely how you experimented, step-by-step. Include any data collection tools used.
Results: List critical results from the experiment. For example, what were the most popular features? Which ones performed best?
Conclusions: Summarize the overall conclusion of the research. Make sure to tie back into the original purpose of the study. Was there anything surprising? Did you find anything unexpected?
References: Provide citations for any statistics collected. If possible, provide more details about the source material so readers can verify its accuracy.
Social Media Marketing Case Studies
Automate and amplify your content.
Missinglettr is an amazing, automated social media marketing solution that will help you create strategic campaigns that drive traffic for an entire year! Not only will your posts be scheduled and published on time, but they’ll also be perfectly formatted and look great. Missinglettr is the easy way to take your social media marketing to the next level.
Social Media Marketing Case Study is a marketing strategy that involves creating content for social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, etc., to attract customers and increase brand awareness.
Here’s an overview of the different components needed when writing a Social Media Marketing Case Study:
Introduction: Start by briefly explaining why you chose to write the piece. Why should people care about your product/service? Who will be interested in reading this particular post?
Methods: Next, share everything you know about the methodology behind creating the post. You don’t have to go into great depth here; just mention the steps taken along the way.
Findings & Conclusions – Finally, summarize the main points of interest within the report. Be as concise as possible while providing enough details to keep the reader engaged.
References: Cite any resources used to create the post with links provided if available. Also, add any relevant hashtags to help drive traffic to your page.
Business Case Study
Business case studies incorporate problem-solving strategies with strategic insights. They’re designed to help businesses make decisions based on their unique circumstances rather than follow trends other companies set.
Unfortunately, businesses often write case studies to justify spending money on something new because everyone else does it. But if you have a good reason for doing something different, go ahead!
Here’s an overview of the components you should consider adding to every single one of your articles:
Problem Statement: Describes the issue at hand. It includes all relevant details such as who has the problem, the symptoms, what causes them, and what solutions exist.
Scope & Goals: This section describes the scope and goals. You may also add objectives here. These two pieces of info will be helpful later when writing your analysis.
Research Plan: Tell us what kind of research you plan to conduct before starting the actual work. What questions do we ask ourselves while conducting this research? How many people are involved in this research? Who are these researchers going to interview? Why did you choose those particular individuals?
Research Method: The method you use to collect the data. Do you analyze existing data sets? Or maybe you’ll create a survey to gather feedback from potential clients? Whatever approach you take, explain it clearly.
Data Collection: Now comes the fun part! Start collecting the data. Ask your respondents open-ended questions or fill up surveys. Use whatever works best for you. Just remember not to skip this critical phase.
Analysis/Data Interpretation: Analyze the data. Look for patterns and correlations between variables. Conclude. Present your findings in clear language.
Conclusion: Finally, wrap things up nicely. State your main point and offer suggestions for future action.
Customer Success Stories Case Study Format
Include an intro paragraph, followed by three sections. Each section contains two paragraphs.
Section One: Describe the problem you were trying to solve. Include details about the happy customer’s business and the reason behind choosing it.
Section Two: Explain the solution you came up with. Here, you describe the features and advantages of your service or product. Don’t forget to mention any drawbacks!
Section Three: Summarize the impact of using your services, You can also provide examples from customers’ experiences.
Reference Section: Provide links to relevant resources. These could be books, research papers, videos, etc.
Writing Your Effective Case Study
Case studies are like a puzzle. Each one has its unique shape and design. So you have to figure out how they fit together to make a complete picture. That’s your marketing strategy.
The best case study content is one that your audience can relate to. For example, as a blogger, I enjoy watching case studies on Youtube.
My favorite case story is about the bloggers that launch a website and share their progress, milestones, and goals along the way.
Another I enjoy is watching a case study where someone shares their profits after switching from a Google Adsense monetized website to an Ezoic monetized website.
I also like reading case studies showing how other people solved similar issues. These case study examples helped me learn more ways to approach different situations.
If you don’t know your ideal customer yet, try searching online for “ideal buyer persona” or “target demographic.”
These terms refer to groups of individuals or prospective customers representing your typical client base. Once you’ve identified these groups, you can use them to determine who your ideal clients are.
Use different formats Case studies don’t have to be in blog form! Instead, consider videos, infographics, webinars, or even podcasts.
Once you’ve decided on a topic, you can brainstorm possible subtopics within that category. Here are some examples:
Problem-solving: How did you go about finding solutions to your issue? What tools did you use? Who helped you out?
Marketing strategies: Did you find success using specific methods? Why? Which worked better than others?
Business models – Do you think there’s room for improvement? If so, which areas need work?
Research Your Topic
Now that you have a general idea of what you want to discuss, you’ll need to research. Again, there are many resources available to get started.
Google Trends: Use this tool to see if keywords related to your subject matter are trending up or down over time.
Google Keyword Planner – Find popular search phrases by location, industry, etc.
SEMRush : A free SEO analytics tool that shows keyword competition, monthly searches, top competitors, backlinks, traffic sources, etc.
Moz Keywords Explorer – This tool allows you to enter specific words into a database and view all relevant information, including popularity, competitiveness, difficulty level, volume of searches, etc.
You may even consider hiring a professional writer to create your case study. They’re usually very affordable and offer excellent quality at reasonable prices. Check out Writer Access for writers that can help build your case study.
Or call my brothers at Ballen Brands (702 )917-0755.
Write Out The Steps Of Researching And Analyzing Data
After researching your topic thoroughly, it’s now time to start writing! Start with a short introduction explaining what problem you were trying to solve when conducting your research.
Then move on to describing each step involved in solving the problem. Keep your ideal customer in mind when doing your research.
Analyze Results From Previous Attempts At Solving Problem
Next, describe how you solved those issues.
Next, list the exact strategies you used to solve the problem.
Finally, explain why you chose one strategy over another. You should be able to come up with several reasons why you made a particular decision. Be sure to mention any limitations or challenges you faced during the process.
The Interview Case Study
A case study is like a movie script. It has a plot, characters, setting, and everything else needed for a good movie.
Some bloggers create case study blogs by hosting an interview. Instead of documenting their project in a case study, they choose a subject to feature. They then interview experts on the topic and ask them questions about it.
The blogger will write up these answers as blog posts linked together into one long document. This strategy is a great way to learn from other people’s experiences while getting free content.
Let’s discuss some questions that you should include in your interview.
Case Study Selection
If you want your case studies to be successful, make sure you find someone with experience working on similar projects or who can provide valuable insight into what you need help with.
You don’t have to look for this person; if you’re lucky enough to know someone who’s already doing something like yours, they may be willing to share their knowledge.
If not, try asking around at work or school until you find someone who might be able to offer advice.
The best thing about interviewing others is that you get to hear how they think about things. When you do so yourself, you’ll likely come away thinking differently than when you started.
That’s because you’ve been forced to consider all sides of a situation before coming to conclusions. By talking to another expert, however, you won’t necessarily change your mind.
They may simply confirm your initial thoughts. But even if nothing changes, you still gain new insights.
Case Study Research
Once you’ve found someone who knows what you’re trying to accomplish, you should start planning your research.
For example, what exactly does your target audience care about? How much time do you expect to spend researching each aspect of your project? Will you use primary sources or secondary ones?
Once you figure those things out, you can begin gathering information to complete an entire case study.
When conducting interviews, keep two main goals in mind: 1) gather valuable data and 2) avoid wasting anyone’s time.
For example, if you plan to talk to five different people, you shouldn’t waste more than 10 minutes per interviewee.
And since most people aren’t going to give you tons of details right off the bat, you should focus on finding common themes among the responses rather than spending too much time on specific topics.
You could also ask open-ended questions. Here are sample questions:
- What would you say was the biggest challenge?
- Why did you decide to pursue it?
- How did you hear about the (product or idea) to create the solution?
- How long did it take to achieve the desired outcome?
- What was the benefit of finding a solution?
These questions allow your subjects to tell you whatever comes to mind without feeling pressured to answer every question.
Finally, remember that no matter how well prepared you are, you probably won’t end up knowing everything you’d hoped to. So take notes during the conversation and jot down anything else you feel compelled to add later.
Case Study Best Practices
Here are some tips when creating your compelling case studies.
Be descriptive! Describe every step you take during each stage of your project. Include screenshots if applicable. Disclose dates, times, costs, earnings, and other relevant numbers to your case study.
Use bullet points whenever possible. They’re easier to read and make your text flow smoothly. Readability is vital because readers tend to skim over long blocks of text. Bullet points break up large chunks into smaller sections.
Keep paragraphs short . Longer sections tend to get boring quickly. White space between paragraphs is another strategy for creating more readable blogs. 2-3 sentences per paragraph are plenty.
Apply on-page SEO. Don’t forget to include keywords throughout your writing. The search engines love keywords, so including relevant words makes your articles much more likely to rank higher. More than stuffing in keywords, use a tool like FRASE.io that helps you catch subject matter you may have missed when writing your case study. Optimize images and meta descriptions.
Use Internal Links: Make sure all links point back to your site. Search engine bots won’t follow external links unless they lead somewhere helpful. So, always link back to your main page. For example, I use Link Whisper to help me with internal links throughout my blog.
Add images wherever appropriate. Images add credibility and interest to your content. Plus, they’ll improve SEO . Canva is what I use to create great featured blog images, pins for Pinterest, Youtube thumbnails, and infographics.
Create Compelling Titles. Create unique titles for each section of your article. Titles are significant because they appear at the top of search result pages. Frase.io has a great headline creator. Simply add your intro paragraph or short blog description, and Frase will give you several headline suggestions.
Check Spelling . Proofread everything before publishing. I use Grammarly to check spelling , passive voice , grammar errors , and plagiarism (because I hire writers from time to time).
Quote Sources . Cite your sources , Include quotes, and list any resources used in your case study.
Sample Case Studies
In this case study, by 15five.com , Kurt shares his challenge with time spent with the sales team and how he used a particular software to gain more insight into his marketing team.
In this video case study, Lori Ballen, a content creator, shares how she AI writing assistant.
Growthbadger.com shared a success story case study called the “Double Survey Technique,” showing how they increased total traffic to a website site by 843% in the first week.
Case studies are one of the most effective ways to promote your business.
They allow you to show how your product or service works in real life, and they can be used as an example for other companies looking to learn from your experience.
However, writing case study blogs is not easy – it requires time, effort, and research skills. In addition, you need to know what information should go into each blog post so that readers will understand all aspects of your topic.
Keyword Difficulty: How hard will it be to rank on Google for any keyword
Jasper One-Shot Blog Post Review
Best affiliate networks for bloggers.
I'm a full-time blogger. I teach entrepreneurs how to get more website traffic, generate leads, and make more money online. This website contains affiliate links that benefit me. Take a Course Get a Website Try my Tools
What Can We Help You Find?
Lori Ballen brings you the best tutorials, guides, and software lists for blogging, and affiliate marketing.
- Using ChatGPT for Real Estate
- The Most Frequently Asked Questions About ChatGPT
- Ranking on Google: Using ChatGPT to Choose the Right Topics for Your Content
- How to Create a Surfer SEO Content Brief for on-page optimization
- How to find Low Competition Keywords in SEMrush
- Take One Of My Courses
- Get a Website
© 2022 Lori Ballen | This website contains affiliate links that benefit the site owner
- AI Generators
- Software Alternatives
Login to your account below
Retrieve your password
Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.
You cannot copy content of this page
A Case Study in Blogging: 21,600 Keyword Rankings in Google and 90,000 Visitors Per Month
by Julia McCoy | May 9, 2019 | Blogging
This May, we’re celebrating our 8th full year of business at Express Writers.
Looking back, it doesn’t even feel like eight years.
More like a century. (Just kidding!)
Seriously, though, I’m thankful that we’re here this May. Eight years is nothing to sneeze at. Just look at these statistics from Motley Fool :
- 80% of new businesses survive past their first year of operation.
- 50% of businesses make it to five years.
- And only 33% of businesses make it to ten years.
Considering that I started this entire operation back in 2011 with an investment of the crumbs left in my broke-college-student savings account, $75, I’m thrilled that we’ve made it this far.
With a 100% chance of failure, I rolled up my sleeves and put in many 60 and even 90-hour work weeks in the beginning. We kept chugging along, growing at incredible speeds every year. (If you haven’t seen my entrepreneurial story video on YouTube , you might enjoy it.)
As I was digging into ideas to write a blog to celebrate our eighth year here on the Write Blog, it hit me that we didn’t have any fresh case studies on our blogging traffic and analytics, which have recently been the highest they’ve ever been. It also came to my mind the current state of affairs: how many content marketers and blog publishers are still struggling to even see success from their online efforts. So, this case study is needed.
If you read one blog from me this year, make it this one.
Let’s dive into my blogging case study! First, let’s talk about the beginning (strategy), and the end (results).
The Power of, and Strategy Involved In, Brand Blogging that Works
Fun fact: Blogging used to be just for the people that “journaled their thoughts” on the web.
The idea of blogging online itself originated in 1994 , when a college student named Justin Hall began a stint of “personal blogging” that lasted eleven years. He was enrolled at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Originally, the words “escribitionists” and “weblog” were used to describe what is now known as “blog.” Thank goodness that word evolved!
Blogging is now far more than just an online diary.
It’s a huge opportunity for businesses, brands and marketers to express themselves to their audience, grow and build a real community, and share the authentic real “human side” behind the brand.
Blogging is a #1 method for marketers and brands to add consistent new site traffic that may eventually convert and become a buyer.
At Express Writers, I’ve managed to write and publish over 1,100 blogs on our site over the past eight years, with the help of my team.
The amount of content we publish on our blog, the consistency of it, and the quality and relevancy of our blog posts are the biggest factors behind what is now 90,000+ visitors/month coming to our site:
- We have 1,188 blogs published to date since 2012, the year I began consistently blogging.
- That’s an average of 169 blogs published per year.
- Our traffic went up steadily over the years, increasing when we put an emphasis on quality over quantity of content in late 2016 and ramped up in 2017.
- Our quality > quantity emphasis that began in 2016 focused on a few things: implementing a real content strategy for the first time and going from publishing four blogs/week to 1-2 high-quality blogs/week.
Here’s a timeline tracking our biggest historic growth points, pulled from this blog I wrote on content strategy and my masterclass on how to build a strong content strategy. Right around the time we focused on a content strategy and quality over quantity, our results started to shoot through the roof.
The data speaks. Check out how our SEO tracking in SEMrush reflects a spike in growth right around the time we built a content strategy and emphasized quality over quantity:
Last week, when I was giving a talk on content creation right here in Austin, Texas , I shared these two slides that sums up our content success story well.
The Google Analytics screenshot below was from March of this year, and this April, we had our first 90,000 traffic/month.
Smart marketers shouldn’t be too excited by these numbers until they see the conversion rate and the sales. (Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, anyone? “Talk numbers!”)
On average, we are achieving the benchmark conversion statistic for organic search traffic. 14-16% of our leads are converting.
As Mr. Wonderful would say, “To cash flow!”
Now, here’s what our traffic numbers look like as of writing this blog over late April 2019.
Our Google Analytics:
On the right, in the blue box, you can see how 10 out of these 14 visitors are on a blog post the moment this screenshot was taken. This is very common for our traffic.
Now, check out our SEO ranking statistics in SEMrush again.
We’re at 21,600 keyword rankings in Google. I have the graph set to “all-time”, so this is going back to May 2013, when I first started a SEMrush tracking project for our site. I’m in love with the traffic growth shown in this graph that spiked beginning in 2017, which is the year we got strategic. Learn more about how getting strategic paid off for us, here.
Because of the content geeks we are and how consistent our content is, Google loves our site. Plus, everything we do is always organic, audience-first, and ethical. I never pay a dime in PPC ads, and we don’t allow advertisers to ever have access to our site or blog (even though I’m pitched at least once per day).
You can see proof of our Domain Authority with expresswriters.com in Alexa , Amazon’s pioneer in the world of analytical website insight. Alexa clocks us at being the 97,000th-most popular website in the world, which is pretty crazy given there are over 1.6 billion websites in the world ( InternetLiveStats ).
- Offering real value, factual and statistical (real) insights, truly useful
- Is focused on topics our audience is interested in
- Optimized at an advanced level for SEO; semantic-search-friendly
- Great writing is #1
- Consistency in fresh, great content every week
I believe one of the main factors behind our success is that we’ve blogged once a week, minimum, for 8 years. Consistency pays off. We took it to the next level in 2016 when we added a focus on the strategy behind and quality of content.
We constantly gauge things by will our human audience like this? Will they feel at home with this? Does this make me/she/he uncomfortable or turned off? If the answer to that last question is no, we never publish. I have barred dozens of writers from writing my content for these reasons. If my content borders anywhere near fluff, my audience might be lost and never want to come back.
Maintaining these standards is key.
Plus, it’s important to note that no “paid tactics” will ever get in the way of our core, human-centric mission and organic marketing focus: delivering great content consistently to our human audience.
What’s Your Content Schedule?
Now please don’t go and copy my schedule. But, because I’m always asked, here’s what our content publishing amount and velocity looks.
Fact: Your content schedule should be up to you, your team, your audience, and your goals. But you need to get one put in place. (Keep reading for more advice about that.)
- 1 powerful Write Blog post every Tuesday morning: These blogs have to fit in the category of SEO goals, thought leadership, or brand awareness, and be a minimum of 1,000 words and a maximium of 5,000. Learn more about content goals here. One amazing blog per week is what we are able to commit to.
- Bi-weekly and once-a-month: A new YouTube video with recap posted as a blog ( see an example ), and a recap by our social media manager Rachel of our monthly #ContentWritingChat ( example ).
- Once/quarter: Product updates and stories about our clients or team ( here’s an example ). (These are usually once per quarter or less).
- 1-3 email campaigns/week: Sent in tandem with the new content we create to our list. We use ConvertKit.
- Guest blogs: I write once/month and once/quarter for several publications to drive more traffic to our site, including Search Engine Journal , Content Marketing Institute , Thrive , and less often, MarketingProfs , MarTech , KissMetrics, SiteProNews , and a few other random ones.
- Once-a-month: Content on my other sites, including The Content Strategy & Marketing Course blog , and soon, my new personal brand Content Hacker . These typically include links back to Express Writers.
What Are Your Tools & Process?
I love Airtable for at-a-glance blog topic tracking and publishing. My social media manager, Rachel, and my team editor, Danielle, are both collaborators on the Write Blog calendar. My designer is also an Airtable collaborator and uploads header sets and CTA images once I have a topic and a date nailed down. We communicate through our teamroom, which Josh, our CTO, set up years ago for our internal workflow inside our website.
Here’s a sneak peek at the Write Blog calendar in Airtable. We’ve set up our calendar entirely custom to us and our workflow. This isn’t based on a template. For us, these custom and specific columns work best because we have collaborators that help me with the blog: editor, designer, social media manager. The designer has a column where she can upload header sets and CTAs after she knows what blog to produce them for. Up at the top, you can see all the tabs we have — a tab just for ideas, a tab for content that’s been scheduled, a tab for the content we’re updating or rewriting, a tab for our Twitter chat, and more.
Sidenote: I can’t recommend Airtable enough – in fact, I teach how to use it to my content strategy students. I’ve tried many editorial calendars, and this one is the best. Sign up to a free trial of Airtable here.
My blogging process looks a little like this:
- Stage 1: Ideation. I have an ‘ideation’ day, which is typically Monday and sometimes Friday, if Monday was dry. This is a day devoted just to producing ideas that will work for the Write Blog and my YouTube channel, as well as guest publications. I research each and every idea for SEO keywords or data-backed topic velocity using tools like SEMrush and BuzzSumo, or I map my content to a non-data-centric goal (i.e., recapping an event for my audience that I was at or spoke at, sharing product updates). Since I look at this as a ‘stage,’ I batch. I typically come up with 5-6 great ideas from a few hours just in brainstorming.
- Stage 2: Creation – Outlining & Delegating. Once I have a data-backed idea that will work, I produce a topic and outline, and hand it off to one of my three dedicated writers in Express Writers. These specific three have been handling my content tasks for years now. Since I came up with 5-6 ideas, I’ll assign all of those at once with different due dates in the ‘delegation’ or ‘creation’ stage. Sometimes, I’ll write the whole thing myself. For example, this blog is 100%, fully written by yours truly.
- Stage 3: Editing & Scheduling. This is a full stage in and of itself. After the content piece is fully written, I carefully review, add my own thoughts, rewrite where necessary, and add personal case studies. I request an image set from my designer, and plan out any content upgrades (lead magnets) we’re going to create CTAs for. Then I hand it to Danielle, my Write Blog editor, for proofreading and uploading/formatting inside WordPress and our Write Blog. Then, I review again (yes, I’m a blogging Nazi). Finally, we schedule and Danielle makes sure it’s live.
- Stage 4: Promotion. At this stage, Rachel, our social media manager, pulls the data from Airtable and anything else I’ll Slack or email to her, and she writes and schedules shares for our blogs across all our social channels: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I personally write and schedule my own tweets and posts across my platforms and personal profiles, as well. I also share individual snippets to my Facebook group and Instagram stories.
It took years to get this process down, and I will say that a process and especially the delegation of creation is what makes me a ‘content boss’ – p.s. that’s what others have called me, not what I’ve called myself.
My best piece of advice for incredibly consistent, high-quality content production? Get your process down, delegate the meat (but not the ideas), and you’ll be off to content rockstar-dom. Psst… did you know we handle full-circle monthly blogging plans for our clients? Your only responsibility — ideation.
Which Blog Posts Can You Tie to Revenue — and Which Ones Fell Flat?
Ah, great question.
I definitely have examples of blogs that won and blogs that fell flat on their faces — and I’ll pull a few, but it’s important to make a disclosure first.
Today’s buyer journey is NOT predictable.
I repeat: today’s buyer journey is not predictable.
Essentially, the old funnel developed in the 1920s for ‘salesmen’ is dead. I wrote about a Marketing Lifecycle concept on the Write Blog a few months ago that shares some insights into this.
Andrew and Pete, two rockstar content marketers, made this analogy in one of their YouTube videos . It’s a terrific analogy of today’s (REAL) buyer journey.
Our Buyer Journey: In Short, It’s Completely Unpredictable
I have seen our buyer journeys go into a multitude of areas. Here are a few pathways our leads have taken.
- Finds us in Google, downloads this lead magnet after reading this blog -> They’re enrolled in my 5-day sequence on why and how SEO writing skills are more than just ‘one item’ to learn and the story behind why I built my Expert SEO Content Writer Course -> They buy the course on the second day.
- Same pathway as above, but they unsubscribe and leave instead of buying the course.
- I wake up to a $999 course sale from someone. I research them, their name, and there is nothing. No data. They aren’t on any list I have. I have no idea where they came from. I’ll ask, and it’s a random “My boss found you and we decided to enroll because we really need the training.” (Which is awesome!)
- A subscriber for 3+ years reads this blog on how long should a blog post be -> They book a call with our Strategist, John -> They buy over $1,000 in content services that Friday.
- A marketer finds our blog posts in Google and reads one, gets familiar with us -> follows me on Twitter -> Scrolls through Twitter one night, reads one of my tweets on content marketing that is intriguing to them, checks out my profile , hops over to @ ExpWriters from my Twitter bio, follows a tweet of a blog post to our blog, schedules a call with our team leader -> Says they’ll invest in content when they’re ready -> That’s fine – we leave them alone -> They subscribe to the Write Blog newsletter -> They read every new blog I publish -> Four months later, they load a cart and buy their first content service from us late at night when we’re asleep.
- No matter how many times I optimize our Write Bot (Drift chat), I still see this one: Person starts chatting with the Write Bot -> Was instantly annoyed it was a bot -> left and never came back.
And these are just the known pathways. What clients have told us (word-of-mouth data), and what I’ve seen from my own lead magnets and sequences that I’ve personally set up. There are many other pathways I can’t even put a finger on. For example, someone buys our services or my course, no discount code, $1,000+ — and they weren’t on my subscriber list. I’ve never interacted with them once. Where did they come from? God knows. And if I ask them, they might not even remember the first time they saw my content (I’ve gotten this before: “Oh, some guest blog somewhere!”). That’s the best, right? Of course, that doesn’t happen often enough. You can’t just build up random expectations on random purchases. 90% of our leads and purchases do come from strategic content that was created around a target keyword pulling in our ideal client. The other 10% is totally random and we have no idea who they are, or how they found us.
Today’s modern buyer wants to follow and make their own path, a nd it’s important we allow them the space and breathing room to do that. Any kind of pressure from us marketers will actually negate and spoil their journey. We might lose them before we even gain them, just from trying too hard.
What an age to live in!
Here are a few examples of real-life blog posts that have won real return and revenue for us, and a blog that has fallen completely flat.
- This one in January of 2019, How to Build a Strong Digital Content Strategy in 2019 & Beyond , is now ranking in Google’s featured snippets and top 3 for “digital content strategy.” We found that keyword in KWFinder sitting at just under 40 in KD (Keyword Difficulty). (Hey look, I practice what I preach! ) We’ve gotten some Content Strategy & Marketing Course enrollments from this blog ranking already!
- This blog on How Long Should a Blog Post Be, Really? earned real responses from a couple of blog subscribers, who replied to my New Content Campaign I’d sent from my ConvertKit account. (I send all my emails using ConvertKit. Very user-friendly.) Plus, someone opened the chat and booked a call with us about ongoing content after reading it. It built trust and interest from existing subscribers and generated interest in our services.
- This one ranks #1 in Google for “funny words” and a bunch of synonymous phrases, but earns not a single lead: 34 of the Craziest Words in the English Dictionary. In fact, we get a lot of young people trying to get us to help them with their essays from this blog. (Which we do NOT do.) I’m still debating what to do with it. I’ll probably rewrite it with an angle towards marketers that need to learn how to write content and use words that fit in their target market.
Content Works – But It Doesn’t Work if You Don’t Set It Up to Work
I think I’ve written down the reality of blogging and content marketing ROI so many times in so many blog posts, I’m blue in the fingers. (That’s my synonymous analogy to speaking till you’re blue in the face, but for writers.)
Specifically, these four statistical truths:
- The average time span to see content marketing or even real blogging results is 12-18 months (Joe Pulizzi & CMI, [New Research] B2C Marketers Need to Give Content Marketing Time )
- Hubspot studied over 13,500 bloggers and found that the more blog posts published, the more inbound traffic publishers got to their website.
- An accumulation of more content brings more leads: companies that have published 401+ blog posts get 2x as much traffic as those that have than 400. ( Same study referenced above.)
- The current ROA (return of advertising) is .6x, down from 11.8x in 2016. ( Ad Strategist ) You’re losing money, most of the time. The ROI (return of investment) of organic content is anywhere from 14-16% of traffic (conversion into sales).
But here’s the thing.
I can’t keep spewing these statistics over and over again, just to see you all out there, spinning your wheels.
That’s why I’m writing this blog today.
For those still in the rut of zero action in their content marketing.
Not getting the fundamentals of great copy on their site right, and not stepping into consistency and greatness in content production.
All the while, complaining about the things they don’t have.
Not enough leads.
Not enough sales.
Not enough people on the website.
If they just sat down and fixed these problems, which are so easy to fix — hired an educated writer to rewrite all that not-so-shiny content, bring on a website designer to finally fix their site, get a blogging plan set up and rocking…
I’m tired of seeing you out there. Working your knuckles off to make those sales appointments happen.
I just need one more sale today. One more.
You think it’s a quick fix, and it’s none of these fundamentals.
And you complain about all the things you wish you could have.
Which you could have — if you fixed your content. Get your broken website rebuilt. Take another look at all that content written more than two years ago. Rethink your absence on the company blog.
I care about you, and that’s why I’m calling you out today.
Quit complaining about the leads, traffic, and sales you don’t have.
Start doing something about it.
Content marketing action-takers are the content marketing winners.
Let my case study be your inspiration.
You can do this.
And getting on a pathway to content success is as easy as 1,2,3…
I’ll even give you these three steps.
- Hire a good WordPress designer from platforms like Upwork to fix, clean, or rebuild your messy site to make it lightning-fast, Google-friendly, reader-friendly and beautiful – $30-50/hour
- Get a writer to help rehaul all your icky content, and an SEO’er to help research the right target keywords to use – psst, we do all of that!
- Plan a consistent amount of blogs to happen on your site every month – oh, we do high-quality set-and-forget blog plans, too
Don’t forget a pro photographer to take your headshots if you don’t have any on your website. You’ll need to get your social media going, too. We write the copy and create images , but you should get a social media pro to help if you don’t have one.
Really, though, this is the action you need to take — and it’s not hard.
Get a great website. (Build one if you don’t have one. Rebuild one if yours is crap. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.)
Make sure all your content is original, conversion-crafted, and beautiful — and SEO-optimized so the right people can find it.
Plan your blogs and make ’em happen.
As promised, I have a special announcement for you.
My all-new content marketing brand, Content Hacker™, is coming out to play this June.
You can sign up to hear about the launch here: contenthacker.com .
With this brand, I want to grow a community of smart content marketers and offer tools, resources, training, and education that will give every single budding marketing smarty the chance to really make a difference.
Build content that resonates. That returns. That earns.
And of course, I’ll still be here, leading operations at Express Writers — if you need custom content, all you need to do is holla… we’re your team .
Let’s do this.
Build profitable content that delights our audience, and exceeds every goal and expectation.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” – Audrey Hepburn
Download your Free copy of A Case Study in Blogging: 21,600 Keyword Rankings in Google and 90,000 Visitors Per Month
Case Study: How to Increase Your Traffic by 226% in Just 60 Days
by Andrianes Pinantoan
on Aug 21, 2022
Let’s face it.
You started a blog , and it’s stagnating.
You keep checking your traffic for signs of growth but … zip . Nada .
The chart is as flat as a pancake.
You desperately need to do something different, but what?
Be honest — you’re baffled by all the options.
And the endless stream of advice from the traffic experts only makes things worse.
Don’t worry though. You’re not alone.
At Canva, we were facing this challenge with our design blog, Design School.
So we completely reengineered our blog strategy — and the results blew us away.
Find out exactly what we did. And how you can do it too.
Step 1: Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Content
If your traffic has stagnated, a common response is to generate more content. Because more content equals more traffic from Google, right?
But quantity of content often comes at the expense of quality , so we took some time to consider our content strategy .
First, we revisited our original vision for Design Blog — to teach and inspire people to learn design.
And while we still loved that idea, a vision isn’t the same as a goal. We needed something more concrete and actionable that we could implement.
So we decided to focus on improving the quality of our content. And our goal became to create the best possible content to teach and inspire people around design.
But to do that, we needed to find out what the best content on our topic actually looked like.
So we reverse engineered the most popular content of our competitors to find out what content performs best.
This process is useful for two reasons:
- It reveals the topics that are most popular among your target audience.
- It reveals what type of content works well. For instance, are list posts the most effective? Do successful posts use lots of images?
Here’s how we reverse engineered our competitors — and how you can do the same.
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, perform a simple Google search using keywords or phrases common to your topic. Bloggers that rank in Google for those terms are likely to compete for the same audience as you.
Use Buzzsumo to Find Socially Popular Posts
The first tool — Buzzsumo — is indispensable, which is probably why it’s so popular among content strategists.
In a nutshell, Buzzsumo shows you which pieces of content performed well on social media for any given topic or website.
Here, for example, is a screenshot of Smart Blogger’s top-three posts in the last year (according to the number of shares each post received):
Competitor analysis is invaluable because there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for quality content. Different types of content perform best for different audiences.
So, from Smart Bloggers’s top-three results, what can we conclude?
First, big lists do well. And if you study Buzzsumo’s results for the rest of Smart Blogger, you’ll see this pattern plays out nicely.
Also, if you look at Copyblogger and other popular blogs in this space, you’ll find a similar trend.
Second, people like comprehensive resources. And they would rather be given the answers (e.g., the exact words to cut from their writing) than be given broad principles that require more work to interpret.
This is also true in our space where there’s more demand for free templates, icons and color-combinations than for information on how to create them.
Here’s the takeaway. Buzzsumo can quickly give you direction for your content. Not just the popular blog post ideas , but the most effective type of content too.
Use Quora to get Fresh Angles on Popular Topics
The second awesome place to do research is Quora . If you’ve noticed from your Buzzsumo research that particular topics perform well, Quora will give you a unique sell for those topics by finding new angles to take.
After all, you don’t want to just copy your competitors. Their top-performing content can point you in the right direction, but tools like Quora can help you add value by covering topics that haven’t yet been fully explored.
For example, in our Buzzsumo research, we found that articles about fonts consistently performed well for other design publications.
To double-check our finding, we plugged this keyword into Google Keyword Planner and found that keywords related to “font” received nearly 800K monthly searches as a whole:
Going back to Quora, here’s an example of the results when I searched for “fonts”:
After examining these results, we decided to write an article about choosing fonts. But we didn’t stop there.
You’ll notice that the first result has a grey star next to it, which is Quora’s way of determining which questions have high-quality answers. We noticed that lots of the answers in the thread were from design authorities. And such answers had an impressive amount of upvotes.
So we added this touch, too, by framing the fact that a designer had written the post in the title. (The majority of our writers are designers, too.) This article was the result, and it received over 5k shares.
Study Blog Archives to Discover Evergreen Topics
In addition to using Buzzsumo and Quora to benchmark the popular content in our space, we studied every post several of our major competitors ever published.
It was a lot of work, so why did we do it?
Because most content research tools have a flaw — they are biased toward the new.
Due to the sheer amount of content published on the web, many of these tools will only surface the most recent ones. Buzzsumo, for example, only goes back to the past year.
That’s a problem because some topics will always be popular. We call this evergreen content . For example, grammar tips , are useful today and will still be useful 50 years from now.
If you don’t look at historical content, you could miss these important topics.
A positive side effect of this exercise is that you also get a clear vision of what your community looks like. The more familiar you become with your community, the better your content will be as a result.
Step 2: Find Out What Your Readers Really Want
Other than your competitors, you have another useful source of content intelligence: your readers.
Because while content research can reveal topics that are already popular, it won’t reveal the topics that readers are only just beginning to get excited about.
Here are a couple ways to find out what your readers want to read about right now.
Come right out and ask them
It seems obvious, right? Yet not nearly enough blogs do it.
If you go to Design School and subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll get a personal thank-you note.
In that note, we also ask people about their biggest challenge — even if it has nothing to do with design. And many people tell us!
This achieves two useful goals.
First, it shows us the conversations already in their minds. And even though our subscribers often think a particular issue has nothing to do with design — like increasing traffic, for example — in truth, design can help them solve a lot of these issues.
Second, it shows them that we care. It’s easy to get caught up in your own strategy and let blog traffic feed your ego. But in the blogging world, your fans’ success is your success.
Content that is genuinely helpful is genuinely engaging — and this principle should drive your editorial process.
Observe their reading and sharing habits
Never assume your readers are only interested in your content. Don’t consider them consuming content elsewhere an insult; instead, learn from what else they like to read.
You can do this manually by clicking through the Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook pages of people who’ve shared your posts on these platforms.
Or, use Buzzsumo and select the option to “view sharers” on any of your articles.
From there, you can investigate further by looking at other links they’ve shared.
You’d be surprised how many of your readers also frequent this other blog you’ve never heard of.
In fact, this was how we discovered a lot of our competitors to begin with!
Step 3: Follow The Data — Not Your Gut
Now that you know what your competitors write about, and what your readers want, you should have a long list of topics you know there’s a demand for.
You should also have an idea of the quality you should be striving to meet. That’s the benchmark set by your competitors.
But while the research process may already have given you some ideas for what types of content are popular, don’t make any guesses or assumptions without analyzing the data in full.
Below is the checklist we used to determine our new quality standard, along with our findings. The questions evolved naturally from seeing where our existing content differed from our competitors’.
These research-backed findings replaced our gut -driven approach we had used to determine what our articles should look like.
The lesson: make decisions based on hard data — not guesswork.
You’d be surprised how many people go through steps 1 and 2 but are reluctant to implement their findings .
They would say things like:
- “But really, who is going to read 3,000 words online!”
- “But I don’t want to write about <popular topic>. It’s been written to death!”
- “These topics are so shallow. I want to write about something deeper .”
But we found that following the data led to significantly improved results.
Step 4: Pick the Best Headline You Can (But Prepare to be Wrong)
The previous three steps will give you the data you need to create the content that realizes your vision for your blog.
You won’t be surprised to hear that headlines are crucial. But you may be surprised to learn that you’ll never find the perfect one. Not on the first attempt anyway.
Take this post of ours as an example: Why Everyone From Beethoven, Goethe, Dickens, Darwin To Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too .
The original headline, as reflected in the banner, was simply, “Why Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too”. But for some reason, that didn’t perform very well. Perhaps it’s because some people don’t like Steve Jobs. We can only guess. And actually, it doesn’t really matter.
We simply decided to change it and repost it — and it’s since received more than 70,000 shares across various social media networks.
The point is that by adjusting the title and re-posting it on social media, we made what would be just-another-post into a viral one.
It’s a similar situation to the last point. Go with your gut to start with, but as soon as data is available — like how many people are sharing your post — let yourself be led by that instead.
You can do this kind of headline evolution manually or invest in a plugin like Kingsumo that will do it automatically for you.
Step 5: Create Content That’s Concrete and Credible
Having the right headline only gets you so far.
We knew we’d never realize our vision unless the content truly helped people learn about design.
So another change we made — led by our research — was to use lots of examples and case studies in our articles.
And even though this was revealed by a study of our topic — design — a lot of evidence suggests it works great for many other topics too.
For us this meant a shift away from the tutorial based articles we created in house. Although they were already quite popular (many receiving up to 1k shares), that seemed to be the extent of their potential as articles. (They were secondary to our hugely popular interactive design tutorials.)
So we decided to keep our instructional how-to tone, but instead applied it to posts that show specifically how a professional designer would implement a particular design principle .
Connecting your content to the real world is far more important than most people realize.
For instance, one of the most important things you need to succeed as a blogger is credibility .
And a great way to demonstrate credibility is to publish a case study . Like this one you’re reading right now. I am not a “certified content strategist” — but I’ve created and applied a successful content strategy for Canva, so that gives me credibility, right?
The other trick for grounding your content in the real world?
Make your posts concrete.
That means include step-by-step instructions — tell people exactly what to do. Instead of saying, “Promote your blog,” do what Brian Dean did with this post . He made liberal use of screenshots and examples — complete with templates you can use right away.
Compare that to a generic post about blog promotion and you’ll realize this: concrete advice proves you know what you’re doing.
Step 6: Add Images (No, More Than That)
I’m sure you’ve heard it before.
Visual content gets shared more. (Jeff Bullas wrote about how articles with images get 94% more views than those without.)
Like most bloggers, we thought we understood this, so we always included a featured image with our blog posts to make it more social-friendly.
But looking back, we didn’t really understand the power of images. We thought we did, but we didn’t.
Not until we conducted our research.
While we were studying our competitors, we noticed how they not only have multiple images in each post, but they also often have many of them. So we decided to systematically increase the number of images in our posts to see the effect.
And sure enough, the more images we used, the more traffic increased. Here, for example, is our traffic from Pinterest in the same period:
Look what happens when you search for Design School on Pinterest . It’s flooded — not with featured images, but with graphics from our picture list posts.
However, this doesn’t mean you should randomly pepper your posts with stock photography . The images need to make sense in context — and add value to your post. Like the screenshots and charts in this post.
Or take this post on Design School as an example. It’s one of our most popular posts on Pinterest, getting over 700 pins. And it wasn’t a particularly lengthy post — but it does contain a lot of relevant images.
If you don’t know what type of images to create for your blog posts, Pamela Wilson has a great article about that here .
The Results of our 60-Day Content Experiment
We ran our content experiment on our Design School blog for sixty days — from the end of January to the end of March 2015.
Compared to the preceding three-months period, we saw a 226% increase in traffic:
Oh and guess what? Our traffic from social during that period increased too — by nearly 500%!
Even though we’d all but ignored our social media growth strategy during that time.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:
How did we manage it?
It was a result of the strategic changes we made to our blog. Not our Facebook page or any other social platform.
Our content was higher quality and resonated more strongly with our audience, so they naturally shared it more on social media .
Pretty awesome, right?
Stop Stagnating and Start Strategizing
Blog stagnation is a terrifying prospect.
Because stagnation is usually followed by decline — and then demise.
Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. A bold new strategy can jolt your blog out of its rut.
But how will you find that strategy? On what will it be based?
The latest recommendations from the expert du jour ?
An unidentifiable gut feeling about the right direction to take?
Or something else altogether?
In truth, building a popular blog that makes money is not about holding out for the perfect strategy.
It’s about relentless testing and knowing that you don’t need to do everything right to succeed.
It’s about research, experimentation, and gaining a deep understanding of your readers and your competitors.
At Canva, we shifted our strategy and it made a huge difference to our traffic — in just 60 days.
We couldn’t have done it if we skipped any the steps above.
We’ve had our breakthrough; now it’s time for you to have yours.
Because visions are far more exciting when you can see them made real.
Content Marketing , Social Media
GET PAID TO WRITE
Make 2-5k per month, even if you're a beginner . we're seeking writers of any skill level ..
Written by Andrianes Pinantoan
56 thoughts on “case study: how to increase your traffic by 226% in just 60 days”.
Great post here on BBT.
This is a strategy that not too many take advantage of. Reverse engineering content. And it’s a good strategy to take because you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. You already know what works with your target audience and what they’re interested in.
One thing I have to do, though, is utilize Quora more. I’ve been getting on there more and more recently, and I’m seeing how effective it can be. Especially when it comes to narrowing down specific issues readers have.
Question regarding your competitor quality checklist. We know that list posts perform better, but what’s the ratio of how many lists posts we should include in our publishing schedule?
For instance, I blog once a week. Should I have a list post, or some variation of it, for the whole month, or certain times?
Great case study. Great results.
As for your question: I’d say test list posts and if it works, do it as many times as you possibly can. Why limit it to a ratio if it’s working?
Top notch post
I love the fact it’s derived from results of your own case study
Follow the data not your gut is some sound advise because the data doesn’t lie, it gives you the clues about what really gets your audience going and what makes them share, comment and come back.
Choosing not listen to these clues is like choosing not to listen to what your audience are shouting out to you by their actions all across the web, dumb move.
I have to be honest we don’t test our headlines but hearing about the big leap in your results means we have to take action on that from now on.
Thanks for sharing this with us I got a lot out of it
Thanks Mark. Definitely test your headline whenever possible. It made a big difference to us.
Great tips and techniques. Viewing the links shared button to discover where else readers are getting their information is a new one for me. Thanks.
Always happy to help Virginia. 🙂
Hey Andrianes, Thanks for providing such a quality post. You really hit the nail on what you were describing earlier in the article — informative, directive content that can be applied when you’re finished reading rather than researched. Reverse engineering success is always a good idea, but I never thought about using BuzzSumo to do so. Thanks for such an awesome suggestion!
Buzzsumo is THE tool I’d recommend all bloggers to check out. In addition to Canva, of course. :p
thanks for all the interesting insights. It’s amazing to see what you can achieve by strategic decisions and content marketing alone.
I definetly picked up some nuggets to try on my own blog.
Happy to help Philip!
Thanks for the post. It was an eye opener. One thing I would like to know is where did the majority of the traffic come from? Were they from Social media, your competitors blog, or Search Engines?
Can you briefly share your strategy for promoting the contents that led to the increase in traffic?
The majority of our blog’s traffic came from social, making up about 70% of overall (especially when a post goes viral). It’s a pretty new blog but SEO should kick in soon.
We did a bit of promoting here and there but have not really scaled it out just yet. The results we get are OK but nothing mind-blowing. It may have brought in a few hundred visitors – great for a small blog, not so much at our scale.
Having said that, we are still refining it, and when we do crack it, I’ll let you know.
Andrianes – thanks for a great post. There is so much valuable information there. I love that it is so specific and therefore easy to emulate.
It’s very generous of you to share this information – thank you. I’ll be trying it out. 🙂
Always happy to share Mary. 🙂
I’m such a data dork — that I can’t believe I haven’t already done this. Great post! Off to look at BuzzSumo…
Make sure you tell them I’m your referrer. Lol, just joking.
We are doing a partnership content with them – some really interesting data coming soon. 🙂
Hey Andrianes Pinantoan,
Wao, a great case study just like BBT. Some points are golden secrets in this blogging world. I like your checklist. Reverse Engineering is a unique way to get good traffic. I like those emails which ask problems. Bundle of Thanks for sharing such a valuable tricks with us. May you live long!
this was a great strategy to increase traffic to your site.
I see a paradigm shift going on as far as content is concern. Content is becoming more visual and less textual than it used to be. Statistics show that 60% of people are visual learners so it does make sense to add more images to your posts.
I also use buzz sumo and the times I patterned my headlines after the most popular posts I got a spike in traffic and shares. I did a couple of posts on copywriting g and I got the most shares compared to what I’ve been getting before!
Thanks for sharing these tips! It has gave me confidence in what I’m doing and some ideas if what I can do to improve!
Always happy to help Sherman. 🙂
Thanks Andrianes! This is great stuff, and I appreciate that it’s validated by your own case study.
About a month ago, I decided to try a technique and have seen some good traffic engagement from it, but wasn’t sure if the strategy was as effective as it appeared.
I’ve been using the Quora technique that you mention for about a month and its great to see that someone much more established is using it as well! Really puts my testing into perspective that it can be an effective strategy!
Thanks again! As Carol Tice said, off to check out Buzzsumo!
Awesome to see Quora is working for other people. 🙂
Thanks for this, Andrianes. Love the case study and all the data and explanation.
More graphics and screenshots coming right up! 🙂
Make sure you create them with Canva! :p
But of course! 😀
This was a very generous post Andrianes… thank you!
I will def be spending more time on Twitter observing what else my client’s fans share for ideas.
Thanks Mike! And while you’re on Twitter, don’t forget to follow me @andreispsyched. 🙂
Your post came at a perfect time, Andrianes.
I’m starting my blog from scratch. And after procrastinating for quite awhile, I’ve decided to use Jon’s Six Figure Roadmap so I don’t screw things up.
Step 1 focuses on learning, understanding my competition, and researching other blogs on my topic. You mentioned some great tools and techniques to help me through this process.
Thank you for the great post.
Thanks Bill! Glad the post is useful for you. 🙂
This is a unique concept you have used in this post for sharing blog posts on different social medias with the tactics you are using.
Thanks for sharing this awesome post.
Mohinder Paul Verma BloggingFunda – A Community of Bloggers http://goo.gl/m8IVeR
Thanks for this very instructional article. I’ve learned more today on blogging from the experiments you ran than I have since the beginning of the year. You’ve mentioned some useful tools which I’m going to have to take a look at. The only thing I’m wondering about is what you said about images. High quality images are large on the kb size. How do you manage page load speeds when Google Page load speed tests advise you to upload smaller sized images. Do you have any advice on tools to use? Also, what size of KB do you limit your images to? Looking forward to your answer – need some advice in this area.
Hey Frank, you can decrease the quality of the images and minify it in such a way a human wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. There are lots of services out there to do this.
No specific limit that we adhere to though. 🙂
hey guys, want to get updated with daily latest technologies and entertainment news do visit my blog http://www.shoppylife.asia
This post is really awesome but i think content is all think, a better content is make your post live and engaging. You really share awesome information by using proper images and links.
great post i learned a lot from it, hey guys visit http://www.shoppylife.asia to get latest updates of technology
Incredible Case study . I listen a lot about Buzzsumo and going to give it a try. Thanks for this valuable information.
Definitely check them out Gurpreet.
” Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Content ” I really agree with this. Also you can reverse engineer other things from your competitor like back links… Blogging can get monotonous in time but there are so many ways to increase your site traffic.
thanks for this incredible info… guys visit http://www.shoppylife.asia to know more about SEO Tectics
I really admire your case study. It’s really fruitful for those who are struggling after implemented all tactics but didn’t increase traffic. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
I love to see case studies, and appreciate you sharing exactly how you achieved your results.
Its interesting to see what is now working best for web content, is exactly the same process used in offline marketing years ago,
I remember studying Jay Abrahams marketing course, which advises you to write long descriptive headlines, and to write long letters to your prospective clients – maybe 4 or 5 pages long – probably equivalent to your test of 2,000 – 2, 500 words
To use numbered lists, and to use real life testimonials in your copy, which are equivalent to case studies – exactly as your study proved.
Perhaps it may be worth getting that old course out to see if there are any other strategies that can be followed through to web marketing
Thanks again Paul
I learned a lot from Jay! 🙂
Me too. As everything moves on, its easy to sometimes forget some of the tricks that we learnt, when we were marketing offline the old way – things are now very relevant in today’s online marketing
Shame to see the volume of spam comments on this great blog!
Great advice, especially about headlines. I now spend so much time crafting what I hope will be the perfect lure to my post. Some do okay (yes, I’m prepared to be wrong) but some go through the roof. They really make a difference with traffic. Thanks for the reminder.
I can definitely vouch for “more images = more traffic”. I’d also add that it can’t be just a stock photo, it needs to be tailored to your post and be a piece of sharable content in its own right.
We design 2-3 images per post, sometimes they’re an infographic, more of a header image, or a “tall and skinny” image for Pinterest.
It makes a huge different to the number of shares we get, and not just on Pinterest but also on Facebook, too!
Definitely true for us Nathalie. 🙂
Facebook makes up 90% of our social traffic so it definitely affects that also.
Great post shared, I guess you have shared great case studies.
Thanks for this case study, I do enjoy the reverse engineer your competitors content approach I feel that everyone could learn more from there competitors and see what’s ranking in Goggle.
Also I do feel that putting the right amount of images would be a great help towards the right niches.
So Andrianes thanks again. Have a great day!!!
Warm regards, Antonio Matos
I’ve seen some great emails and some very boring ones, and it all starts with the subject line doesn’t it. I find the catchier the subject the more I’m willing to click on it. Boring subject, it’s more than likely going to find its way to the trash.
wow, Andrianes, this is a truly incredible post! It is full of gems and pearls and it shines like a star. So many useful advises which are also unique and concrete! I want to print it out (I never print anything out!) and pin it to my wall in front of my desk to read it every day until I memorize it :))) no, seriously, this article is one of the best set of blogging advises I have ever read! Thanks you so much for writing it and sharing with us!!!
http://dushonok.com/ Why Buy? DIY!
Very nice tips. Awesome in fact! Thanks.
Wonderful articles in this post it’s very beneficial for me. Thanks to share this post.
very informative indeed,i learnt a lot from it visit http://www.shoppylife.asia to get latest news about how to gain huge traffic to your website, website optimization and lots more
This case study is purely informative and shown exact the realities what we have to follow to get the traffic, buzzsumo and analysing the competitor information are very important to know what works and what not.
I really learned a lot of information from this article, thank you very much for sharing this information.
Hi Thanks for this wonderful post I think that quality content is the most important factors which determines how much traffic you can get to your blog, if you content is very helpful then surely you can drive good amount of traffic to your website for free
Nice post. Thank you for sharing a informative information with us. Visit my links to find best Industrial Training Institute in India.
Leave a Comment Cancel reply
Latest from the blog.
12 Top Sites to Find Data Entry Jobs From Home (+ Alternatives)
Landing Page: A Rookies Guide to Amplifying Your Leads in 2023
A Beginner’s Guide to CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction) in 2023
With over 300k subscribers and 4 million readers, Smart Blogger is one of the world's largest websites dedicated to writing and blogging.
Best of the Blog
© 2012-2023 Smart Blogger — Boost Blog Traffic, Inc.
12 great case study examples (plus case study writing tips)
GatherContent Contributor, Writer
5 minute read.
Table of contents
Lead with Content
How to put content at the centre of digital transformation.
Digital Content Consultant
This long-form content style is also becoming more common as more marketers discover its value. According to Hubspot’s 2021 State of Marketing report , more than 30% of marketers use case studies as a primary marketing media—up from 13% in 2020.
If you’re new to the world of case studies, we’ll be diving into what case studies are, why they’re important, and how to create your own. We’ll also highlight some compelling case study examples that you can learn from.
What is a case study?
A good case study highlights customer stories showing the following:
- The problems the business faced before using a product or service
- How the product or service proposed to solve the problems
- The before and after of using a product or service
- The measurable positive impact of the product or service on metrics such as click-through rate, website traffic, or sales
While case studies are most often product or service-focused, sometimes businesses use them to share their brand or founder story.
These types of case studies typically focus on organizational progress, such as how they grew their revenue or website traffic. One example is this Outfunnel case study on how the team saved over 80% of its time with user onboarding.
Why are case studies important?
They may not suit every business. But case studies are beneficial, for example, for helping SaaS brands reach future customers.
If they make sense for your industry, case studies should be an important part of your content marketing strategy for many reasons.
Three reasons you should incorporate them as soon as possible are:
- To provide value to your audience: At its core, the best marketing doesn’t just drive sales; it serves its audience. Case studies are a brilliant way to teach your audience tips they can incorporate into their businesses. It can also serve as research for industry experts to quote.
- To show off your expertise: A great case study is a perfect blend of data and storytelling. It showcases your expertise to your target audience, most likely dealing with similar issues. By telling a good story in your case studies, you’re essentially saying, “Look how we made everything better for X client—we can do that for you, too.”
- As social proof: Because case studies are available to the public, they’re undeniable social proof—better than hard-to-believe testimonials with client initials. This makes them extra valuable as MOFU and BOFU content ; they can drive sales at the click of a button.
Good to Know: Not sure how to use case studies? They work well as lead magnets, landing pages, repurposed blog posts, and, if you have the capacity, even video content!
12 real-life case study examples to bookmark
Reading about the mechanics of case studies is more straightforward than writing case studies from scratch.
That’s why we’ve gathered 12 real-life marketing case study examples you can review before you embark on creating yours.
1. GatherContent | University of Edinburgh
What works: In this great case study, GatherContent includes quotes from the client (the University of Edinburgh) about how their software has improved their content workflow. This adds a human element and will help readers with the same issues identify with the client.
View more GatherContent case studies .
2. Omniscient Digital | AppSumo
What works: Omniscient Digital includes client feedback in video format and shares the results they achieved in a digestible bullet point format.
3. Bit.ly | Vissla
What works: Besides hosting this case study on their website, Bit.ly provides a PDF link that can both be viewed online or downloaded. Plus, the PDF is visually appealing and easy to read.
4. Asana | Autodesk
What works: Asana leads with their impact and includes basic information about their client to the right of the page so the reader immediately gets bite-sized background information.
5. Shopify | Bombas
What works: Shopify includes a video in their case study, as well as multiple eye-catching images of Bombas products. This ensures that the case study serves both companies, possibly generating customer interest in Bombas socks.
6. Outfunnel | Alight Analytics
What works: Outfunnel has repurposed its case study into a blog post, which increases its visibility. The study is also full of client quotes, which adds valuable social proof.
7. Sapling | Zapier
What works: Sapling also shares quick preliminary information about Zapier on the left panel and includes several screenshots to show the impact of their product on the company’s processes.
8. BigCommerce | Skullcandy
What works: The quick metrics in bold hit readers quickly and highlight BigCommerce expertise to potential customers even before they read the entire case study.
9. Google Ads | L’Oreal
What works: Video format. Few things beat hearing the client praise the service and explain the process and results of the campaign in their own words.
10. ActiveCampaign | Your Therapy Source
What works: ActiveCampaign efficiently showcases the problems and solutions before delving into how they helped the client achieve desired results.
11. Intuit | Xenex Healthcare
What works: The main benefit is highlighted on the first page of the PDF and the rest of the study delves into the process and the nitty-gritty of the product’s impact.
12. Grayscale | Upwork
What works: This page features minimal text. It focuses on quotes from decision-makers at Upwork and ends with a call-to-action that will likely drive conversions.
How to write your own case study
How can you write engaging, effective case studies like the examples above? Here are six steps.
1. Identify a worthy case
Think of projects—either for yourself or for clients—that got outstanding results. Then, whittle it down to the cases that your target audience is most likely to relate to , perhaps because they experience the same problem or have the same goal as in the case.
2. Reflect on your chosen case
Once you’ve decided on the case you’ll start with, do some deeper reflection on the details. What was the project goal? What challenges did you encounter along the way? How did you overcome them to reach your goal?
3. Think about differentiation
Take the last step even further and think of anything you did differently than others might. Did you an experimental tactic or strategy or create a custom solution? If so, use those details to subtly show potential customers why they should be interested in what you have to offer.
4. Gather quotes
Next, get hard-hitting quotes from project stakeholders or clients. Having their thoughts on goals, project obstacles, the solutions provided, and the outcomes will make your description of the case more credible.
5. Draft your case study
Time to turn the details you’ve compiled into a case study draft. How? We’ll talk about the best format for case studies shortly.
6. Add visuals
Next, create visuals that will reinforce the main points of your case study. These could include:
- Charts or screenshots to show the change in metrics before and after the project
- An infographic to give a brief visual overview of the case
- Pictures of deliverables (e.g. a web design agency might show a picture of the new site it designed for a client)
- Product images such as screenshots from within your software that was used on the project
After any designated reviewers and approvers give their stamp of approval on the case study, it’s ready to be published and promoted!
What’s the best case study format?
We’ve seen A+ examples of case studies and gotten some more context on how to create them for your brand or organization. Now, it's time to get to work. As you do, remember to include the following vital sections in your case study format:
- Client name and profile
- The problem
- Your solution (and screenshots!)
- Before and after ( real results with data)
- Appealing visuals, photos, illustrations, infographics, charts, and graphs
- A memorable CTA
Ready to get started? Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone.
GatherContent—a powerful tool for case study creation
GatherContent makes it possible to keep track of all your case study research —even while working with your marketing team. You don’t have to guess what stage the piece is at or consult another tool to know when your part is due or who to pass the torch to.
GatherContent is a content hub that helps you keep all your content creation in one place , whether you’re writing blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, or case studies. With content modeling features like Components , you can effortlessly maintain brand identity throughout all your case studies.
Read more customer success stories here to learn more!
Techniques for collaboratively prioritising content
Learn six collaborative methods for prioritising content so your team can be aligned and have confidence in the content being published..
About the author
Related posts you might like, platform features.
- Content Hub
- Content Project Management
- Content Planning
- Content Templates
- Content Style Guides
- Content Management
- Content Workflow
- Content Calendar
- Content Creation & Collaboration
- Beta Features
- What's New
- What is ContentOps?
- Resources and Events
- Our Partners
- Customer Advisory Board
- Join our team
- Security & Backups
- Terms of Service
- Terms of Website Use
- Help Centre
- API Documentation
When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to lear...
Case studies are important because they help make something being discussed more realistic for both teachers and learners. Case studies help students to see that what they have learned is not purely theoretical but instead can serve to crea...
Examples of a case study could be anything from researching why a single subject has nightmares when they sleep in their new apartment, to why a group of people feel uncomfortable in heavily populated areas. A case study is an in-depth anal...
Not only that, but marketing case studies with solutions typically contain quotes from the customer. This means that they're not just ads where
For a while now, Buffer has been a poster child for content marketing in the SaaS space. But they didn't come right out of the gate with
With eager customers lining up to share their successes, the small customer marketing team only lacked the time to produce the stories effectively. With Case
5 Inspiring Blogging Case Studies · #1: Digital photography school, the blog that became a business · #2: PluginID, the blog that had huge SEO
Other companies, like many of the big marketing firms you might think of – Moz, Hubspot, etc – got their starts just providing a blog and a
Yes, your case studies can be used for lead generation, but they could be doing more. It may sound counter-intuitive from an inbound marketing
The rest of my income came from affiliate marketing, mainly through Amazon.
A case study blog post is an article that describes the process of conducting research and analyzing data. It can describe any type of project
It's a huge opportunity for businesses, brands and marketers to express themselves to their audience, grow and build a real community, and share
So we completely reengineered our blog strategy — and the results ... About the Author: Andrianes Pinantoan heads growth marketing at Canva.
They work well as lead magnets, landing pages, repurposed blog posts, and, ... That's why we've gathered 12 real-life marketing case study