Blogging is a worldwide phenomenon. It doesn’t matter where you live, the language you speak, or even what you are passionate about — blogging has no boundaries and it’s free for everyone to express their minds.
Over the course of our Meet the Bloggers series, we’ve heard stories from people all around the world. This week we have Steve MacDonald from Tallinn, Estonia — who not only writes for his own blog, but also some of the top marketing blogs in the world today. Enjoy!
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
I’m Steven Macdonald, a digital marketer based in Tallinn, Estonia.
I’ve been working in digital marketing since 2005, but I first started blogging when I worked at cruise company, Hurtigruten in 2010. The marketing team launched an internal blog where we shared marketing tips and tricks and documented our journey. My first blog post was published on 19th January, 2010 and was on the topic of social media.
Since then, I’ve published more than 150 blog posts and have been lucky enough to write for Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Profs and many more well-known marketing blogs. Today, I spend most of my time managing and creating content on the SuperOffice blog.
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
The SuperOffice blog is a data-driven CRM blog where we share practical tips on how readers can grow their business in sales, marketing and customer service.
SuperOffice is a CRM system, so it was a natural fit to write about CRM-related topics. However, we noticed that many other CRM blogs were writing about the same things and very few backed up their opinions with data. We make sure that any practical advice we share is backed up my data and research and almost all of our blog posts include graphs, charts, and visuals.
This strategy has worked wonders. Today, we receive approx. 100,000 visitors per month to the blog.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
We monetize blog traffic by linking blog content to gated content, that requires visitors to provide contact details in exchange to access guides, white papers, and ebooks. Each contact is then added to our lead nurturing strategy, which overtime results in new sales and revenue. To date, the blog has directly contributed to more than 20,000 marketing leads.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
It’s counter-intuitive, I know but, when we first launched the blog, we had 14 authors and published new content three times per week. Six months later, we cut that down to 5 authors and published new content twice per month. We kept at that pace for two years until January 2015, when we began to publish new content once per month.
In 2017, we publish less than that, but you can see from the Ahrefs chart below the impact it has had on our link-building strategy. Less content, but we earn 3 times more links, because we spend more time promoting content.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
I rarely visit more than one blog per day. Content is saturated and many of the blogs I used to visit daily are now regurgitating the same content over and over again. It’s becoming more difficult to find great content.
Although, I have bookmarked seo.alltop.com that I visit 2-3 times per week to keep up to date on the any of the latest SEO news.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
The tools I use most for the SuperOffice blog are Moz’s Keyword Explorer for keyword research, Ahrefs for link tracking and link trends, and Sumo for growing my email list/ social sharing with their list builder and share tool.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
That it takes a lot longer than you think to grow a blog. Before I started blogging, I read online and heard from experienced bloggers that it takes 6-12 months for it to take off. While that might have been the case in 2010, today it’s a different story…
The SuperOffice blog took 2-3 years before it really started to take off (see below), so if you’re thinking about launching a new blog, understand that it could be 4 or 5 years before it’s you start to see high volume traffic that you can successfully monetize.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
If you’re going to write, make sure the content you create is the best on the web for that topic. Anything less and you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is one of the reasons we publish less content today than 5 years ago as we spend more time creating it.
Our goal is a top 3 ranking for any new piece we create. This goal ensures high quality and a high ROI as getting that number 3 rankings means we continue to grow organic traffic to the blog and websites, and build backlinks for 6, 12, 18 months and beyond. This strategy has helped us land links from Inc, Forbes, Adobe, Cisco and The Next Web.
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I would mostly use the $100 budget for design. Design is so important today. Even the best content in the world cannot survive without a good design. I would hire a freelancer from Fiverr or Upwork and work with that designer on making the design stand out from any other blogs in my niche. If I had any budget left, I would invest it in email marketing and list building tools to collect new email addresses and drive traffic each time I launch a new blog post by sending an email to my email list.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
I Love connecting with new people on LinkedIn and Twitter, so feel free to reach out to me there. And if you haven’t yet read any articles on the SuperOffice blog, I recommend reading these blog posts I wrote on customer service templates, email marketing strategy and customer experience.
Thanks again to Steven MacDonald for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.