I don’t remember exactly when I first shared my “flagship content” concept at Performancing.com but it came from looking at how we were going to achieve growth. We were hovering around the top 20 blogs on the internet, as ranked by Technorati. Each successful website reaches the same stage, but each gets there in its own way and on a different timescale.
What happens is you work hard to acquire any attention at all, you determine what works, get serious growth and then hit a plateau.
This blog has been on a plateau for a couple of years.
Part of the problem is we learn the system for how to grow our traffic and then we abandon it.
We focus too much in one area, and that halts or even reverses our growth.
Flagships, Cornerstones and Evergreen Content
Why do I talk about “Flagship Content” at all when there are seemingly other terms that mean the same thing? Other people do use the phrases interchangebly, but the idea sprung from seeing what was working and why.
Just like in a shopping mall, there are “destination” stores. These are what attract the visitors, but in between you get curiosity traffic and stopping for a coffee. It might be these smaller stores turn out to be a real draw for you in future. When you have a good experience at a mall you are more likely to return.
But why do you know about those destinations in the first place?
Cornerstone content is the foundation of your blog. A useful resource, jargon defined, robust how-to information. Evergreen content can get bookmarks and long term residual traffic, even passive income. The real win though is when that content escapes your blog, when it gets passed around, when people quote it, when people credit you in presentations.
Beating the Plateau with Attraction, Retention and Conversion
Most people focus on attraction, they try to get attention, they link bait, they buy traffic, and research new ways to increase their visitor count. All the while their existing visitors are not returning for a second viewing. Some bloggers get to the point where attraction is not as big a priority any longer, they are getting sufficient results so get distracted in other areas. We live in “Retention mode” and only maintain their blogs to cater to keeping their existing audience happy (guilty!). The last group focus so much on conversion that their audience goes in reverse, and ultimately lose relevance.
So you have to look at what works for your audience in terms of attracting new visitors and reaching new audiences, keeping your existing subscribers happy, and then working in appropriate conversion (relevant offers, suitable affiliates, light sprinkling of ads). You also have to look at the interaction between – does someone arrive via a long tail SEO phrase then click a related post before buying a premium theme? …
Escaping Your Blog in Order to Grow it
So we get to my point (and I do have one, honest!).
What got my blog to the point it is at was by heavily guest posting. I guest posted so much that people were telling me I was getting over-exposed, so I pulled back. Then I stopped almost completely, apart from when a friend needed a hand or when I had something to say that suited another audience better. Upshot being … stalled growth.
It’s like when a band stops touring, never promotes, appears on TV, and such. People start saying “remember them?”, “are they still going?”. Retention is good, essential even, but even the best loyalty generating content is not going to do the trick unless you keep your own insights, experiences and exposure fresh. You do have to keep doing the attraction, not just to bring in outside audiences but to invigorate your existing audience. Go out and let people know you still have something to share.
Even the best zoo is still a cage.
If you want to start growing your quality traffic, build some SEO-boosting links, and reach a fresh audience, check out my Guest Posting guide.