Our content marketing lessons learned from The Gong Blog in 2021

Laptop open to search engine screen

Let’s start with a promise that this isn’t some braggadocious blog post showing off our top performing blog posts of the year. We wouldn’t do that to you. We do, however, want to share a few content marketing lessons learned from looking at our top blog posts in 2021. You may (or may not, if you’re familiar with SEO) be surprised that some of our greatest hits were written years ago but remain among the top traffic drivers to our blog.

Playing the SEO Long Game

We’ve already preached about the long game of content marketing, but case in point, take our top three blog posts in 2021. Coming in at No. 1, 2 and 3 are examples of media interviews gone wrong, mastering a Zoom or Skype interview and marketing KPIs you should measure.

None of these posts was written within the last 12 months. Our top three articles were written years ago, but they all have one thing in common: organic acquisition. You’re looking at 97%, 89% and 96% organic traffic acquisition, respectively, which means that a user found our content by typing in a phrase or topic into Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo and our content was related. The popularity of the posts were driven by a strong focus, rich keywords and scanability with lots of keyword-rich sub-headers.

We also had random posts that for one reason or another struck a chord with our readers. One was a post that pulled the curtain back on our internal culture through an Insights exercise we did with Floricane. Another that cracked the top 20 was a reflection on a letter an employee wrote to herself. Both posts also were fueled by organic searches.

Having a solid multi-channel social media strategy

As for the bulk of our 2021 posts that cracked our top hits list this year, we can thank our solid, cross-platform advertising strategy. Each quarter, we drop all of our new blog content into a campaign bucket on Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. And thanks to that, gems like Hannah’s tips for scoring a national morning show interview, Julia’s how-to post on virtual press conferences and Tony’s Clubhouse and other trending topics post got significant views.

Pair that with an intentional, active organic social media strategy, and announcements like our Inc.’s Best Places to Work designation also bubbled to the top of the list.

Building a network of amplifiers and referral sources

Some of our top-viewed blog posts cracked the charts with a wide-range of traffic sources, but one interesting factor the remaining posts had in common was their interesting referral sources. Case in point, our 2016 piece on the right spokesperson in a crisis, our 2018 piece on PR travesties and triumphs and a very early 2021 piece on media relations tips surrounding the General Assembly all have Google Classroom and Blackboard-like traffic sources. While these referrals aren’t necessarily hitting our primary persona, they are hitting a secondary audience which is our student persona who could ultimately fill an internship or entry-level role at the agency.

With that, we’re crossing our fingers some of our 2021 content gold makes the ranks come next year’s review.

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Casey Prentice

A self-proclaimed organizational junkie and data geek who confesses to a secret desire to be a professional organizer, Casey enjoys account management, writing, editing and digital content strategy. Her agency work has helped clients like Virginia’s Community Colleges, VCUarts and Swedish Match.

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