For the last 12 weeks, I’ve been a part of the CMA 90 Day Challenge, thanks to the CMA Community.
The goal was to produce at least one piece of content every week for a 12 week period.
How did I do?
I started the week beginning 6 March. The official last day for the challenge = Sunday 4 June.
Here are the posts I created during the challenge.
Week 1 (6 – 12 March): WordPress and Facebook Image Previews – How Do They Work?
Week 2 (13 – 19 March): The WordPress Mobile App – Brilliant or Broken?
Week 3 (20 – 26 March): WordCamp London 2017 Reviewed – The Best Bits
Week 4 (27 March – 2 April): A Guide To Understanding Domains and Web Hosting Better
Week 5 (3 – 9 April): How To Add The Facebook Pixel To WordPress
Week 6 (10 – 16 April): Can You Use A WordPress.com Theme On A WordPress.org Site?
Week 7 (17 -23 April): WordPress Free Or Paid Themes – Which Are Better?
Week 8 (24-30 April): Ultimate Guide To The WordPress.org Theme Feature Filter
Week 9 (1-7 May): Bootstrap for WordPress – What Is It And Do I Need It?
Week 10 (8-14 May): Essential WordPress Plugins And How To Find Them
Week 11 (15 – 21 May): GAAD 2017: Translating good design into great accessibility
Week 12 (22 – 28 May): How To Create WordPress Excerpts And Include Links In Them
Week 13 (29 May – 4 June): This post!
How did the challenge go for me?
It now feels it went quite quickly!
I was already in the habit of producing a post a week, but I have missed the odd week this year. The challenge held me accountable so that if I was tempted to miss a week I stuck with it.
My aim was to publish every Friday. A few times I was in the “Sunday Blog Club” publishing late on Sunday. And I wasn’t the only one!
What were my top 3 main lessons from participating in the 90 day challenge?
I need to block out the time to blog – and start early in the week. This became more of an issue later in the 90 days when my workload increased. To be honest, I’m not sure I could have planned for this.
My easiest post to write was on the GAAD event because I was reporting on someone else’s teaching. I could do with some more “easy win” posts like this.
I need to find a quicker way to write tutorial posts, as taking screenshots and formatting them takes ages.
Did I meet my objectives?
My main objective going into the challenge was to complete it.
Having done the 30 Day Blogging Challenge before, I knew I could finish this one – and did.
I also wanted to see my traffic and page views continue to increase. You can see what happened to them below.
What were my key results from the challenge?
Overall Google Analytics stats and trends (6 March – May 31)
Improved metrics were:
- Sessions – up 18% to 24,001.
- Users – up nearly 18% to 20,482.
- Pageviews – up by over 15% to 29,085.
I did slightly worse on the other overview metrics. My bounce rate of 88% is high, but it’s always been high. (You can have a look at my Google Analytics stats in 2015.)
The most troubling of those stats was the average session duration going down by 9% to 50 seconds.
Having said that, most of my challenge posts had much longer viewing times, around 4-5 minutes.
Best performing 90DC content (views)
- How To Add The Facebook Pixel To WordPress – 213 views, 24th overall in Google Analytics from March 6 – May 31
- WordCamp London 2017 Reviewed – The Best Bits – 152 views, 32nd
- WordPress and Facebook Image Previews – How Do They Work? – 116 views, 34th
- GAAD 2017: Translating good design into great accessibility – 101 views, 36th
- Can You Use A WordPress.com Theme On A WordPress.org Site? – 72 views, 41st
None of the posts I published got into the top 20 pages in my site, but those were better established.
Not surprisingly the content I published earlier in the challenge did better in terms of views. It was pleasing to see the GAAD post get over 100 views, as that post was only published on May 19th.
Best performing 90DC content (social shares)
According to BuzzSumo:
- WordCamp London 2017 Reviewed – The Best Bits (34 shares)
- WordPress Free Or Paid Themes – Which Are Better? (33 shares)
- Can You Use A WordPress.com Theme On A WordPress.org Site? (22 shares)
- The WordPress Mobile App – Brilliant or Broken? (18 shares)
- GAAD 2017: Translating good design into great accessibility (12 shares)
Some of my popular posts in terms of views were clearly helped by social shares. These were my posts on events: WordCamp London 2017 and GAAD 2017.
Best performing 90DC content (comments)
Tied at the top were my posts on WordPress essential plugins and Facebook image previews, both with 11 comments.
The comments on the Facebook image previews post were quite favourable whereas the plugin post sparked more of a debate.
I think I was happiest with the comments on the Facebook Pixel post. I had visitors saying:
Love this step by step process You definitely made it super easy to ad the pixel!!
Your tutorial will definitely save a lot of people time on adding the Facebook Pixel to their WordPress site. Love the pics, it definitely makes it easier to follow along with.
SO much good info, thanks for the post <3 I’ll def be adding a pixel myself.
If you could participate in the challenge again, what do you think you would do differently?
I had some content ideas in place, but my planning rather went out the window. Taking 2 weeks pre-challenge to plan content for the 12 weeks would help.
I would have also liked to have done more Big 5 posts.
I wish I had spent more time on keyword research. Though I’ve already discovered that some terms I would like to rank for I have very little chance of doing so.
Now that the CMA 90 day challenge is complete – what will you do next?
Take a breather! Seriously, though, I want to keep blogging because I love it.
I did have thoughts of doing some screencast videos but didn’t get my act together to make them.
Next week I’m off to a wee event called CMA Live so I’m looking forward to meeting up with some of my fellow challengers. And learning lots more about content marketing from some of the best exponents in the world.
What will you put in place to make sure you continue developing and executing?
I think I need to outsource more. There’s a lot I’d like to do but just don’t have the time.
I could do with an accountability partner too.
What can you do now to challenge yourself further?
I do have an idea for an epic list post, but I haven’t worked on it very much to date.
It’s the sort of thing that will take weeks to compile and will be of great value.
As I mentioned earlier, I’d like to do more screencasts, but that needs planning and practice.
What could CMA do to improve the experience of the CMA 90 day challenge?
I enjoyed taking part in #CMAPIFF, sharing everyone else’s content every Friday on Twitter. I definitely want that to continue.
— Claire Brotherton (@abrightclearweb) June 2, 2017
It would be great to have more emphasis on leaving comments on other people’s blogs/podcasts/videos. Maybe every second or third week we could do this. Comments are really important, especially for new bloggers.
I wouldn’t mind a 90 Day Improve Your Existing Content Challenge either.
That could consist of:
- Reviewing existing content to see what is the most/least popular
- Going through the content and improving elements like headings, internal links and calls to action
- Re-promoting popular content on social media
- Republishing content on LinkedIn and Medium
- Sending the popular posts to influencers
Over to you
- Have you taken part in a content creation challenge?
- If yes, how did you get on?