Conversion-Fest Winners – and the Secret Sauce Behind Blog Post Promotion

By | Google+ , September 23rd, 2011 in Social Media | 32 comments

After six weeks of great content, social sharing, conversation, network building and some seriously fierce battling from the contestants, the 2011 Conversion-Fest Blogging Contest has come to a close. In this post we’ll recognize the winners, the insights and some behind the scenes details from a seriously badass group of marketing bloggers.

The Results Are In!

Each contestant had 2 weeks to amass social scoring points, after which the judges had their chance to vote. I’m delighted to announce the top 5 Conversion-Fest winners and talk a little about what they brought to the contest.

Gold Medal Winner – Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines

Kristi’s post “Measuring Social Media ROI & Goal Conversions with Google Analytics 5” was an incredibly detailed and useful exploration of one of marketing’s hottest topics – Social Media ROI. Including actionable steps for how to achieve this with the latest Google Analytics features made it an instant classic – as shown by the overwhelming response and it’s rank in the top 5 in Google for the term “Social Media ROI”.

Congratulations Kristi, a well deserved victory.

Kristi’s Prizes

  • 64GB iPad 2 with Verizon WiFi
  • The Unbounce Premium plan free for a year
  • Choice of 2 free 6-month subscriptions from our prize sponsors

Silver Medal Winner – Angie Schottmuller

Angie Schottmuller

Consistently referred to as one of the best posts on QR codes “ever” #TrueStory – Angie’s entry on “10 Ways to Use QR Codes for Better Conversion Rates” makes strong business cases for the use of QR codes. If you were in any doubt of their usefulness or you are thinking of using them, there’s no better place to start than this here.

Angie’s post was the inspiration for Unbounce’s very first QR code – and the blistering pace that she set, by being first out of the gate and setting the bar so high, was a big factor in the success of the contest (despite scaring the crap out of many writers further down the list :)

Nicely done Angie.

Angie’s Prizes

  • 32GB iPad 2 with WiFi
  • The Unbounce Premium plan free for a year
  • Choice of 2 free 6-month subscriptions from our prize sponsors

Bronze Medal Winner – Yomar Lopez

Yomar Lopez

Not only did Yomar write 185 comments across all of the Conversion-Fest entries (which in itself is enough is probably enough to rival War and Peace) – but his genuine enthusiasm and passion for developing personal social connections showed how a smaller social network can still be leveraged to generate enough buzz to drive community interaction through the roof. His post on “The Adaptive SEO Approach (And How To Get More Conversions)” brought new ideas, built bridges between different disciplines and possessed a refreshingly honest approach to writing.

Has been an absolute pleasure having you be part of the contest Yomar. Congrats.

Yomar’s Prizes

  • 16GB iPad 2 with WiFi
  • The Unbounce Pro plan free for a year
  • Choice of 2 free 6-month subscriptions from our prize sponsors

4th Place: Jen Gordon

Jen’s post “8 Ways your Landing Page Design is Sabotaging your Click-Thru Rate” discussed the importance of design and conversion. This was definitely one of the best entries in terms of providing inspiring examples and some real takeaways and action items that you can use to improve your workflow, design and ultimately your conversion rate.

The post continues to be very popular – being shared often on the Twitter-sphere – and should be considered required reading for anyone involved with landing pages and conversion. Thanks for the great content Jen, I truly wish we could hand out a iPad to everyone.

For finishing in the top 5 Jen gets a choice of 2 free 6-month subscriptions from our prize sponsors.


5th Place: Mike King

The Cat in the Hat Teaches SEO (and a lot more)” was a stand out post for many reasons – most of all the brilliant creativity that Mike brought to the competition. Mixing his talents as a rapper with an entertaining writing style and truly awesome cartoon design elements, Mike produced a post impossible to forget.

Aside from the post itself, Mike went all Old Spice on us by producing a personalized video response to the post comments (brilliant).

For finishing in the top 5 Mike also gets a choice of 2 free 6-month subscriptions from our prize sponsors.


The One That Got Away: Anna Sawyer

I’m going to give a shout out to Anna, because she came so close the the top 5, but mainly because her post on “More Conversions Than a Kool-Aid Cult: Using Mind Control to Boost Your Lead Gen Conversion Rate!” was just so damn funny. Especially the video, which gave her maximum X-Factor points.

Take a moment to re-enjoy a slice of awesome:

YouTube Preview Image

The Secret Sauce of Blog Post Promotion – Insights & Lessons Learned From the Participants

As I mentioned, one of the best parts of this contest was getting to learn how people with different network sizes and communication styles went about the process of spreading the word and generating buzz for their blog post entries. So I figured I’d go directly to the source and ask everyone for some insight and tips.

Here’s what the crew had to say…

“The biggest thing I learned is how much social media promotion changes. I wrote an eBook on this very topic back in April, and now I have a whole stack of updates for it with the things I did differently between this contest and the last one I participated in.

The three new promotional strategies that I tried out this time around included having a custom RSS feed for my off-site posts so they could get promoted in my social profiles that connected with an RSS feed, promoting posts a lot more with Facebook & LinkedIn groups, and adding it to my email signature so everyone that I emailed for two weeks got a friendly reminder that I needed their support. I would say the one strategy that worked best out of all of them was spending four hours in a lab waiting room devoted to direct messaging everyone I knew to ask for a tweet (if they liked the post, of course). That was something I saw immediate results with, and it also led to additional comments and Facebook shares.

Rocking social promotion really boils down to taking off with it on day one as soon as the post goes live (or earlier if you have the URL for it), and not stopping your promotion until the very last moment possible.”

– Kristi Hines

Tips for blog post promotion:
- Apply on-page SEO to your post (title, image URLs, image alt attributes, headings, link text, etc.)
- Share the post with people that will link to and write about it; suggest link text for SEO. (Unbounce now ranks third for “qr code conversion”.)
- Have a multiple relevant, quality image thumbnails available on your post to provide diverse, attractive image options when sharing on social networks.
- Finish your post with a strong call-to-action. (i.e. “Which tactics would you implement? Please share in the comments!”)
- Include some type of engaging comment with social posts; don’t just share the title and link.
- Send a message to a few viral seed planters to let them know of the post. (RT something of theirs first to entice reciprocation.)
- Tweet the post with different titles (i.e. question format, different hashtags, highlighted steps/tips, etc.) I picked up decent traffic/tweets by tweeting the social media and local search steps in my post.

Lessons learned from this contest:
- Promote your post strong from day one. Don’t stop, even if the numbers look great.
- Someone always has a bigger social network.
- Don’t write off the potential of less active social networks/tools. (Sphinn, Reddit, Feedburner, etc.)
- Making LinkedIn “top news” or igniting StumbleUpon buzz is extremely difficult after day one.”

– Angie Schottmuller

“How you promote/market your content really depends on how you engage people. It’s a matter of audience, timing, and momentum too, of course.

I knew I had to be persistent but I also had to avoid exhausting my natural market. Here’s what I came up with!:

  1. 10x10x10 - Broadcasting works when you have massive numbers and can play the numbers. Prior to getting into the contest, my Twitter following was around 400/500 and it soared to 800 then 1000+ recently. That said, I wanted to “go deep” instead of going wide. My approach, 10x10x10 (or tell a friend) is simple: ask ten friends that really like you and are influential in their own ways to do X, Y, and Z. In this case, I had them like and tweet my article. Then I asked them to tell ten friends to do the same (and have them tell ten friends). The potential here can be amazing if everyone follows through and the key is to provide a simple call to action. In retrospect, I should have stuck to “likes” when promoting via Facebook and “tweets” when promoting via Twitter since people are already there and it is an easy opportunity.
  2. Sneaky SEO - Once I knew what the URL to my article would be, I included it on status updates, profiles, comments (as a clickable link in my name), and MORE. I also used some tools to find out what the top dogs in the contest were doing (and what NOT to do). This is how I learned about Twylah and Trunk.ly which essentially makes Twitter into a search professional’s wet dream, so to speak. While the traffic generated from these backlinks did not necessarily convert, it helped get my article on top Google SERPs during the first 24 hours. Pinging your web site and submitting to some active directories (not to be confused with Microsoft Active Directory) didn’t hurt either.
  3. StumbleUpon - According to Klout, I’m one of the top influencers when it comes to StumbleUpon. Truth be told, even after all these years, I’m still learning new “tricks”. The SEO magic with StumbleUpon is virtually endless. It has built-in search options that can be contextual, randomized, or a little bit of both. When people review you and/or your content, they can tag it so folks can stumble it via interests or keywords (to be entered via the new Explore Box). I used StumbleUpon links to seed my most active social networks. Combined with BufferApp, HootSuite, Google+, Squidoo, and countless other tools, I built links and seeded StumbleUpon with more traffic which, in turn, lead to more organic, exponential growth.”

– Yomar Lopez

“The biggest thing I learned about promoting a blog post via social media is how little I really knew about promoting a blog post via social media. Let’s just say, I realized I had so much to learn.

I think the best thing about taking part in the contest was a renewed passion for improving my blog, building some relationships along the way and reaping the benefit of the varied expertise all gathered in one place. On top of that, I gained a new bud and podcast co-host in Yomar.

PS – I’ve kept this short, because I know you can expect a long-form response from Yomar :)”

(Ha, yes, that certainly proved to be the case – Oli)

– James St. John

“Twitter was far and away my best tool for spreading the word and then doing the QR Code thing IRL at MozCon that worked pretty well. Getting tweets from other well-known SEOs was also a good look. Sphinn was cool too because Matt Mcgee ended up tweeting it. The freestyle video was cool for my personal brand (I’m doing a rap trailer for the SearchLove conference) but I think more people shared and tweeted the video than the actual post so it didn’t work too well.

I didn’t have my own blog for inbound marketing stuff before so I didn’t have a built-in user base that’s interested in this content. For example I have over 3000 facebook friends but they are my friends because of music and when I post SEO stuff they are like “uhhhh…this is cool but but where’s your new music at?” So I’ll definitely cultivate a whole lot more engaged users before I enter a contest like this again and probably coordinate with another guest post on a higher traffic site like moz at the same time to drive traffic to it.

My top tip is do things that cater to your strengths and set you apart. It makes things more fun, interesting and helps you standout.”

– Mike King

“I probably leaned on colleagues and people linked to me more than I’ve ever done previously.

If you were to run the contest again I’d prefer to do a more focused subject, I think email was a bad choice.”

– Garry Lee

“Biggest thing I learned from promoting a contest was my own network is not big enough. I though I could rely on my thousands of subscribers/fans alone but unless you can get some viral juice, it’s just not big enough to put up strong numbers.

Normally, in my circles I get some of the highest interaction numbers, especially with social stuff. But these other peeps were blowing by me like I was standing still.

Really helped me to see how much more growth I really need.”

– Justin Brooke

“The best part about taking part in the contest was actually learning to use social media to promote the contest and my entry [and when it comes to social promotion] I’m soooo behind the real pros…”

– John Ekman

“You really need to spend time to promote [your] content, and your network gets built whilst doing so. The contest not only provided me with a ton of helpful marketing lessons, but it has also connected me with a handful of great marketers that have been very supportive of my work.”

– Samir Soriano

What Unbounce Learned From the Contest (including some stats)

One of the common threads in discussions with the participants was a desire to understand what effect the contest had on Unbounce (as a blog and as a business etc.). With that in mind, I’ll share what I learned throughout the process and I’ll share some stats.

First: A personal note from me (Oli)

Running this contest was one of the most fun, demanding, stressful and rewarding things I’ve done here at Unbounce, so I just want to thank everyone who took part for their hard work, badass social media skills and excellent writing. I learned a lot more than just the information in the posts – watching and learning from how you promoted your content was inspiring and educational. Thank you all.

So what did we learn?

  1. Running a contest like this is really hard work: When I started theorizing about the idea, I figured that if I could get a months worth of great daily blog posts, I’d have more time to focus on other aspects of the business. WRONG. My work days went from long to being long + 50% during the month that the contest was running. But I loved every minute of it.

    My daily routine was something like this:

    • Publish post at midnight to get it out in the morning UK time
    • Schedule a few tweets for morning on the east and west coast of North America (thanks Hootsuite)
    • Do an initial round of social promotion on my social networks (the goal of my evening ritual was to provide some momentum for each post, ready for the morning – so that there was a social proof kickstart).
    • Wake up at 6am and check my phone (which lies next to me in bed as my alarm) in excited expectation – hoping to see the post take off on Twitter.
    • Continue to post updates to social networks throughout the day (this became more crazy as there were more posts to promote – although I tapered them off in a reverse staggered method, so that each got the same attention from me).
    • Check Google Analytics all the time to see how traffic levels were being affected.
    • Get home around 7pm. Take a few hours off.
    • Update the leaderboard by counting social scores and wading through the comments (thanks Yomar ;) to figure out comment scoring.
    • Move onto the next post.

    Weekends were pretty much the only time I didn’t have the #ConversionFest hashtag in my brain 24/7. (That’s a lie – I thought about it all the time).

  2. Personal networks were created: Through email conversations, post comments and social chatter, I saw strong personal relationships being built, for me and many others. This was amazing to see. The first sign that we were on the verge of creating a new community of friends was seeing people selflessly comment on each others posts (knowing that this would contribute to the recipients social scoring). Lesson here? You get what you give.
  3. Scoring strategies for next time: I chose the 3 social scoring categories (Twitter, Facebook and post comments) based initially on visibility. I placed double weight on the comments for two reasons: A) to encourage more people to get a conversation going and B) because it’s a true sign of engagement. In hindsight, Facebook was the weakest of the three as the votes cast via this method are invisible (whereas tweets can be see and searched for). I guess as part of this answer I’m also saying that YES, there will be a 2012 Conversion-Fest (new and improved – and much bigger). I’ll probably add and remove some scoring mechanisms and already have some ideas for how to make it more exciting for everyone.
  4. Judges scoring: I really wanted to leave the majority of the voting up to the readership and the marketing efforts of the contestants – while allowing for some balance from a judging panel. At the end of the day, the judges scoring element didn’t have much real affect on the outcome – but that was impossible to predict. Again, a lesson learned that I’ll reconsider next time around. Nothing’s perfect first time around.
  5. The content lives on: The social sharing and comments continue to grow on a daily basis as posts get picked up by different people, this is one of the biggest takeaways for me – how we collectively created a bank of amazing content that helps and inspires people – and let’s be totally honest – drives traffic to Unbounce (which was obviously one of my goals). Segue into some stats…
  6. Stats: I’ve added some individual blog post stats in the leaderboard below for personal reference (lots of you asked for that, so I was happy to oblige. In a more general sense, I can say that because of the contest we had our biggest month ever in terms of traffic (close to double an average month). The primary goal for me was to extend our reach and get the Unbounce brand in front of as many people as possible. I wanted people talking about us and to have a crazy amount of persistent buzz. This worked beautifully! For the duration of the contest social networks were overflowing with Unbounce conversation and I’m confident we’ll reap long-term rewards as a result. To answer questions about whether this produced an upswing in new customers? Not immediately, but the brand exposure is one of those intangibles that just makes things better. As Rick put it – “there will never again be an internet marketing conference where Unbounce isn’t mentioned”. We’re on the map on a bigger scale and we achieved a lift in the synonymous relationship between landing pages & great content and the name Unbounce.
  7. Retargeting: What I should have done was ensure we had a retargeting plan for the contest. Blog traffic always has a relatively low number of # of pages viewed (people come to read the content then leave – perhaps after visiting the homepage to see who we are). With some good retargeting in place we could have drawn more of that traffic back to hopefully become customers – another lesson learned.
  8. The AdAge Power 150: Due to the massive increase in engagement, inbound links and social interactions, we jumped way up the ranks on this list – and are really close to poking into the top 50. Really awesome.

The Final Contest Leaderboard

The stats shown beneath each post are based only on the 2 week period of social scoring for that post. This is to allow for the staggered start method so we’re comparing apples to apples. I realize that some of the analytics might not be 100% useful – but hopefully it helps to answer some questions.

Final Position Photo Author & Blog Post Title Social Scoring Judges Scoring Total Score
1 Kristi Hines
@kikolani
Measuring Social Media ROI & Goal Conversions with Google Analytics 5
1,929 300 2,229
  • Unique visitors: 6,710
  • Average time on page: 5:01 mins
  • Bounce rate: 87.62%
  • Top referral sources: Stumbleupon, Facebook, Google+
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 28.7%
2 Angie Schottmuller
@ASchottmuller
10 Ways to Use QR Codes for Better Conversion Rates
1,250 300 1,550
  • Unique visitors: 4,448
  • Average time on page: 4:40 mins
  • Bounce rate: 86.38%
  • Top referral sources: Google, Twitter, Facebook
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 28.1%
3 Yomar Lopez
@yogizilla
The Adaptive SEO Approach (And How To Get More Conversions)
966 265 1,231
  • Unique visitors: 1,491
  • Average time on page: 7:26 mins
  • Bounce rate: 71.63%
  • Top referral sources: Stumbleupon, seo-writer.com, Facebook
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 64.8%
4 Jen Gordon
@ItsJenGordon
8 Ways your Landing Page Design is Sabotaging your Click-Thru Rate
896 290 1,186
  • Unique visitors: 5,525
  • Average time on page: 5:16 mins
  • Bounce rate: 85.84%
  • Top referral sources: Twitter, Feedburner, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 16.26%
5 Michael King
@IPullRank
The Cat in The Hat Teaches SEO
588 295 883
  • Unique visitors: 2,804
  • Average time on page: 5:02 mins
  • Bounce rate: 85.07%
  • Top referral sources: Sphinn.com, Twitter, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 20.9%
6 Anna Sawyer
@AnnaFSawyer
More Conversions Than a Kool-Aid Cult: Using Mind Control to Boost Your Lead Gen Conversion Rate!
259 295 573
  • Unique visitors: 1,356
  • Average time on page: 5:20 mins
  • Bounce rate: 85.58%
  • Top referral sources: Twitter, Stumbleupon, Feedburner
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 19.1%
7 Samir Soriano
@SamirSoriano
Forget About The Conversions: Give Value to Get Value
358 180 538
  • Unique visitors:648
  • Average time on page: 4:22 mins
  • Bounce rate: 85.82%
  • Top referral sources: Stumbleupon, Feedburner, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 55.2%
8 Justin Brooke
@JustinBrooke
7 Proven Ways To Increase Your Email Open & Click-Thru Rates
375 155 530
  • Unique visitors: 1,721
  • Average time on page: 5:16 mins
  • Bounce rate: 81.81%
  • Top referral sources: Google, Feedburner, Twitter
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 21.8%
9 John Ekman
@Conversionista
Why über-Optimised SEO Titles Kill Click-Through & Conversion Rates
249 205 454
  • Unique visitors: 984
  • Average time on page: 6:23 mins
  • Bounce rate: 80.46%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Twitter, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 25.3%
10 Naomi Niles
@NaomiNiles
How to Have a Gorgeous Website Design AND Great Conversion Rates at the Same Time
252 200 452
  • Unique visitors: 1,366
  • Average time on page: 3:32 mins
  • Bounce rate: 77.15%
  • Top referral sources: Twitter, Feedburner, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 18.4%
12 Ryan Kelly
@pearanalytics
How To Set Up and Track Keyword Origination from Multiple Sources in Salesforce
135 250 385
  • Unique visitors: 534
  • Average time on page: 4:48 mins
  • Bounce rate: 82.10%
  • Top referral sources: Pear Analytics Subscribers, Google, Feedburner
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 25.3%
11 Garry Lee
@GarryLee316
Using Behavioural Email to Re-Engage and Convert Your Customers
160 205 365
  • Unique visitors: 799
  • Average time on page: 5:30 mins
  • Bounce rate: 85.12%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Twitter, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 20%
13 Dave Gallant
@DaveRGallant
5 Ways to Get Your Client To Say “Yes” to Conversion Forms
221 160 381
  • Unique visitors: 601
  • Average time on page: 3:46 mins
  • Bounce rate: 77.80%
  • Top referral sources: Twitter, Feedburner, Facebook
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 36.7%
14 James St. John
@stjohnmarketing
Swinging for the Fences: Turning Singles Into Home Runs With Retention Marketing
217 145 362
  • Unique visitors: 380
  • Average time on page: 4:52 mins
  • Bounce rate: 71.07%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Facebook, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 57.1%
15 Stephen Croome
@FirstConversion
The money has been spent, what now? 5 steps to iterate content development for results: Research, Community, Media and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) … and interns
116 195 311
  • Unique visitors: 716
  • Average time on page: 5:22 mins
  • Bounce rate: 79.24%
  • Top referral sources: Sphinn.com, Feedburner, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 16.2%
16 Jessica Eballar
@Bill4Time
3 Invaluable CRO Resources You May Be Missing – No Fancy Tools Required
127 160 287
  • Unique visitors: 553
  • Average time on page: 2:36 mins
  • Bounce rate: 77.56%
  • Top referral sources: Twitter, Feedburner, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 23%
17 Aaron Bradley
@aaranged
Bad Landing Pages? No Landing pages? Then Do Something About It!
131 150 281
  • Unique visitors: 769
  • Average time on page: 4:33 mins
  • Bounce rate: 83.63%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Twitter, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 17%
18 Igor Belogolovsky
@CleverZebo
5 Ways to Screw Up Your A/B Test
132 145 277
  • Unique visitors: 634
  • Average time on page: 4:27 mins
  • Bounce rate: 81.40%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Google, Twitter
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 20.8%
19 Stephan Wiedner
@noomii
The Non-Designer’s Swiss Army Knife of Free Tools to Make Sweet Landing Pages
118 155 273
  • Unique visitors: 818
  • Average time on page: 3:57 mins
  • Bounce rate: 81.24%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Facebook, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 14.4%
20 Kevin McCaffery
@ConversionRate_
On the Origin of Customers – Evolution and Marketing Compared
75 150 225
  • Unique visitors: 222
  • Average time on page: 4:11 mins
  • Bounce rate: 75.54%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Twitter, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 33.8%
21 David Fothergill
@fothergilld
“It’s not a popularity contest…oh, wait, it is!” – Measuring and Optimizing Social Engagement
83 110 193
  • Unique visitors: 252
  • Average time on page: 3:26 mins
  • Bounce rate: 77.97%
  • Top referral sources: Feedburner, Twitter, Google
  • Conversion rate (visitors to social votes): 33%

Thanks to our Prize Sponsors!

I’d like to acknowledge our contest sponsors again, for generously supplying free accounts for the top 5 winners. Note: to collect these prizes – choose the 2 you want (that you’re not already a customer of) – email me at oli(at)unbounce.com and I’ll hook you up.

For check out these great conversion oriented products, go visit their websites below:

  • SEOmoz: 6-months of the PRO account FREE – the world’s best SEO tools, for real (worth $594)
  • KISSinsights: 6-months of the PREMIUM plan FREE – so you can get user feedback via surveys (worth $174)
  • SlideDeck: A SlideDeck PRO account – so you can create slide decks like the one above (worth $99)
  • UserTesting: 5 user tests to get real user insight into your website (worth $195)
  • Olark: 2 months of the GOLD plan FREE – so you can run live chat sessions on your website (worth $88)
  • Attention Wizard: 6-months of the BRONZE plan – get heatmaps to optimize your pages courtesy of Tim Ash (worth $162)

Thanks again to everyone who spent their time writing great content and promoting the crap out of it…

Cheers,

– Oli Gardner

About The Author

Photo of Oli Gardner

Co-Founder of Unbounce. Oli has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He is an opinionated writer and international speaker on Conversion Centered Design. You should follow Oli on Twitter
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Comments

  1. Kristi Hines says:

    Thanks Oli and Rick for doing such a fantastic job with this contest! Loved the leaderboard, and great idea grabbing some promotion tips from all of us involved. That makes this an instant classic! :)

  2. Thanks again, Oli & Rick. This was truly a great experience for me. I’ve gained some valuable experience and some great friends in the process. Yomar and I would like to invite any of the participants to join us for a Conversion Fest “After Party” on our Podcast. We are working on a day and time to pull it off, so watch the Conversion Fest List on Twitter for more info. Thanks! We are recording this weekend with Stan Faryna and Dave Gallant (great radio interview, by the way, Dave!) for a couple of future episodes and we would love to get some insight from more of our Conversion Fest Compadres. Maybe Mike can pull off a freestyle rap during the celebration.

    • Oli Gardner says:

      This sounds like a lot of fun guys. Will look out for an update on when you’re doing this.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        I second what my pard and new BFF James says here. We’re looking to likely roll out the series in a few episodes, though it’d be interesting to see what we could come up with doing a big round table discussion.

        Naturally, we’ll have to get some more practice in because, even though we’re no strangers to the format, James and I can be a bit.. verbose. (Hush, Oli.. LOL)

        So, yes, keep an eye on the #ConversionFest and #NJAB tags for updates via Twitter. If we could even get two or three of you to join us, that’d rock!

        As it is, we have Dave locked in and we’re super stoked about it. The stats here alone are worth talking about for an hour, I’d say… But I know there are some great stories to share that will give us all some more perspective here.

        Thank you all for the opportunity to hang with the “big boys and girls”, and make some friends along the way! 8)

        • Dave says:

          Thanks James.

          I’m pretty stoked about this. I’ve been wanting to do podcasting for awhile.

          Oli: I think we could get you to do a beatbox or something. Yomar will rap and and James and I will just look good…LOL

          • Oli Gardner says:

            Me doing a beatbox!? Lol – no idea how it entered your mind that I’d be good at that. :) Mike’s the rapper – maybe he has some skills like that.

            Looking good on a podcast is pretty easy – haha.

  3. I can say that this has been THE most fun of all the contests I’ve ever participated in my life. And I’ve learned so much. Thank you guys! :D

  4. Dave Gallant says:

    Guys, this was a blast. I am EXTREMELY grateful for having the opportunity to be part of this contest, and also to connect with so many of you in the process.

    Thank you!

  5. Stephan wiedner says:

    Oli,

    Thanks for sharing your insights and the stats regarding the contest. Your commitment to putting together an amazing event is very apparent in your close attention to detail. I can see how you thought it would be smooth sailing once the contest started but of course it added to your workload.

    Congratulations and I look forward to next year.

    @yomar – impression conversion rate!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Ha – thanks Stephan! I must admit, I knew I was in the 40-50% conversion rate range but 60+?? WOW! Even I was taken back by that.

      To be fair, it’s easier to engage with people when you have a smaller audience to work with. The key, as I suggest with my article and in my promotional efforts, is to leverage your most active, interested social contacts and “go deep”.

      With that approach, you can avoid the bunny chasing a bit. ;o)

  6. Chris Goward says:

    Awesome job on the contest, Oli. And thanks for sharing these great marketing nuggets too!

    • Oli Gardner says:

      Glad they were interesting to read Chris. In truth I could have spent a month analyzing this to get some really in depth stats – which just shows how complex analytics is (and I think proves why Kristi’s post won in the end – people want and need to know and be able to measure social engagement in a smart way without necessarily learning and leveraging a new tool to do so).

  7. Yomar Lopez says:

    So, I have to give kudos to James St. John (a.k.a. @stjohnmarketing and THE Marketing Answer Man) for having the lowest bounce rate. He may have very well been the guy to beat had he more numbers to work with. I can tell he’s the real deal when it comes to engaging over broadcasting!

    I’m pretty excited by the fact that the average stay on page was 7 minutes for my article. I need to get those kinds of numbers on my main blog, which is pretty much my labor of love, though I get some nice conversions there too. ;o)

    It seems we were all excited to see these stats and I’m glad you and Rick pulled through, Oli. These numbers are powerful but the context you have provided is even more compelling. I really dig your take-aways here.

    Really, I can speak to all the key points you made (yes, you know me well LOL), but the aspect of personal networks excites me. When I supported others, I saw the posts gain some tractions and I thought to myself, “Uh oh.. I may be shooting myself in the foot!” But I figured, “If I can’t win, at least I’ll help others win!” That’s how I am in my business too. I take great joy in the success of others.. But, in this case, I did get some meaningful reciprocation and people that saw how selfless I was threw their support behind me. That was unexpected because, really, you can’t give and expect in return (that leads to many broken hearts, especially in the blogosphere).

    Angie promoted me to Jedi Knight and now I wield a blue light saber. I’m a borderline “gray hat” SEO guy but mostly I focus on quality content and building relationships so this appointment is fitting and acceptable. ;o)

    You guys have all been awesome and I hope we keep the momentum going for our own ventures and perhaps in some joint ventures as well! Some of you have contacted me already and I appreciate the “street cred”. For realz. =o]

    Go #ConversionFest GO!

    • Oli Gardner says:

      Yomar, I henceforth dub thee as a recipient of Honey Badger status. (for those who aren’t familiar, just look it up) – it’s badass.

      You’re good shit.

      • Yomar Lopez says:

        I just looked that up because I’m a noob.. And that is pretty epic. I LOLed heartily. How did you know I was into extreme sports? ;o)

        Thanks bro.. You know the feeling is mutual! You’re “da shizzle mah frizzle”!

  8. This contest was awesome! Thank you Oli and Rick for making it fun and educational to boot. =)

    Major props to Michael King for his “Cat in the Hat Teaches SEO” post, …my favorite! I was very entertained by his clever writing and fun video responses. We should expect great things from @iPullRank in the future!

    Oli, can you please post the top referring keywords for my post when you have time? (It would probably be nice to see for anyone with Google as a top referrer.) Thanks for sharing the analytics and insights!

    • Yomar Lopez says:

      Haha.. I think the rest of us Inbound Marketing/SEO folks would like that too. I asked Oli but I don’t think they’ll be giving up those goods. ;o)

      I noticed a lot of the articles ranking at the top of some good searches.. some search phrases were as “small” as two keywords!

      Pretty darn neat. I should have taken screenshots. 8)

    • Oli Gardner says:

      Yup – I will dig these out for you this week.

  9. Naomi Niles says:

    Congratulations to the winners! Everyone did a great job. And thanks Unbounce for putting it together. It was fun!

  10. Yomar Lopez says:

    I saw a few people commented that they wish they had the “numbers” to be more competitive. I likely have the smallest “audience” out of all the contestants yet I placed in the Top 3. That’s not to show off but, rather, encourage you all to remember a few things…

    * Who is your audience REALLY? For most of us, our real audience are those that are checking us out to work with us in some way, which is not necessarily the same as the popularity contest and reciprocation we see so don’t be intimidated by folks with hundreds/thousands of comments and clicks because…
    * There’s more to the numbers. Click-through rates, comments, likes, tweets, and other items can still be gamed but you can always spot the authentic interactions. Conversion rates, average time on site, bounce rate, and other metrics can be correlated to give other numbers, big or small, more meaning and actionable insight.
    * Think results over metrics. We often get stuck in the numbers but few seem to interpret or frame them properly in my experiences. Metrics should be a listening tool, above all, and that is what allows us to adapt and really use social media efficiently; hence, my concept of “Adaptive SEO”.

    What did I learn? Lots. We’re all still learning (as it should be). For me, the biggest opportunity was making a headline that would be both delicious for search engines and something human beings could relate to. Kristi’s article was a delectable treat for search engines and, though a lot of it was fairly common stuff found throughout the interwebz, she provided actionable insight which is something I’ve found people respond to more.

    On the flip side, Angie said stuff that not a lot of people were saying. Her case studies and perspective really created the urgency for exploring QR codes and marketing campaigns thereof. While it was not your typical how-to or reference article, which is what most consider “actionable” in the blogosphere, it gave you the strategy and ideas to help you develop your own action plan. I personally find these sorts of pieces both creative and unique.

    As far as creativity goes, I tip my hat to Mike King, Anna Sawyer, and James St. John. They each framed their articles in a way that would target a specific audience and create raving reviews. By sacrificing mass appeal and foregoing the usual step-by-step approach, they shared compelling stories, revealed insight into their amazing personalities, built up some real “street cred”, and gained huge respect from this humble blogger.

    What we saw here is that some folks put in a strong effort and did not get the attention they deserved. Unfortunately, popular vote tends to favor keyword-rich content that is riding out a current wave rather than setting a new trend. I know a many bloggers I know lament their lack of attention because they speak to things that may not be popular but are truly unique and creative.

    When you take a stand on something that is not so mainstream, it takes a lot more effort to get that traction going, as I saw first-hand with my article. Admittedly, I was tempted to write a how-to because I can do those all day. I have often done contracts as a technical writer and knowledge manager so this would be an easy opportunity but, like many of you, I wanted to say something different and take a gamble.

    I hope I don’t seem preachy here.. But I DO hope my words encourage those that feel that this experience was an epic fail for them.

    Look at the numbers closely. If you look at the smart button counts, you’re missing the big picture.

    How many people followed through on your CTAs?

    How much value did you provide? Did you change or enrich some lives?

    What friends did you make along the way?

    What did you learn by supporting the contest and reading competing blogs?

    There’s a wealth of information here so, with that, I say this sincerely:

    You’re all winners in my book!

    Now, be sure to visit me at http://yomar.me next week or so… I definitely will be revisiting these thoughts and I hope we can challenge each other in constructive ways!

    Believe me, I’m not calling anyone out.. But I know many of us feel that the scoreboards and results should have looked a little different. Of course, this is all subjective and that’s part of the fun. 8)

    Again, thanks to Oli and Rick for all their hard work. And thanks to those that threw their support behind others when they saw that the Top 5 was not happening. That speaks volumes about your character, IMHO. =o)

  11. [...] First Place in the Conversion Fest Blogging Contest with the post “Measuring Social Media ROI and Goal Conversions with Google Analytics 5.” Prizes including a 64GB iPad 2 and premium subscriptions with Unbounce, SEOmoz, and Attention Wizard totaling $7,423. [...]

  12. [...] Guest Blog Posts. Leverage the expertise, diverse writing style, and social network of influencers in your industry. The authors will help promote their articles for you. Example: Unbounce’s Conversion-Fest Blogging Contest. [...]

  13. [...] Guest Blog Posts. Leverage the expertise, diverse writing style, and social network of influencers in your industry. The authors will help promote their articles for you. Example: Unbounce’s Conversion-Fest Blogging Contest. [...]

  14. [...] Organizing and hosting a blogging contest on your site, and inviting influencers to participate is also another great way to bait linkable authors to write for you. Look at what Unbounce did last year. [...]

  15. [...] Guest Blog Posts. Leverage the expertise, diverse writing style, and social network of influencers in your industry. The authors will help promote their articles for you. Example: Unbounce’s Conversion-Fest Blogging Contest. [...]

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