How a real estate blog managed to increase the number of monthly visits to the site from 2 thousand to 18 million over 2 years

Original author: Chris Kolmar & Randy Nelson
  • Transfer

How do you compete with sites that are 25 times larger than yours in terms of content, provided that the advertising budget of such sites exceeds the total revenue of your site for all 7 years of its existence? Probably not. So many answer. But practice shows that sometimes it is necessary to take risks, make unexpected and, possibly, paradoxical decisions. The material presented in this article, of course, is a special case, but the experience that the guys from Movoto generously share is definitely worth adopting. That is why we translated this article, supplementing it with some useful materials about content marketing. Now you will learn about how the company managed to increase the number of monthly visits to the site from 2 thousand to 18 million. You can do it too!

Over the past 2 years, the content strategy on the Movoto website has been to find and exploit flaws in the strategies of larger competitors. Like the Oakland A website, which fought with the Yankees and Red Sox, Movoto can win if it focuses on those market segments that their competitors do not cover.

How did it all start?


To achieve your desired goal, you must have a clear idea of ​​that goal. First you need to clearly define what success means to you. The importance of this stage cannot be overestimated. You will strive for success, like a moth to the light. And each of your decisions will be aimed at achieving a specific goal.

Movoto's goals, in order of importance, are:

1. Accurate calculation of citation volume (links, references, TV ads, etc.).
2. The number of articles published weekly.
3. The quality of the articles, which we determine by the number of reposts. Everything is very simple. If the online community often shares an article with a blog, then this is a reason for joy, because the Internet knows everything.

You can ask the company employees: “Hey Randy and Chris, what role does revenue play in this process?” You can get the answer by watching a video from Moz Whiteboard Friday:

1. Links are like a rising wave that brings any sites to the surface.
2. Brand recognition.
3. And, of course, advertising revenue.

So, how did Movoto come to the current content strategy? They tried many different methods, and even refused, of course, without much joy, from one of the goals.

Always mentally start thinking over the process from the end, not from the beginning.

In the case of Movoto, this meant the following: links, links, and again links.
The first thought of the guys is not “Oh, that will be great!”, Or “This information will look great on The Atlantic's website”, or “This material will be mega-popular!” No, their first thought was: “Are there users who want to follow the link and go to our site?”

To answer this question, you must find the answer to three other questions:

1. Is there a large group of sites that occupy the same specific niche?
2. Are there links to other resources on these sites?
3. Can you create content that meets the standards of this group of sites? (Hint: if you show enough creativity, then the answer to all three questions will be “yes”).

To answer the first question, Movoto used tools like Ahrefs and the Technorati blog list (now defunct, unfortunately), and they did a huge search job on Google.

During the study of the Internet, experts identified the following two niches:

1. Personal finance.
2. Video games.

With these two options at their disposal, they looked at several sites to find out which links they linked to.

Personal finance sites are usually run by parents who want to share their own experiences. As a rule, they do not post many links to other sites, which is surprising. If they add links, then only to indicate the source of the material on the site.

There are links to any "cool" things on video game sites, and there are VERY many such links.

Thus, it may come to your mind that Movoto, as a real estate site, should start writing about video games. At first, the company's employees had the same idea.

Therefore, they immediately had a question: how to combine video games and real estate? To solve this problem, they began to organize daily half-hour brainstorming sessions. Meetings took place every day at the same time and lasted exactly 30 minutes.

Brainstorming sessions do not take place in the typical format when one person stands in front of the entire audience and writes ideas on the board. This method is ineffective for many reasons, including the fact that one person cannot speak at the same time as someone else, and someone may be afraid to voice a bad idea.

Therefore, everyone generates their ideas individually, but at the same time, all together - in the same Google document, where all entries are made anonymously. Thanks to this method, everyone can make fun of the ideas of others, write down their ideas immediately after their appearance and not be afraid that the proposed idea will be unsuccessful (in fact, such ideas do not exist). As a result, in 30 minutes a huge number of ideas appear, which then need to be finalized.
In the end, it was decided that even characters from video games should have their own housing. Thus, you can successfully combine real estate and video games.

Now you need to find people who will read all this ...
For users to share your content, they need to see it.


The above structural diagram shows Content Marketing-101 - it works without fail. Content promotion does not hold any secrets: it is just a constant, long-term work, which over time becomes more and more effective.

The whole point is to send emails to the right people in the right organizations and attach the right material to such emails. Movoto can develop three or four unique versions of the same story, depending on who the letter is for.

The importance of this stage is difficult to overestimate. There is no point in doing all this work if then, without opening your letter, they will immediately be deleted from the inbox. Take the time to consider how you want to attract the message’s recipient so that he becomes familiar with the content.

Even when the content speaks for itself, you still need influential helpers and bloggers who:

1. Open the message.
2. Click on the link to go to the page.

If you fail to achieve these two goals using your emails, then no one will ever see your content.
Every day, the Movoto team spends 1-2 hours developing a daily marketing move. They use a large whiteboard to highlight the main aspects of each article. At each such meeting, they try to determine the following:

1. How would you describe this article in a conversation with your mother?
2. Create clear instructions for action (follow the link or send us a reply email).
3. Explain to users the benefits or added value so that they subsequently want to link to it
4. Answer the question about why this topic was chosen.


Here is an example of a marketing move recently implemented:


Hi Tim!
I thought you would like this idea, given that you are interested in daily news from the world of economics.
A Grist infographic showing average temperatures over the past 27 years has inspired us to explore how temperature changes affect property values. We found that with a temperature increase of 0.25 ° C, the cost of a residential building drops by $ 250: .
For example, over the past 4 years, the value of homes in New York State has declined by more than $ 9 billion due to global warming.
I would be happy to know what you and your colleagues have about this study.
Chris Colmar

The level of social interaction on various sites (per article)


We have already talked about keeping in mind the ultimate goal of our program, and in almost any case this will not mean that you have to reinvent the wheel. There is a very good reason why some things are what they are, because they work, and work reliably and in a big way. The latter quality is of particular importance to achieve our goal.

You have to do your homework.

The first step in building your own marketing strategy is to learn what the owners of other sites are doing. By “other sites” we do not mean a specific industry or market segment, but Internet content in general. And not just content, but truly successful content.

Such things serve as a topic for starting a conversation at a party, they ply through offices in numerous emails and, of course, are actively distributed in various social networks.
In the case of Movoto, the “10 thousand feet” approach was adopted, and the guys began to search for successful content, which became the most popular. Among others were found:

• Articles with various ratings and numbered lists.
• Click cards (and cards in general).
• Colorful images in high resolution.
• Truly interesting infographics.
• Video files.

It is also important to find and understand trends that are as transient in the computer world as trends in the world of fashion or fast food.

Things become stylish and then go out of fashion; For some time, infographics were very popular, but click cards took their place. Articles with ratings and lists rose to the top of popularity only in order to give way to video files, etc.

The ability to determine the quality content of a day / week / month largely depends on whether you yourself are an expert on Internet content. You simply cannot create popular content (or understand it) unless you are a consumer. Our favorite sites include:

• Buzzfeed
• Upworthy
• Digiday
• NiemanLab
• ViralNova

To be continued !

Also popular now: