30 Lessons from the 30 day HubSpot Blogging Challenge


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I joined WittyParrot as VP Marketing in July 2013 and recommended that WittyParrot use HubSpot for Inbound Marketing.

There were no other candidates in our evaluation as I have been working with HubSpot for 5 years and have implemented it in 7 other technology companies. 

I did not need convincing of the underlying, technology, methodology or ROI on effort and investment… it works as advertised. We installed the software in July and began work on the new Website for the company launch in October.

We chose the HubSpot Enterprise system because we expect WittyParrot to scale rapidly and need the full functionality of the enterprise system from the start, even though we were starting from scratch.

When HubSpot announced the 30 day blogging challenge, we accepted the challenge as we were beginning to see the fruits of our early blogging effort with the direct correlation between a great blog and leads that followed.

Prior to the lauch of the new Website and Hubspot we had around one thousand visits per month, nearly all from direct traffic or where wittyParrot was the keyword in a Google search.

The Results

Our goals in our blog are:

  1. to create awareness of WittyParrot capabilities,
  2. to build readership of our blog and to attract visitors
  3. to build a community through-leadership content and insight
  4. to convert visitors into contacts.
  5. to convert contacts into customers.

Here is our traffic and lead conversion chart for the January 2014


These are our top 10 January articles (in the descending order of page views)


30 Lessons

Without further ado, here they are:

  1. “Top 5 tips articles continue to do well”.
  2. 6/10 articles took the contrary view to popular opinion on their subjects.
  3. Articles you expect to do well and slave over don’t necessarily do well.
  4. One person must assume the role of editor and arbiter of quality and set the tone and direction of the blog.
  5. Blogging every day is a huge effort for a small company and very difficult for one single person.
  6. A team effort is required and a blog ideally needs two co-anchors to create the bulk of the content, Rajesh Setty is my co-anchor on our blog.
  7. Every member of the executive and marketing team must contribute at least one article per month.
  8. With a rising river of effluent content, quality and thought leadership is everything. Articles that are too generic or lack insight must be rejected.
  9. Guest blogging works. Dr. Mani’s wonderful article “Whittle down and tune-in” is our #1 ranked article of January. Ardath Ablee’s insights on Buyer Personas are of value to a broad B2B audience.
  10. Every piece we published had to achieve a quality threshold and numerous pieces were rejected or sent back for rewriting.
  11. Every piece must be edited by another person for grammar, relevance and construction. The editor is edited.
  12. We combined articles on the problems our target audience experienced where using our product or services had relevance, with articles that made people think about themselves and their daily approach to their jobs.
  13. Not every article has to have a call to action. A quality article that makes you think, reflect and potentially change your point of view is reward enough.
  14. Every article had an image that amplified the point. No smiley faces and only one stock image was used, that of a wood carver.
  15. Give people a volume control. We have added a volume control to our blog subscription so that readers can control their readership.
  16. We created a blogging calendar, but this was a nominal set of topics as a guide. People wrote about topics they were familiar with and used the Win-themes created in our sales and marketing alignment workshop to amplify our value message.
  17. Every new eBook we created produced an immediate influx of new leads and we are committed to creating downloadable content on a monthly basis.
  18. Blogging every day is like exercising every day… its good for your SEO (muscle), it build a legacy of content  (endurance) its good for your readers (diet) and it’s good for your writing (well-being).
  19. Something to think about is more valuable than an ebook if you can get someone to change their behavior.
  20. There was a steady rise in the quality of leads throughout the journey.
  21. It was easier to get buy-in from everyone as the results started showing up.
  22. It was important for all of us to lend our social graph to amplify the content.
  23. Quality content everyday helped with our outreach efforts to influencers as they could see that we were “real.”
  24. Social Media played an important role in gaining traffic. We were active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Without a lot of additional work, we gained a few dozen Twitter followers on our WittyParrot twitter account
  25. Link backs from other blogs helped increase our PageRank on Google
  26. Guest blogging by team members outside of our blog (at Salesforce.com blog, Sandhill.com, Venturebeat, TopSalesWorld and Copyblogger) helped increase visibility of our own blog.
  27. There were not only leads from prospective customers, we also saw an increase in interest from potential partners, employees and investors
  28. Some of our blog posts gave us ideas for future eBooks, helping us pave the road for future content creation with ease. We are already working on a couple of them and will release those in the near future.
  29. There were positive side effects outside the blog as well. Internal discussions and email exchanges related to content creation brought out new ways of positioning our product in the market.
  30. Producing quality content every single day was not easy but the exercise was well worth the effort in more ways than one.

The Future

We learned a lot from participating in the HubSpot Blogging Challenge.

We created new habits, which have now stuck.

Not having the forward tension of “what we are going to publish on the blog today” to start off the day would seem unnatural.

Guest blogging with insights from industry experts will increase as will wisdom and thought provoking articles. I’m not talking about the “guest-blog solicitations” we receive every day in email, you know the kind of offer – from unknown agencies and people who provide generic rubbish loaded with penal back links.

If you are interested in writing a guest blog on WittyParrot, please reply to me, [email protected].

If you haven’t read it, you may be interested in our Sales and Marketing Alignment eBook as it describes how to create a messaging architecture and componentized content as a foundation for creating quality blog articles.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mark Gibson
Mark Gibson has been at the forefront of developing sales and marketing tools that create clarity in messaging value for 30 years. As a consultant he is now engaged in helping sales, marketing and enablement teams to get clear about value creation. Clarity attracts inbound leads, clarity converts visitors into leads and leads into customers, clarity builds mindshare, clarity engages customers, clarity differentiates value, clarity helps onboard new hires clarity helps raise funds, clarity + execution win markets.


  1. Mark, thanks for posting a detailed account of your experiences and lessons learned.

    There’s been a huge groundswell towards content marketing the past couple of years. Makes sense that marketers would want to create content that will educate and engage prospects, leading (hopefully) to more leads and eventual sales.

    However, I’ve been curious about the ROI. You said “I did not need convincing of the underlying, technology, methodology or ROI on effort and investment.” When you look at the amount of time that you and other company leaders put into blogging, do you find that there is a specific ROI that you can calculate? For example, 50 hours of time = 500 leads or something along those lines.

    My concern about content marketing is that, while it’s clearly something that companies need to do, it can be a sinkhole for time that may, or may not, pay off in real business benefits. I’m hoping you can share some stats on tangible benefits. It could help other companies take the leap and invest more time in blogging and other thought leadership activities.

  2. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for your comment.
    There is no doubt that quality content creation takes considerable time and effort. However it creates a content legacy that keeps on giving… and it causes your pages to climb the rankings. We are on page 2 for sales productivity (an important keyword for us) after just 3 months.
    I have a wit set up in WittyParrot where have links to our top 10 blogs on different subjects.
    I simply drag these into the doc or email Im writing to give context and relevance and add value to the conversation.

    I dont have the numbers yet for Witty.
    ROI from my prior efforts at Admarco was very significant.

    Perhaps the best figures come from HubSpot and the state of inbound marketing. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CCkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn2.hubspot.net%2Fhub%2F53%2Ffile-30889984-pdf%2F2013_StateofInboundMarketing_FullReport.pdf&ei=RQj0UuqNO9TloASS04GAAw&usg=AFQjCNHqC_DZ54SqwwYXMTulqIJz-8RfSg&sig2=lHiTrzJK5zkNiHRAiz74vg&bvm=bv.60983673,d.cGU

    The fully costed inbound lead is about 55% less than an a lead sourced using traditional methods.

    Also thought leadership is about true insight, not recycing effluent. The pressure to create, makes things happen that probably would not otherwise surface.

    My somewhat biased Hubpsot 5 year review blog has lots of links to the prior insights in using HubSpot and could be a good jumping point for anyone wanting to drill down. http://www.admarco.net/inbound-marketing-messaging-sales-performance-blog/bid/108388/HubSpot-5-Year-Review-The-Best-Keeps-Getting-Better

  3. Congrats on your success. To piggyback on the question of ROI: do you accept that marketing is necessary for a business?

    If the answer is yes, would you rather your marketing budget go toward renting space on other people’s property (Banner ads, print, TV, radio, etc.)?

    Or would you rather put your marketing budget toward building your own house and your own audience that you own and don’t have to pay rent?

    For example, I’ve seen a single blog post start with 25 views a month in July 2012, and grow to 2,500 views every single month in the last 12 months. This one blog post has taken a couple of hours of work to write & curate over that time, but has generated thousands of leads in the form of demo requests and newsletter sign-ups.

    In the long run, the ROI from that ONE successful blog post has paid for more than the entire cost of content/inbound marketing in the same period. Let alone all the ROI from other pieces of content.

    In short, while there is still plenty of room for other channels of marketing, content and inbound marketing can and should have phenomenal and provable ROI.

  4. Great comments Robb an well said.
    At one point last year I was getting the equivalent of thousands of dollars in PPC in organic traffic around a couple of keyword combinations.
    These blogs are still delivering traffic and leads and were written 3 years ago.

    I will add that there is no short-cut to be had in content marketing. It’s a marathon and its daily toil, but I can’t think of a better way to invest your marketing dollar.


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