Creating High-Quality Technical Content Increases Blog Traffic
How Earthly Increased Its Monthly Blog Visitors by 346% and Ramped Up Its Content Production with Draft.dev
Earthly is a build automation tool for the container era. It works with existing build systems to create repeatable and understandable builds.
Earthly partnered with Draft.dev to ramp up their content production and create awareness about Earthly’s product. The benefits of this partnership speak for themselves:
A 346% increase in monthly blog visitors within 6 months
1,500 blog visitors per workday
6% blog conversion rate
We had a chat with Adam Gordon Bell, Director of Developer Relations, to understand how these amazing results came about.
Q: What led you to Draft.dev in the first place?
ADAM: One of our investors, Mitch Weiner, advised us that the best way to create awareness was to make Earthly’s blog a valuable resource for developers so that they always come to us for information.
He recommended that we create four or five new pieces of content for our blog every week. And that was more than our team could take on.
Q: What was your writing process when you were creating content in-house?
ADAM: We still do our own writing for the blog, we use Draft.dev to augment our content creation process.
Before, I would try to come up with things that I thought would be valuable to developers. Then the primary software engineers on the team and I would spend time once a month creating the content.
Q: Did you have a publishing schedule?
ADAM: We were publishing once a week.
Q: Did anyone on your team have previous writing experience?
ADAM: One of the developers on our team actually has quite a bit of writing and editing experience. Besides him, the rest of us were pretty new to it. One of my early articles got feedback saying ‘this sentence is in passive voice,’ and ‘this sentence is hard to read.’
Q: How long did it take you to write a single post?
ADAM: One to two full workdays. Between four people, that’s one to two days for each person per month.
Q: How did you choose the topics you were going to write about?
ADAM: We didn’t have a good idea of what topics we should be targeting. Our main criteria was to write posts that we thought would be relevant to people who might use Earthly and to write about what we were interested in.
Q: Did you consider other alternatives before working with Draft.dev?
ADAM: We didn’t consider anybody else. I liked Karl and once our CEO met him, we thought that he was a great person to start this relationship with. He seemed like he was here to help us out.
Q: Did you have any specific goals in mind when you first started working with Draft.dev?
ADAM: We wanted people to land on our blog, read our content and say, ‘this is really valuable, who wrote it?’ and then check out Earthly and say, ‘this is an interesting product, let me explore it.’ We wanted to build awareness with our potential customers.
Q: Can you walk me through what it was like to get started with Draft.dev?
ADAM: We decided to have Draft.dev write one article per week for a quarter. Karl wanted us to come up with 12 topics and our CEO and I brainstormed some topics and we shared them with Karl to get his feedback.
We’ve changed the process in the last two quarters. We’ve had Draft.dev do some of the research on what would be a good fit of article topics for us.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about the research process?
ADAM: We came up with a bunch of ideas for areas related to what Earthly does. So, mainly around building software or around command-line tools or various things for developers that we thought would be a good fit with us. It is a vague high-level list.
We gave it to the Draft.dev team, and then they did research, looking for what was underrepresented in the search engines. They advised us on the specific areas that we needed to target.
We reviewed the topics to find the ones that were a good fit for us. From there, they worked on outlines and then they started writing the articles.
Q: Have there been any benefits to Draft.dev’s process?
ADAM: Draft.dev’s process gives us reasonable expectations of how the articles will look like and the confidence that there are people searching for those topics. It takes the guesswork out of the process.
Q: How much organic blog traffic you were driving before working with Draft.dev?
ADAM: 20 people a day. With Draft.dev the number has grown to over 1,500 per workday.
Q: Are there any specific articles that really, really have excelled?
ADAM: Yes. There’s one on Docker Networking, that brings in 100 people per workday. There’s another one on Docker Multi-Stage that brings in 75 visitors per workday.
We had a series of articles on Makefiles written and they’ve brought 5,000 visitors in the last 28 days.
Q: Can you tell me about the conversion rate of your content since you started working with Draft.dev?
ADAM: This September, 6% of the visitors who came to the blog, went to the main website. And then, 20% of them went to our download page.
Q: Imagine working without Draft.dev, what does life look like today having done that work yourself, or having begun working with freelancers?
ADAM: I don’t think we would’ve been able to hit the scale of content that we’ve produced without Draft.dev. Right now, we have 1,500 visitors per workday, I suspect we would have half as much or less traffic without Draft.dev.
Q: What would you say to someone who’s interested in driving traffic to their technical product about working with Draft.dev?
ADAM: It’s difficult to find an agency with enough high-quality subject matter expert writers to build up the content pipeline that Draft.dev gives you. It’s a shortcut to building an in-house writing team.
Subject Matter Expert Writers. Proven results.
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