Results From Publishing an Article a Day for 30 Days
Publishing an article a day.
That was a goal I set for myself early this year. Since it was a new year and a new decade, I decided to join others who committed to doing something different.
Since I’m in digital marketing, I chose a metric that has meaning.
- I didn’t choose to write a number of words.
- Nor did I pick growing my traffic
- I didn’t use write X number of blog posts either
As my favorite consultant once said,
Results are only on the outside.
— Peter Drucker
So, what are the results of my 30-day writing challenge?
I’m not attributing everything to that writing sprint, but it did help. A lot.
That’s ~4,500 additional clicks from the previous 6-month period (October to March vs April to September). Then, there are various Google algorithm updates as well that happened along the way.
But one thing’s for sure—if I didn’t write new content, my traffic wouldn't’ have gone up.
The Struggles and Changes I Made
Week 1: Piece of Cake
My goal was to publish an article a day — a simple yet very challenging task.
In the beginning, it was relatively easy. I had a chance to plan a couple of posts in advance, plus I have some drafts from months back that I haven’t had time to finish.
Looking back, I reviewed my bullet journal. I complained at least 3x in the first two weeks. At least those that I wrote down. I’m pretty sure I’ve cursed myself a few times as to why I went through my goal of publishing an article a day.
Week 2: Doubt
Around this time, I have written the ones I have in my inventory.
I now faced two challenges.
- I was running out of stuff to write about.
- I also find that it was taking me quite a while to finish the final article as it involves me taking screenshots and making sure everything flows smoothly.
But I persevered.
I started reading some of my older content and had some new ideas. I also was spending more time reading during this time, which I’ll share more below, so I constantly have inputs.
Week 3: Momentum
By the 3rd week, I was getting into a rhythm.
Writing seems to be a little bit easier. I’ve found out a writing stride that works out for me. I’m no longer experiencing writer’s block.
But time is still my enemy.
It takes me between 1–4 hours to finalize an article, depending on how in-depth it is. Yes, it takes that long. If you look at the articles I have especially the tutorials, I explain things in excruciating detail.
So, I had to make some changes.
What I did, or tried to do most of the time, is wake up earlier than usual. Nothing too crazy like 5:30 am or whatever “billionaire” routines that you read on the internet. Just maybe 30–60 minutes earlier.
Instead of waking up at my standard time ~7:30 AM, I tried to wake up around 6:30 AM. I’m not perfect. I’ve hit the snooze button a couple of times.
But since I was committed to this and I need my sleep, I don’t spend much time binging on Netflix at night. Instead, after I finish my work, I spend the time reading stuff.
I found that this helped a lot in forming new ideas.
Week 4: Cruising Along
By the fourth week, I’ve started looking forward to my new routine.
Since I woke up earlier than usual, what I did is go straight to my work station.
I don't look at my phone or any notifications that appeared while I was sleeping. I don’t read any emails. I don’t look at any social media apps.
The only thing I think of is two things: which method will I use to brew my coffee (I typically use a V60 but sometimes I opt for an Aeropress) and what do I write about today.
My Writing Process
I followed a process that I read from one of the newsletters I received early last year. I can’t remember where it’s from but it goes something like this:
- First draft
- Final touches
The original article I read used those 4 distinct phases as a task you do each day. Let’s say on Monday, you simply write the outline to the article you want. Think about the title, which headers and subheaders you’ll be using. The next day, you write your first draft. Just write whatever comes to mind. No editing. Just put words to paper (or screen).
On Wednesday, you put the final touches on the article. You add some images, screenshots, etc. Then leave it once it’s done. The next day, that’s when you give it a final look. Adjust any copy or anything that needs to be finalized. Then, you publish and distribute.
I somewhat adopted that into my own workflow. Basically in Ulysses, I have different groups for that writing process and my own distribution process. It looks like this…
Instead of following that process one day at a time, I took the concept and made it into my workflow.
For example, whenever I’m in the mood to write some outlines, I do a couple in one sitting. Sometimes, when I’m at the grocery waiting in line to pay, I put out my phone and start outlining an article.
Then, whenever I get a chance to sit on my computer, I expand those into articles. That’ll be my first draft. Once I’m done with those, I move them over to the Final Touches stage. That’s then I add images and screenshots, maybe even record a video.
Then this is almost always the case — I do the publishing/scheduling at least 1 day after I finished the final touches. That way, I can look at the article with fresh eyes. I can spot grammar or spelling errors easily.
The only thing that I wasn’t able to do more during the 30-day writing challenge is to followthrough my own distribution process—meaning, I wasn’t able to share on Medium and LinkedIn.
This was something I noted down that I have to improve further. (that’s why I’m publishing this here now).
Results of Publishing an Article a Day
Since I didn’t do much distribution elsewhere apart from basic sharing on social media, I’m focusing on organic traffic only.
My organic traffic grew by 4.93% from December. And that’s comparing 31 days in December with only 30 days in January.
It’s now June and I shared above that I received an extra 4k clicks. That’s roughly 230% increase in organic traffic alone.
But, as I’ve said in the past before, traffic by itself is useless.
What matters is how that traffic affects your business as a whole. In my case, my website is not my primary source of income. So this is relatively okay. I know that from the start so I didn’t focus on generating leads.
But, having said that, I still got a 300% increase in leads from December.
Well, the number is a bit misleading since I only have two new leads last December, but got 8 new ones in January. Now, 5 months later, that has turned into 37 new subscribers in my email list.
Nothing too fancy. Just regular growth. Slow and steady.
For a long time, this website has been in the back burner. I didn’t spend a lot of time growing my traffic nor generating leads and revenues from it. I write and publish whenever I like.
For example in 2019, I only published 16 articles. Now, as I’m writing this, I already have 33 published posts. That’s already 100% more than last year.
Plans for the Future
I honestly didn’t have expectations on traffic, much more on leads when I started the project. All I wanted was to challenge myself to write more.
I’ve learned a lot of things during that sprint. That’s why I’m doing another one this month.
And because I want to do better, I want to focus more on my content distribution. That’s why you’ll see more of my posts here on Medium.
When it comes to tracking performance and analytics, I follow the OKR s— so I have my own quarterly goals. I wrote them on Post-it’s and stuck them to my Bullet Journal. Underneath each post-it is my score for the week. That way, I get to track my progress and make necessary changes.
My current score is 0.5 across my two objectives.
If you’re familiar with OKRs, that’s a fairly okay number. If I have a 0.8–1 score, my goals are probably not stretched and way too easy to achieve. If my scores are lower, I could have set impossible goals. So, I think I’m right in the middle.
It’s a long road ahead. Five months have gone. Q2 is about to end.
I hope that whatever resolution or goals you wished to accomplish, you are close to hitting them.
Have you tried something like this before? What was the challenge? How did it go?
Or are you planning on doing one soon?
Either way, I’d love to know.