My Journey to Creating Authority B2B Magazine

Aleksandar916

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Hi everyone,

I love reading journeys here, I think they provide great insight into various different methods and I love following someone's stories of growth and showing support.
Since I decided to spend some time on my project, I decided I could post my journey too. It is a good way to keep notes of the process, plus there is that extra accountability of adding updates and making sure I don't quit. I hope it's not too much to expect from you guys! I haven't shared this project with anyone IRL but my wife, so you'll be my support group.

WELCOME TO MY JOURNEY TO CREATING AN AUTHORITY B2B MAGAZINE

About me

I have marketing education and been in IM for 10+ years. Most of my experience is in publications, advertising, SEO and digital marketing, all of it in B2B. Ever since I was a kid I was creating online forums for one browser game I was playing and I really enjoy creating communities, so that will be my card here. Most of the time, I was employed (still am) and didn't do a lot of my gigs.

I've had one really successful local project (non-english) for about two years but I had to shut down due to reasons too complicated to explain (no more JVs for me). That project woke up the entrepreneur in me and that desire to create new things, so here I am. I have a couple of small websites and I manage a few more for the company I work for.

The decision

I was bored during the 2020 lockdown and wanted to do something more. The company I work in was not utilizing one growing niche which was partly related to what we do and could easily get into it. When I suggested that we do that they weren't interested. So I said, fuck it, I'll do it myself, but I have to do it privately.

I researched the niche a little bit more and decided it's the way to go.

Initial investment and a slow beginning

I bought a new domain since it was closest to a perfect name I could get. Not aged, fresh of the press, so I realized its' going to take some time to start.
I got cheap hosting and cheap (turned out to be very poor) writing service for the initial 4 articles, which I partly rewrote but they still sucked. I bought WP them which I don't really like as it's not as fast as I was hoping to be, but it's my fault for not checking BHW before I did and I paid $15 on Fiverr for the logo design.

I posted the articles, created a (fake) LinkedIn profile and the page and I forgot about it. I didn't have the time to work on it and I was in the middle of dealing with moving cities (Yes, during the damn pandemic) so I completely forgot about it.
  • $10 domain name
  • $20 hosting
  • $50 WP theme
  • $40 writing
  • $15 design
Total initial investment: $135

Fast forward to Mid May 2021, when my domain and hosting subscription renewed, I decided to start working on it.

Strategy

The plan is to do it slowly, focused on quality and with devotion to every detail.
That means NO SPAM, NO AI, NO SPINNING OR PLAGIARIZING CONTENT.
I will invest in some SEO packages and backlinks here and there, but mostly on content and research.

Since it's a B2B Magazine into a niche I really, deeply understand (products, people and the subject), I decided that all my growth will come from two things:
1. LinkedIn
2. SEO

I will use LinkedIn to connect with relevant people in the industry and get them to become my micro-influencers and to grow following and get some traffic.
I do that by inviting them to either do an interview with the magazine or contribute a thought leadership piece. That way, I get them to become micro influencers (people love sharing their stories, especially interviews) and to provide me with quality content that I will try to optimize.

This approach only works if you do things slowly, focus on quality, relationship building and really focus on every individual. The best thing is that they will (most likely) be subscribed to the magazine, and they are the future product (for advertisers).

For SEO, I will focus on targeting low-competition keywords at the beginning to generate traffic and build up my DA. I might hire VA to help me with outreach and link building. I will write some of the content myself, but will mostly pay for some good writers I found here on BHW.
I am not that knowledgeable when it comes to blackhat methods and I'd hate it to be punished for it while trying to do things the slow way, although I might look into some early help.

Goals

I have 4 different goals by June 2022:
  1. Pageviews - 15.000 a month
  2. Adsense income - $500 a month
  3. Subscribers - 5000
  4. Advertising - Sing a first contract
The goals might change depending on the performance and as I get more insights. Generally, I do not intend to flip the website, unless a really good offer comes to me. I'd like this to become one of my income sources, hire a few people to work on it and make it self-sustaining.

I will soon post update #1 for June. Please feel free to join the discussion and ask anything you'd like, I hope I didn't forget anything or bore you with too much details.
Thank you for reading!
 

Aleksandar916

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Any other network also you plan to use with Adsense ?
Not for now. I looked into Ezoic, but didn't like the things I read here about them so I've decided to stick with Adsense only for now. Mediavine would be great after I reach the needed pageviews.

Generally, I'm planning for Adsense only to cover the expenses, and the real income to come from product advertisers.
 

Aleksandar916

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With b2b to make $big you should consider a premium paid for newsletter.
I did consider this at first, but from my experience, there's more value to selling space in the newsletter if it's a big and engaging list, it's much more difficult to grow it if you charge for it. I have plans to have a premium paid edition in the future.

Plus good luck singing your new contract :)
Thank you! :)
 

GringoMonkey

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Awww thanks!

Oh I absolutely agree with that!
I did consider this at first, but from my experience, there's more value to selling space in the newsletter if it's a big and engaging list, it's much more difficult to grow it if you charge for it. I have plans to have a premium paid edition in the future.


Thank you! :)

Concentrating on growth without profit is a pointless business plan.

1 figure out how you will make money.
2 figure out how you will drive sufficient traffic to make the money.
3 design the structure of the site based on 1&2
4 do it

I build every business that way and until i can figure out exactly how i will make money and drive the traffic i dont bother starting it.

People that do not do it that way are the ones with unfinished or a failed journey because they either run out of cash or get fed up working for free.

So, if i was you i would figure out how you monetise premium paid for content first, before you even bother starting.
 

Aleksandar916

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1 figure out how you will make money.
2 figure out how you will drive sufficient traffic to make the money.
3 design the structure of the site based on 1&2
4 do it
Ah, I see I should have clarified monetization and traffic plan better, I just didn't want to add another lengthy paragraph in the first post.

Just to clarify - I have a clear business model developed and it is based on my previous experience and very successful businesses in the field, both competitors and non-competitors who use a similar model.

Option 1: Adsense. I plan this to be minor income source which will cover the costs and I plan to invest all of it back into growing it more.
Option 2: B2B advertising contracts. I have a list of products ready. I know what sells well and what brings best results, the only thing I need is the audience which will be part of the package.

I've been in the industry long and I have contacts with some great agencies that will come in handy later, and I also plan to develop new relationships.

Here's a very simplified example (not my niche):
A healthcare magazine has a mailing list of hospital directors.
A software company has a product for patient monitoring.
They pay the magazine to advertise their product to hospital directors.

---

The traffic plan is there too - one is organic from SEO and the other one is from social (LinkedIn) followers and micro influencers.
 

Aleksandar916

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UPDATE #1 - June 2021

Results Summary:

  • Posted 9 articles (I wrote 6, 2 contributed, 1 interview) - total word count 6500
  • 36 email subscribers
  • 802 pageviews
  • 109 Followers / 142 connections
  • 1.2 DR, 12 backlinks

Investment Summary:
  • $100 Hosting upgrade
  • $45 Developer
  • $45 SEO Pack
  • $20 Writing
Total in June: $210
Total so far: $345

Detailed Overview


Content & SEO

I didn't have as much time as I wanted to write (+ procrastination) and I focused on making sure the functionality of the website is alright. I managed to write 6 articles, and conduct one interview. I plan to add more interviews and pay for more content in the future.

The website seems to be out of the sandbox as I'm receiving some impressions and a few clicks. One of the first articles I posted when I bought the domain is getting the most of impressions but no clicks, so I will update the content and on-page optimization of that one.
GSC June.png

Some of the clicks were most likely searches from LinkedIn connections who wanted to look up the website (good thing I quickly got to #1 for brand name). One keyword is in top 15 position, and two more in top 50.

Mid June purchased one of the small started packages here to get some mixture of backlinks and improve DR and I managed to get 3 nice backlinks organically.

LinkedIn

I sent over 400 connection requests since May 31st until the end of June (don't know the exact number since I withdraw unacepted requests after two weeks). The average acceptance ratio is close to 1 in 3, which is okay. I filtered the search very good for geo + keyword in job title and after the first hundred I added 2nd connection as I filter to increase potential acceptance rate. LinkedIn has limited number of requests you can send and I don't want to draw attention so this is a good pace.

I initiate conversation with most of the connections, test the waters who would be a good contributor or interviewee and after a week or less I invite them to follow the page.

The page had 109 followers at the end of June and 40% are not connections, which is great as they're coming organically from post shares by the micro influencers. LinkedIn gives you 100 credits per month to invite connections to follow your page and they roll over once someone accepts the invite.

The graph shows number of new followers per week.

Li Followers.png

Audience

I got decent traffic from LinkedIn shares, more than I expected this early. You can see the peaks here from when the interview or contributed articles were published and then quickly shared by them.

GA June.png

Website upgrades

I was very annoyed by the speed of the website. The actual speed wasn't bad, but I got bad results from Page Insights and GTMetrix so I decided to upgrade hosting to premium and hired a developer to fix the speed. Took him 2 hours to get me 90+ score on Page Insights so I'm happy about it now. It's still not ideal and I'm thinking to changing to some super light theme, but it's a hassle and I don't have the time to do it right now.

Plans for July

Most of the future investments will go into content. I will probably invest a bit in off-page SEO too and probably hire a VA to do the blog post or link edit outreach.

I have already made orders for content to twice as many articles as I published in June, plus I have some interviews and new contributors lined up.

I have added Adsense since July 1st to test and optimize.

Let me know if I missed something or if you have any questions.

Thank you for reading.
 

blogmen

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Holy shait! You got the experience, you got the niche, the plan, this is going to be a walk in the park.

I'll be following this for sure. I'll learn a lot.
 

Aleksandar916

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UPDATE #2 July 2021

Summary:

  • Posted 13 articles (9 wrote/paid writers, 3 contributed, 1 interview) - total word count 13105. Website now has 26 articles, 22518 words.
  • 92 new email subscribers (total 128)
  • 523 users, 1050 pageviews (July)
  • 244 Followers / 375 connections (Total)
  • 4.4 DR, 64 backlinks (ahrefs)
  • Status: Happy with the early growth
Investment Summary:
  • $185 Writing
  • $30 VA
  • $45 Guest post (1 backlink)
Total in July: $260
Total so far: $605

Earned:

AdSense: $3.09 :anyway:

Detailed Overview:

First two weeks of July were a bit slower than I'd hoped, but I picked up the pace after that. Got two fine content writers and I plan to regularly order with them. I installed AdSense in the beginning of July to start testing it, a few clicks showed up so I got the first dollars from the website! Still don't expect to earn anything from it, and if I do, it will all go back to the site.

Content & SEO

I only wrote 2 articles in July and paid for 10 from two different writers, so I still have some leftover content to publish in August. I had to edit contributed pieces and prepare the questions for the interview. There were two additional inteviews lined up, but I haven't received answers yet, so they'll be published in August.

I targeted low competition keywords in the niche and the results are quickly showing, which made me hyped and ready to invest more.

Here's the GSC overview for June+July:

GSC July.png

I'm ranking for total of 40 keywords that I'm tracking (long tail and low comp), 10 of which are on page 1. The volume is not great, but it is starting to show good results, so I'll keep with the research and target even more of them. Weekends are slow for this niche and expected to be close to zero clicks, at least at this stage, which is actually showing on the graph.

I've got a few guest posts backlinks, I had to pay for one, plus I did a number of web 2.0, comments and profile links to start building authority.

LinkedIn

I've used maximum number of connection requests allowed and got to 375 connections, all were invited to follow the page and it now has 244 followers.

I wasn't as active as I wanted in terms of engaging in conversations with connections, so I hope I'll have more time for that in August.

I have tried to hire a VA to do page growth for me, but wasn't really happy with the results + I needed more time to guide them and control the work than I would need to do the thing myself, so for now I'll do it on my own and invest money in more content instead.

A few of the connections are picking up my shares and engaging with my profile, and the page has already a number of really active followers who engage with every post, which helps the organic reach.

Audience
Visits have doubled compared to June, which is normal at the beginning. My #1 source is still LinkedIn, but I've had a few very good hits contributed articles and interviews, one (large) company shared it to their internal network which got around 70 hits in one day.

GA July.png

I'm quite happy with the the new email subscribers as I've looked at each of them and they are super relevant to me.
Two newsletters sent (once every two weeks is the promise) and I'm seeing high open and click rate.
I've established contact with 3 new PR agencies who will be pitching new content (hopefully) regularly.

Plans for August
Content + LinkedIn activity.

I will have a bit more budget in the following months, so I plan to dump it all on content and maybe buy a one or two quality links (niche edits or guest posts)
I've reached out to a number of relevant websites for guest posts, so I might write the content on my own as I've got a few positive replies.

LinkedIn is still my main source of traffic, I am hoping that in August organic will be more consistent with LinkedIn and newsletters to provide spikes in traffic.

Let me know if I missed something or if you have any questions.

Thank you for reading and following my journey!
 

Aleksandar916

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Mini update:

First week of August has not been great.

-Content production slowed down as I'm waiting for articles I ordered + keywords + some guest posts and interviews.
-Theme got broken so I had to hire a developer to fix it. Previous guy who worked on speed optimization did a shitty job so I'll have to reinvest into that.
-Haven't had much time for LinkedIn activity so most of the traffic I get now is organic

On the other hand, SERP for almost all targeted (low comp) keywords are going up, which is a great sign.
I've managed to get a few backlinks and ordered a few more strong ones.
 
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Aleksandar916

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It turns out one of the micro influencers I worked with was not so micro :D
This person has 150k LinkedIn followers and is a huge authority in the niche.

Just one comment, and the post exploded.
Here are the stats after less than 24 hours:
libu.png

It's still getting a lot of hits.
This will mess up the stats as everything organic will look small in comparison, but I'm not complaining.

In other news, I've finally got out of the bottleneck situation with content and keywords as I've ordered from multiple sources, so I will post more frequently for the rest of the month.
 

Aleksandar916

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So most of your traffic is from linkedin atm.
It's actually fairly equal now LinkedIn vs Organic (not counting traffic from this) as organic is growing each day, I expect it to overpass LinkedIn by the end of the month, and LinkedIn is not sustainable and at the same level every time - depends on who is featured and how people engage with the content.

How much traffic did you get to the website from that post blowing up?
Only from this post over 900 visits and 250 new followers on LinkedIn!
 
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