As day thirty hit I spent some time wavering between relief and sadness. The relief at finally being finished with such an enormous task was fairly overwhelming. At the same time, the sadness that I felt bringing the project to a close was a bit more palpable than I would have expected. The good news, that day thirty wasn't really an ending, it was more of a milestone.
(If you're just catching up with this series of articles, be sure to swing into the ongoing discussion thread at the Small Business Ideas forum. You'll be able to link to each day's article and participate in the discussion going along with it.)
The Press Release Hits
The last day of the project saw us finally sending out the press release via PR Web. The great thing about PRWeb is that they offer a free press release distribution option that's pretty handy for new businesses. It doesn't have quite the reach that a paid distribution is going to have, but it's still a great starting point when you have zero dollars and a little talent.
The release hit well, snagging #1 spots for all six of our targeted terms (breastfeeding, breast milk, breastfeeding awareness, new web site, breast milk bank and milk bank) on Google news and Yahoo! news. (You can download the complete Power Point report from SEO-PR for more information.)
According to PRWeb's tracking, it was read more than 15,000 times that first day and was picked up by 370 sites. The stat that I found most interesting however, was that Yahoo! News accounted for 75% of the search related reads. Personally, I would have expected more traffic to come from Google. (You can download the full traffic report in Power Point as well.)
While I was happy to see the initial impact of the release, it was going to take weeks to really find out what the release would accomplish.
Tallying it All Up
More than 55,000 words, 10,121 site visitors, hundreds of emails, 49 shirt ideas, 48 shirts sold, 46 blog posts, 30 articles, three web sites and two ebooks later, the 30 day Lactivist project was finally coming to a close. When I first came up with the idea for the series, I said to Robert that there was a pretty good chance that I was going to regret it. There were days that I did, but mostly because those days found me still working on an article at 11:30 or midnight.
When all was said and done, the Lactivist project had earned more than $400, spent less than $100 and ended up in the black at $326.78. From an hourly wage perspective, it wasn't much to be happy about, but considering the overall goal of the project, I was pleased.
While I was a little disappointed that the site had only earned $12 so far for the milk bank, I realized that the milk banking advocacy was going to take quite a bit more time to build up than the other side of the business. Things looked good for the future, however. I'd exchanged a few emails with some people that were very active in the Lactation Consultant community and the Mother's Milk Bank of Columbus was still working with me to come up with some additional fund raisers.
That said, I decided that it would be most appropriate to donate the entire profit from the series to the milk bank. I'm going to round up a little bit to make it even and will be dropping off a check for $350 as soon some of the payments get mailed to me from CafePress and Google.
But Wait, There's More!
One of the common email messages that started to pop up in my in box during the last half of the project was a request for more. More information, more data, more of the series. While it's simply not feasible for me to continue putting a ton of effort into both the Lactivist project and Search Engine Guide, there are going to be plenty of options for readers that just can't get enough.
First, I'll be doing a once a week article update for at least the next month or so. With the press release just having gone out and plans for content building, link building and AdSense tweaking on the horizon, there's still plenty to cover. Once things settle down a bit more, I'll go to once a month updates. After all, the first thirty days may be the most exciting part of starting a business, but they are far from complete when it comes to learning what to do.
Second, I've compiled all thirty articles into a free e-book to satisfy all the folks that write to tell me they've been printing out the articles and archiving them for reference. The e-book includes a full glossary at the end and a nice table of contents that lets you jump quickly to the article you're looking for.
Third, I'm officially launching my first search engine marketing e-book this week. The book is designed as a comprehensive, but digestible intro to all things search marketing related and is written in the same down-to-earth style that the thirty-day article series has been. Along with providing some great teaching on search marketing it also points you toward other e-books and articles that dig a little deeper on specific topics and techniques. Purchasing the book also gives you access to a new private discussion forum that allows you to directly ask me questions about the topics covered in the book. If you've been looking for a single starting point for learning more about search engine marketing, this is the book for you.
Finally, if you just can't get enough of me (give it time!), you can catch me at two upcoming seminars that cover the full gamut of online marketing. First, I'll be appearing next month alongside Matt Bailey of The Karcher Group in the two-day "Web Marketing Made Simple" seminar in Columbus, Ohio. Matt and I will hit everything from link building and organic optimization to viral marketing, monetizing your blog and online public relations. At just $250 for both days, it's one of the most affordable seminars of its kind. (Priced that way so that you can afford airfare and a hotel without breaking your budget.)
You can also catch me at the upcoming granddaddy of search seminars; Search Engine Strategies New York. Scheduled for February 27-March 2, this show covers any search related topic imaginable and features some of the best and brightest minds in the industry. I'll be moderating a few sessions and presenting an update on the Lactivist during the Pimp My Site panel. You can register online, but make note that hotel rooms sell out quickly.
That's all for now folks. Thanks for coming along for the ride, it's been a blast. Keep an eye out for the upcoming weekly updates and for some of the "inspired by" stories that will start showing up on our sister site, Small Business Brief.
(Want to read the entire 30 Day article series at once? Download the free 30 Day ebook!)
January 11, 2006
Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.
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