How-To Growth Hack ANYTHING with Content Marketing

What IS Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. This term was coined and made famous by Sean Ellis (@seanellis) who later started a company of the same name.

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Case Study: How One Company Growth Hacks through Content Marketing

The Good, a trusted conversion advisory in Portland, Oregon uses content marketing to growth hack their own marketing efforts. The Good creates 100% original content on digital marketing topics and distributes the content through a variety of channels:

  • Weekly emails to 140,000 loyal subscribers
  • Syndicated content on social media
  • Guest posts on partner websites like UXPin, Leadpages, etc.

All topics for the original content are carefully selected based on the latest trends in digital marketing and website conversion rate optimization. The content marketing staff at The Good culls through a variety of sources to learn what the hot topics are in the industry:

  • Google Trends
  • Twitter Trends
  • Recent findings from real research
  • Expert opinions
  • What the loyal subscribers are asking for

The goal of this company’s content-driven growth hacking is to consistently generate Thought Leadership in their area of expertise so that potential clients view The Good as the first place to go when they need to purchase these professional services.

Through growth hacking experimentation, The Good determined the two most effective content types are “Timely” and “Timeless” content:

Timely

  • Topics that match pop culture to business
  • Hot and trending topics
  • Ranking lists (e.g. Top 10 Best ___ of 2016)
  • Listicles (a list-based article)
  • Controversial topics

Timeless

  • “How to…”
  • “What is…”
  • “The Definitive Guide to…”
  • Case Studies

Scannability is KEY

For the largely business-based subscribers to The Good’s original content, time is always at a premium so The Good optimizes all articles for key components of scannable layout:

  • Headers
  • Sub-headers
  • Short paragraphs
  • Numbered lists
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Tell stories, not boring research

Heatmapping is a key tool used to help gain insights about the effectiveness of an article layout. Real visitor data is tracked and aggregated to show where clicks, movement and scrolling occurs on a given page.

Sample movement map on an article
Sample movement map on an article

Content effectiveness is then measured daily using the following metrics:

  • Visits by time of day
  • Pageviews
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on site
  • Pages per visit
  • Traffic sources
  • Popular social posts

Popular Tools to Help Content Marketing

  1. AHREFs – an online tool to show topic popularity and which keywords are most effective to drive organic search traffic to your content.
  2. Google Trends – shows what people are searching for, how they’re forming their search terms, and when they’re searching for it.
  3. Canva – tool that allows users without Photoshop expertise to make high quality graphics–easy and free-ish.
  4. Hootsuite and Buffer – tools to schedule and syndicate content across social media channels
  5. Reddit – the original message board is still wildly popular. Great for finding trending and controversial topics.
  6. SlideShare – a LinkedIn tool that turn PPTs into digital content.
  7. Hotjar – a heatmapping service.

Advanced Strategies

  • Influencer Marketing
    1. Identify key people with large base of followers
    2. Develop content that mentions influencer in a way that benefits them
    3. Ask influencer to share your content with their audience
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
    1. Find highly-ranked keywords
    2. Use keywords in all the right places
    3. But don’t use TOO many of the keywords
    4. Meet as many of Google’s standards as possible
  • Backlinking
    1. Find popular ranked content
    2. Create better “timeless” content
    3. Ask related content owners to “backlink” to your content

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