Applying Principles of Growth Hacking to Content Marketing

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Content marketing must be approached like a scientist. There are no mistakes, just feedback. You correct your course based on that. This is a process that can be applied to just about every single business. Several posts ago, we looked at the idea of revisiting old content for new ideas. Today I want to talk about planting seeds for bigger content projects.

Rather than go through the labor of putting together something massive, start small.

Share an Idea

  1. Use a Facebook status update or paragraph on Google+ to bounce something off a group of people. Maybe you’ve given a speech at a conference that really resonated with the audience.
  2. Tweets: The beauty of Twitter is that you’re limited. You have to express the essence of an idea in 140 characters. But you also to get to learn how people react to it. If your 140 character sound byte gets shared 100’s of times, it might be time to dig deeper into it. Maybe there’s a book there.
  3. Alex Franzen wasn’t quite sure where to start when looking for book ideas. So she opened up Google analytics and saw that her most popular blog post was titled “50 ways to say you’re awesome”. That blog post became the foundation for her new book.
  4. A Content Series: If your speeches, tweets, blog posts, and status updates haven’t provided you with enough compelling evidence, write a content series around the topics you think might strike a chord with people. See where all that leads you.
  5. The Small Army Strategy was born from a simple observation by my friend Mark Schaefer. He mentioned that I had been riffing on a theme with everything I had written on his blog. That’s when I realized that it might make sense to pull all the posts together into a book.

Express a Similar Message in Different Formats

In the examples above, we’ve mainly focused on written examples. Another way to do a bit of growth hacking with your content marketing efforts is to take one message and express it in different formats.

  1. Webinars: Maybe you’ve got a blog post that really struck a chord with the audience. Turn it into a webinar and host a live online event. This gives you an opportunity to have a conversation with your audience while gathering valuable feedback.
  2. Workshops: The roots of many workshops and retreats lies in other pieces of content. Danielle Laporte’s Firestarter Session’s was a book that was born from workshops that she was conducting all over the country.
  3. Speeches: You might have seen The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. A publisher saw that a speech with millions of Youtube views could be turned into a compelling book. The seed for my latest book was planted after a speech I gave at a conference

For additional insights on how to do this, revisit my SEJ post on repurposing and repackaging content.

Gather feedback

The most valuable thing about taking a growth hacker’s approach to your content marketing efforts is that it allows you to gather feedback while you’re creating something. I wrote a large chunk of my latest book by sharing substantial portions of it via Facebook status updates. If the message didn’t strike a chord with my potential readers, it got scrapped.

When you create something with people, don’t share it via social media. Send it to 10 friends and ask them for their candid feedback. If they think it’s terrible, you have more work to do. The journey to 1000 true fans starts with roughly 100 people. Create something for 100 people, and make it worth spreading. Take their feedback and iterate on it until you have something so good they can’t ignore you.


Rinse, Wash, Repeat

The ideas above can be applied to nearly any aspect of your business. You can do this to create books, apps, workshops, and informational products. The key is not to become a victim of your own success. Stay open to fresh ideas and try things that might not work. Creativity and innovation require risking your existing success to reach new heights

Srinivas Rao
Srinivas Rao is the host and cofounder of BlogcastFM where he's interviewed over 300 bloggers, authors, and entrepreneurs. Pick up his free guide on How to Repurpose Content for Profit and Fame.
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  • keyword removed

    Hi Srinivas,
    I have learned a lot from this post, and I am sure others have too! Content marketing has many facets that could be explored with ease.

    Applying the principles of growth hacking as discussed in this post is revealing.

    My best take is the idea of expressing similar message in different formats. Indeed, one can readily explore creative contents in this post. Thanks for sharing!
    The comment above has been shared in – the content syndication website for internet marketers.

    Sunday – contributor

  • Jane

    I’m a fan of expressing the same idea in different formats. It has multiple benefits:

    1. You can reach audience who have different tastes and different preferred mode of consuming information. Some like videos, some prefer listening to podcasts, some hang out a lot on Facebook, some people like infographics and so on.

    2. We can leverage our content marketing efforts!

    3. Saves us a lot of time since it is pretty easy to re-purpose blog content rather than creating new content.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Oscar Herrera

    Hola que tal, interesante nota

  • Justin Belmont

    Very interesting article! Good content marketing relies on trial and error. What works for one brand will not necessarily work for another. Targeting your specific audience is crucial. Consumers like to feel as though their voice matters, so brands that ask their followers what they want to see are doing something right. It takes a while, but each brand can find what works best for them and take off from there.