Growth hacking – inbound
marketing for startups by blogging
Use your existing knowledge to grow your online
presence... DU...
an epic slideshare brought to you by
Gif credit
That’s as
enthusiastic as
many startups get
about blogging…
‘Hey, wanna write a blog post?’

‘Screw you guys - I’m
going home’
Got a bootstrapped startup? Get your
blog in order!
• Everybody wants to hear your
•
•

•
•

story
You wouldn’t be startin...
Does it work?
…obviously…
What is content marketing?
• “Creating high-quality
SEO-d content with
good links which,
through social sharing,
gains you...
Got any secret sauce for that?
Entrepreneurs
don’t have
time to write –
and it’s hard
(waaaah)

Writing blog posts is not hard if…
• You make it a habit
...
What should I blog about?
Beginner

When you’re comfortable

• Top X lists
• Compilations of useful tools
for attaining a ...
Grow to topics
that dovetail
with your
original niche
topic

Begin with what is
specific to your
company industry
Image cr...
Need more
convincing?
Stand out

Image credit

• It will help you grow a following
• It will give people a reason to
stick around on your websit...
Resources to inspire you
*hint* copy the format of posts you like
*hint hint* just make your content a little bit better t...
Is there a template I can use to construct
a blog post?
Hundreds. Thousands.

But I like this one by Michael Hyatt.
1. Compelling title (catchy, original)

“Stuck in that social media matrix? Pop that red pill”
(Pando Daily)

“The Vaginal...
Want to see
that in more
detail?
Yes, yes, oh
please tell
me more!

Image credit
If not…
…skip to slide 28
*I’ll miss you until then* #sniff
Let’s analyze a popular
startup blog article
I checked out www.growthhackers.com and noticed that this bad boy was trendin...
Layout:
Day-by-day steps (Day 1 to Day 7)
Paragraph 1:
Today, HappyLetter is the simplest way to
launch & manage a paid ne...
Paragraph 2:
Day 1: Genesis
Patrick Rhone begs for a Letter.ly replacement. I had never thought
about building a simple, p...
Paragraph 3 – 4:
Day 2: Refinement
I woke up and refined my roadmap. I called it the pixelated
roadmap because it wasn’t p...
Paragraph 5 – 6:
Day 4: Philosophies
I finalized the basic UI for the publisher sign-up launch sequence.
I didn’t actually...
Paragraph 7, 8, 9:
Day 6: Devilish Details
I got subscriber receipts working, which means subscriber charges
were working ...
Ends with…
HappyLetter’s unapologetically sustainable cost
while in private beta is $120/year (50% discount)
+ $0.25/subsc...
REMEMBER
This example was for a home
company blog post. A guest
blog post will be different
(i.e. less shameless selfmarke...
NO TIME???

Curate a newspaper or a magazine to send to your groupies:
Paper.li
Flipboard
Gif credit
When should
you NOT blog?
NEVER
Image credit
Got a lean, mean startup?
Make it a lean, mean blogging machine!
PS: don’t publish bullshit

Good luck!
Got questions? Find us here!
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Growth hacking – inbound marketing by blogging

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What my startup learned about the power of blogging as a cost-effective inbound marketing tool. With a little fun on the side.

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Growth hacking – inbound marketing by blogging

  1. 1. Growth hacking – inbound marketing for startups by blogging Use your existing knowledge to grow your online presence... DUH!!!
  2. 2. an epic slideshare brought to you by
  3. 3. Gif credit
  4. 4. That’s as enthusiastic as many startups get about blogging…
  5. 5. ‘Hey, wanna write a blog post?’ ‘Screw you guys - I’m going home’
  6. 6. Got a bootstrapped startup? Get your blog in order! • Everybody wants to hear your • • • • story You wouldn’t be starting a company if you didn’t know something useful Open knowledge sharing is the name of the game Gain a good reputation for engaging with your users Your users will become your evangelists • …and you’ll look smart Source: Charmaine Li, Venture Village
  7. 7. Does it work? …obviously…
  8. 8. What is content marketing? • “Creating high-quality SEO-d content with good links which, through social sharing, gains your startup attention and improves your reputation as an expert in your niche” Fun fact: that quote was totally by me • Content marketing can be for your company blog, your personal blog, or made into guest posts for other blogs or websites • It is a form of low-cost inbound marketing that can generate B2B and B2C visitors to your site
  9. 9. Got any secret sauce for that?
  10. 10. Entrepreneurs don’t have time to write – and it’s hard (waaaah) Writing blog posts is not hard if… • You make it a habit • You make a skeleton plan of a month’s worth of posts at a time • You co-write with your team for ideas • You think to yourself “would I read this”? • Make it either a) useful, b) interesting or c) entertaining • … or all of the above if no shit’s too hard for a smart-ass mo’fo like you
  11. 11. What should I blog about? Beginner When you’re comfortable • Top X lists • Compilations of useful tools for attaining a particular goal • Step-by-step guides to get something done/make something • Challenges you are facing starting out, and how to deal with them • Best sources of information • Detailed advice on how to do/make something specific • Things [not] to do when you start a company • Abstract/philosophical pieces that have an important business lesson
  12. 12. Grow to topics that dovetail with your original niche topic Begin with what is specific to your company industry Image credit
  13. 13. Need more convincing?
  14. 14. Stand out Image credit • It will help you grow a following • It will give people a reason to stick around on your website • It offers you a way of getting ROI on the learning you’ve done • Your company blog shouldn’t just be a bulletin board for product updates (boooring) • People will feel more connected to you/feel like they know you • BACKLINKS!!! (draw in users and improve search engine rankings)
  15. 15. Resources to inspire you *hint* copy the format of posts you like *hint hint* just make your content a little bit better than what’s already out there • • • • • • • • • Tips for you: Quora Prismatic Vice The Huffington Post Technorati This Week In Startups Mashable AllTop Ycombinator news • ProBlogger • Copyblogger • Search Engine Journal …or… outsource it! • Ghost Blog Writers • BlogMutt
  16. 16. Is there a template I can use to construct a blog post? Hundreds. Thousands. But I like this one by Michael Hyatt.
  17. 17. 1. Compelling title (catchy, original) “Stuck in that social media matrix? Pop that red pill” (Pando Daily) “The Vaginal Entrepreneur” (Vice) 2. Lead paragraph (get to the point of the article) 3. Relevant image 4. Personal experience 5. Main body (use breaks, bullet points and numbers to make it scannable) 6. Discussion question: “Which tools and techniques help you to get the most out of your day?” (Incomediary)
  18. 18. Want to see that in more detail?
  19. 19. Yes, yes, oh please tell me more! Image credit
  20. 20. If not… …skip to slide 28 *I’ll miss you until then* #sniff
  21. 21. Let’s analyze a popular startup blog article I checked out www.growthhackers.com and noticed that this bad boy was trending: “How I went from idea to product (with paying customers) in 7 days” Format: Telling a personal (and successful) startup experience Why? • People can’t refute personal stories • There’s no need to go searching for much scientific data to back your point • You can use your own metrics to back up your claims – it advertises your success as well as informing other entrepreneurs
  22. 22. Layout: Day-by-day steps (Day 1 to Day 7) Paragraph 1: Today, HappyLetter is the simplest way to launch & manage a paid newsletter. It has paying customers with subscribers who are paying them. WHAT WE DO AWESOMELY HappyLetter A week ago, HappyLetter didn’t exist. I live-blogged the creation of HappyLetter. In one week and 26 posts, I discussed everything from mission and vision to technology, marketing and business models. As I was reviewing everything I’ve written so far, I realized something. By documenting every detail over the last week, I now have a rough blueprint that I can follow to think through and develop a minimally viable product for any ideas I have in the future. Here is a summary of the first 7 days: WHERE I GOT THE INFO FOR THIS POST – PERSONAL STORY THIS IS WHY IT IS USEFUL
  23. 23. Paragraph 2: Day 1: Genesis Patrick Rhone begs for a Letter.ly replacement. I had never thought about building a simple, paid email newsletter service, but it seemed liked a fun exercise in constraint and simplicity. I decided to spend my free time building what Patrick was asking for. Patrick and I discussed names for a few minutes and I purchased HappyLetter.net. I’m fascinated by transparent companies, so I decided to live blog HappyLetter’s creation. I defined HappyLetter’s mission. Missions are mocked these days because corporate America has turned them into an exercise in jargon and nonsense. When you’re starting out, missions are different. Missions should tell the world what you are doing. I shared HappyLetter’s Roadmap and the technologies and services I’d be using to build it. I shared my first post about HappyLetter’s business model. Letter.ly was loved, yet it was abandoned anyway. That told me they probably didn’t charge enough. They charged 3.5% of transaction volume. I decided I needed to charge more and I worked through what that meant in The HappyLetter Business Model: Unapologetically Sustainable. By the end of Day 1, I had a registration page and started integrating Stripe. TONS OF LINKS – POTENTIAL FOR WRITERS OF THOSE TO SPREAD THE ARTICLE MENTIONS COMPANY PHILOSOPHY BUSINESS MODEL + FIRST SUCCESS
  24. 24. Paragraph 3 – 4: Day 2: Refinement I woke up and refined my roadmap. I called it the pixelated roadmap because it wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to guide me for a few days.I pontificated about who my ideal customer is and wrote about them in this post. Day 3: Breakthroughs A key feature was the ability for publishers to send an email to HappyLetter using a secret email address. HappyLetter would then send that email to the publisher’s list. I got that feature working. I often blogged about issues as a way to break though mental roadblocks. If I found myself stalling because I didn’t want to make a decision, I wrote about it here. Magically, my writing uncovered a solution and removed my excuses every time. Working through the publisher signup process was a prime example of this at work. I discussed whether not I should allow publishers to change the price of subscriptions. I decided not to. I later found out that Stripe doesn’t allow it either, so it was kind of a moot point. I finished up what happens when subscribers reply to emails. By default, publisher emails are kept private. Writing my way through the publisher sign-up process enabled me to quickly get it done. I came up with the form to create the newsletter and get a mailing address. INTERNAL LINKS TO OWN POSTS BLOGGING/ WRITING HELPED HIM UNCOVER A SOLUTION BUSINESS DECISIONS – PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW HOW HE DID IT
  25. 25. Paragraph 5 – 6: Day 4: Philosophies I finalized the basic UI for the publisher sign-up launch sequence. I didn’t actually finish it until Day 5, but it gave me the framework I needed. I decided early adopters should be considered co-founders and rewarded with a discounted service fee as long as they were willing to pay annually instead of monthly. This is another example of using writing to work through an issue. I defined HappyLetter’s vision. Maybe it seems hokey, but before you have a “feature complete” product people are buying what you have because of how your ideals make them feel, not what it does today. A strong vision tells the world why I’m building a simple newsletter publishing service. It gives people who want to support you “why” an opportunity to vote with their wallets to help make it real. Day 5: Getting Ready Publishers could sign up and launch a newsletter, so the next step was to give subscribers a way to sign up for newsletters. I built the form for subscribers to enter their name, email and credit card. I wrote my favorite post so far about the swampy 20% where ideas go to die. I’ve been there before. I didn’t want to get stuck again. MVP READY + STRATEGY TO RETAIN EARLY ADOPTERS VISION BEATS REALITY IN THE EARLY STAGE SHOWS THAT HE HAS LEARNED FROM EXPERIENCE
  26. 26. Paragraph 7, 8, 9: Day 6: Devilish Details I got subscriber receipts working, which means subscriber charges were working as well.Everything from the day 2 “Pixelated Roadmap” was finished, so I came up with a new roadmap to help get through the swamps. I decided on a scalable, reliable and affordable hosting environment, then I got it set up. I have no idea what I’ll need, but I’m flexible. I refined the landing page for the private beta marketing site. Day 7: Deliciousness I activated Stripe so HappyLetter could accept real credit card payments. I wrote a post to help me decide who I am responsible for supporting. My relationship is with publishers. Stepping in between publishers and their subscribers isn’t in anyone’s best interest. 2 Paying Customers = Revenues!!! I have others now. One was obviously Patrick Rhone. The other were followers of this blog and the process. Today is Day 8. HappyLetter is open for business. I have a handful of customers already collecting subscription fees for their newsletters. I’m already helping talented writers get paid for their art. This blows my mind. For a limited time, you can sign up using the link below to become a private beta, co-founding publisher. SHOWS KNOWLEDGE ABOUT STRATEGY + FLEXIBILITY MENTIONS ANOTHER STARTUP – THEY WILL PROBABLY MARKET THIS POST TOO PUSHES PEOPLE TO JOIN
  27. 27. Ends with… HappyLetter’s unapologetically sustainable cost while in private beta is $120/year (50% discount) + $0.25/subscriber/month. Get it here. Again, $120/year is only for a limited time. Once we leave private beta, the base cost will be $20/month ($240/year). DEFENDS COST + INFORMS FUTURE PRICING STRATEGY SIGN UP BUTTON IS EMBEDDED If you sign up and find that HappyLetter isn’t for you, I’ll refund your $120. No hard feelings. * Since HappyLetter deposits funds directly in to your Stripe account, you’ll need to be in a country where you can sign up for Stripe and accept USD. REFUND – SHOWS CONFIDENCE LIMITATION: STRIPE AVAILABILITY (at the very end)
  28. 28. REMEMBER This example was for a home company blog post. A guest blog post will be different (i.e. less shameless selfmarketing!).
  29. 29. NO TIME??? Curate a newspaper or a magazine to send to your groupies: Paper.li Flipboard Gif credit
  30. 30. When should you NOT blog?
  31. 31. NEVER Image credit
  32. 32. Got a lean, mean startup? Make it a lean, mean blogging machine! PS: don’t publish bullshit Good luck!
  33. 33. Got questions? Find us here!
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