Urban Times (UT) is a UK based
startup operating out of London. They
have recently closed a round of Series
A funding to help scale their publishing
With 15K Facebook fans, 25K Twitter
fans and over 1 million unique page
views a month they are refining their
market strategy for growth following a
UT bring positive and topical news
stories into the mainstream to counter
the overwhelming negativity of the
Are you in?
Initially built to bring ethical bloggers
together, Urban Times was founded by
former urban planner Charlie Hilton and
entrepreneur Alexander Phillips.
The original motto?
F*ck the News.
Reclaim Twitter Real Estate
Use FollowerWonk to extract data and
insight from your Twitter account including
Automate BuzzFork to favourite tweets with
keywords generating reciprocity.
Automate, so that all Urban Times tweets
have a blank second line and blank fourth
line to ensure maximum Twitter space.
Schedule 3 x 15 minute windows during
each working day to purely respond to
and engage with Twitter followers.
Chair online debates.
Utilise viral channels.
Hacker News is often referred to as the
Reddit of technology.
Ensure that relevant and timely articles
are shared across both Reddit and HN
to generate maximum possible interest.
URL shorteners are banned on HN and
Reddit. Ensure the full URL is being
Re-evaluate your customers.
Lean Startup advocates small changes
to the direction of an enterprise based
on data driven analysis.
Use Survey.io to evaluate your existing
customer base and market positioning.
Ideally, any product is seeking users to
“I would be VERY disappointed if I
could no longer use XX.”
Data drives improvement.
Editorial content at Urban Times often
consists of infographics.
As a content medium, infographics
should be disseminated via a separate
Ensure all infographics are posted to
the new Urban Times SlideShare.
A good SlideShare submission can
generate 10K+ views in a month with
1K+ shares across social media.
Remind journalists you exist.
Ensure that the staff of Urban Times
are subscribed to
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO digests questions from
journalists into 3 x emails per day. In
response for quotes and insight
journalists provide exposure in national,
regional and niche publications.
Furthermore, utilise the Tech Reporter
Contact List at
^^ I took this photo of my daughter
Darcey. It has nothing to do with
Hack blog comments w/ IFTTT
Using the web service If This Then
That ensure industry wide exposure.
Have each member of staff at UT
identify 5 or 6 industry blogs that are
widely read and relevant.
Sign up to IFTTT and enable a recipe
that alerts when any of those blogs are
updated. Comment on the content with
a direct link back to a timely and
relevant Urban Times article.
With 10 members of staff you are
potentially looking at 60+ mentions a
week so use intelligently.
. Super quick Facebook wins.
Set up a Facebook advertising
campaign to derive insights from the
platform. Do not publish the advert,
simply record the market data.
Make photos compliant. No more
than 20% of the image can be obscured
Be aware that only 18-21% of a
Facebook pages fans will ever see
published content without paying
Facebook to promote posts.
Schedule posts to save time. Use
Buffer across all platforms.
. Encourage involvement!
Ensure that all outgoing
communications maintain a call to
Encourage each user to commit to a
response with every post.
Best utilised for social media however
CTA is criminally underused for email
People are passionate. Let them
display their passion with calls to action
and in turn generate further traction.
Next time you post, ask yourself, what
This is Venice.
Sometimes you need to unplug and
outside, your customers are outside
more than in so encourage word of
. Overhaul email!
Let’s talk spam. More importantly, let’s
not be spam.
In line with Hack 3: Revaluate
Customers, ensure that email
communications are included in
Do they want one digest per week?
Two? One digest and a personal
curated list? Article alerts?
However, when anyone hits the
unsubscribe button offer them the
chance to subscribe via Feedly instead
instead of emails.
. Save me!
Damn, I just read an amazing article on
Urban Times. It expanded my
consciousness. I shared it with
Facebook and tweeted it then added it
to my bookmarks…
Last time I checked I had over 400
bookmarks including Del.Ico.Ous.
So how do I actually save knowledge?
Offer users the ability to export to
Evernote, Pocket and Instapaper in
PDF format (branded with UT).
Or, hack an IFTTT recipe to do it auto!
Isn’t this beautiful?
Major Hack 1
Find groups that share the same ethos
or values as Urban Times via
Contact group leaders and offer them
incentives to share and contribute to
In time, organise physical meetups in
London for writers, journalists, hackers
You are based in London.
Major Hack 2
Organise an army for PR.
Utilising www.fiverr.com, pay for a team
of researchers (<$100) to produce a
database of relevant journalists and
bloggers who share the same ethos of
Urban Times including first names.
Craft a MailChimp/Mandrill targeted
email campaign to highlight the Urban
Times platform to each individual.
Ask for bloggers to cross-post content
to UT and journalists to cover the new
startup that is disrupting the news using
a personalised email.
This a photo of me meeting the Woz.
Smashing Magazine piggy backed this
PR beautifully by encouraging users to
tweet what they would ask the Woz face
Major Hack 3
Utilising the rock star CTO, develop an
automated service that daisy-chains
1. Leverage the sign-up email
address, have Rapportive return the
user Twitter account.
2. Scrape the Twitter account for
popular accounts following the
individual. Analyse with Klout.
3. Favourite tweets of those accounts
and @reply to them with a UT link.
Going one stage further, it is possible to
return a Google search of the Twitter
accounts, capture emails addresses and
then send an introductory UT email
informing them that a friend has just
signed up for UT and they should to!
Major Hack 4
Outbrain is a content delivery system
that shows users additional content
related to that which they are viewing.
Commercial partners can pay, similar to
adwords, to have their content
displayed at the bottom of a premium
publication, driving click-throughs to
It amplifies your audience in a costeffective manner an ensures relevant
interests are matched.
My other daughter Holly. Why is this
relevant? If you want to understand
marketing always refer to kids. Holly
is two. All that is relevant to her is
Mickey Mouse or what Mickey Mouse
suggests to her…
Major Hack 5
Produce an eBook(s)
Draw on the collective talents of your
workforce to write an AH-MAZE-ING
Additional minor publications include
“How to write well for online platforms”
“Challenges of Changing the News” etc.
Leverage the super simple Gumroad
sales platform to sell copies, offering free
editions to anyone who publishes XX
number Urban Times content.
Sample chapters could be distributed
through GoodReads and SlideShare.
Each page contains embedded icons
linking back to the UT website.
Zappos produce the annual Culture
Book to demonstrate to customers and
stakeholders how the company operate.
In addition it serves as a recruitment
and sales channel by promoting the
Mavin Management is an independent consultancy
specialising in project management, lean startup
We strive to provide insight in order to affect
your decision making process.
In addition, we also host the not-for-profit
TEDxCorby conference and mentor new
entrants to the Lean Startup Machine.
Project Management, Lean and Marketing
Steven served 8 years in the British Army Intelligence Corps with operational tours of Iraq and
Afghanistan. Initially training in Electronic Warfare, he was rapidly promoted into Operational
Intelligence, subsequently writing the Standard Operating Procedure for Human Terrain Analysis.
Further tours in Counter Intelligence and Protective Security rounded off an excellent career before he
transitioned into the Palo Alto intelligence firm Palantir. After achieving the coveted Capstone Trainer
qualification he subsequently worked as a freelance intelligence consultant, specialising in PRINCE2
In July 2013 he won the Eric Ries inspired Lean Startup London conference and is a resident business
and intelligence mentor for Evolve and Lean Startup Machine as well as a writer for Urban Times and
He can be found evangelising new technology, security and intelligence techniques to the start up
community in London.
Connect with him at
Ding Ding Ding!
You made it to the end! You are the
sort of person who stays to the end of
the credits in movies theatres aren’t
you? Just in case cause you never
Well, like Vanilla Coke, your curiosity
has been rewarded.
Ask yourself, where is the Get Help
button on your website. How quickly is
help responding? Put it prominent and
Remember – prominent and prompt.
Help your customers help you.
A/B test that help button to death.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.