Agile Content: Lessons from Lean Startups

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This presentation compares Lean Startup principles to content life cycles and shows how Chicago web company Mightybytes used these concepts to build a content-driven web application called Ecograder that crawls websites and grades them on sustainability criteria.

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Agile Content: Lessons from Lean Startups

  1. 1. Agile Content Lessons from Lean Startups Content Jam October 17, 2013 a presentation by Tim Frick @timfrick Monday, October 21, 13
  2. 2. Mightybytes is a Certified B Corporation B Corps use the power of business to solve social & environmental problems. Monday, October 21, 13
  3. 3. Think Like a Startup Earlier this year, Mightybytes tried an experiment: we attempted to become a lean startup, or at least act like one as we developed a content-heavy digital product called Ecograder. Monday, October 21, 13
  4. 4. Ecograder Who it’s for: • • • • Web designers & developers Marketing managers & website owners Environmental nonprofits Any environmentally conscious person who works on websites Monday, October 21, 13
  5. 5. Ecograder Ecograder (www.ecograder.com) is a free tool that measures website sustainability and provides a roadmap for making improvements and decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Monday, October 21, 13
  6. 6. Ecograder How it works: 1. Input your URL 2. Crawls your website 3. Assesses its sustainability level based on several key factors 4. Produces a score and report for site improvements Monday, October 21, 13
  7. 7. Ecograder What it grades: Monday, October 21, 13
  8. 8. Ecograder Handy dandy reports Monday, October 21, 13
  9. 9. Ecograder Content and Curation-Heavy Monday, October 21, 13
  10. 10. Content Science! “Content marketing must be approached like a scientist. There are no mistakes, just feedback.” Srinivas Rao, Search Engine Journal Applying Principles of Growth Hacking to Content Marketing Monday, October 21, 13
  11. 11. Lean Startup vs. Content Marketing Monday, October 21, 13
  12. 12. Validated Learning 1. Specify a goal 2. Specify a metric that represents the goal 3. Act to achieve the goal 4.Analyze the metric—did you get closer to the goal? 5. Improve and try again Monday, October 21, 13
  13. 13. Minimum Viable Product Product version which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. Source: Paul Kortman, paulkortman.com Monday, October 21, 13
  14. 14. How We Learned • Hypothesis to prove: will building a website sustainability grader help create awareness about the internet’s carbon footprint? Monday, October 21, 13
  15. 15. Lean Green Lessons • Eliminates the need to ‘know it all’. • Testing hypotheses allows for rapid iteration of ideas. • Involving users throughout the process speeds up feedback. Monday, October 21, 13
  16. 16. Mighty Learning Lessons • Waterfall habits are not easy to break. • Team of 12 not so lean. • Hard to create a ‘comprehensive resource’ without a lot of content. • Iteration: products don’t end (unless you pivot). Monday, October 21, 13
  17. 17. 7 Ideas for Growth Hacking Content Strategy Monday, October 21, 13
  18. 18. 1. Embrace Limitations • Start small: use social networks to bounce ideas first before executing them. • Set realistic goals: keep word count low, one idea per post, etc. etc. • Create something worth spreading for a small group of people. Monday, October 21, 13
  19. 19. 2. Always Be Testing • Build/Measure/Learn: create a fast feedback loop. • Involve customers during process (not after). • A/B Testing: produce actionable data. • Custom dashboards: Google Analytics, Moz, etc. Monday, October 21, 13
  20. 20. 3. Measure What Matters • Find the One Metric That Matters (Lean Analytics) • Don’t get overwhelmed by metrics; choose wisely. • Once defined, benchmark often and iterate. Monday, October 21, 13
  21. 21. 4. Consider Curation • Rapid feedback: share content created by others first to see how it performs. • Curated post: create a list of other people’s posts about a specific strategic topic; test performance. Monday, October 21, 13
  22. 22. 5. Repurpose Content When Possible Monday, October 21, 13
  23. 23. 6. Guest Blog Monday, October 21, 13
  24. 24. 7. Build Contacts Old A/B Test Winner Labeling counts! 10% increase in conversions Monday, October 21, 13
  25. 25. Results! a presentation by Monday, October 21, 13
  26. 26. Ecograder Results • 2571 unique URLs crawled since May. • #4 page on our site in terms of page views. • #3 landing page for audiences coming from social networks. • Media placements in: • • • • Monday, October 21, 13 Fast Company Chicago Sun-Times Sustainable Brands Fucking Homepage and more.
  27. 27. Ecograder Results “I think you are not in a position to give Quebec citizen any lesson about green electricity.” —Angry person at Domtar Monday, October 21, 13
  28. 28. Ecograder Results Monday, October 21, 13
  29. 29. Resources Monday, October 21, 13
  30. 30. Resources Monday, October 21, 13
  31. 31. Resources Monday, October 21, 13
  32. 32. Thank You a presentation by Tim Frick @timfrick Monday, October 21, 13

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