Last year I launched two products. It was damn hard to get visitors on the landing page and even harder to get them to sign up. I told friends and family. I posted on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I asked for referrals to potential customers. After those initial sign ups I had no other effective method of growing my audience.
I was looking for ways to experiment with growing and around the same time I met Joel from Buffer. He inspired me to try out content marketing. Buffer got their first 100,000 users this way. So I tried it and it was kind of awesome. It’s the only medium that allows me to communicate and build a relationship with current customers, potential customers and everyone that comes in contact with potential customers. And it’s done through content on my blog.
A surprising amount of people don’t put any effort into content marketing. I encourage you to at least experiment with it. My most popular post had 30K views. That’s a lot more views than I got before producing any content.
Here’s How I Got Started
- Pick content topics – For the most part your content should be related to what you’re selling. I’m working on software to help freelancers and consultants increase their income. So I write about freelancing, design, coding and user experience mostly. But occasionally I throw in valuable lessons I learned failing at 2 startups. Even though I’m just trying to share my learnings, it turns out founders are in contact a lot with my target market.
- Start a blog – I decided to use a hosted WordPress.com blog. It takes only 30 minutes to set everything up and go live. I didn’t worry too much about writing style, grammar, etc. Not many people read my posts anyway. It’s important to just get in the groove of finding ideas for blog posts, writing it, and publishing.
- Get readers – In the beginning I had to start sharing my own content. I looked for communities that had an audience I wanted to connect with and submitted links to my blog posts. Readers started subscribing to my blog by email. They followed me on Twitter and Facebook. I started building this following slowly.
- Start guest posting – Guest posting is an easy way to increase your reach even more. I emailed blogs who wrote about the same topics and asked if I could write a post for them. Some said yes, some said no, and some didn’t respond. Don’t be afraid to reach out. It’s usually a mutual benefit. Blogs want help producing high quality content.
- Keep up with writing - It’s easy to not keep up with your blog. Writing takes a lot of effort and the return on investment is a long time. I try to write a new post 2-3 times a week. It’s tough to keep pumping them out, but you can turn almost anything valuable you learn into a blog post. Keep writing and get feedback from your readers. They’ll tell you what they want to hear. Make writing a habit.
Growth of my audience is slow and steady, but the important part is that it’s always growing. Not everyone likes what I write or find it useful. But as long as I’m providing value to at least one other person out there, I’ll continue to write.