Publishing great content can lead to amazing results for entrepreneurs, startups and companies of all shapes and sizes. Take, for example, Freshdesk.com. They are a help desk software, which originated in 2011. In that same year Freshdesk founder, Girish, wrote and shared an article about what motivated him to start his company. It obviously made an impact. In a 2-day span of Girish sharing his article on Ycombinator’s Hackernews site saw over 30,000 new visitors on his website with 175 of them signing up.
So, with these results in hand, our company decided to do an experiment. In March of this year, we wrote about our story and about the results we were having with Lighting Shoes, a small LED shoes e-commerce site that we purchased earlier in the year. Our experiment was to see what type of results this post could produce for our business.
Reddit.com and indiehackers.com both published our story and traction was gained from both sites. Here is how this well-written story moved our numbers:
- Reddit brought us 3,257 visitors to our light-up shoe website. Indie hackers pitched in an additional 951 visitors.
- SEO results from Google amazed us. Our main keyword (LED Shoes) went from not being in the top 50 to jumping up and claiming the 12th position! Also, according to ahrefs.com, we also nailed the top 50 rankings for 222 keywords we previously didn’t have.
- From referral traffic we gained 2 direct sales while we also received 11 sales from our increased SEO rankings.
- From a PR standpoint, the following is a message we received from Kim Sims: “I saw a great article featuring you. I want a pair of your adult light-up shoes PLUS I submit items for Oprah’s Favorite Things in her magazine. I will be in touch shortly.” As of yet, she hasn’t reached out, but it is very exciting to see we were able to reach someone who works with Oprah.
You can count on one thing when tackling the ever-changing business and online marketing world: If you can produce great content, good results will follow.
These 5 steps can help your company obtain similar results in any community you wish to publish.
- Research the Community:
If you wish to obtain the above results, the secret is simple and not overly complicated. Write content that the community wants to read.
Learn about each community of where you wish to publish and reach. See what has been well-received in the past. What types of articles, content got a lot of buzz or interaction. If it was popular then, it will be popular now. Any online content published on Reddit, or newsites such as Huffington Post, or perhaps even your own personal blog, should be community-based. If you can tap into what the community can learn from or be inspired by, a win is sure to follow.
- Map Out & Choose an Idea:
We’ve done our research and we have a good understanding of what the community is looking for. Now we need to map out our strategy for our content.
A personal preference is what I call Mind Map. I take a piece of paper and in the middle of it I write “blog post topics”. I then review the popular posts from earlier (my research) in which the community LOVED. Not liked, but loved. What can I touch on that is similar? Am I able to expand on what they wrote by adding my own experiences? Perhaps topical current events or a problem the readers need to have solved? Jot down as many topics as possible. Look them over again. What jumps out? Think “extreme value to the reader” as you ponder these topics.
- Make Your Content Impressive:
“Unless your startup idea provides 5x more value than what’s already out there, don’t start it.” This is some advice I received, which has stuck with me, from a successful entrepreneur. This advice can be applied to content as well. If your content isn’t 5x more valuable than a general community post would offer, then don’t write it.
Your content needs to resonate with the community. It needs to hold an impressive attribute. You want to make them rethink how they do things and inspire them to do more. Which, by the way, is my goal with you! The closer you can make the community think “this is a ______ changing post”, the better. Lifestyle, business, skill set changing, any of it. Your content should pull them in.
This will be short and sweet. Your headline will want to:
- Be specific, definitely not broad or generic.
- Arouse their curiosity. No need to be hypey!
- What is the benefit to them for reading your post? Spell it out.
- Include a stat or two from your experience.
This could be one of the most over-looked facts but getting your headline right is critical in enticing people to read your content. You are asking them for their time, so make sure you deliver. A great headline will determine their next step.
Take a look at this headline:
How I lost $2,000 last month in product sales and how you can fix the issue on your own shop in 10 minutes.
Is it specific? Definitely. It’s about losing product sales on an online shop.
Does it arouse curiosity? If you have an ecommerce shop, your curiosity should absolutely be aroused.
Spells out the benefit? Yes, they can potentially fix their own issues.
Stats? Clearly, as there was a $2,000 loss involved.
The power of writing a great headline in action.
- Be Active:
You have it all together. Now you are ready to publish, but does this mean you are done after you publish? Not necessarily. As far as community goes, there could be an expectation of more involvement and continued discussion. Using Reddit as an example, they are HUGE on involvement. If you publish an AMA with Reddit, be prepared to log in every few hours to respond to questions or feedback. Not doing so could turn those friendly responses into nasty trolls and bashing of what you wrote.
With Indie hackers it was a different story. My business expose generated maybe 5 comments. Not much at all when I compare those to the over 300 I received on Reddit!
If you are actively engaged with the community, they will love you!