According to Wikipedia, growth hacking is a marketing technique that makes use of creativity, analytical thinking and social metrics to sell products and gain brand exposure.
And according to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable information consistently. The content pieces are used to attract and retain target audiences of a business, and ultimately, used to drive customer action.
Unless you have been living under the rock, you’ll know how both the above are popular trends in the digital industry.
So what is growth hacking content marketing? Content hacking.
Content hacking is the technique of applying growth hacks to get more shares, brand awareness and conversions from content pieces. The tactic makes use of the target audience’s data to create relevant, contextual and highly personalized strategies, that are bound to stimulate action towards the business’s end goal.
1. Write catchy headlines
Here’s the thing about internet users. They only interact with what catches their attention immediately or what they think is interesting to them. This is why you need to create catchy headlines for your content pieces.
People love listicles or titles that start with a number – it makes them feel like they are going to get takeaways from the post that they can instantly implement. A title that generates curiosity around a trending topic gets a lot of open rates as well!
2. Ensure your content loads fast
The one thing that most businesses forget implementing on their blog sites, is a robust conversion optimization strategy. Their blog posts practically take ‘ages’ to load along with the images and other media that have been used in between the content.
Ensure that each of your content piece loads faster – an internet user bounces off if a page takes anything more than 2 seconds to load with its complete functionalities. Every second’s delay results in losing a reader and a possible conversion.
3. Make use of more visuals
Visuals – images, gifs, videos, infographics, etc, are the most shared content types on digital platforms. Since the brain processes visual information 80X faster than textual, using visuals is bound to make your content more consumable and shareable.
It also gives you the opportunity to share insights or what an audience would call a ‘boring’ topic in an interesting manner. This in turn, helps get your brand message across more effectively. And the increase in social shares, gives your brand more exposure.
4. Create long form content
Longer blog posts, research papers, case studies, white papers, ebooks, etc take a while to create and we’re not saying you need to publish these frequently. But having a few long form content pieces in your strategy will take you a long way.
This type of content doesn’t just give you a lot more to share on digital channels, but also opens an opportunity to connect with your target market and boosts your search engine results. According to the SerpIQ study, top related posts that showed up in search results were over 2,000 words in length.
What’s more is that if you’re able to create longer copies in an engaging manner, the visitor automatically spends more time on your website. This reduces your bounce rates and gives you more chances to convert the visitor in some way before he leaves.
A post on Kissmetrics, brilliantly reasons out why your business should focus on creating long form content and how you can get started. You can read it here.
5. Include rich media if possible
Rich media gives you an opportunity to enhance your reader’s experience by delivery higher quality of content with dynamic elements. In simpler words, rich media is a form on engaging content for internet users with a shorter attention span.
These are digital advertisements that include advanced features like video, audio and other elements that would nudge a user to interact and engage with that piece of content.
6. Share industry insights that are not accessible to readers
With content marketing becoming a must-have for business growth, there is abundance of content on the internet. And sadly, most of it is repetitive in nature. If you actually want to growth hack your content piece’s reach, include some industry insights that are otherwise not accessible to your target audience.
Be it industry numbers, sneak peeks into your procedures, etc, the idea is to share something that is unique to you and will definitely position you as an authority in the niche.
Promote your content on social media more than once
Most marketers make a very common mistake – promoting their content pieces only once or twice after they are published. While their argument of not wanting to be repetitive is valid, it is also important to consider that not all your target audience is online at the same time. This means you’re losing out on a major chunk of users because your older social shares got lost in the volume.
So promote your content on various social channels, more than once and in different ways. Share different aspects, segments or quotes from the post alongside different hashtags to give your piece more exposure in the market.
7. Make social sharing really easy
Continuing on the point above, you sharing on social media is one thing. But it is also important to ensure that each of your content pieces are easily shareable as well!
For instance, if you notice our blog, you will see a floating sidebar with social buttons that will let you share the post anytime on any channel of your preference. We also added the social buttons at the end of the post to make things easier for you.
8. Repost your content pieces on Medium and LinkedIn Pulse
In case you didn’t already know, both Medium and LinkedIn Pulse have a loyal community of users/readers. So after you have published your content piece on your blog, you could repost it on the two platforms to give it more exposure and address segments of audience that you’re probably missing out on.
Here are a few ways of doing this:
- You could create a smaller write up, which is a variation of the original piece. This gives you the opportunity to link back the interested readers to the original source.
- You could repost the content as it is after it is indexed on your blog (give it a day or two), and add a disclaimer right at the top that links to the original source.
- You could share a segment of the content piece and add a ‘read more’ tag linking to the original post.
9. Create a guest blogging calendar
If you want to give your brand more exposure, it is important to be where your audience is. This means you need to guest post as well apart from consistent blogging on your own site and social sharing.
Identify the blogs that most of your target audience is following and create a guest blogging calendar. This will give you the opportunity to take your value proposition to a greater following, address a different segment of your target market and also build links that will boost your SEO.
Pro tip: While guest blogging, remember to establish a good rapport with the blog owner to keep future possibilities open.
10. Retarget your blog readers before they leave
A typical internet user often needs a nudge when it comes to taking action. There are going to be blog visitors who simply come to consume your content and leave without subscribing or interacting in any manner.
Now interrupting their reading experience by asking them to complete an action, over and over again, is out of question. So instead, you could retarget them on their way out with an exit intent campaign. These campaigns ensure that the reader’s on-site experience is not compromised and gives you an opportunity to target them with a different value proposition that they might relate to more.
These campaigns are known to not just boost the conversion rates, but also drastically decrease the bounce rates from your web pages. Here’s the impact of popups shared by Dan Zarrella:
For instance, this popup here encourages a leaving visitor to subscribe to the blog’s newsletter to receive the latest posts straight in his inbox. Using Exit Bee, the visitor was targeted right before he left the website – this ensures he can consume the content being offered at his own pace without being interrupted. You can read more about it here.
11. Don’t ditch Google+
You might think Google+ has taken a backseat and not care about it when creating a social calendar. But the truth is, if you want to rank higher on search engine results – you need to remain active on the platform. At the same time, building a community on this platform, gives you a better opportunity to connect with your target audience via more direct channels like Google Hangouts.
Basically, the more people love you, the more favourable are the search engine results for your brand!
12. Syndicate, syndicate and syndicate
If you want each of your content pieces to growth hack your results, syndicate, syndicate and then syndicate some more. Each content piece has various possibilities that it can be shared in, so identify all possible forums that your target audience is possibly on.
Online communities and platforms like Bizsugar, Inbound.org, Growthhackers.com, List.ly, Scoop.it, StumbleUpon, Pocket, Paper.li and more give you endless possibilities to share your content. It is all about identifying the ones that would work for you the best.
It is safe to say, that you must follow the 20-80 rule for content marketing. 20% resources and time spent on content creation and 80% on marketing it.
Over to you
While you try to growth hack your content marketing results, remember that there is no way you can do so by sharing a compromised quality of information. If you want your readers to convert, you need to offer them value consistently and gain their trust.
The more they trust you, the better is your brand’s name and positioning in the industry, and the better are the results you generate from your content marketing strategy.