Content Marketing and Growth Hacking: 10 practical ideas


Content is the backbone of digital marketing. SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, PR: none of these activities are possible without content to share with users. But Content marketing requires economic resources. Or does it? Learn how to grow your business by creating content that converts with few resources, in Growth Hacking style.

According to Hubspot, B2B companies that post content 11 times a month generate almost 3 times as much traffic as those who generate content only once a month. 

Content is the basis of any monetizable digital activity – SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, ads, PR and so on with all marketing actions. 

Every company on the Web should do Content marketing to attract potential customers. But creating content can be very expensive: how can startups and small businesses afford it? By approaching the problem the way “pirates” would. We don’t mean the pirates who sailed the seven seas but modern-day marketing heroes: growth hackers.

When you apply the logic of Growth Hacking to Content Marketing, you can create content that will quickly grow your business, with few resources and explosive results.

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is a strategy that consists of creating and sharing online useful content, relevant to your target audience. 

The goal is to attract potential customers, addressing a request for information that may border on a conversion. 

Contents in fact are the key to:

  • driving traffic to your website,
  • generating leads,
  • building your brand’s industry authoritativeness,
  • building customer loyalty.

As the Inbound marketing approach teaches, companies need Content Marketing to communicate their solutions to problems and make themselves known to users and potential customers. 

Thanks to content, over time you will create trust between users and your brand. This will be the basis of subsequent conversions.

Remember: Content Marketing is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. 

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking is a marketing strategy aimed at rapid business growth. It differs from a traditional marketing approach because it is creative and, at the same time, extremely rigorous: each proposal, in fact, is tested and measured before being converted into strategy. 

Growth Hacking also shifts marketing focus from the product to the user, as Sean Ellis, official founder of this approach, has pointed out: 

“Growth is not just about sales and marketing, but also about product, engineering and support. It is this commitment to growth at the organization level that ultimately sets Growth Hacking companies apart.” 

Growth Hacking and Content Marketing: 10 ideas to grow your company with content

Doing Content Marketing from the perspective of Growth Hacking means using an unconventional approach to content to stimulate potential users to take action, for example:

  • click on your result in SERP, instead of your competitors’,
  • click on your ad instead of other results,
  • subscribe to your newsletter,
  • read your blog posts, articles, research, etc.,
  • download your app,
  • listen to your podcast,
  • and so on…

Running out of ideas? Below are 10 ready-to-use ideas, to adapt to your brand. 

The first 5 are more strategic, requiring more in-depth study of your audience and re-editing of your copy; the other 5 are more tactical proposals, which you can develop independently.

Data analysis will tell you which ideas should be taken forward and which to give up.

1. Create viral content

Viral content isn’t always “random” and you don’t have to be a super brand to create it.

James Currier defined the 8 motivation clusters that enable content sharing:

  1. Status 
  2. Projection of identity 
  3. Usefulness 
  4. Security:
  5. Orders 
  6. News 
  7. Confirmation 
  8. Voyeurism

Starting from this principle, and identifying the motivations that activate your target audience, you can experiment with various language and content types to exponentially increase brand coverage. 

2. Insert gamification elements into your content strategy

Incorporating playful components into your content marketing strategy means using systems borrowed from the gaming universe, such as scores and prizes, to reward users who share your content. 

Delivering rewards is one of the most effective Growth Hacking tactics because it attracts many more people than classic content and entertains existing customers.

Try to insert these mechanisms to boost user competitiveness and increase the scope of your content: you’ll see results quickly.

3. Create a membership with paid content (Buy Me A Coffee, reserved Telegram channels, podcasts for subscribers only)

Many startups and small publishing projects have grown to create subscriber communities that pay for exclusive content. 

This type of solution allows you to monetize content directly, as well as consolidate the relationship with members of the community.

An interesting example is Hacking Creativity. Its founders, Federico Favot and Edoardo Scognamiglio, opened a profile on the Buy Me A Coffee platform, to allow users to support new community projects through monthly memberships of different value.

The podcast is free, but people who decide to support the work of Hacking Creativity get, in addition:

  • access to a reserved Telegram channel, with exclusive content,
  • the possibility to participate every month in a live recording of the podcast,
  • extra content such as the mini-course “Your podcast: from idea to launch!”.

You can also try to combine classic content strategy using free content to make yourself known and get traffic with a paid content strategy for those who are already fans of your project.

You can also launch a paid newsletter using services like Substack. From 2017 to today, this platform raised over $82.4 million with its service to start paid newsletters. Interesting, right?

4. Increase your newsletters’ deliverability

Newsletters are one of the most effective content dissemination formats. Did you know that Newsletter visitors are 25 times more likely to convert to paid subscribers than Facebook visitors?

Unfortunately, however, your newsletters often end up in the users’ spam box, nullifying all your efforts to intercept potential customers. 

How can that be avoided? How can you improve our emails’ deliverability. Here’s how:

  • Use email marketing platforms trusted by Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • Ask subscribers to add your address to their address book
  • Make sure you are recognizable in the inbox using the BIMI authentication system
  • Write the subject of the email keeping in mind the benefits for the recipient
  • Add preview text
  • Ask for a reply to your welcome email
  • Send as a real person, not as a company
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe from your newsletter
  • Propose surveys (increase clicks)

5. Test new content formats

The testing phase is one of the strong points of Growth Hacking and with Content marketing you have plenty of choice. You can test different content formats and measure their performance to identify which types your audience appreciates the most. 

Here are some types of content to try:

  • Discussions 
  • Interviews
  • Audio content
  • Podcasts
  • Collections of links 
  • Virtual events
  • Illustrations and cartoons
  • Mini-videos
  • UGC content
  • and so on…

6. Optimize the CTAs

To improve your conversion rates, try working on the copies of your most important CTAs. As Growth Hacking teaches, A/B testing is the most effective way to success.

Typically, for a Call To Action to work, its copy must:

  • indulge a feeling (like this),
  • suggest the following step (for example: “Contact a technician”),
  • address an objection (for example: “Start your free trial – no need to enter your credit card details”),
  • be specific (“Try the tool for free for 7 days”).

7. Create a podcast

Podcasts data gets better every year: in 2021 there reached 9.3 million monthly podcast listeners in Italy, 2 million more than in 2019.

A podcast can support any brand’s content strategy, from generalist to niche. In fact, if you sell niche products or services, you can make your way into the industry more easily. Think about it!

8. Infuse your newsletter signup forms with personality

According to Harry Dry of Marketing Examples, you should follow these 5 steps to increase your newsletter subscriptions: 

  1. Give it a name
  2. Give it a face
  3. Give it a format
  4. Use social proof
  5. Soften up your CTA

Screenshot taken from the Marketing Examples newsletter. 

9. Create a referral program

By stimulating your followers or newsletter subscribers to share your content, you can quickly increase your traffic and reach a new audience of potential customers.

10. Create content to entertain

Informative content helps users solve a problem, find you online and appreciate you. But if your goal is to consolidate your relationship with your users, you can explore other content solutions, more like entertainment than information or training. 

A great example is Barilla, which invented playlists on Spotify that last the exact cooking time of the different pasta shapes. 

Now that’s Growth Hacking!

Conclusion

A Content marketing strategy with a Growth Hacking approach can help you reach millions of users through the most powerful marketing channels.

Being a true content hacker means not precluding any method, tool or content format. Test every solution and then implement the ideas that work best.

Using these Growth Hacking tactics with your content will give you the boost you need to grow your business.

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