The term “growth hacking” is all over the marketing world these days, fueled by startups trying to be the next Twitter or Airbnb. But the use of growth hacking techniques for content marketing-driven businesses — known as “content hacking” — is equally as relevant.
Growth hacking might just be the new face of actual hacking
Startup marketer Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacking” in 2010 to refer to the aggressive, almost coder-like strategies that this sector uses to quickly and effectively increase engagement. At its heart, growth hacking asks the question, “How do we get more customers?” and uses tough, emotion-free analytics to generate an answer.
Growth hacking and content hacking strategies have evolved as more companies realize the power of these tools and employ them. This also desensitizes customers to their ploys. Like the computer hacker looking for a revolving backdoor into a server or program, the content hacker must find an easy — but original — entrance into the market and consumers’ minds.
Starting out, the headline may be the most important part of any content, so marketers can’t take it lightly. They need to write several headlines — UpWorthy actually suggests a minimum of 25 — and A/B test them using bit.ly links. Marketers should only launch content once there’s a winner. There will be.
A 2013 study by Buffer found that the inclusion of a link in a Tweet increased click rates by 18 percent and retweets by a staggering 150 percent — all before Twitter allowed GIFs and video. Whether an infographic, a meme, a GIF or a video clip, visual content is the way to get noticed on social media. It causes users to pause and engages them unconsciously. Additionally, marketers who want their content to go viral need to make it easy to share. Some inline options, such as Click to Tweet and Pinterest-ready images, are effective ways to get users to engage.
Content needs to be easy for viewers to share
Another important consideration is that emotions have no place in hacking of any kind. To truly embrace content hacking, marketers need to divorce themselves from emotionally driven decisions and listen to the data by focusing on what makes the numbers work — nothing more, nothing less. Content hacking, like any hacking, isn’t based on feelings, but on action. Aggressive tactics net aggressive results — and that’s the point.
Content hackers need to be aggressive, not emotional
Here are a few tactics to embrace to effectively growth hack:
- A marketer shouldn’t be afraid of pop-ups. Studies show that users are far more tolerant of them than most marketing professionals think.
- Ask, ask and ask again. A marketer won’t get anything from users if he doesn’t solicit it.
- Finally, a marketer should pay attention to the data and be ready to revamp a strategy if it doesn’t work. Part of good hacking involves changing tactics mid-keystroke to stay ahead of the competition.