Is growth hacking the next step for your content marketing strategy?

Growth hacking is a buzzword in digital marketing, but we’re not sure everyone knows what it means. We also had to do some research toGrowth hacking make sure we understood it correctly!

Even if you already know what it involves, have you considered the implications of growth hacking for content marketing? Well, luckily for you, that’s what we’re going to look at.

Will growth hacking revolutionise our industry, or remain a separate discipline? Read on to find out…

What is growth hacking?

‘Hacking’ is a negative word. It evokes images of nasty villains hacking into mainframes trying to take over the world. However, what we want to focus on here is the hackers’ approach to problem solving.

Hackers try to enter computer systems with a persistent, systematic and organised approach. They try lots of combinations until they find a weak point which they can exploit and profit from.

So, what’s this got to do with marketing? Well, growth hackers have a similar mindset to traditional hackers, though their end goal is much less dubious.

Growth hackers aim to build up brands and achieve maximum growth, in the shortest possible time. They do this by using a systematic procedure that looks a little like this:

  1. Create a hypothesis around a tactic and a goal
  2. Design a test and run it
  3. Get the results
  4. Try a different hypothesis if it fails
  5. Keep the winning version if it’s a success

Growth hackers think a bit like scientists and learn from their mistakes. Sounds pretty logical, right?

But isn’t that the same as normal marketing?

Not quite … growth hacking differs from traditional marketing because it uses inductive rather than deductive reasoning. Let’s break it down:

  • Deductive reasoning: Test a theory by collecting and examining empirical evidence to see if it’s true
  • Inductive reasoning: Gather and analyse data first, then construct a theory to explain findings

Deductive reasoning isn’t a bad method, it’s just inefficient when compared to inductive methods. The latter focuses on what works in order to replicate results, whereas the former is much more abstract and therefore takes longer to complete.

How does it tie into content marketing?

Most people believe that growth hacking can make content marketing more efficient and more successful. It seeks to help brands achieve three core content marketing goals:

  1. Attract traffic
  2. Generate leads
  3. Nurture leads into customers

Growth hacking ensures that every piece of content you create focuses on achieving at least one of these goals. It quickly establishes which methods are most effective, and which can be implemented in your content marketing strategy.

It’s a great tool that can be applied throughout the content life-cycle, however it takes time to become proficient in growth hacking techniques.

4 ways to use growth hacking

1. Use analytics data to understand past successes

The aim of growth hacking is to replicate success, so you must have an accurate performance measurement system in place. We suggest Google Analytics, but there are plenty of options out there.

Use your chosen platform to discover the top performing content on your site. Look at them as a group and try to find patterns that may contribute to their success. This could include:

  • Topic
  • List-based article or how-to guide
  • Use of images
  • Formatting
  • Written style

Once you can hypothesise why these pieces of content were successful, you can attempt to replicate this success by creating content with the same traits.

2. Reuse successful content

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Your successful content is great, so there’s no need to change it.

However, you could try to replicate its original success by resharing successful content across your different platforms (namely social media and email campaigns).

You could also try transforming successful blog content into a different type of content. For example, a blog could become an infographic, e-book, guide, video or even the basis of a podcast.

If it’s the topic that’s proving favourable, use this opportunity to expand on it and offer new information readers will find valuable. You’ll soon see your audience numbers growing!

3. Try A/B testing

If you want to find out what’s most successful, try a direct comparison between two versions of your site. This is a proven CRO technique that’s helped many companies improve the visitor experience and boost customer numbers.

Use a dedicated A/B testing program to make logical and systematic changes. These could be anything from button colour, to page layout, to the text used and even the title of the piece.

All of these could make a huge difference to a piece of content’s success. Find the winning combo and replicate it in your content marketing strategy to make the most of it.

4. Don’t try to do too much at once

Most B2B content marketers use 13 tactics to achieve their results. Unsurprisingly, this dilutes their efficiency in all areas and means that their content marketing efforts are not as successful as they could be.

When implementing a growth hacking regime, focus on one area at a time. Build this area up to the best it can be, then move on to your next stage. This will also help avoid problems with attribution later.

Growth hacking has the potential to be a powerful force within content marketing, if we take the time to understand it. Look at your current content marketing strategy, see if you can earmark any areas for potential growth and start planning your first venture into growth hacking asap!