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How to Accelerate the Growth of Your B2B Blog

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HOW TO ACCELERATE THE GROWTH OF YOUR B2B BLOG Anum Hussain Growth Marketer, Content, Hubspot @anum Hana Abaza VP Marketing, Uberflip @hanaabaza


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We will send the recording. Questions? We’ve got answers! (At the end of the webinar J) #uberwebinar @Uberflip @anum


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We will send the recording. Questions? We’ve got answers! (At the end of the webinar J) Join in on #uberwebinar @Uberflip @anum


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STICK AROUND FOR A DEMO


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HOW TO LAUNCH & GROW A BUSINESS BLOG


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Anum Hussain Growth marketer, @sidekick Co-author, Twitter for @dummies #cookiecakelover @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Once upon a time, content took the throne as king of marketing. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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And as his highness grew in power, @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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And as his highness grew in power, a playbook for success was dictated. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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PUBLISH. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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PUBLISH. ALL THE TIME. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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BUT NOW THERE ARE OVER 152 MILLION BLOGS ON THE INTERNET. Source: WPVirtuoso @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Which means it’s time to handle things a bit more strategically. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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HERE’S HOW: 1. Deeply understand your target audience. 2. Produce posts that attract & scale traffic. 3. Fuel growth of blog subscribers.


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1. Deeply understand your target audience. 2. Produce posts that attract & scale traffic. 3. Fuel growth of blog subscribers.


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Before starting a blog, research your target persona. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Before starting a blog, research your target persona. Contact at least 10 people in your target audience. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Before starting a blog, research your target persona. Contact at least 10 people in your target audience. Schedule 1-hour interviews in exchange for free coffee or lunch. If virtual interviews, send a gift card. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Ask them five sets of questions: 1.  Find out who they are. 2.  Find out what they do. 3.  Find out what they want. 4.  Find out how they see themselves. 5.  Find out how they spend their day-to-day. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Ask them five sets of questions: 1.  Find out who they are. 2.  Find out what they do. 3.  Find out what they want. 4.  Find out how they see themselves. 5.  Find out how they spend their day-to-day. Company name? Age? How long have they been in their current role? How large is their team? Why do they do what they do? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Ask them five sets of questions: 1.  Find out who they are. 2.  Find out what they do. 3.  Find out what they want. 4.  Find out how they see themselves. 5.  Find out how they spend their day-to-day. What motivates them? What is the end game for them? What are their aspirations? Why did they change from company A to company B? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Ask them five sets of questions: 1.  Find out who they are. 2.  Find out what they do. 3.  Find out what they want. 4.  Find out how they see themselves. 5.  Find out how they spend their day-to-day. What are their hopes and dreams? What content are they attracted to or read now? What do they think about all day long? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Ask them five sets of questions: 1.  Find out who they are. 2.  Find out what they do. 3.  Find out what they want. 4.  Find out how they see themselves. 5.  Find out how they spend their day-to-day. How do they compare themselves to co-workers? Do they think there’s more to learn about their profession? Do they hangout with their coworkers outside of work? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Ask them five sets of questions: 1.  Find out who they are. 2.  Find out what they do. 3.  Find out what they want. 4.  Find out how they see themselves. 5.  Find out how they spend their day-to-day. What do they read? What do they share? How do they learn about new stuff? New tools? New articles? What do they hate about their day? What do they love? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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During the interview, look for ... @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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During the interview, look for ... Vocabulary, puns, references, tone, gestures, etc. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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During the interview, look for ... Vocabulary, puns, references, tone, gestures, etc. What makes them light up, what they hate discussing. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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During the interview, look for ... Vocabulary, puns, references, tone, gestures, etc. What makes them light up, what they hate discussing. Their outfits, style, accessories, personality. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Aggregate your results to build an initial illustration of your target blog audience. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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We interviewed almost 100 people in different industries and roles – each a member of the audience we were trying to reach. We learned that: x  Their days are too packed to focus attention on reading a lengthy article. x  They want to see more content discussing ideas they can take immediate action on. x  They just want to own at their job – many had a strong desire to control their own destiny. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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So we took that qualitative insight and launched a blog with three key focuses: ü  Publish concise content that puts high emphasis on direct tactics over fluffy explanations. ü  Publish content from individual contributors, not managers. ü  Publish the secrets to success from top performers. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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Use these persona findings when planning your content strategy and structure. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Content takes time. Dedicate at least one full-time employee to tackle it. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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13X Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. Source: State of Inbound @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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We now have a strategy. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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We now have a strategy. But what are our target readers ... reading? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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1. Deeply understand your target audience. 2. Produce posts that attract & scale traffic. 3. Fuel growth of blog subscribers.


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Attract & scale traffic to content with these 20 optimization tips. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Optimize the URL to speak with search engines. Be sure to separate your target keywords with a dash (-) so search engines can read them. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But don’t make it so long that it seems keywordstuffed. Google’s algorithm is smarter than that. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Start with a clear, catchy headline. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But don’t write a catchy title if it doesn’t accurately represent the content within the post. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Captivate with your first sentence / meta text. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But don’t make your meta description too long. Google only displaces 150 characters on SERPs. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Let readers scan content with section headers. Header Header @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But avoid keyword-stuffing headers – Google’s algorithm penalizes “repeating the same words or phrases so often it sounds unnatural.” @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Use easy-to-read visuals to enhance experience. This is simply email copy in a compose window to help visually enhance reading experience. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But don’t forget to include keywords in the image alt-text. Search engines read them to better identify what the post is about. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Integrate internal links where relevant. Internal link to an earlier blog post on same subject. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But make the first internal link in the post the most important – that’s what search engines rely on most. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Generate click-to-tweet links for easy sharing. Clicking this auto-generates a tweet readers can publish right away. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But don’t forget to include a link back to your post in the tweet copy. You want to benefit from the sharing. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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20% of all SlideShare views come from Google. Source: Alexa @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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This Google juice helps drive traffic from SERPs. Link to blog post with SlideShare embedded. Link to presentation on SlideShare’s site. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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SLIDESHARE IS THE HIGHEST CONVERTING SOCIAL CHANNEL FOR HUBSPOT & SIDEKICK. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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The following optimization tips hone in on SlideShare specifically. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Let the title show the post contains a SlideShare. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Embed the SlideShare into the post. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Keep visitors on your blog, not on SlideShare. Remove these links to the original SlideShare upload when embedding to keep traffic on your blog site. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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97% more leads are generated for companies with an active blog. Source: ContentPlus @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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TO GENERATE LEADS FROM YOUR BLOG, YOU NEED OFFERS TO COLLECT THEM. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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These final optimization tips focus on offers specifically. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Include a text-CTA towards the top of the post. The first URL hyperlinked in the post gets the most weight from Google. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Build a form right into the ending CTA. I love this. There’s no need to drive the reader to a landing page when this article and the value proposition of the CTA clearly explains the value of the offer. So simple, yet so brilliant.” @BobRuffolo @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Or test smart CTAs to show relevant-offers. CTA for general blog visitors to offer. CTA for leads to move further down funnel. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW WHAT WILL WORK BEST IS TO TEST IT. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Some web forms require more fields. Case Study: We found that longer lead generation forms generated roughly 16% fewer leads than simply using a CTA image that navigates readers to a landing page. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM HUBSPOT BLOG STRATEGY


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But that wasn’t the case for our shorter blog subscription forms. These one-field forms converted 4X more subscribers than the CTA image linked to a separate landing page. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: HUBSPOT BLOG STRATEGY


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But now we wonder: @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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But now we wonder: Do we focus on optimizing for leads or subscribers? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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THE GOAL OF A NEW BLOG IS GROWING SUBSCRIBERS FIRST, NOT LEADS. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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1. Deeply understand your target audience. 2. Produce posts that attract & scale traffic. 3. Fuel growth of blog subscribers.


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76.9% OF VIEWS ON SIDEKICK BLOG POSTS COME FROM EMAIL. Source: Sidekick by HubSpot @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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A typical new post on the HubSpot Marketing Blog generates ~70% of its initial traffic from email subscribers. Traffic from email. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: HUBSPOT BLOG STRATEGY


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But over time, that initial traffic leads to views / social sharing that translates into long-term organic search traffic growth. Traffic from organic search. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: HUBSPOT BLOG STRATEGY


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THAT MEANS YOUR SUBSCRIBERS ARE CRITICAL FOR INITIAL TRAFFIC GROWTH. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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WITHOUT THEM, YOUR ORGANIC GROWTH WILL PROVE DIFFICULT. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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When first launching (or re-launching) a blog, invite people to read it. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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When first launching (or re-launching) a blog, invite people to read it. Before sending out email invitations, ensure you have a crisp message for why your blog is different than others. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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When first launching (or re-launching) a blog, invite people to read it. Before sending out email invitations, ensure you have a crisp message for why your blog is different than others. ü  Can you describe your blog in one sentence? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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When first launching (or re-launching) a blog, invite people to read it. Before sending out email invitations, ensure you have a crisp message for why your blog is different than others. ü  Can you describe your blog in one sentence? ü  Would your researched persona read it? @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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We sent email invitations to three cohorts of people: 1.  Content Contacts: Anyone who discovered our other content through forms on landing pages. 2.  Churned Users: People who may no longer care about our product but may still care about our industry / best practices. 3.  Email to Non-Users: Leads who may one day use our product, but haven’t yet. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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We sent invitations to our current database. The copy reflected a well-thought out message that our audience research indicated would resonate with who we ultimately want reading our blog. We shared titles of the types of blog posts they’d find on our blog. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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And we didn’t send them to a different page or form to subscribe – we already have their email, why ask for it again? Instead, we tracked who clicked on the CTA to subscribe and automatically added them to our subscriber list. Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY We automatically collected any email that clicked on the CTA. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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OUR READERS SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DO ANY EXTRA WORK TO DISCOVER OUR CONTENT. WE SHOULD. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Keep growing your subscriber base with two core methods. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Keep growing your subscriber base with two core methods. Calls-to-action on the blog’s native real estate. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Keep growing your subscriber base with two core methods. Calls-to-action on the blog’s native real estate. Calls-to-action on your other content assets. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Experiment with a prominent CTA at the top of your blog homepage. OKDork’s above-the-fo ld homepage CTA converts at 8%. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Test a CTA to subscribe at the end or side of each post. DIYTheme’s subscriber opt-in converts at an impressive 2%. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Try a slide-in CTA appearing as readers scroll down a post. HubSpot’s slide-in CTAs generate 27% more submissions than endof-the-post CTAs. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Try pop-up CTA that hovers over the blog post. Popups on Dan Zarrella ’s blog didn’t reduce bounce rates and increa sed conversion by more than 100%. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Provide an option to subscribe when readers leave comments. This sweeps in free subs cribers from people already interested eno ugh to share a comment. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Allow visitors who shower interest elsewhere on your site to subscribe. HubSpot’s landing page forms increased blog subscribers by 128% . @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Try sending invitations with your best posts during customer onboarding. Surfacing the blog to eve ry new user helped the Sidekick blog increase subscribers above 50% M/M. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Or test a one-time send to re-engage churned users with content, not product. Sidekick achieved an av erage 4% CTR on ema il invites from people who previously stopped showing interest. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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We tested each CTA type and quickly generated nearly 10K blog subscribers within six weeks. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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WARNING: Watch your engagement rates. You don’t want to send content to people who don’t want it. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Eventually we reached 60K subscribers. But only 22K of them were actively reading our content. So we removed the others from our subscriber list. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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We sacrificed subscribers for success. We believe having a healthy list of engaged readers is far more important than having a large list of inactive readers. This also ensures our strategy is directed by those who care about us most. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM Case Study: SIDEKICK BLOG STRATEGY


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REMEMBER: Our goal isn’t to shove content into inboxes, it’s to provide something worth reading. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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THE PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT YOUR CONTENT CONVERT. FOCUS ON MARKETING TO THEM. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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That’s our playbook for growing the Sidekick Blog. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Don’t just start writing. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Don’t just start writing. Start thinking critically about your actual blog strategy. @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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Questions? (After this event, feel free to ask more at anumhussain.com/presentations/how-tolaunch-blog.) @ANUM | ANUMHUSSAIN.COM


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THANK YOU!


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F do t o B o e d ce sdter i u h w o kr erae h i n c s p re db 7 % wt c ne t o t e la y 1 i o tn. h R A C S SU E D A E T DY


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