Go-to-Market Content Strategy
In Fall 2018 when Unbounce planned to launch new page speed features (Speed Boost and AMP), I worked closely with our VP of Product Marketing, our Head of Campaign Strategy Rachel Scott, and our team to determine the assets we would need to launch.
We needed to raise awareness of the new features, and prompt new trials of our software. But we didn’t want to create too many launch materials (we had other priorities to balance). So, we wondered:
What worthwhile content would meet our launch goals in a minimum-viable approach?
What content would be evergreen and difficult to replicate by competitors?
How might content be continually promoted throughout the year vs. die quickly after launch?
The Content Strategy
To start, our team looked at a valuable “big rock” piece we could create and the promotional assets around it.
We ended up creating the flow below wherein we’d produce an original, proprietary research piece, and several promotional pieces serving different goals. The research piece would be our 2019 Page Speed Report For Marketers.
The 2019 Page Speed Report for Marketers
Researched, written, and designed by the incredibly talented Colin Loughran and Ceci Martinez respectively, this piece was designed to raise awareness among marketers that fast-loading content is not just important, but that consumers notice and dislike slow-loading content. In other words, instant load times are no longer optional for marketers.
In the fall of 2018, we began research to make this report especially accurate and useful. In terms of methodology:
The consumer portion was conducted by Google Surveys and adheres to their standard (and very rigorous) methodology. We targeted the general population of the US using Google’s publisher network and mobile app. The survey asked 10 questions about their online habits and experiences.
For the marketer survey, adequate sample size was calculated using Cochran’s theorem. We gathered responses using a combination of email, social media, and paid ads. We then screened for respondents in marketer roles. The survey asked 16 questions about digital marketing as well as opinions about web performance and AMP.
Here’s an excerpt of the report:
Teaming up with the pros
Colin and Rachel worked with Andy Crestodina, Krista Seiden, and Rand Fishkin to get their insights featured in the report. This not only helped lend credibility, but also helped with promotional activities.
The Page Speed “Manifesto” Post
Along with the report, we wanted to create a top-level thought leadership style piece exploring how Google reacts to slow-loading content (which is to say, not well).
Colin Loughran wrote what we now deem the Page Speed Manifesto. This piece showcased a timeline of Google feature launches wherein speed was critical for the search giant, and how load time had become a key part of how they penalize publishers.
This piece was one of the most successful for us.
With 11,000+ unique page views since it’s publish date in October (to August 2019), it still amasses just under a thousand recurring unique views month-to-month, as seen below.
I’ll note here that—due to our site’s discovery being a work-in-progress—we needed an announcement post to launch the report. The report lived on our domain, but not on the blog. To help with this we created this post to merchandise the post. In the future, we’ll have an evergreen place for this purpose, but this fit the bill for this launch.
The Promotional “Turkey Sandwiches”
Another important component of our approach was having our time-intensive research report live on throughout the year via promotion vs. die quickly after launch. As I like to say, the research piece was our turkey, and throughout the year we repackaged the turkey and served it up in sandwiches, extending its lifespan.
Here are a few of the pieces that were designed to re-jig the content in meaningful ways for our audience, all the while serving as as internal linking and thought leadership related to the product launch:
The Organic-play Promotional Sandwiches
Alongside the buzz pieces above, we wanted to go after some keywords as a means of securing compounding traffic to the report over time. Here are two other pieces written with that intent:
These pieces were not just interesting to our audience, but targeted the keywords “Increase landing page speed” and “page speed stats” respectively.
As you can see in the image below, the page speed stats post was able to attract hundreds of visits a month after it’s original launch. However, generally, we have some optimization to do if the organic component of the strategy is to pay off in the long run.
For this campaign we:
Generated over 150 new trial starts (over a 3 month period of Nov ‘18—Jan ‘19) directly attributable to Page Speed content.
Attracted a total of 33,108 unique views on all page speed related content.
Received an initial1k+ backlinks from the Manifesto post, which was featured by Sparktoro, Growthhackers, Lee Oden, and Mari Smith.