At Piktochart, we love and appreciate all things organic. Organic is healthy, protects our ecosystem, and accounts for longer living. Be it a local bio eatery that promotes healthy lifestyle, an innovative recycling solution, or a socially and environmentally responsible food startups, we eagerly support these types of initiatives.
This love extends into our marketing strategy. The vast majority of our marketing initiatives are organic, and that’s exactly how we like it, because things acquired organically tend to last longer.
The reason behind our organic movement is very simple. We believe that if we keep listening to people’s needs, and provide them with value through high-quality content, they’ll begin to trust us, try us out, and eventually become one of our awesome, loyal customers.
More than 60 percent of our site traffic is organic so we know people are finding us regularly all over the web. Out of these visitors, 40 percent sign up for a Piktochart account. With up to 14,000 new users joining Piktochart every day, our biggest challenge is understanding their journey from visitor to user, and offering targeted content at every step – content that will educate and inspire them to be better designers and more effective storytellers.
And that’s why most of our marketing efforts start with content. According to Neil Patel, content doesn’t only exist at the top of every conversion funnel – it plays an important role at every stage. Target audiences need to be nurtured no matter where they are in their decision-making process:
We are constantly experimenting with our own content marketing funnel. We aim to understand which channels and which type of content are the most effective at different stages of our customer’s journey. Today, this is how it looks like for us:
You can see that our blog plays an important part at every stage of the funnel, but the focus of our articles varies. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, let’s go back a step and talk about our mission.
Our content marketing mission
Every marketing activity needs a mission. A statement that keeps our team aligned in our respective goals. Having tried out several different tactics, learning from lessons and pivoting in our approach again and again, here’s where our content marketing mission stands now:
We aim to create content that inspires and empowers people to take concrete steps towards becoming better designers and storytellers. We do this by incorporating what we’ve learned from our unique approach to culture and work.
We believe in addressing people’s needs at every step of their journey, and providing them with the appropriate answers and solutions at the right place and right time.
Here’s how we do it.
Three pillars of content
Earlier this year, our blog content was comprised of a line-up of monthly series. We carefully listened to our customers to identify their pain points, and addressed them in a new series every month.
Our series were focused on design, entrepreneurship, marketing, and growth. These aimed to help our readers become better at their jobs, not just in infographic creation. Afterwards, we found that our growth and design-focused topics were the most popular amongst our readers, with the highest amount of shares and pageviews.
Why? They provided people with inspiration and education. This made us realize we needed to approach our content differently. And so the three pillars of our blog content were born:
We aim to inspire the world of creatives, marketers, and all sorts of professionals out there to be better at design, communication, and storytelling. So far, we’ve collected the most outstanding user stories from our community and showcased uses of Piktochart across different industries and scenarios.
We’ve also tackled broader topics such as in How to Collaborate Without Meetings or 5 Unconventional Ways to Get Creative. By approaching topics that are relevant to a wider audience, we hope to grow our reach and help even more people.
Currently, we are approaching four million users at a surprisingly fast pace. But it doesn’t mean that all of these people are active on Piktochart. Our job is to make sure people not only understand our tool, but are also equipped with basic design principles so that they can use it well.
The better our users are at creating designs, the more satisfaction they will gain from it. And their win is our win, too. That’s why a large pool of our topics are focused on design tips and Piktochart hacks that help to unlock our users’ potential.
Examples: How to Use GIFs to Spice up Your Infographic Presentation or How to Design Beautiful Blogpost Headers help our users cross over to the pro level of infographic design. We aspire to help all our users reach this level, and truly enjoy and reap the benefits of it!
Share our lessons
We are a growing startup, and every tactic we try is a lesson on how to become better entrepreneurs, growth hackers, bloggers, and marketers. By sharing our lessons of failure and success, we hope to help other entrepreneurs in their journey to success.
Just like Groove sharing their journey to $500,000 in monthly revenue, and Buffer talking about their road to greater productivity and a happier work culture, our goal is to draw the curtains and show what happens behind the scenes – our processes and decisions – with hope that those lessons can inspire and help our readers.
This is why we explained why we redesigned our website, shared our email marketing tactics, and talked about building a community with Periscope. We’re not worried about our tactics being stolen (we encourage it, even). Transparency leads to trust. And trust is one of the most important pillars of long-lasting relationships.
How we find inspiration
At the start, coming up with fresh topics to write about might seem like a daunting task. But the truth is, you don’t really need to look far to find them. In fact, more often than not, they’re already right in front of you! Here’s how we find ours:
There’s always a dialogue going on between our customers and us. Questions coming in from our social media channels or tickets sent to our customer delight team, replies to our email campaigns or interviews we conduct, all of these add up to a lot of feedback that doesn’t go unnoticed.
From these platforms, it’s fairly easy to identify the main pain points that our users and readers might need a helping hand in. We turn those into educational blog posts. Recently, we even started asking our users straight up what they would like to learn about, and turn that into Q&A articles.
We listen again
Besides listening to our customers, we also pay attention to industry chatter. With tools such as Buzzsumo, Quora, Mention, and Google Alerts, we are able to identify trending topics or popular articles that we can give a new angle to and repurpose for our own audience.
Here’s an example. We recently realized there were numerous popular articles about resume infographic designs out there. So we decided to write our own, but do an even better job. While most of the existing posts had lists of 50 or less, we went for 70 and it ended up becoming one of the most popular blog posts of that month!
Repurpose the winners
This September, we ran an audit of our blog content. One of the goals was to identify the best performing pieces of the year, and try to find out what works for our audience.
We found that we had a number of top performing articles – such as this one which had over 14,000 social media shares – that consistently drove traffic over time.
These evergreen topics are perfect candidates for repurposing, and there’s plenty you can do with them. We have plans to turn them into ebooks, SlideShare presentations, webinars, infographics, and video tutorials. These will enrich the already-popular article and help increase its shareability even further.
Beyond our blog
Our blog is the foundation upon which everything else stands upon. Without it, there’s no point of reference. Having it as a base, we can then plan our social media posts, email campaigns, ebooks, and webinars around them.
With a stable of valuable content in our home base, we’ve also begun reaching out and sharing our insights on other blogs through guest posts. It is a time-tested method for broadening our base of readers (though some may beg to differ).
So far, we’ve authored a number of guest posts which have had great engagement – such as this one – allowing us to interact with a whole new audience. We’re grateful for these opportunities, and will continue to seek them out in the months ahead.
What we’ve learnt so far
Always try out new things
One of the biggest things we’ve learned is that we should always be experimenting with different approaches in our bid to grow. Something that works for another brand in your industry might not work for you. In fact, it probably won’t.
What this means is that you need to pave your own path to success by experimenting and measuring over and over again. There are always new insights to be gleaned, and new methods to be tested.
Our penultimate blog series for the year (of which this article is a part of) is a great example of this. In line with one of our core values of openness, we have been sharing about the inner workings of Piktochart and the lessons we’ve learnt from them.
It’s a risk that many companies might not choose to make, but to us, it’s an experiment worth trying because we want our readers to gain maximum value from our blog. So far, it’s been paying off – most of the blog posts in this series have gotten good engagement.
Emphasis on quality
We’re blessed to have an ever-growing audience to our blog. In fact, just last month the number of unique visitors increased by more than 40 percent, which makes us very happy!
Naturally, as our articles get more readers, we feel more pressure to make sure that each and every one counts. And so we’ve implemented a system that makes sure our blog posts undergo intense scrutiny before they make the cut. We feel that this is the least we can do for our amazing audience to repay the trust they’ve placed in us!
You can read more about our editorial process here.
Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich put it better than I ever could, so here’s his quote:
Treat every piece of content—every tweet, every Facebook post, every CTA, every press outreach email—with the utmost care. There needs to be a bit of an internal struggle when we hit send or publish, if we don’t feel it, I don’t think it’ll be good enough.
What we want to do better
One thing that we’ve noticed is that the performance of our blog posts tend to be erratic, causing huge fluctuations in our metrics week-over-week.
A reason for this, we think, might be because our performance is tied to the ups-and-downs of the social media platforms through which we distribute our articles. Already, we’re seeing how unreliable Facebook is in terms of reach. Engagement on Twitter is often hit-or-miss, though sharing our posts consistently across time tends to even the odds a bit.
These platforms, as Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi terms it, are “rented land.”
So many brands and companies build their audiences on Facebook and Google+, which is fine, but we don’t own those names – Facebook and Google do. If we are thinking like real media companies, the asset is in the audience.
While we will continue to focus on crafting great, stellar content, we understand that that’s just one part of the equation. As Mark Schaefer puts it:
Content sitting idly on a website – even superb content – has as much value as the world’s greatest movie script locked in a cold, dark vault. It is doing nothing. It means nothing. It is certainly not rising to the top or creating measurable value for our organizations.
To get your content out there, Mark continues, it needs to be distributed in such a way “that people actually SEE it, ENGAGE with it, and SHARE it in a way that creates business value.” As such, what we want to nurture is a loyal and reliable audience, and the best way to do this is through our email newsletter.
More importantly, we want to earn the trust of, and build relationships with, subscribers who are truly engaged – who will advocate for us as a natural consequence of that. This is what Mark calls an “Alpha Audience.”
One company that we’re watching very closely to learn more about this from is Groove, whose founder Alex Turnbull knows a thing or two about building an “Inner Circle.”
What do you like about the Piktochart blog, and what do you think can be improved? Let us know in the comments below!
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