commit: eecb0f2 - 932 (2014-08-01 02:33:53 -0400)
Leo - thanks so much for doing this AMA! My question is regarding Buffer's long term strategy - do you worry much about the social platforms offering the same features Buffer does, and if so, what's your hedge against that?
It is so awesome to have you chip in here too, and this AMA has been tons of fun!
That's a great question and as a funny sidenote, this was actually the most asked questions from investors too when we raised.
The key for us, when we think about this, is that lots of others apps already offer this (HootSuite, TweetDeck, etc.) for a very long time and didn't seem to have bothered the social platforms.
Another data-point we have, is that FB itself has started to offer scheduling for pages , but it's a different type to how Buffer works.
What we've found is that people value Buffers focus on simplicity, as you don't have to pick a date and a time for each post you send. You just hit "add to Buffer" and the scheduling is done.
Another key value point people enjoy is that you can post to multiple places at once, which would clearly go against, say Twitters interest to offer FB and LinkedIn sharing for example.
Overall, we have also received strong feedback, especially from Twitter and Facebook that they support what we are doing and see us as an extension to their platform rather than something they would want to build themselves.
Hope that helps and let me know if I can answer anything else! :)
Hi guys, I'm a huge fan of Inbound and it's quickly become one of my go to places for finding great content.
I'm excited to answer questions. I'm the Co-Founder of Buffer. Buffer (http://bufferapp.com) is a smarter way to share your Tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn posts. We schedule them automatically for you, give you analytics and lots more.
At Buffer, I mainly am involved with doing 3 main things: Doing content marketing, getting Press coverage and PR and doing Business Development (We have a lot of Buffer integrations with other apps). I tend to be most useful with answering questions on any of these 3 areas.
Super excited to be here, please ask me anything! :)
I'll be here from 10am PST until 11am PST and again a bit later from 4pm PST to 5pm PST.
Hi Leo what is your take on Hootsuite vs Buffer?
Leo! I'm a huge fan of Buffer. Thank you very much for doing this AMA. What does an average day look like for you as a content marketer - is there any sort of routine you follow that helps you get the most out of your day/week?
Hi Jon, so glad you like Buffer! (OH, how did you make the "huge" bold btw?) that's a great question. I have in fact published my daily schedule here: http://www.zenflow.io/users/4
In general, I write in a 2-step process. The first step, normally in the morning starting at 6.30 is the sourcing process. I find lots of research studies on a topic. Write a few sub-headings and basically make a big mess in a word document. I intentionally jot down lots of things, that don't flow well. This helps me to break the "blank page" syndrom. I do this for around 1 hour or so.
Then I go and do other tasks (mostly BD and some admin tasks that I've taken over.) Then in the afternoon, around 3-4pm I get back to the post. The great thing is that my brain has by then normally made sense of all the different sections. I then edit and write the actual content in a concise form. In this 2nd phase I'm very focused on the actual wording, the flow and ordering all the research I've collected.
I then publish that post next thing in the morning after doing a few final tweaks, like adding images, and so on.
Awesome, thanks for sharing (and building) ZenFlow! I can appreciate how your routine and the habits you have built set you up to succeed. To bold or italic text use Command B / Command I on the Mac or Control B / Control I on a PC. That was something we didn't communicate well on the UI/UX front of Inbound and I know will be resolved soon with some sort of WYSIWYG editor in the near future. Again, thank you for taking the time to answer all of these questions!
Love the methodological approach. I find that writing 15 minutes a day very useful (before I look at anything else). I tend to gravitate back to the same references a few days apart, and that's how I find my blog topic of choice. Most recently DFW's This Is Water.
thanks for your time, Leo; it's appreciated.
how much is a written piece of content worth to you? as a writer, would you give me money upfront, or base my creation's value on your return? thanks again.
Ha, that's a great question Anthony! Let me think, so a piece of content is worth a lot. A year ago or so, we actually came up with a formula:
- A guestpost would give us around 100 signups in the lifetime of the article. We have a 2% conversion from free to paid for Buffer. So that means 2 people will pay. Our lifetime value for a paying user is around $250. So a piece of content was around $500. We don't use that anymore, but just as an example along which lines we are thinking. :)
Rand Fishkin taught me that content isn't for direct signups - it's to create loyalty, branding and familiarity. That's very much an idea I've come around to. So I would rather pay you consistently up front, and have you as a writer create awesome content every week, then always charge per result!
thanks a lot for being upfront, dude. it's good to read your thoughts on the matter. cheers.
Hey Leo - thanks for doing this :-)
I've a couple of questions...
1. What do you guys do for retaining users?
How do you get people to keep using Buffer day to day, and not become dormant. What are the most effective tactics you've found?
2. Where and how did you start learning and getting into marketing?
Was there anything big before Buffer you got to work on and hone marketing skills ahead of launching into a startup. Was there anything you wish you did, or had?
3. What was it like starting a startup at Warwick University?
... and gaining traction, building an audience of users who love you, making real money... but then going back into lectures and "being normal".
What was the trigger for leaving Warwick and heading to San Fran? Would you have gone to Warwick in retrospect? And what would you advise 18/19/20 year olds who have started Uni who are heading along the same track?
Context: I'm a first year, studying at Bristol. The enterprise and startup support by the University is great (one of the main reasons I applied here) but it goes through my mind daily "should I jump on a plane with friends to California?"
Oh, one more... #greedy
If you managed Inbound.org, where would you put the Buffer button and how else would you integrate it with the site?
Hey Ed, first off, thanks SO much for inviting me to this AMA, it's a ton of fun.
1.) What do you guys do for retaining users?
That's a great one, we are in fact just in the middle of figuring some of these things out. Joel (CEO and head of product) is doing a lot of analysis on this right now. We hope to write about this, but so far, the best way for us to keep people engaged is to help them install our browser extension ( http://bufferapp.com/extensions). Once you do, you are very likely to keep Buffering.
2.) Where and how did you start learning and getting into marketing?
That's another awesome question and unfortunately, I don't have much to show here. I was in the middle of College when I jumped on to the Buffer train. I had virtually no marketing experience. I just started to spend day and night on getting Buffer featured in the Press - without any success. Because of this, I started blogging and do the writing ourselves and that's when things really took off. I think this interview I did with SearchEngineWatch describes it well: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2194396/How-Guest-Posting-Propelled-One-Site-From-0-to-100000-Customers
3.) What was it like starting a startup at Warwick University?
Warwick is a great Uni and probably one of the most entrepreneurially minded in the UK. The entrepreneur's club was very strong and a big plus.
Also, Joel was a big driver for me. He had already worked on a previous startup and he was involved in the startup community a lot. I talked a lot with Joel before getting involved with Buffer and he helped me a lot with my other ideas I worked on at the time. I think this environment at Warwick was definitely unique and I owe a lot of it to them. Fortunately I also ended up working with Joel, the smartest guy around there.
As for other students (like you :), here is my best advice, that I wrote about before http://leostartsup.com/2012/12/why-i-dropped-out-of-college-to-work-on-a-startup/ :
"The one thing I like to remind myself of is that I didn’t drop out of college to work on a startup. I started working on a startup, which saw great traction, so I had to drop out of college. When I tell this story, I often get it wrong and mix up the causal relationship between the two."
I think it's important to not get these mixed up. I was in College and Buffer was already thriving, generating revenue and getting users. I wouldn't just do it the other way round.
If my limited knowledge of you Ed means anything, I would say this - you running Inbound and making it into a big success, whilst still being at Uni, and over the coming months/years through it be able to support yourself full time until it comes so big that you have to just drop out, seems like a good track to be on! :)
Oh and the last one, I think the Buffer button would work really well here: http://cl.ly/image/1X3N2B180g23 and you could grab it here http://bufferapp.com/extras/button.
I think AMA's are a great way to leverage other people's network (like in my case) who bring more people to Inbound - I would keep doing those!
Other than that, I think a share button right on the landing page next to each article could also help with extra exposure: http://cl.ly/image/12473f0M253O (Buffer could be triggered here and help share lots of articles you find interesting in a row - would love to chat more! :)
Didn't realise Buffer was British-born... Always got the impression it was US-based. Nice! :-)
AWESOME answer :-)
One Q1 and Q4, I spend an exhaustible amount of my social sharing pushing things onto Inbound. There's got to be some kind of smart, intelligent integration that can work here. Check 'Buffer this' after submitting?
RE: startups and Uni, I've fingers in a few different pies. Inbound is probably the most public facing. But with two Comp Sci friends here at Uni, we're working on something in the skills development and education space - to help us and others become better programmers/marketers amongst other things. We've the latter half of the Summer to make a product and find market fit.
I take your point though - don't drop out pre-emptively to do it. That seems to be recurring, sensible advice!
Thanks again for doing this - it's really appreciated
that search engine watch post is a good one :) thanks for agreeing to help with it!
Indeed Eric, it was awesome! :)
Hey Leo -
Hope you're doing well, man! Buffer never ceases to amaze me at how easy it is to use and how well you guys connect with your customers through content. I love the guest post that you just did on OnStartups about the pitch deck that helped you raise $500k in funding - http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/98034/The-Pitch-Deck-We-Used-To-Raise-500-000-For-Our-Startup.aspx
What's the next iteration of Buffer content? Probably a big question but someone's gotta ask it :-)
Hey John - Awesome to see you here my friend!
Thanks for the kind words and so glad you liked the onstartups one, really happy about the responses.
As for the next iteration of Buffer content, that's a good one. I'm not quite sure, to be honest. One hunch I have is to go a lot more visual with our content, kind of like in this post: http://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-colors-in-marketing-why-is-facebook-blue
I think one intuition I have is to somehow go more in the Oatmeal direction of making it super super visual and still very engaging. But hey, that's just a vague idea right now, I'll keep you posted as we try out new things!
The other side is to start with a lot more personal and internal topics, kind of like what we do on our Open blog:
I think this is a very natural iteration of our content and Joel shares a lot on the culture, team side of things there.
You guys seem to be taking the "huge numbers of users" route to success (congrats on that by the way). As a user who hasn't (yet!) signed up for a paid account - I'm curious how much thinking you've done about striking the balance between getting as many people using your product as possible and getting *at least some* of them to pay.
How much have you tested / tweaked / argued about where the limits of the free plan should be?
Hi Will, first off, loved your AMA from a few days ago, lots of great info!
Yep, that's exactly right, we go for the "huge users and some pay" route.
So glad to have you as a user man! :)
That's a great question and unfortunately the answer isn't too great, as we somehow struck the balance right from the start. When Joel launched Buffer, out of the first 100 people that signed up, 3 or 4 people started paying. And we kept that 3% conversion ever since. It has dropped slightly and we are around 2% right now, but that still works very well for our business model.
So, out of every 100 people that sign up, over time, we expect around 2 to upgrade. That's a good balance I think and allows us to really give away a lot for free and if people need more social accounts, more slots in their Buffer or team members, the upgrade of $10 a month isn't that big of a jump.
We have tweaked our pricing a lot and the limits of the free plan too. If I think back, at the very beginning you could send only 1 post a day, then 2, then 5 and then unlimited with 10 as storage. This has mainly evolved like that because we see Buffer's free version as our main product, so we really wanted this not be a "let's trick people and then get them to upgrade" but "hey, 98% of our users will always be on free and that's awesome" as our mindset.
I've recently chatted with Joel though and we definitely are going to do a lot more testing and tweaking here (never to make it worse, only better!), so I hope I can tell you more about that soon. :)
Hi Leo and congrats for buffer, love it !
when dealing with content marketing, what was your approach to promote your content after you published it ?
Hey Massimo, so great to hear from you and amazing you are using Buffer too!
I tend to have 3 ways of doing it:
For Twitter: I Tweet the article right away and then Buffer it another 2-3 times for the coming days. Here I often use different titles to see if I might be able to come up with a headline that spreads more.
For Facebook: I always add it to our Buffer as an image. (I've learnt this technique from SEOmoz's Jennita). This way it spreads a lot further. Also, it gives me an opportunity to share the same article multiple times to FB each time with a different image and different focus.
For G+: I almost always post it straight after we publish, I've not seen any "optimal timing" differences yet for G+.
For LinkedIn: I add it to the Buffer at the same time as I post it the first time to Twitter. I tend to only do it once.
HN + Reddit + Inbound: I rarely submit articles myself, but I keep an eye on these sites, in case someone else does and I will give it an upvote.
Hope that helps! :)
Big fan of Buffer.
One thing I'm a little curious about is the integrations - can you share a little bit about a) the strategy behind that, b) the process of making those deals, and c) the results you're seeing from the integrations?
(Not an easy question, sorry.)
Hey Matt, That is an awesome question, and because Buffer is completely transparent about everything we do ( http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/inside-buffer-company-complete-transparency.html ) I want to do my best and be as transparent here:
a.) The main strategy for these integrations is retention. (A lot of people in the past suspected it was customer acquisition). We learnt that, Buffer becomes more useful for you, the most places it is integrated with. When we talk about "smart" sharing, it's not necessarily about better timing (although also!), it's a lot about how easy it is for you to share from wherever you are. So having Feedly, Pocket, Reeder, IFTTT and lots of other apps come with a Buffer integration makes sharing so much easier for people and increases retention a lot.
b.) The process to making them happen is very user focused. (My friend Andrew Dumont from SEOmoz has helped me a lot in the early days to come up with a good BD strategy, so what follows is a lot based on his excellent advice back then). What "user focused" means is that we often only go after integrations shout about. Say, Feedly for example. We had dozens and dozens of people every day, who Tweeted or posted in our Feedback forum saying "Can Buffer be in Feedly?". That is the starting point. From here onwards, we reach out to Feedly and say, that people really ask for this. We then work on the technical part with the partner and offer a lot of support. After that, we always try to be really good for the partner and get press, blog and tell our users.
c.) Overall, this helps a lot with retention (as stated before, it doesn't bring that many new users) and so far has really helped us to build a great eco-system. We have over 40 different integrations and the great thing is that, if you sign up for Buffer and the app itself might not be good enough, but using it with Pocket or Feedly or IFTTT is, then you will remain a user: http://bufferapp.com/extras
Hope that helps and really keen to get all the details about this out there! :)
Fascinating. Wouldn't have thought retention was the goal, but retention is really where the money is in SaaS companies. Thanks for the full and honest answer.
exactly, thanks Matt!
As Twitter matures it's API many services reliant on the platform are encountering limits and are it's ecosystem is not as rampant as the early days. Facebook already favours direct updates over syndicated ones. Open web may have peaked in some regards as networks tend to evolve to hoard attention. So my question is....
How does Buffer mitigate, for example, any threat as the #discover tab in native Twitter evolves?
Awesome question! A lot of people ask us with some of Twitter's past decisions - will Buffer be next?
Here is how we see this:
We are in very close contact with Twitter (in fact our offices are a 1 min walk from theirs :). We check in often with them and always try to make sure that we aren't doing anything that would harm their business.
Fortunately, Twitter has been very helpful and supportive of what we do at Buffer. The reason is that we try to make Twitter more awesome and not take away anything from Twitter's business model. On the contrary we try to contribute: Twitter has an ad business model. So the more content there is on Twitter, the better. And Buffer's focus is exactly that: To bring more high quality content onto Twitter. It's been a truly amazing marriage so far for us! :)
Buffer's target market could be viewed as being very broad. If Buffer was designed for one specific niche - is there one promotion tactic you would do above the rest? One that you, as the co-founder would focus on?
Good one - in fact, Buffer was very niche. It used to only work for Twitter when we launched.
Back then, the best tactic for us, was to say: "Ok, Buffer works just for Twitter. Let's help people become absolutely amazing on Twitter with the content we write. Then, once they get value from our content and gotten more followers, more clicks, more exposure, etc. They might think "Oh wow, I learnt a lot from this content to do well on Twitter, who wrote this? Oh, it's Buffer, and it's a Twitter app, let me check it out and sign up."
So, that's what we did, focus solely on interesting articles to do well on Twitter! :)
Hi Leo, congrats on the continued growth. Love buffer and the way you and Joel are growing it. Any sense of how much (%) of your growth is driven by your marketing efforts vs. organic? Do different investors like vs. dislike heavy marketing efforts as it might obscure the underlying value proposition, or do both marketing + underlying value have to be strong?
That's a good one. Actually, direct signups from our content marketing efforts make up only around 15-20% last time we checked. What you can't measure though is the word of mouth the content creates which leads to (probably, our metrics team might call BS on me here!) a lot of additional signups that are direct.
We also get a lot of signups from our mobile apps through the Android and iOS app store. As well as a limited from our integrations (search for "strategy" on this page for the discussion on integrations and their value).
As for investors, our marketing was definitely important. I have in fact never come across an investor who dislikes heavy marketing efforts - I think everyone loves them! So my best advice would be, that after (only after!) one has hit product/market fit, to fully focus on marketing and do as much as you can. Of course, marketing and product are (almost) one and the same, so I'm very lucky to have an awesome product to market about. :)
Leo, as with just about anyone else here, I'm a huge fan of Buffer and appreciate the work you guys have put into the app.
My question is...
Buffer is a fantastic app for social media / content promotion, but it doesn't do everything (at least not yet). That being said, what other apps do you rely on when carrying out your content marketing efforts?
And a follow up to that is...
Should we try those out too or should we wait because you guys are going to build those features into Buffer in the near future? ;)
Thanks in advance.
Truly awesome question.
So for Social Media, we rely on 3 things: Feedly and Twitter.com to find great content, Buffer to share it and TwitSpark.com to do great customer support on Twitter.
I do agree 100%, we try for Buffer to be a very lightweight product, that is super simple and easy to use. We are in the middle of adding more power to it right now - on that note, I'd love to hear, what would be most useful for you?
I definitely think that there are tons of other great apps out there, so I'd love to suggest any for specific things you are trying to do. As you say, we might add some functionality inside Buffer, but I think there will always be other great complimentary tools to use that Buffer won't do. Would love your thoughts! :)
Hi Leo,Thanks for doing this AMA!1) Concerning your analytics I'd be keen to hear your opinion: I'd be interested to bring up (and hopefully get opinions) on a trend on Facebook that I've noticed recently with my clients: It seems that posting status updates (or links, but especially status updates) tends to get more engagement nowadays (and potentially reach, I'm still gathering data on that before making further conclusions). Do you think Google's Edgerank perhaps favours status updates over the photo posts? (for example due to photo posts over-use?)(especially as all companies know that "you MUST include a picture in your post" - for visual, for attention, for gaining more screen space...)Or could it even be that users have begun ignoring visuals as they are almost cluttering the news feed, and actually (when used correctly) sometimes a simple status update can lead to better results?2) I remember reading in the past that using external scheduling applications can have a negative impact on the total reach (FB again...), and while to my knowledge this has since been fixed, is this something you can confirm based on your stats,or have anything else to comment on the matter?Thanks Leo!
Great to hear from you and great question regarding analytics.
1.) So, for the Buffer Facebook page, we noticed that photos still perform the best, out of any content. We have seen however, that plain text updates - if provided as an engaging piece of content, say as a quote or good question, can have a very long tail. So, whilst I don't think FB favors photos over status updates, I think you can get great results with just status updates.
2.) Yes, that's a great question, and you are right, my knowledge is that Facebook doesn't make a difference between 3rd party apps and direct postings, we've even briefly spoken directly with FB about this and they confirmed the same thing to us. The problem is often that updates get blindly pushed through and get very low engagement due to formatting or poor timing, not because it's third party.
Hope that helps!
Thank you Leo for your answers, and yes, both were very helpful! :)
Hey Leo, thanks so much for making time to join us for this AMA on Inbound.
I love how you're building out your culture and core values iteratively (example: http://www.slideshare.net/Bufferapp/buffer-culture-02 ).
Could you tell us a bit more about what that looks like in practice around the office and in your work with partners? How do you apply it to things like hiring, meetings, out-of-work events, etc.?
Many thanks again!
Fantastic! I love this: "Less time convincing people, more time finding people that are already convinced." Speaks really well to you and your team knowing your core values and purpose. Well done!
Checking out http://www.fastcompany.com/3009585/7-slightly-crazy-ways-to-build-a-happy-productive-and-transparent-company now! :)
You've pivoted the Buffer blog and your overall content strategy a few times before hitting your stride overall. What were the major indicators that productivity, social media, and life-hacks would be the way to go, and what role has that played in the overall brand image/distinction of Buffer not just being another "social media tool"?
That's an awesome question!
So, the way we thought about this is that whenever Buffer got onto Lifehacker, we got a lot of traffic (and really good, well converting traffic!), so we knew that that kind of audience would enjoy our product too. That was one reason, the other was that I enjoyed writing about lifehacking, social media stuff, hehe. Another one was that this kind of content reaches very far and has a lot more sharing potential, at least that's what we found this far. If you take a look, the heavily scientific psychology and lifehack articles always do really well.
As for Buffers image, I hope that we could help more people do awesome things in life, and build a strong connection to do the same through our product - make people more awesome with their sharing. So it's really more about improving your overall life with Buffer and less about a social media tool from a branding side, I'd love to hear how you felt that went! :)
Any plans on G+ integration on Buffer? Thanks to inbound, I've found you and added you to my Feedly :)
Hey Victor, we'd love to do that! We are just waiting for them to release their API now and hopefully we can do it soon then.
So glad you're following along now! :)
Hi Leo!Big fan of Buffer here (I LOVE your culture and the way you write ;) ).I'm curious about these 2 things1. Do you have an internal dashboard to check out how buffer is going? If so, what are the unusual/uncommon metrics you defined to evaluate buffer status?
2. I really like your articles on mind/self-improvement topics (I read them all!). How do you choose the next topic you're gonna write about?
Great to hear from you and thanks for all the encouragement!
That's a good one:
1.) Yes, we have an internal dashboard and are building out our own metrics system a lot further as we speak right now. The key metric we have come up with is to get a user who signs up to at least send 5 updates on 5 unique days in the first month. That's when we know with 90% chance that they will come back to using us. So essentially, we are trying our best to optimize for this number.
2.) Thanks! Yes, so actually, I just tend to pick the topics that I myself like to learn about - it's a very selfish approach!
Hi Leo, Some of your articles require a lot of research. How much do you read and write per day and what are you favorite places to find content to write about?
That's a good one. I do try to read a lot of helpful feeds in my Feedly, where I subscribe to a lot of marketing, psychology and social media blogs.
On top of that, here are my 3 best tips:
•The Reddit Science section: They have a huge amount of well curated, high quality scientific insights you won’t find anywhere else.
•Add “brain”, “study” or “research” to your Google searches: This is the most obvious, but seems to have helped the most people that asked me. Whatever it is, simply adding those terms helps to get through the right content fast.
•For Social Media and marketing content: The best sites I’ve found with great studies and research are AdWeek, SEOmoz blog, Dan Zarrella’s blog and Brian Solis blog.
Thanks for the insight. I really appreciate all the work you do. I think you are the best content marketer out there and I'm glad you give away so much content. It is really helpful. Barnaby
I really appreciate that Barnaby! :)
Would be very interesting what you see as a good/bad monthly churn rate in your business model. Whats the figure you are aiming for?
From what we've learnt so far from our advisors and mentors: Everything under 5% monthly churn is ok, anything higher than that is alarming and you have to fix. Do everything you can to get to 5% or under. Further down, try and lower it to 1-2%.
Great, thanks. I guess you mostly look at MRR churn, right? Do you look at the pure churn or rather at the net churn by counting upgrades against the cancellations? Would be great to compare SaaS metrics when we are coming to SF beginning of June :-)
Hello LeoI'm big fan & user of Buffer. I want to thank you for your precious efforts from founding buffer to blogging to helping others.
My question is : how to gain traction in a two-sided business (users / publishers)? I'm focusing right now on users.OssamaFounder http://www.followletter.com
Thanks for all the kind words and so glad some of the stuff we are doing is helpful!
That's a good question, my best advice on this (and I know this might not be very helpful for you right now) is Joel's article on not doing anything that has a two-sided market as a first-time founder. http://joel.is/post/5961172449/beware-of-the-social-ideas
My thinking is that, if you can somehow tweak your product so that it is only useful for 1 side, without having to have to get the other side involved, that'd be awesome. I think, once your product gets traction as a tool, you can later on, always still turn it into a social/two-sided solution. Trying to do both at the same time is doable, but it's like playing a game on "insane" mode.
To add to Leo's awesome answer, I also wrote a post about making products work in two-sided markets. Named rather appropriately for your question, here's my "How to gain traction in two sided markets" article - http://joel.is/post/39659497239/how-to-gain-traction-in-two-sided-markets
Hope it helps! Let me know if you have any Qs :)
Would you and the Buffer team rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?...okay, more importantly: as a frequent guest blogger for Buffer, I've wondered about how guest posting has had an impact on your content reach and what sort of things you advise to keep quality high *and* submissions manageable.Specifically...
- Were guest submissions ever altered to target keywords?
- How many submissions were actually useable? Any tips on keeping submission quality high? (I've found that for Help Scout, many guest post submissions were quite sub-par...)
- How did you schedule editing and post reviews from guest bloggers? Did you have any sort of system for going through submitted guest posts or was it more 'as they come in'?
Haha, I'll go with the 100 duck-sized horses. :)
Great to see you here Greg!
Overall, I think guest blogging (as in, people posting on our blog) is a great way to get complimentary content, I would always try to stay on the side of not letting it take over too much. You as the blog owner, will normally always provide the best content.
Hope that helps, let me know what you think! :)
Nothing to ask, just came to show my support for an amazing platform! You rock!
Yay, thanks Aaron! :)
I'm a huge fan of Buffer but more importantly YOU. I listened to your interview on Mixergy.com and I love your excitement about marketing in general.
Here's my question:
I'd like to doing content marketing but I'm having problem creating the content (or anything really good). Do you have any advice on how to get inspired or research for great content? Just for point of view I'm writing about the restaurant industry relating to the areas of customer service, marketing, and retention.
Thanks so much for the kind words and so glad you liked the Mixergy interview, it was lots of fun!
Great question and it's when were I always give a controversial answer: Don't try to write great content. Try to write lots. Put shitty content out there, and lots of it. And over time, it'll get better.
To tell you what I mean, here is one of the very first articles I've ever written: http://blog.bufferapp.com/the-perfect-tweet
(It shows quite a few retweets, but that's really just because in the recent months someone picked it up).
The article is really bad, gives very little content and overall doesn't teach you much. But hey, that's how I got started, lots of crappy content, at least 100 posts that are as crappy as this one. And after that, you don't have to do anything and your articles will get better!
Oh I remember you talking about this post on Mixergy. Thanks Lee -
Do you have a process of approaching a subject that you are new to? For example productivity was a new subject to you at first right? How did you develop knowledge around the topic?
Some really great insights here. It's a great read.Buffer is a great piece of kit so well done on all that hard work.One thing I was wondering after spending a couple of hours discussing Facebook Graph Search this morning, what kind of attention have you paid to it?
For you, what's the future for graph search and how can content marketers use it most effectively?
Thanks for stopping by the AMA and that's a good question, in fact, one that I'd love to get some answers myself. Unfortunately I haven't used Graph search myself at all, because FB hasn't turned it on for me yet.
Right now, my best estimation is that FB's amount of search has dropped with the new graph search, so they haven't rolled it out to everyone yet. To me, that means that there will be another iteration coming, that will probably work a bit differently - personally I wouldn't spend too much time with it yet. Hope that might be helpful! :)
Thanks Leo!Good to hear.
I've been worrying about it a little myself and making sure OG tags etc. are in place to ensure that we can be found. Not sure how far they're going to take it though. Thanks for the advice!
I was looking at your Zenflow (cool project, by the way).
I find it hard to imagine my days fitting into the same pattern, and I don't even have a startup to run...
How do you (and Joel for that matter) manage to stick to the same daily routine? Any tips would be most appreciated.
Thanks,Mike from Mobify
Ah yes, that's a good one.
I think the key to a good daily routine is to have a great environment. I think Jim Rohn's quote applies:
"You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with."
This is something that I believe makes all the difference of whether you can stick to a daily routine or not. I discuss my routine a lot with Joel and Joel actually has a much better focus still on developing routines and habits, so naturally I'm pushed a lot and motivated through this. Finding others who also have an interest in a great and productive routine really is probably 80-90% of what you can do to set yourself off on the right track.
The other thing I would say is to follow another great piece of advice from Joel which is "let yourself be sloppy". http://joel.is/post/43351497798/when-creating-new-habits-let-yourself-be-sloppy
I think when you start out with your own new habits and routines, don't be too strict with yourself. If you get 3 out of 5 days with your new habit, that's great, celebrate that. And work towards 4/5 and then 5/5 for example.
Hope that helps to start things off! Of course, reading zenhabits.net is another great way to get inspiration!
Thanks a lot!
I'm also a big fan of Buffer from Hong Kong.
I'm following you guys' footprints and building a landing page to test my startup idea. Here are my questions for the smoke test:
1. How do you promote your page in the early days? as I find it hard to drive initial traffic to the site.
2. How do you justify whether the signup conversion rate is reasonable for a particular idea?
3. Would you mind giving me a bit feedback on the page? :) (www.gratifyapp.me)
Could you share some of Buffers' growth hacking techniques that helped you "cross the chasm".
Great to hear from you and unfortunately, we don't have any big growth hacking techniques. All the ones we tried, didn't work out very well so far. The key ones we tried were a referral program ( http://bufferapp.com/referrals ) and a few "share this to get access", but really, those didn't give us the spread we had expected.
So really, we just try to produce great content, put out great new features that we get the press to write about and do killer support, even for free users. No big secret strategies unfortunately! :)
Leo, this is very good feedback for my team. Thanks so much :)
Hi Leo, what is the first thing that came to your mind when you thought of marketing a site like bufferapp which approach did you initiate.
1. Could you shed some light on why there isn't currently buffer integration with Google+? (that I know of, hopefully I'm not mistaken)
2. I personally love buffer, and prefer it heavily to any other scheduling system just based off of it's nimble minimalism alone. Are there any motives towards adding a large amount more functionality or are you planning on keeping quite simple?
How did you eventually get on big blogs such as Lifehacker? I'm sure that syndication drives a ton of traffic.
Awesome question! So this is actually pretty straight forward, Lifehacker has a contributions editor (Tessa Miller) and she is always very open to talk about syndicating some articles from your blog that have already done well. My best suggestion is to just shoot her an email whenever an article is worthy to be republished and see what she thinks. I've also taken the same approach with other publications (Inc, FastCo, etc.)
Let me know if you've got any more questions. And yes, it definitely drives tons of traffic that also converts well!
Hello LEO. Can you share 3 of your best practices for successful content marketing and why? Thanks.
Hi Leo! With your Scoop.it integration, I don't see the Google+ page posting option available. Is that coming soon or do I need to adjust a setting somewhere? Thanks!
Great! Head over to login and use your credentials there