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Kevan Lee works on marketing and content at Buffer, a powerful social media management tool used by 3 million agencies, brands, publishers, and individuals. 

For the past two years, Kevan has helped grow and maintain the Buffer blog, building an audience of 1 million monthly readers and an email list of over 40,000. He's been part of Buffer's unique marketing efforts with email courses, social media growth tactics, syndicated articles, soft-sell content, workshops, and community-building. 

Kevan's writing has appeared on Time, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Inc, and The Next Web.

Ask Kevan about: content marketing, social media, email marketing, growth strategies, company culture, and more!

You can follow him on Twitter: @kevanlee

He will be live on July 12 starting 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • GD

    Guerric de Ternay

    over 2 years ago #

    Hello Kevan,

    You've done a great job at creating practical content, e.g. I'm going back frequently to your article about Headline Formulas (https://blog.bufferapp.com/headline-formulas). I can tell you that it has inspired many headlines of articles I wrote, especially here (http://boostcompanies.com/).

    There are two questions that I really wanted to ask you:

    1. What is your process for choosing the topics you want to write at Buffer? How do you balance between something truly related to the problems Buffer/Respond/Pablo solve and the soft content about leadership, personal growth...?

    2. How do you go through writing an article once the topic has been decided? Do you have precise outline? Is there a content formula that you're using? Do you start with the call-to-action (or what you want the reader to do next) and then go backward to write the piece?

    Thanks!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A2: How we write our articles: I will always write the intro first; I feel this helps get me in the right frame of mind for the article and also helps me overcome the tyranny of the blank page. :)

      Our intros typically are Before-After-Bridge ... Tell some what their life is like now, tell someone what their life could be like, tell them how to get there.

      I'll then add research to the draft and organize it in somewhat of an outline form. I don't go so far as to outline content ahead of time, as I find that sometimes I'll need to change direction with the article as I learn more on the topic.

      Occasionally we'll do a CTA-focused article, though those are a bit more rare. It's more often the case that we'll identify an article ahead of time as a TOFU-focused piece (goal: spread super far) or a Buffer-focused piece (goal: Buffer signups).

      There's quite a bit more detail here as well: https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-write-a-blog-post

      3 Share
    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Guerric! Thanks so much for the questions. Awesome to see your headlines on http://boostcompanies.com :)

      A1: Choosing topics to write: We get a lot of inspiration from the other sites we read, in terms of headlines and topics. We keep an ongoing Trello board of ideas, and we're able to add anything there (totally half-baked even). We do a fair bit of content ideas from SEO, too, where we'll identify a topic that we feel is relevant to Buffer and build content around that.

      Recently we've been working off of the hub-and-spoke strategy mentioned here: http://www.jimmydaly.com/hub-and-spoke/

      3 Share
  • JQ

    Jason Quey

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan! Thanks for doing this AMA.

    If you were to start the Buffer blog over today, what would be the route you would take to get it to a position like it is today? And perhaps a rough timeline of time spent?

    Look forward to your AMA!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Jason! Great to hear from you. :)

      If I were to start over with the blog today, I would spend a lot of time thinking up a "blue ocean strategy," trying to find a topic that is unique and fairly low on competition.

      http://coschedule.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Blog_Garrett_BlueRedOcean_Comparison.png

      I'd test a couple different methods (these are my 2 faves): 1, posting consistently 1x per week on the topic, or 2, posting intermittently and only when the content is really good (the Brian Dean/Backlinko method)

      In terms of getting the new blog to where the Buffer blog is (1M visits/month), I think both of these strategies can work great. My sense is I'd want to be really, really good on social/email with the 1x/week strategy, and really good on SEO with the every-so-often frequency.

      3 Share
      • KL

        Kevan Lee

        over 2 years ago #

        Oh, total time to get there:

        I wouldn't put any big expectations on myself for the first 6 months. Then after 6 months, I'd feel in a good position to really chase some ambitious targets. (of course, those first 6 months, I'd hope to have learned a lot about what worked and what didn't)

      • JQ

        Jason Quey

        over 2 years ago #

        Solid advice, thanks for the thorough response Kevin.

        Yes, the consistency vs. depth debate (I hate saying "quantity vs. quality" as it isn't always mutually exclusive) is quite fascinating, and never thought about how it changes the marketing plan too. I know Syed from OptinMonster/WPBeginner believes people should strive to do both, which is what you see with news publications.

        When you see Ash next, feel free to say hi for me :)

    • JQ

      Jason Quey

      over 2 years ago #

      Another question - at what point in the life of a blog do you think it is advantageous to hire a blog editor?

      • KL

        Kevan Lee

        over 2 years ago #

        Ah, great one! I would wait quite awhile before hiring an editor.

        In theory, I would probably not hire an editor if it is a one-author blog. Ideally, the one-author would have strong enough editing skills that they could do the bulk of it on their own.

        I'd hire a full-time editor for a multi-author blog when it gets to 3 writers or if the publishing frequency is quite ambitious.

        My hiring preference would be:
        1st - hire a great writer with strong editing skills
        2nd - hire a great editorial director/growth person with strong editing skills
        3rd - hire an editor

        4 Share
  • VS

    Vassilis Stathopoulos

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan,

    Huge fan of your work at Buffer.
    We've featured you in a lot of our articles over at our Growth Hacking Marketing blog (https://growthrocks.com/blog/).

    I was wondering, and it is a subject that really challenges me:

    1. What is the process you go through to come up with your Content Marketing Strategy? Is it linked with SEO efforts and if yes, how? Do you just write about things that are trending on the news? Maybe a combination of the two?

    2. What is the Growth Strategy that you use for the Buffer Social blog?

    Thanks in advance!
    Bill

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Vassilis! So good to have you on the AMA :)

      A1: Great question on strategy. Big question! I'll give you the high-level view if that's okay, and feel free to ask for more details in reply :)

      For our current blog strategy, our writers have one number to own: sessions. We trust that an increase in sessions will lead to an increase in signups/conversions because we've optimized the page to convert (ideally, optimization is someone else's role rather than the writer's so that the the writer can focus just on the content - I know it's not always that easy!)

      To get to that sessions goal, we do a few things. These are our tentpole efforts:

      1: SEO - Create content with an SEO focus in mind (keyword- or topic-focused). Go through old evergreen content to update/refresh.
      2: Read/spread - Tools posts, roundups, ego-boosting posts (basically influencer roundups)
      3: Social media news - If the topic is big enough, we'll write about it as soon as we can to get with the trending topic (this worked really well with the F8 conference and with the recent FB News Feed changes)

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A2: I might have answered a bit about our growth strategy in the above answer also!

      We keep it rather simple, I think.

      1. Grow the sessions to our Buffer blog posts
      2. Optimize the blog so that the one action we want our reader to take is crystal clear
      3. Test and change CTAs often

  • BS

    Bobby Stemper

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan,

    First of all, you're a content mad-man. It's really incredible to see a company whose content provides just as much value to its customers as its paid product does (in my experience).

    I'm wondering, how did Buffer first approach including its own product in its content efforts? The "$0 Marketing Stack" or How to Spend $100 SMM Budget". Similarly, before Buffer became a no-brainer inclusion on similar industry "lists," was there a strategy for blog outreach to be included?

    Really excited to hear your perspective!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Bobby! Thanks so much for the comment & question. So great to have you as a reader and user! :)

      Yeah, I believe our self-promotional strategy began when our co-founder Leo was doing guest posts early on in Buffer's journey. He had a couple different learnings there:

      1. The guest posts that performed best were tools lists
      2. These were also rather simple and smooth to put together
      3. Placing Buffer at the top of the list brought the most conversions (and didn't turn off many people at all)

      We aimed to carry that forward with our blog strategy also. One approach that we tend to take with these things is that we feel Buffer is an amazing product for a lot of folks and also might not be right for everyone. So when we do include it, we try to be honest about what we feel Buffer contributes to the list as well as other alternatives if relevant.

  • SI

    Sarosha Imtiaz

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    What were some difficulties you faced while marketing Buffer pre and post launch?
    Also how did you approach promoting your product on social media and blog posts?

    Can't wait to hear from you!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Sarosha! Thanks so much for this question. :)

      A1: I joined Buffer when it was around 17 people, so I don't quite have the exact history of how Joel/Leo got Buffer off the ground. From what I do know, Leo was doing all the marketing for Buffer, and he tried out many different strategies at first to gain traction. The one that worked best for us was content marketing, so he doubled down there with a very ambitious guest posting pace (up to 3x per day). Now that Buffer is more established, we've continued to emphasize content marketing while also expanding into social media marketing, word-of-mouth, PR, and email.

      A2: When it comes to promoting Buffer on social and in blog posts, we more often lean toward mentioning Buffer explicitly in blog content, then using social to reference and send traffic to that content. It's rare that we'll promote directly on social as we feel it's top-of-funnel to the point that we're not really after product promotion yet. With the promotional blog content, we always make sure that it's more than just a straight up product pitch but that we're also providing value to the reader, ideally in terms of actionable advice, tips, or research. :)

  • IC

    Ian Chandler

    over 2 years ago #

    Kevan, what's the most surprising trend you've seen among users? Whether those are blog readers or site visitors.

    And how did you establish yourself and join Buffer? I'm always interested in hearing how people got to where they are today.

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Ian! Great questions here. :)

      A1: One of the most surprising things I've seen with blog readers (and this might be obvious to a lot of bloggers) is how little time some folks can spend on the page. We've installed Hotjar on the blog so we can see visitor recordings and heatmaps, and it's quite interesting to note people's behavior as they visit a page.

      We've been able to carry forward some learnings from this:
      1 - Designing things to be more scannable
      - images, headings, etc
      2 - Adding a table of contents to our longer posts
      3 - Placing CTAs at or near the top of an article

      • IC

        Ian Chandler

        over 2 years ago #

        Excellent takeaways. The table of contents idea is especially useful. Thanks Kevan!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A2: Great question! I had applied to Buffer once before and didn't quite make it in. I wasn't very established at all at the time. Between that first application and the second was about 9 months, and I spent that time building as many connections and as much portfolio as I could. I stayed in touch with the Buffer team and submitted guest posts there (I was grateful they picked up several!). Those guest posts led to some writing spots on iDoneThis, Lifehacker, WorkAwesome, and some other places. Then when the time came to apply again, I was able to show that I could get results with my writing. (oh, and I spent a lot of time reading/learning how to write, too!)

  • AB

    Alexandra Belicova

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan!

    Thanks for doing the AMA :)

    Buffer has quite a following on Instagram. How do you guys convert your followers into customers?

    Thanks in advance!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Alexandra! Great to hear from you. Thanks for the question! :)

      We view our Instagram efforts as a way to build brand affinity, and less so a direct follower > customer conversion channel. I think MailChimp has a great way of putting it; we want to create a bias for Buffer in the mind of our followers so that when they're ready to choose a social media tool, we'll have a leg up. :)

      On a very tactical level, we'll sometimes use our Instagram captions and bio to direct followers to landing pages. We change the link in our bio, then write "Check the link in our bio for more info" in the caption.

      Contests tend to work well, too! Our contest IGs are our most popular ones to date.

      3 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    Buffer is a great product. I remember interacting with Leo and Joel at the very beginning. So thrilled to see the success you guys have achieved.

    I have a simple question for you, Kevan:
    What is the one thing to do extraordinary well to create great content?

    Merci!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Arsene! Wonderful to hear from you. Great to know you've met Leo/Joel before.

      I love your question. :)

      To create great content, one thing I think you need to do extraordinarily well is to consume content.

      Sounds easy, right? haha. I feel that consuming content is a skill. To do it well, you have to know the right content to consume, and you need to have a keen eye for what might be worth trying (or not trying) with your own content.

      There's this great quote from Anne Lamott about writer's block. She doesn't believe in writer's block, but rather that a writer might just be empty. Consuming content makes sure that you're never empty and that you're always being aware of what to try next.

      3 Share
    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Ooh, loved this question so much, I thought of another answer!

      "If you give freely, there will always be more." - This is one of my favorite quotes from Lamott. I've tried to make this true for what I do as a marketer and writer also. What this means to me is that you should be free to try and experiment things and to not hold onto your ideas too long. An idea is only worth something once it's out in the world!

  • PO

    Pavel Okulov

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan,

    I'm curious about your experience for monetizing blog traffic with social marketing budget.

    1. What is your funnel for paid traffic going to blog? What is the split of your initial awareness/prospecting budget vs remarketing to convert?

    2. How do you scale these efforts budget-wise? How much have you been able to spend per single post?

    3. What do you think of opt-ins on blog to help monetize traffic?

    Thank you for doing the AMA!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Pavel! Thanks for the great questions, I learned a lot just thinking through them!

      A1: We have a very small paid ads budget, and most of the paid social that we do is boosting posts that have seen high engagement/low reach. We don't do prospecting or remarketing, and the funnel from paid is the same as the funnel from any channel to our content.

      A2: Currently we spend ~max of $100 on any post, typically less. If we were to scale, I think some of the factors in our decision would be LTV, quality of the users that come from paid (activation/retention/churn), and then we'd scale up by channel and also by content bucket (TOFU vs. Buffer-focused)

      A3: Unobtrusive opt-ins are great! We don't do much with takeovers or modals or welcome mats, though I think there's a way to do them well by giving them the proper thought and attention. In general, my sense would be that most websites could do more asks/CTAS than they think!

  • MM

    martín medina

    over 2 years ago #

    Kevan, thanks for doing this AMA.

    You guys seem to be content creation machines over at Buffer, what tips do you have for creating a lot of great content?

    As somebody who works in marketing at Buffer how would you recommend somebody use Buffer to assist with their marketing efforts. Additionally, what are some of the most creative uses of Buffer you have seen for marketing?

    Lastly, I saw you guys have somewhat of a YouTube presence and are constantly producing video content. What is your strategy for online video? As somebody who works with video content a lot. I love seeing brands embracing video content.

    Thanks!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Martin! Great to hear from you. :)

      A1: How we create lots of content

      From a high-level, I feel that in order to create content at scale, you have to make content a priority for your company & marketing team. This means that someone(s) is devoted fully to content and there is respect for the time and space that it takes to create great work.

      From a more tactical level, I've found that I'm most productive and prolific when ...

      1 - I'm shipping an article when it's good rather than perfect
      2 - I have given myself a deadline or set a content schedule
      3 - I use the same method every time (idea, intro, research, outline, write, edit, design, edit, publish, promote)
      4 - I treat every blog post as an experiment - This sometimes helps me get over the mental block of feeling that every post has to be an all-out winner (though of course that's the aim with each one)

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A2 - For someone looking to Buffer to assist with their marketing efforts, I feel the greatest benefit they'll receive is freedom and time. We give you the chance to boost your social media results in less time by

      - scheduling content ahead of time
      - easily seeing what's working and what's not
      - easily resharing and refilling your queue with good content
      - keeping a consistent presence on social

      These are the key points in my mind! Would love to hear what you've experience with the product if you've had the chance to try it out. :)

      As far as creative uses, I've had a lot of success with this IFTTT recipe that connects my Pocket favorites to Buffer:

      https://ifttt.com/recipes/307419-automatically-add-articles-you-favorite-in-pocket-to-your-buffer-queue

      And I heard of one person who used to use Buffer as an alarm clock: He would schedule a disparaging tweet for early the next morning, which gave him the incentive to get out of bed to delete it before it went live!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A3: Thanks for asking about video content! It's a bit of a new field for us on the marketing side.

      Our previous experiments there were mostly around customer success and education.

      Now that FB Live and Snapchat are gaining prominence, we're expanding to include video in a lot more places and to take a dual tips / thought leadership approach. We'd seen good results from an email course that included daily video tips, so we're hoping to carry that over to social networks and then repurpose for the blog when relevant. For thought leadership, we're hoping to be the Mark Suster of social media snapchat. :)

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan,

    I used to use Buffer every single day for my content scheduling. However, a lot of my social media has moved over to Instagram, which restricts my use of Buffer. As new social media applications grow to critical size, how can Buffer continue its growth if you do not have the ability to schedule on these apps?

    Can you build content around tips for scheduling, even if you don't have the ability to do so on the apps?

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Logan! Great to see you here. Thanks for the awesome question. :)

      You're right, it becomes a bit of challenge when you can't fully schedule to these platforms (we just launched Instagram support today, which uses a notifications workaround).

      Where I see Buffer continuing its growth is as an all-around social media marketing tool, built on the foundation of scheduling/publishing/content. I think there are some innovative things we can explore as a product with delivering actionable analytics/insights (I feel a personal need for this as a marketer), making it easy to discover and share great content, and mastering paid promotion for your brand.

      For our content strategy, we've shifted slightly toward more all-around social marketing tips, including quite a few resources on Snapchat and paid ads and other things that are yet to fully integrate into Buffer.

      Would love your thoughts on Buffer's future as well!

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      over 2 years ago #

      Hey Logan - guess what just released: https://buffer.com/instagram

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    over 2 years ago #

    Awesome to have you on Kevan.

    A couple of questions from me:

    1) What first spawned Buffer's transparent policy and what positives and negatives have been taken away from the whole exercise?

    2) What key strategies helped you achieve the most growth with your email list and how do you continue to keep them engaged?

    3) What is your favourite social media channel to use, to execute Buffer's social strategy? I'd be excited to hear your thoughts on this.

    I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Edward! Thanks for joining the chat! :)

      A1 - Transparency began when we first set down company culture, maybe 4 years ago when the team was less than 10 people.

      Joel describes it really well here:

      http://joel.is/why-we-have-a-core-value-of-transparency-at-our-startup/

      Some of the big positives are that it's a wonderful way to get work done. I feel that Buffer trusts me with information, and I'm able to make better decisions when I have the full context. From a marketing side, we're able to create whatever content we want without worrying if we shouldn't be talking about this or that. And on the unconventional PR side, we've got some great press with our transparent salaries and other transparency experiments.

      Leo talks about some of these positives in this blog post and also some of the negatives, like transparent feedback:

      https://open.buffer.com/build-company-culture/

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A3 - Our favorite social media channel with Buffer's social strategy is a close call: I'd say it's still Twitter for the moment. We have a lot of our early initiatives that started there - like #bufferchat. I'd say the tides are moving a bit toward Facebook as an experimentation and growth channel and Snapchat as an exploratory channel.

      (btw, my favorite personal social media channel is Tumblr) :)

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      A2 - Our biggest email list growth came when we changed every CTA on our blog to an email signup CTA (I believe it was 9 CTAs total). Of those CTAs, our best-performing ones were the HelloBar at the top of the page and the slideup that came when a user scrolled down 60% of a page.

      We aim to keep the list engaged with consistent outreach with new posts. We automate a daily RSS email with the latest content, and we give people the choice to receive either that or a weekly newsletter digest of Buffer posts as well as posts from around the web.

  • JB

    Joseph Bentzel

    over 2 years ago #

    KL: What do you say to people like me who believe that "scheduled tweets" et al, and "social media management" tools degrade the social experience and turn social platforms into massively over-saturated spam channels that clutter timelines and drive away users over time?

    I get your stated value prop but I'm looking for a real answer here other than "Well I guess you're not our target customer".

    Also, are you guys formal members of the Twitter partner program and if not, why not? Thanks in advance. JB

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Joseph! This is a great question, thanks for the chance to chat about this one with you.

      You're 100% correct. There are a lot of unfortunate ways that people use social media scheduling and automation, and it leads to a poor experience for the network and audience. We are aware of these types of challenges, and we have a couple ways that we work to educate people about other ways:

      1 - We make product decisions that lean toward original content w/ native messaging for each network (we sunsetted a content suggestions feature, we've yet to greenlight bulk uploading)

      2 - We create content on our Buffer blog that shares alternatives to the "spam" style of posting - authentic, organic ways of audience growth that can benefit greatly from a streamlined, orderly plan w/ a social media tool

      Would love to elaborate on that if you'd like to continue the convo!

      As for the Twitter partner program, I don't believe we are official partners. I'm not sure how far into those conversations we've been yet. We do have several contacts there that we work with regularly.

      • JB

        Joseph Bentzel

        over 2 years ago #

        KL: Thanks for the response. Good information on mapping product decisions to specific networks. Stay on top of the Twitter partner thing. Each of these mainstream networks that monetize via ads can "pivot" their model relative to app developers quickly and without warning, i.e. changing access to their API and/or changing some key functionality in favor of a public/private model. Be well. JB

  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan,

    Thank you for doing the AMA with us.

    Buffer is definitely killing it with content, so does Hubspot. Do you think content marketing works particularly well with B2B companies?

    Do you think there is a difference in term of content strategy for B2B vs. other type of companies? For example, do you see any B2C companies or mobile app using content marketing strategy effectively? Can you give some examples?

    Thanks!
    Hila

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Hila! Thanks for the great questions. :)

      Content for B2B vs B2C is definitely an interesting one to think through. My early intuition is that traditional content marketing is likely to be more effective and useful for B2B because there is a longer, more research-led buying cycle. With B2C, I feel a lot of the content ends up being pushed to where the consumer is at - paid ads on social, native content on other websites.

      In terms of examples, I think there are some publishers who use content in really effective ways. BuzzFeed obviously and Vox, too. And I tend to look to these as companies that are doing a consumer-focused strategy right.

  • LH

    Lauren Holliday

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan.

    As a content writer/editor, I'm always skeptical about how "honest" and/or "accurate" posts are from popular blogs.

    What does Buffer do to ensure that all the content you publish is accurate? Do you check interview sources?

    When you do case studies of other companies, how do you know that what they're telling you is accurate?

    I'm just wondering what sort of due diligence - if any - Buffer puts into blog posts, especially about its customer case studies.

    Thanks.

    Lauren

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Lauren! Thanks for the great question. This is a topic I think doesn't get talked about in content circles enough!

      One of the interesting challenges we've noted with our coverage of social media research and data is about how quickly things change on social and how the timing/scope of a study impacts the learnings. This is an area we try to be quite aware of in our research and then also to communicate clearly in the body of the article.

      For our case studies, we conduct interviews with the social media teams for the brands who use Buffer, typically speaking with the main social media manager and/or the marketing lead. Mostly we take them at their word with the information that they share with us - stats, team info, etc. We're very open to ideas on ways to vet this further as I think it's quite a new area for us!

      Overall, I feel that we're quite trustworthy of our sources and then very open to changing/editing as we might learn more after publish. Would love your thoughts on that approach!

      2 Share
  • IG

    Ian Golden

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan -

    Thanks for taking the time for this! You the man.

    I read a post by Hiten Shah that mentioned you wrote three guest blog posts a day. Massive action!

    How did you find those blogs to guest post for? Cold outreach, connections, etc... And when you found them, how did you discern the valuable opportunities. Or did you just take all of them?

    Thanks in advance.

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi there Ian! Awesome question, this is a great topic. :)

      Yeah, I think Hiten's story might have been about our co-founder Leo in the early days of Buffer. 3x per day is massive indeed!

      From what I know about the process there, I think these were a few of the keys:

      1 - Early on, accept as many guest posts as you can
      2 - As time goes on, be mindful about your time/the potential impact of the guest post website
      3 - How to choose which sites: The size of the site's traffic, the area/focus of the site (does it align with your industry/product?)
      4 - A lot of it starts with cold outreach. A warm intro is better (as always), but a cold one is fine too, especially if you have a strong idea or previously validated content

  • PI

    Peter Indelicato

    over 2 years ago #

    Is cross-posting evil? When is/isn't it appropriate? How do you make your cross-posts look "natural" on all platforms?

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Great question, Peter! made me chuckle a bit :)

      We do cross-post to Medium, and we syndicate our blog posts to sites like TNW, Time, Ent, Lifehacker, etc.

      We feel that syndication is totally fine - it's basically about taking your content to new audiences and making it easy to find there. In terms of growth, it can have a really great effect or it can sometimes fall a bit flat. I think there're a couple things to think of there:

      1 - Does the content fit the network? For instance, with Medium we're finding that our work culture content tends to spread further than social media content
      2 - Customize, customize, customize. We spend time with each post to make it look native to the platform. That can be as simple as images/headings, and then also going deeper into the CTAS and asks at the end ("click the green heart to recommend" on Medium)

      • PI

        Peter Indelicato

        over 2 years ago #

        Thanks Kevan! You got right to the point I was hoping you would with your second bullet point. Cheers - Pete

  • TB

    Tanal Basma

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan

    Awesome to have you doing this AMA!

    Curious to know your thoughts on where we are headed with content marketing?
    & How do you suppose we can keep it relevant so it stands out to our target audience?

    Thanks much!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Tanal! Really great to hear from you :)

      The future of content marketing is a really interesting topic. I'm not sure I have the right answer at all; these are just some thoughts we've been mulling at Buffer.

      Multimedia articles: It may be that more and more articles end up supporting the written text with audio clips, video, slides, etc. (example: https://sleeknote.com/why-ecommerce-sites-fail-in-cro/)

      1 blog post, 3 ways: I could see content leaning quite explicitly into the realm of repurposing, such that you might post an original 2,000-word article to your blog, a 500-word followup to Medium, a video overview to FB, etc.

      Promotion: Especially for brands that post bigger pieces less often, there might be some movement toward teasers/previews/trailers of upcoming content that will drive more traffic.

      Seasons: We've seen this a bit with podcasts, and I think the same could happen with content: Running a content series for a couple of months, like an interview series in a season format.

  • NC

    Nge Chee Keen

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan, thanks for this and always appreciate your writings!

    2 questions, for someone who's new and want to improve considerably on writing.

    1) How should one practice writing? (presumably, the obvious way to improve is to keep writing)

    2) How do I get feedback on my writings more effectively? (what am I looking for when I ask someone to critique my writings)

    Thanks again

    • NC

      Nge Chee Keen

      over 2 years ago #

      Or actually the shorter version of the same question will be how did you learn to write? and how much time you spent learning before you considered yourself "good enough"?

      • KL

        Kevan Lee

        over 2 years ago #

        Thanks for this question! It's a great one :)

        I went to college to earn a degree in journalism, so I had the opportunity to study and practice newswriting (clear, organized, deadline-focused) for several years. Then after that I picked up blogging and content marketing. I'd say at a minimum that it's great to write 1,000 words per day at first or - even better - 1 new blog post per day, and to give it at least 9 months. You can hack that in some ways, I'm sure - writing 2x blog posts per day, taking classes, joining a writing group, working with an editor. Overall, I think the longer window of time allows you to practice more and to see more content that's being published.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 2 years ago #

    Thanks for doing this AMA Kevan. I'd like to know if you have a specific magic moment (or aha moment) that you target for a first time visitor to Buffer.com? If so, what is that magic moment and what have you done to optimize the percentage of people that reach it on an initial visit to Buffer.com?

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Sean! Thanks so much. Love this question!

      I'd say that the aha moment for visitors is this idea that you can manage multiple social networks (6) from one location. The emotion behind that is relief, joy, surprise, a sense of freedom. We're hoping to capture that mainly with the

      1 - graphic in the header https://buffer.com/images/home/img-buffer-illustration-hub-960@2x.png
      2 - "Save Time" text in the main heading and "in one place" in the 2nd heading
      3 - The footer of the page reiterates similar language/feel by showing all the social networks we support

      I'd say we currently get a large portion of traffic to buffer.com that comes from word of mouth or has a previous affinity for the brand. So one moment that we're trying to capture there is a connection to what someone knows about Buffer (logo, community feel with the profile pics, etc) and also a clear description of what Buffer does. :)

  • TG

    TJ Gray

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Kevan thanks for doing this AMA!

    My question is about the different channels Buffer can possibly grow into. Do you see a time in the near future that people will be able to buffer their Snapchat content? I think Snapchat's memories can play a big roll in that by being where the content that becomes buffered is stored.
    Would love to hear your thoughts or inside scoop on whether being able to buffer Snapchat has a high or low chance of becoming a reality.
    Thanks!

    • KL

      Kevan Lee

      over 2 years ago #

      Hiya TJ! Thanks for this question. Awesome to hear your ideas for Snapchat :)

      Yes, I feel that Buffer has a great opportunity to keep expanding into new social networks and marketing channels. I'm excited to see the evolution of what we offer as well - there will always be this foundation of scheduling/publishing/content, I believe, and there may also be room to grow deeper into other marketing offerings as well like monitoring, research, analytics, support, etc.

      I could see Buffer growing into Snapchat, Medium, Slack, YouTube.

      With Snapchat in particular, I think the launch of Memories was an intriguing signal into the way that businesses and individuals may start using the network. If people might be preparing snapchat content ahead of time, it makes sense that they may also want to schedule it when they're finished. It's sparked some internal conversations at Buffer for sure. :) As you know, there's not quite the api to support scheduling at Snapchat yet. It'd be fun to find a way to make it happen or to innovate in that direction!

  • BL

    Ben Levesque

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Kevan! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the GH community—your wisdom is greatly appreciated :)

    My question is...

    1) If you were starting over from scratch as head of content for a digital marketing agency, what would you do differently to stand out from the crowd? With thousands of DM agencies already creating content around digital marketing (meta, right?), what would you do differently to build brand awareness?

    Thanks ahead!

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