This reminds me of a jwz quote, except I would rewrite it as such:
Some people, when confronted with a marketing problem, think "I know, I'll blog about it." Now they have two marketing problems.
The whole premise of an article like this is that a great product won't draw in users by itself, but it's assumed that a great blog will draw in readers magically. I'm not saying you can't build a large readership. We've seen it done many times. But I'm skeptical that you have to do any less work than you would just to promote the product in the first place. The internet is filled with blogs that nobody reads... I'm writing one myself.
I completely agree actually. The relationship between frequency, quality, promotion, and traction on a blog is fascinating.
What are you doing differently?
- Posted links to my personal Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Tumblr,
- Posted links to my company Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin
- Quibb, Growthhacker.com, HackerNews, Reddit r/startups
- Asked some experts to make comments
- Asked some people to share it
- Asked some people to upmod the story (but don't tell pg!)
- Retweeted some people posting links to it
- Promoted the Tweet from @yesgraph. Promoted the post on Facebook.
- Ask people that got in touch after my /r/startups AMA to help spread it.
- Linked to this thread from the blog post
- Engaged in the comments on HN, reddit, and the blog
I should also stress that I think this is a good post, better than my last one on the blog. That matters a lot too.
Edit: the oatmeal comics are a perfect example of this. The best advertising doesn't look like advertising.
I do think a blog is a product and it requires the same level of distribution focus that another software product would. It requires a similar level of instrumentation and analysis.
Off-topic: The design of that blog. and the landing page feels weird. Doesn't really flow very well, and is hard to read.
Bigger font size and line height would go pretty far IMO. A little more whitespace on headers wouldn't hurt either.
Ugh. I have no idea how you get such success with marketing (e.g. HN front page), beyond... wait for it... telling people how you were successful with marketing. If you're so lucky, more power to you.
And for the record, I never said a blog was a bad idea.
Getting free users is not the hardest thing in the world. People like free things. Getting them to pay you is a different thing altogether.
It took me a while before figuring out how to get to 1000, then 10000, then 100000, but user acquisition and retention are imo the hardest things for a first-time product maker.
I actually think monetization is easy once you have the user base unless your product inherently does not provide any real value.
I bet anything that 99% of startups fail due to traction, not inability to monetize.
Getting 1000 people to pay if they stick around is much easier than if they don't.
Out of curiosity: have you done it, or are you just speculating that it isn't difficult?
Betali.st and similar "tools" worked well for us, although users from these services are easily to get in, but harder to keep engaged (I guess as they're used to jump to the next novelty).
My feeling is that, at early stages, all outperform analytics unless you really know what you're selling and/or you've good landing pages. All have their specific "way to use it", e.g. on Facebook you need a page with engagement, on Stumble you need "something" that people can stumple upon :) e.g. blog posts.
Here I'm considering signups as conversions. Analytics (and Bing) were good to reach a lot of page views (that may still be useful).
Here is how it works
1. Describe a role
2. Invite people to make recommendations
(using the invite link or the direct email flow)
3. Connect to get contacts, and we make it easy to recommend good people