Marketing benchmarks for your side hustle

“If you don’t have any previous numbers to go on, you can use these that work pretty well across industries (though your mileage may vary) for your first project: 1% of eyeballs on your sales page can convert to customers; 3% of an interest (email) list for your project can convert to customers.

There are several factors that impact these numbers: from price point, to the assumption we laid out at the top (how much people actually need/want your thing), to how good your sales copy is, to the quality of the prospects hitting your page, to your pricing strategy, etc.”

Side Project Marketing (Delicious Brains)

I see this all the time in the community Slack teams I belong to. Folks asking about metrics and reporting and what they should aim for. Especially around this time of the year. Everyone’s setting goals and figuring out their plan for the next twelve months.

Benchmarks aren’t perfect but they’re better than nothing. And when you get your baseline in that first go-round, you can step back and think about where to go next.

E.g. in the first month or year of a program I’m interested in setting a decent benchmark and then looking at how we grow 10%, 15%, or (dream big!) 20% through each iteration.

Added emphasis on the word program, by the way. I dig campaigns. The splash n’ sizzle n’ all the noise leading up to it. But I like programs way more. Stuff that’s perpetual, cyclical. That’s the foundation. The campaigns sit on top of it. It’s never a “did we pass or did we fail?” — it’s “how well did we do, and how do we do better next time?”


To all the white boys in the room

All the white boys in the room, even with the best of intentions, will only ever know what it’s like to make make decisions as a white boy. They will only ever have the experiences of white boys. This is true of anyone. You will design things that fit within your own experiences. Even those that attempt to look outside their own experiences will only ever know what questions to ask based on that experience. Even those doing good research can only ask questions they think to ask. In short, even the most well-meaning white boys don’t know what they don’t know. That’s before we even deal with the ones that aren’t well-meaning.”

Opinion: We Built A Broken Internet. (BuzzFeed News)

A thought-provoking opinion piece from BuzzFeed News. The premise of this snippet is uncomfortable — white boy checking in! — but that’s the point of it.

We made the web in our image and we’re unaware of the blind spots. And when others call us out on the blind spots it makes us uncomfortable.


Evernote’s distraction problem

Everything besides the main Evernote app was a distraction from the company’s core mission to help people remember everything. Products like Slack and Google’s G Suite had successfully made the leap from personal product to collaborative product, whereas Evernote had not.”

Why Evernote Failed to Realize Its Potential (FYI)

I was an avid Evernote user back in the day. Shame they lost their focus.


Promotion-first content planning

Instead of treating distribution as the final step in the process, we should treat it as the very first. We start the content creation process with a single distribution channel in mind. We reverse-engineer it, and uncover the common characteristics that cause content to perform well. We build those hallmarks into the fabric of our idea.”

The Secret to Content Promotion (Animalz)

Thinking about where you’re going to promote your content should have a major impact on what content you create.

Different content resonates in different ways depending on where in appears. What works on Reddit will probably differ from what works on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or Instagram, or email, or paid promo.

Business Community

Thought leadership content

You know movement-first content when you see it. It’s sometimes called thought leadership content. Some people call the posts ‘essays’ instead of articles. It looks and feels very different from content optimized for search since it isn’t beholden to any SEO tactics like word count and keyword density.”

How to Scale Content Without Sacrificing Quality (Animalz)

As Google culls traffic referrals in favour of keeping users in the SERPs, I expect more marketers and publishers to pivot towards content worth subscribing to.

Thought leadership content — or, as Animalz describes it, “movement-first content” — fits squarely into that category.

It’s the sort of content that picks up steam through social shares and newsletter citations. It’s the pontificatorials that busines folks drop as LinkedIn Pulse articles.

Predictions about the future. Opinionated essays. Rants. Reviews.

You know the type.

Now, as someone who’s spent the better part of the last five years chasing SEO-friendly content, I’m really excited for this pivot. Because it means, hopefully, a return of original voice and style and stream-of-consciousness blogging that made the early web such a delight.

These writeups are also great fodder for prompting conversations. And as the pendulum swings back from a radically open web to a connected mesh of niche communities, those conversations are going to matter more and more.


Tailor your working hours

“Learn the time of day you’re most energized, creative, and inspired, then tailor your working hours to be during that time.”

How To Increase Productivity, Do Better Work, And Get More Done (Jennifer Bourn)

My mornings are, by far, the most productive part of the day. That’s when I do most of my writing and creative work. It’s a solid few hours of uninterrupted focus/flow time. Then I tackle meetings and admin tasks in the afternoon. It’s worked well so far.


On switching from "audience" to "community"

From hosting 15-25 Executive Members at our monthly roundtables to building out 2PM’s Polymathic, the shift from audience to community has provided serendipity in ways that were previously unimaginable. Subscription revenue becomes the key variable here. Paid memberships provide a level of opportunity that advertising-driven platforms cannot. For a practical example, consider the difference between fast food restaurants and four star establishments.”

From Audiences to Communities (2PML)

This feels so perfectly in tune with a tweet thread I dropped over the weekend. (And, go figure, as I write this, I find my thread cited in the 2PML post…!)

Aside, I submitted a pitch to talk about this very topic at PodCamp Toronto 2020: A Renaissance for Online Communities.

Community Life

America's urban transformation

“Many communities grew more racially and ethnically diverse this decade, mirroring the rising diversity of the country as a whole. Such demographic shifts generally aren’t apparent from a satellite’s view. But we found some telltale signs.”

A Decade of Urban Transformation, Seen From Above (New York Times)

An interactive visual essay from Upshot (New York Times) documenting the dramatic transformation of American communities over the past decade.


The Good Place is a show about everything

“The Good Place” is a show about everything — including, and especially, growing and learning. By all rights, it should probably be awful — preachy, awkward, tedious, wooden, labored and out of touch. Instead, it is excellent: a work of popular art that hits on many levels at once.

The Ultimate Sitcom (New York Times Magazine)

When the show first premiered I didn’t know what to make of it — a bizarre sci-fi fantasy sitcom hybrid anchored in ethics and philosophy. But it grew on us. And it feels like such a perfectly-timed series given what’s happening in the world right now.


Blog posts take hours to write

“In 2014, the average blog post took about 2.5 hours to write. Today, bloggers are spending a lot more time on a typical article; time spent per post has risen 44%. The average blog post now takes 3.5 hours to write.

5 Years of Blogging Statistics (Orbit Media)