Strong marketing starts with a strong product.

In a PLG business, the product is front and center in how you acquire, convert and expand your users. Your product managers are the equivalent of your great sales rep. Yet research shows that most PMs don’t own the metrics they’re measured against.”

The SaaS Trends You Need to Know for 2020 (OpenView)

PLG stands for product-led growth, by the way. I dig the sentiment. Strong marketing starts with a strong product.

Online advertising comes full circle

As we look beyond a sort of a digital programmatic world that’s underpinned by cookies, it’s become really about audience. How do we reclaim some of the value that has always traditionally resided with publishers, which is about quality, context and trust? Once you begin to think of good advertising in those terms, it seemed to align our commercial interests and our values, and then it became almost unarguable that this was a commitment and a statement that we should make.”

The Guardian’s historic ban on fossil fuel ads (Heated)

Snipped from an interview with The Guardian’s interim CEO Anna Bateson in the latest Heated newsletter.

The line re: moving away from programmatic advertising resonated with me. I agree with it. I’d love to see a resurgence in direct relationships between publishers and advertisers; placement based on context, audience, and alignment.

Creating common knowledge

Creating common knowledge creates a network effect. All companies in Silicon Valley want to build network effects, but few have followed Barton’s path despite its effectiveness. The more people use and trust Glassdoor, the more companies must take it seriously. And as users see more people contributing to Glassdoor, they can be more confident they’ll stay anonymous when they add their review. There are virtuous loops in common knowledge.”

Making Uncommon Knowledge Common (kwokchain)

My hobby from high school through college was to work on gaming fansites and forums.

In those early days (mid 2000’s) it was up to us, the devoted webmaster crowd, to compile information into comprehensive guides and resources for other gamers.

Our guides — usually written by one or two people — drove a fair chunk of search traffic and links. But the vast, vast majority of our traffic came from the forums.

Our forums were a well of common knowledge, deep discussion threads probing all angles of the games we covered.

That arrangement was good for a while. Our sites offered the coherent walkthroughs and references; the forums offered everything else.

Then “Web 2.0” happened.

Read moreCreating common knowledge

Leadership is a role

“To build a great career in content marketing, you need to develop all the right skills, but you also have to elevate above the day-to-day work. To be seen as a leader, you have to act like one. Leadership, therefore, isn’t a job title, it’s a role.”

How to Earn a Senior Content Marketing Role (Animalz)

Shoutout to Devin at Animalz for this piece on career development in the world of content marketing. It piggybacks on an episode of their podcast that’s also worth a listen.

Another juicy takeaway from her article:

“If you want to level up, you need to be the one who comes up with ideas, advocates for them, turns them into reality and gets them to the finish line.”

— Devin Bramhall, Animalz

Devin’s experience at Help Scout feels incredibly familiar, and it matches my own journey at GoDaddy over the last five years.

Read moreLeadership is a role

A dream job in your current company

While there’s no one path to convincing your company to let you do your dream job, career professionals say it’s critical to figure out how your aspirations and interests intersect with the company’s needs. From there, it’s about convincing your company to let you pursue those goals.”

How to Create Your Dream Job Inside a Company (Adobe 99U)

I think about this a lot.

Arriving at GoDaddy nearly five years ago brought me into a company that’s perfectly aligned to the stuff I did for years out of personal interest.

The potential of what we can do at GoDaddy keeps me going, and it’s why I’ve stuck around for so long. (Anything over 2 years seems to be an eternity in tech.)

Things can always change, but for now? Everything I want to do, I can see myself doing with GoDaddy.

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?”

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.

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.