🔥🔥 7 Innovative New Ways Publishers Can Market To Gen Z Now Facebook Organic Reach Is Officially Dead ☠️

You spent the last 5 years meticulously growing your Facebook pages’ likes and reach, enjoying endless supposedly free traffic from the Web’s biggest social network only to see it disappear overnight. Ouch.

When Zuckerberg told congress “Senator, we run ads” he wasn’t joking, with many publishers and brands seeing their organic reach plummet by 40% or more in 2018, continuing a trend that began many years back.

So if you’re looking for innovative and free ways to acquire new users to your website or sales page now that the Facebook traffic train is on a time out, here’s some platforms and ideas you need to start experimenting with today:

1. Facebook Groups

There are still ways to generate organic traffic from Facebook and one of them is through Facebook groups. Themed around topics of interest, these are groups you can both create and participate in, many with 100,000s of members.

Members of the groups can post to them and if approved, the post will generate a notification or be seen in the feed of a large number members. The right post can generate higher click through rates and more conversations than you’d see on your own page posts.

However, for the best results you will need to invest time, money and resources into the group you create or engage in. You need to remember that these are communities, not places to broadcast into it.

Maximum Pop! launched a bookish YA group and invites publishers and authors to join

Continue reading “🔥🔥 7 Innovative New Ways Publishers Can Market To Gen Z Now Facebook Organic Reach Is Officially Dead ☠️”

This Is How We Brief Freelance Article Writers on BuzzBRTN. And Why The Headline Is So Important

The launch of Buzz Brighton has seen me significantly refine how I brief freelancers when they’re commissioned to write an article. In this post, I’ll share our Article Brief Template, and our biggest insight in terms of article performance.

The aim of the new Article Brief Template is to create structure and clarity, and reduce friction in the briefing process, empowering the writer to create their best work with as little back-and-forth as possible.

It’s a sort-of cheat sheet for the writer and the individual commissioning.

I’ve shared it at the link below. If you’re commissioning writers please feel free to use it as you like.

[VIEW THE ARTICLE BRIEF TEMPLATE]

The brief outlines the site’s tone and audience, details all elements of the article being commissioned, and outlines the payment amount and terms.

The most important part of this document? The headline.

Article headlines determine the article’s performance on social platforms, the cost (per click) of paid activity, and the number of social shares. It is the single biggest single factor in the performance of an article, followed closely by the article image itself.

For this reason I no longer commission any article unless there is an agreed headline that I believe will deliver article reads.

The article created from the template brief can be found here.

Do you commission writers, or are you a freelancer writing to briefs? Leave a comment below and share your insights.

(I’ll share our guidance on writing headlines that perform in a later post)

It’s 2018 And Our New Site Is BuzzBRTN. The Best Of Brighton On A Budget

Hello again

After three years Airbnb-ing in 20 different cities worldwide and routinely disappointing my family, I’ve now moved semi-permanently to Brighton.

And what better way to ease myself slowly into laid-back sea-side living than to launch a brand new publication. From scratch. In two weeks.

BuzzBRTN is the best of Brighton on a budget, or Time Out by the seaside.

The last three months have been spent validating whether we can launch a new publishing brand, commission capable and knowledgeable writers, build a local audience, drive traffic from Facebook, and generate revenue.

The good news – we can. Sort of.

So here it is, BuzzBRTN. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

More soon.

Dad

The thing about dad was, he spent a lot of time making you do things you didn’t want to do.

My earliest memory of this was when he took me and Alana on a surprise holiday. We certainly were surprised when this turned out to be a 12 mile charity cycle ride which we had been unknowingly entered into. Promises of an ice cream at the finish line kept us going. Sadly they failed to materialise as dad had managed to leave his wallet at home.

Several years later I found myself scrambling on my hands and knees during the ascent of Helvellyn via Striding Edge in the Lake District, England’s third highest peak. Strangely, earlier that day dad had cheerily pointed to the walking guide and told me that it was a pleasant, beginners’ walk.

In more recent years my dad’s adventurous spirit inspired me to spend a week skiing in Andorra at a close friend’s stag do. As a novice skiier I was worried that my incompetence would be obvious, especially as the skill level of my friends varied from very good to adrenaline junkie. I called my dad questioning if I should go and he told me “You only live once”. I asked him if a 59-year old man had just YOLOd me, and he replied “Yes”. I booked the flights that night and a week later I returned bruised, tired but convinced it wouldn’t be my last time. My dad was the first person I called on my return.

Someone dad loved sharing his adventurous times with was his mum, our nanny, who found herself climbing the stairs in the leaning tower of Pisa, viewing the Blackpool illuminations, and taking the most comfortable spot at the back of Plan B as he navigated us and our boat around the waters of The Solent. He took great pride in this relationship and was a thoughtful and caring son to my wonderful nan.

In the last few years he was joined by his partner in crime, Jane. Photos from their travels could fill 100 albums, and there are truly enough memories to last a lifetime. Jane, we are so grateful that you made our dad so happy. I know our family Christmases will continue, and maybe this year we can buy the fancy Christmas crackers, and you can guarantee that there will be no goats given.

I have never seen my dad more proud than at my sister’s graduation, however the moment was somewhat ruined by the inconsiderate person whose phone was ringing throughout the service. Dad you really should have turned it off. And although he was sometimes the type of man to tick off each transaction on his credit card statement, he took great pleasure in paying for the whole family to celebrate Alana’s achievement together.

Bike riding, rib sailing, rock climbing how much sadder all our lives will be without my dad in it. And in years to come I’ll tread my own path guided and inspired by the man I love very much.

Update: I’m still alive and this is what I’ve been up to

NEW JOB
  • I’ve joined music app startup CrowdMix as Product Director
  • We’re moving into our new offices at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, London next week
  • I was convinced by a really smart team of developers, sales and marketing people
  • You can expect to hear me banging on a lot about this in the next few months
MAXIMUM POP!
  • Maximum Pop! now has a full time editor, the saucy workaholic Verity who has grown daily visits, revenue and Twitter followers significantly in the last 2 months.
TEEN EVENTS
  • Teen Events registered just under 11,000 users but has struggled to find product market fit
  • The cost of development became prohibitive and an exhaustive search for a CTO was unsuccessful
  • I’ve started to see some of the ‘tracking’ themes (and very similar marketing messaging) explored in new apps Notivo and Socialite
  • Product and focus group insights led me to believe a mobile app with more sensitive push notifications and a focus on what was happening ‘now’ would be a more compelling product, but I was unable to validate this outside of design work (see below)
  • In the short term, I will be merging Teen Events into Maximum Pop! so that I can combine the social output, increase search footprint, and compound awareness of the MP! brand. Later in the year I’m looking to launch an events mobile app. Design work below
  • At some point I’ll write up one of those grim ‘lessons learned’ posts
THIS BLOG
  • Will remain online in case someone / anyone finds it useful
  • Will include updates on Maximum Pop! / editorial online / app product thoughts / life at CrowdMix

PERSONAL

  • Went swimming. Didn’t drown.
  • I live in a warehouse on an industrial estate.

 TEEN EVENTS APP DESIGN WORK

Earlier this year a very talented designer named Alice Cappo worked with me to realise Teen Events as a mobile app. She created the design work in a week and then showed it to 15 people at the O2 on a mobile phone. The feedback was extremely positive. You can see that design work below to get an understanding of the direction of the product:

After several months looking for angel funding I’ve realised I’m not investible. Here’s why.

A story for you. 2 years ago I created a pop artist marketing agency. I won my first client, and after a successful one-week trial, I started asking for £500 a week to manage pop artists’ social profiles, websites, mailers and fan events, double average industry rates.

Off the back of some great work, and an unexpectedly high chart position from my first client, I won work from every major UK record label. Within 3 months I had 5 employees housed in an office in Soho. 90% of people I pitched went on to be clients.

It never crossed my mind to work for free.

I was building a company that offered a unique, labour intensive and much-needed service to record label Product Managers… and that required being paid. Obviously.

Fast forward to today and I have my ‘startup’ Teen Events. I’m part of London’s Google-Campus-fuelled ecosystem of individuals ‘looking for funding’, with me somewhere at the back of the queue, beating the same drum and repeating the same bullshit. Because nothing great ever happened without funding, right?

We’re playing a game of dress up.

How the hell did I end up part of it?

I’ve met several angels in the last 3 months. Many have given me great advice. Some have asked me to come back repeatedly, refusing to give me the quick no I asked for. Some questioned if the world’s biggest band One Direction were popular. These meetings and their preparation took hours of work. It terrifies me to think of the time I wasted on funding that could have been spent on building an actual business. Worse, the angels only really told me the things I already knew – but didn’t want to admit.

I’m not investible.

I’ve used ‘once I’ve got funding’ as an excuse too many times. Can’t find a committed technical co founder? I’ll get one once I can pay them. Labels aren’t convinced of the site’s value? A redesign will help, I’ll do that once I’ve been funded. User growth good but not fantastic? Ah, I need cash for marketing.

Actually

  • I need a co-founder who loves what we’re doing more than being paid
  • I need a designer who will take on a short fun project
  • I need to simplify my marketing messaging and product execution
  • I need to sell what I’ve got – because it’s good enough

I’ve spent some time reflecting on how I want to spend next year. Whilst the idea of a fancy east-London office, free staff lunches and a limitless team is attractive, it’s not a game I want play. I want to create a real, sustainable business with an invested team who are part of something great.

I spend a lot of time working with funded startups. They have the talent and the means to create a success story, but all too frequently they have too much choice. This removes innovation, hustle and urgency. Worse, they’re accelerating an imperfect, wasteful, machine. Then the wheels fall off.

Being bootstrapped is as liberating as it is constricting. My single day development a week forces me to think smart, be data driven, and properly prioritise, reducing wasted hours and push my thinking and creativity.

I will get funded. And I’ll take it when my business foundations are in place and I desire to expedite the process of growing users and revenues. Until then I’m Olly, and I’m building a business not a startup.

Record labels promoting artist events on Teen Events

Good news alert. UK major record label RCA, which is part of Sony, is now promoting their artists’ events on Teen Events to drive event follows. Followers receive SMS and email reminders and content notifications, which means the artist’s fanbase is informed and mobilised.

I didn’t pitch Teen Events. Here’s the video, and the latest Teen Events stats

Update in 1,2,3…

1. Last week I (didn’t) pitch Teen Events at Don’t Pitch Me Bro and here’s the video. Hold out for the questions which are probably the most interesting part. Thanks to the 3Beards for having me, it was a fantastic and useful experience. And there was beer.

2. Here’s some graphs showing the increase in total Event Follows and Registered Users on the Teen Events website:

3. And here’s the number of Event Follows and Registered Users from the last 5 weeks, showing an average week-on-week increase in both of 8%.

06/09/2013 13/09/2013 20/09/2013 27/09/2013 04/10/2013
Total Event Follows 27128 29987 33241 34863 37200
Week on week growth 8.17% 10.54% 10.85% 4.88% 6.70%
Registered Users 4517 4750 5526 5911 6138
Week on week growth 8.01% 5.16% 16.34% 6.97% 3.84%

I got it wrong… again. Forget registering more users, it’s time to delight the ones I have

It’s July, and we’ve passed 3,000 registered users and 10,000 event follows on Teen Events in less than 2 months – in many ways things are going well. But they’re not great. In fact, despite deploying new functionality weekly based on user feedback and analytics, we’ve not hit the ‘sweet spot’ where the site takes on a life of its own. Website visits are relatively stable, numbering about 300-700 a day, and the lack of user appreciation for the product is deafening.

Today, thanks to a burrito-fuelled chat with Alex Pounds, I think I’ve realised why.

I’ve spent all my energy using every tool in my kit to drive more registrations and follows – a life-time of marketing ideas deployed one by one to drive up some top-level numbers, that are in many ways meaningless. In short, I forgot to delight the users I have.

People do what they know, and then they do it more. Lawyers write and sign too many contracts and neglect their products, developers deploy and embellish features endlessly and wonder why users don’t come, marketers get people through the door but can’t make them love what’s inside. Founders, good ones – well, they create the magic. I’ve spent too much time marketing and not enough time creating magic.

The last few months’ development on Teen Events has been ‘connecting the dots’; iterating functionality from content discovery to event following, alerts and content updates. And the complete product vision is executed, if vaguely, exactly as I mentioned it needs to be in my 7 lessons I learnt from building my MVP post. But nothing is done incredibly well. Nothing creates that euraka how-did-I-live-without-this moment. Nothing has turned my users into tireless evangelists for what I’m doing or forced them to form a habit more addictive than crack cocaine.

And that needs to change.

I need stop marketing and focus on getting it *really* right for 1,000 people. They’ll do the rest.

How?

  • Rework copy across site to add tension and excitement as well as signpost functionality and drive exploration and full usage of the product.
  • Improve and tweak every user flow, email and landing page to enhance the experience.
  • Use the existing functionality we have – more events added daily, content added to every event.
  • Focus limited development resource on just one element of functionality until users love it.

Project Delight starts now.

A first look at the new Teen Events design work

The new Teen Events design work refreshes the website with a classier and less clunky look and feel, surfaces recently-added site functionality, and groups similar navigation routes together for clarity. And it’s bloody fantastic. Here’s a look at the first-draft which is currently being tweaked. Comments on Twitter if you’ve got them.

Click to make it very large

I found the designer Oliver Lisher on Dribbble – his use of colour, illustatration and typography are fantastic, he’s scary fast, and realistic when it comes to fees. Highly recommended. If you’re in a similar situation to me and need some great work with a limited budget, get in touch and tell him I sent you.