A short retrospective

Growing SitePoint Entrepreneur

Context

One of the most popular publications on the Internet had a problem. SitePoint needed  an experienced editor to take ownership of its struggling business and marketing channel. They hoped to find someone who could truly own the channel and run with it.

“We had worked with several editors in the past, who had each tried a few initiatives — none were as enthusiastic, determined or competent as Lauren.”

SitePoint gave me a budget of $2,400 to hire writers, which afforded me four posts, at 1000+ words each, per week at $150 per post. I also had access to Fotolia, an image and vector repository, so each post could include beautiful visuals.

When I began, SitePoint’s editorial calendar (Trello) was incohesive. There were loads of incomplete posts, which first drafts were well overdue. Writers weren’t meeting deadlines. Basically, the channel simply wasn’t being taken very seriously.

Goal

The high-level goal and foundation of the contract between SitePoint and I was to increase weekly unique visits to the business and marketing channel in order to increase ad revenue for the company. We agreed upon the following goal: get up to 100,000 weekly unique visits to the channel within three months.

“Lauren started in March of 2015. Since then, traffic to our Entrepreneurship channel has grown substantially, benefitting both our revenue (through advertising) and our reputation as a publisher.”

Process

To reach this overarching goal, I developed a roadmap to success, which included:

  1. Recruiting a small group of up-and-coming writers
  2. Boosting the content standards of the channel
  3. Utilizing my network of online influencers
  4. Crafting a unique voice for the channel that resonated with entrepreneurs

Solution

Within two weeks, I added five (six including myself), phenomenal freelance writers to SitePoint’s editorial calendar. Three of the five onboarded became the top three most-viewed writers for the channel, as of November 2015.

While I reached out to writers, I simultaneously crafted clear, concise Style Guidelines for the channel. Writers were happy to have a clearly painted picture of the type of content I hoped they create for the channel.

Next, I asked online influencers, who were in my network, if I could interview them for SitePoint. I was able to secure interviews with Paul Jarvis, Neil Patel and Eric Ries, to name just a few. Additionally, I promoted the site’s content with the right communities and my personal social networks.

Finding the unique voice for the channel was the easiest part of this project because I knew what types of content entrepreneurs wanted already; therefore, it didn’t require much research. I combined my knowledge with my own voice, and it resonated with readers.

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Conclusion

“It’s hard to overstate the value of bringing on board a team member who understands both business objectives and the value of their specific role. This hire has allowed us to expand into new markets and form new partnerships, going well beyond my initial expectations.”

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