What Is Content Hacking? (How to Be a Content Hacker) - CoSchedule

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What Is Content Hacking (And How to Use It Effectively)

Have you ever heard of growth hacking? It’s a marketing technique developed by technology startups that uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. It’s a bit scrappy, and completely focused on results. Does that sound familiar?

Growth hacking isn’t too far off from its counterpart, content marketing, a technique that we all know and love. In fact, it’s so close that it just might call for an entirely new breed of hacker: The content hacker.

Wait, hacking? Can’t you go to jail for that?

Listen, if you want your blog to grow, you may want to learn a thing or two from the content hacker. He or she is traffic-obsessed and focused on nothing but growth. In my upcoming book, The 10x Marketing Formula, I describe in depth how to combine the best of growth hacking and content marketing.

Here’s an excerpt from the book that sheds more light on how to become a content hacker.

Becoming A Content Hacker

In 2010, Sean Ellis, co-author of Hacking Growth and CEO of GrowthHackers, coined the term growth hacking in a blog post entitled, “Find a Growth Hacker for Your Startup.” Ellis wrote: “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”

He further explained, “An effective growth hacker also needs to be disciplined to follow a growth hacking process of prioritizing ideas (their own and others in the company), testing the ideas, and being analytical enough to know which tested growth drivers to keep and which ones to cut. The faster this process can be repeated, the more likely they’ll find scalable, repeatable ways to grow the business.”

From its inception, growth hacking described people whose sole focus is growth. And whose process is a thousand short-sprints that methodically test ideas. Keeping what works; killing what doesn’t.

Growth hacking has never been code for being irresponsible and unaccountable. Running fast doesn’t mean running without strategy. But strategy in this context isn’t traditional fare.

In marketing, growth strategies are confused with 52-page internal documents that spell out how often you’re going to blog, publish to social media, and push ad campaigns. The stuff of marketing plans. But think about this. Every second you’re not finding ways to directly benefit your customer base and audience is wasted effort. Because once the strategy is submitted, reviewed, and approved by your boss, it’s over.

Now, instead of assuming responsibility for the results, you’ve passed it off on your boss. He or she now owns them, not you. In the bureaucracy, so long as you have a strategy, you’re safe. I see this happening all the time. Writing it down feels safe. But the problem with feeling safe is it becomes the goal rather than results.

After you’ve spent a week or more in documentation mode, all that’s left is working the strategy. But in the digital landscape, what’s the likelihood said strategy will be viable three months from now? This is the primary fault line in the marketing-plan mindset.

Ready for the good news? You can become a superhuman marketer by merging the best of growth hacking and content marketing.

The Three Constraints

Growth hacking is about turning clever tactics into fast-paced growth. Content marketing is about creating, publishing, and sharing valuable content with your audience to convert traffic into customers. But as we saw in chapter one, with its rising popularity, content marketing alone may not be enough. This means marketers need to take a page from the growth hacker’s playbook.

We need to become content hackers.

A content hacker is a results-or-die! marketer who merges agile growth tactics with high-converting content to achieve rapid 10x growth. And they never stop doing this. All you need to start are the three constraints:

One Metric that Matters + Goal + Timeline = Content Hacker

One Metric that Matters
The first constraint is focus. Content hackers doggedly pursue growing one, and only one, metric. It’s the gas pedal to slam on—the one metric that will accelerate your business more than any other.


The second constraint is specificity. Content hackers set specific goals for measuring the one metric that matters. They’re not looking for “more” users or “increased” revenue. They are dead-set on a $100,000 increase in monthly sales. Content hackers set hard numbers to reverse engineer from.


The third constraint is speed. Content hackers define a clear timeline for when their goal will be a reality. It’s a specific month, day, and year. And ideally, it’s much shorter than what sounds safe or comfortable.

And there you have it. The three constraints are your new documented marketing strategy; and the tactics and communication between your team remains fluid. People are usually stunned by this. But it’s the happy truth. It’s neither complex nor gangly. Instead, it’s simple, messy in the middle, and effective in the end.

We hope you realize that you can do this, too. That doubling your sales, tripling your email list, or increasing users tenfold isn’t outside of your grasp. And even better, you can start sprinting toward 10x growth in the time it takes you to drink a cup of coffee.

This infographic will give you a peek inside their inner psyche and help you become a content hacker.


The Tweetable Characteristics Of A Content Hacker

Start Your Journey To Becoming A Content Hacker (Right Now)

The 10x Marketing Formula will publish in early 2018. I know it will be a game changer for marketers across the world because I’ve seen it work for myself.

This formula is how we grew CoSchedule from zeroes across the board to 1.3M+ pageviews, 250k+ email subscribers, and 10k customers in more than 100 countries… All in just four years.

I know it will work for you, too. But, because I don’t like to wait to start growing my results, I bet you don’t either.

So I want to help you get started RIGHT NOW.

Grab chapter one for free and get started!

This post was originally published on January 13, 2014. It was most recently updated and republished on January 25, 2018.

About the Author

CoSchedule Co-Founder, blogger, designer, content hacker and serial starter. Also, a firm believer in the do what you love, love what you do philosophy.

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