Beyond the App Store: how to start winning with content

This is the third post in the “12 Weeks of Christmas” series.

Did you know that approximately only 10% of web traffic is generated from paid search placement or ads, whereas 90% is organic?

The best part is that you can have a slice of that traffic. You just need to figure out what value you can offer to your visitors.

When we asked Leo Widrich, Co-Founder of Buffer, how he approached content marketing and building his following, he told us the one simple lesson they learnt at Buffer:

”Whenever you produce content, you have to be smart about it. Write content that is tightly interlinked with your product, but that doesn’t talk about your product.”

Instead of splashing your offering in people’s faces, try taking a more useful approach. Leo explained: “In our case, at the start Buffer was helpful to share better on Twitter. So we went ahead and produced dozens and dozens of guides and tips post on how to do well on Twitter – without mentioning Buffer. Then, if people found it interesting, they would check out the byline and stumble across Buffer, which they gladly signed up for, after reading some tips on how to use Twitter well.“

By creating genuinely useful content – like blog posts, videos, podcasts etc. – that advise, guide and support your community, you become a trusted thought leader. And with trust comes action: users will be more likely to do what you ask them – like installing your app or signing-up for your email newsletter. Not convinced?

Here are three more reasons why content is key:

1) Get more users: interview on how Leo Widrich of @Bufferapp guest-posted his way to 100,000 users in 9 months.

2) Rank on search: Google now measures the quality of your web content to decide your search ranking. Understand the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates.

3) Rank on search: “Rankings bring you qualified traffic even after the temporal social visits are gone.” – @Randfish, CEO SEOmoz (presentation at GROW 2012)

Where do I start?

You need a plan – a content strategy, not just a blog. Here are some must do’s to get you started:

1.     Know your goal and your budget (be it time, money or both)
2.     Outline your target audience (their social networks, online behaviour and problem)
3.     Decide on suitable content and identify what you want to share

1. Know your goal

Think about what you want to achieve and what resources you can utilize to get you there. Are you building an email list to promote your app launch? Do you want more downloads? Or do you want more downloads that lead to In App Purchases? What specific behaviour are you trying to drive? These decisions will frame the path for what you share and how you share it. Nothing’s written in stone and your goals will naturally shift as you go.

2. Know your audience

What kind of person is interested in using your app? Consider their online behaviour. What sort of information is useful to them? Where would they be looking for it? Find out which social networks they use on a daily basis and use these as your main channels to distribute your content (more on this in week 6). Your goal is to distribute content that sparks their interest.

3. What content should I create and share?

The easiest place to start is to ask yourself ‘If I were on the receiving end, what content would I actually care about?’ Videos, photos, podcasts, blog posts, helpful tips? Answering FAQs and offering use cases is a great place to start. And don’t be afraid to get the whole team involved. Everyone in your startup is a marketer.

Be careful not to falsely assume you know what people want. Test different types of content and various ways of delivering it. Let the data tell the story of what your audience is looking for (tip: you can also ask). Once you’ve identified the type of content that your community is interested in, hone in on your ability to gather it and channel it out to your followers appropriately.

Consider your budget and time constraints when deciding on the kind of content you are planning to share and create.

Existing content is the best place to start. Its widely available, costs nothing and takes little time to find and share. It’s perfect to get you started and keep your “content pipeline” full. We’ll explain how to build your pipeline in Week 8.

New content is generally more costly to create but has a huge upside. Customizing your message and branding through video, blogging, infographics etc. is your best opportunity to communicate what you want how you want, and reap the search ranking benefits.

User generated content is sourced from your community and pays big dividends when executed well.  It’s a great way to gain content and build community around what’s important to your audience. 

For example: 
Bucketz, a wacky mobile game about balance, is giving their users the opportunity to design the next Bucket character for their upcoming release. From a fan’s standpoint, that’s pretty cool. 


  • Minimum things to share about yourself: new features, integrations, promotions, support issues
  • Beyond that, begin sharing existing content, then work towards creating your own
  • Creating your own stuff? Build content around your product, not directly about your product.
  • Start with 1 piece per week, move to 2-3 times per week. Consistency is key.
  • Don’t just create to create, ensure its useful to your audience and relates to your goals
  • Play to your strengths – ie. If you have a great design team, build visually appealing content; if you can’t write, do videos; if you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, do screencasts.
  • Great example: Buffer created a Twitter Tips blog and guest posted their way to 100,000 users in 9 months. Listen to this great blogcastfm interview with Buffer Co-Founder Leo Wid on guest posting and getting press.

Next week: Finding your web audience.

This is part three of the 12 Weeks of Christmas series

This post is just the start of a weekly series on marketing your mobile app more effectively – the sort of way that spikes your holiday sales.

This series will help you take your marketing beyond a simple App Store page, because that just isn’t good enough anymore. It’s time to build-out your web marketing and ready your app for the Christmas sales storm.

To catch the whole series stay dialed-in to Tapstream, or why not subscribe by email to make sure you don’t miss a post. We have lots of great tips coming up.

You can read the first two posts here:

  1. Warning: the App Store freeze could kill your holiday sales (here’s how to thrive)
  2. Planning and testing for your marketing push