2023 W2: Making a dent in the Contentverse
Every week I post about one thing that happened at Rows! We're.. building in public!
In my opinion, the most interesting thing that happened at Rows last week were content pieces which got big distribution.
One Reddit post got more than 1 Million views.
We were mentioned by an "internet VIP".
We got an article in a big, local newspaper, which in turn got us more articles and more traffic.
In addition to those, our traffic continues to grow on the back of a healthy content strategy.
I think any person in any product can do Content, but it takes time to get real benefits.
It took *us* lots of time. For your reference, it took us 20 Reddit posts to get one with 1M views. The 3 posts following that one had 80k, 500k, and +100k. So there's hope on getting better with time.
The Reddit post
We have tried sharing our story in multiple places. Reddit was one of them, and I can tell you right off the bat that it works quite well.
Henrique is Our Head of Growth and is a data nerd, and he has been doing interesting charts about societal topics for a quarter or so. Last week his post got more than 8k upvotes and more than 1 million views.
The reason why Reddit works well is that it's an interest-defined trust group. People go there and follow certain subreddits of their preference, wether it's chocolates or something else, and so they are far more likely to engage with your content than in a generic network. (I recommend this piece by Ben Thompson on Social Networking 2.0). It's therefore surprising, but logical, that the post had about 1000x the engagement which it got on Twitter: 1.2 million vs. 1k views, 9k upvotes vs. 10 likes.
Naturally, Charts make sense in a subreddit called /dataisbeautiful but I think it's no coincidence the post hit a home-run last week. The previous week we released subtitles and footnotes, which made Charts more... professional. That is the whole point, that you share your spreadsheet reports as if they were straight out of The Economist. It's a simple but effective feature.
The internet vip mention
It's always good to get a mention by someone important. It drives traffic, it adds a bit to your brand, and it is motivating to the team. It doesn't change our job, but still it's a good outcome of what we previously did.
On the back of our announcement of an OpenAI Integration, we got >100 retweets and quotes. One of them was from Benedict Evans (who was a Partner at A16Z), who also did a brief mention to us on his newsletter. His audience is of hundreds of thousands of people, so it will certainly contribute to our marketing results!
This effect was also buoyed by the share on HackerNews by another entrepreneur. We made it to #12 on the frontpage, which is quite modest, *but* we definitely saw traffic and interest coming from there. HN is quite reputable, and contributes to our traffic with backlinks.
The press piece
Still on our OpenAI Integration launched, we sent a brief note to a bunch of journalists explaining what we did. We included a brief explanation of what it does, and how this is (to our knowledge) the first 1st-party integration in a spreadsheet.
We got featured in a local Portugal newspaper (lot's of Rows people are in Portugal). And then we got more and more articles. There's bigger ones coming too!
Last quarter we revamped our content strategy.
Results are showing. Recently we've seen:
2.5x pickup in signups rates.
2x growth in the usage of Embedding.
5x increase in traffic from Reddit.
21% growth in the consumption of spreadsheets by non-builders (Live).
A high open-rate of our newsletters (35-50%).
And all of that as we've progressively increased User Activation.
What we did to get there was clear:
We cleaned our Templates and Docs.
We committed to weekly blog posts (like this one) and Reddit posts.
We share Community spreadsheets and build use cases with our *awesome* users.
And every time we do content, we focus on producing high quality content that convinces users of the benefits of using spreadsheets to analyze data and share reports. (Better communication of your views on the data!).
All in all, week 1 of 2023 was one of our best in terms of product releases, including Open AI and Charts improvements (subtitles, footnotes). It's tough to follow up a week like that and still beat it, but we did it. What made the week special wasn't product, but the other end of the business, marketing. A lot of it was related to the product of the previous week.
Let's see what happens this week, and see you next monday!