Chris Von Wilpert shares his unconventional marketing tactics to get a buzz on your next articles

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Are you struggling trying to drive traffic to your content? In this entrepreneur interview with Chris Von Wilpert we dive deep on his out of the box promotion tactics to find out how he published…

Full Transcript of The Video

Eric Siu: Okay. We're trying something new. We're trying to do short interview segments with cool people because we have the camera equipment here, so we might as well try it.
Today, we have Chris Von Wilpert who is the Chief Content Sumo at Sumo.com. He's got a ton of great articles on the web. Check out Medium. Just Google "Medium, Chris Von Wilpert," or check out the company case studies.
Chris, tell us a little bit about kind of who you are and what you do as a Chief Content Sumo.

Chris V.: Okay. It was at the end of July that I came on. Started working with Sumo to help grow their blog. Basically, my goal is to take the blog from 100,000 per month unique website traffic to 500,000 per month. That's why I'm here to do. Yeah.

Eric Siu: Tell us a story. You were living where previously, and then what got you to come here to Austin?

Chris V.: Yeah. I'm from Australia, but I was living in China, a city called Kunming that borders countries, like Laos and Vietnam, and things like that. I was in a break dance crew, over in China, and I was just running my own agency. Just had a few clients.
I just know I came across an article I read on HubSpot. He just sent me a tweet on Twitter, just saying he really liked the article, wanted me to write one for OkDork, his personal blog. That's where I read the one on intercom that's on OkDork. Then, after I wrote that one, and it got published on his website, I spent the next month just promoting that article. It's like one of his most successful articles on his personal blog now. Just because of all the work I did around promoting the article, he asked mt to come work for Sumo, which, initially, I didn't want to do, just because I had a good lifestyle over in China. But, then a month later, he asked me again, and I agreed I'd come over and yeah, help until, yeah, December.

Eric Siu: What was the main impetus for convincing you 'cause you did have to leave things behind in China, right?

Chris V.: Yeah. It was just coming up to a time when my visa was about to expire. I was on a one-year visa and I needed to leave the country every 90 days. It's a condition of the visa. It was just coming up to that period where I had to leave the country, so I just thought it would be a, yeah, good chance to come over. I've never been to the US before, long-term. I'd only been to Hollywood for a day or two, and so, yeah.

Eric Siu: [inaudible 00:02:06]. So tell us a little bit about the article itself and then how you went about promoting it and the results that you got 'cause I think people suck at content promotion. We certainly suck at it, in my opinion. We produce a lot of content. So what did you do exactly and what were you goals?

Chris V.: When I wrote the article for Noah on his personal blog, I was looking at the data inside Buzz Sumo and I was looking at how many shares his articles had got. I was just going after being a number one article on his blog. So I was always tracking my success against that. Just looking, refreshing the stats, seeing how many shares I was getting on the article.
In terms of promoting it, I did a lot of different things. There's probably a list of 20 things. I don't know if I can remember all of them.
I actually ran ads for Noah. Even though he wasn't paying me, obviously, to write the post or anything, it was just a normal guest post, but I ran ads on Facebook. I ran 'em on Twitter. I tested some on StumbleUpon. I tested running one on Gmail to people's inboxes.
I also did a lot of promotion inside some groups that I was active in. So the article's on Intercom, and when I first wrote it, I first surveyed the group, the Facebook group, to come up with which company I'd write it on. Because so many people, the most amount of people, decided on Intercom, I decided to write it on Intercom. Then, once I'd actually written it, about two months later, I promoted it inside the group and I tagged everyone who answered that survey. But, obviously, they were really interested in seeing it. A lot of them shared it.
Once crazy thing that I did was I sent tacos to the Dublin office in-

Eric Siu: Intercom.

Chris V.: For Intercom. I also sent it to their San Francisco office, as well. I sent it to San Francisco first, but I got no reply. So then I just sent some more to Dublin. The goal was, 'cause I researched Noah and his blog before I wrote the article, and I knew Noah had a goal of reaching 100,000 downloads for his podcast, so my goal was to get the guy who was the Head of Marketing at Intercom, Des Trainer, on a podcast with Noah. So I set up an interview for him and I ended up being able to do that. Des ended up agreeing for the interview, doing the interview with Noah. So Noah was really happy about that. It was just about, yeah, just helping Noah and doing everything I could.
There was some other stuff I did. It wasn't scalable, like I'd tweet to people who had shared stuff on Intercom in the past. Just like sending out a manual tweet, I'd had my assistant go through and do that. So a lot of tweets like that, to people who had shared stuff on Intercom, because the article was related to Intercom. I think that's a lot of the things I did. I did stuff on Growth Hackers. I posted on Growth Hackers and, then, when people would leave a comment in, say, a Facebook group, I'd actually then message 'em and ask them to upload it on Growth Hackers. That's something else that wasn't really scalable, but [inaudible 00:04:53] push the post up in a community site like that. Yeah.

Eric Siu: Got it. Okay. So when you say it's the most successful post he's had on his blog before, what metrics are you looking at? Is it number of emails collected? Is it traffic? Both?

Chris V.: Yeah. So I couldn't really look at emails collected, I could only really look at the share count. When i was looking at it, I was looking at the Buzz Sumo data-

Eric Siu: So you didn't have his analytics yet?

Chris V.: I didn't have his analytics by then, no.

Eric Siu: Got it. Okay.

Chris V.: Later on, after I'd done it, I got access to the OkDork analytics. Yeah, I was just going off the number of shares and I was trying to make it one of his most successful articles in the last year, in terms of B2B. It ended up being like some of his viral giveaways and things like that. Yeah.

Eric Siu: What are you guys doing today that's successful, that's gonna get you from 100,000 visits a month to 500,000? 'Cause you've written some posts about how top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, bottom funnel. I'm just curious, takeaways for people here, for them to duplicate your success. What are you doing right now on your journey?

Chris V.: So we're trying to go after two types of articles, ones that get a lot of social traffic and ones that get a lot of SEO traffic. So we're trying to go after both.
In terms of the social traffic ones, we're trying to create a series, a bit like a TV series. We've labeled that Sumo Growth Studies and every two weeks, we're writing one growth study on a really big company, Reverse Engineering, exactly what they do and very, very tactical. Some people might write stuff on companies, but it'll be really high-level stuff. So we're trying to keep it really tactical. So we're doing that and those, we're really going after social traffic with those.
We're promoting a lot through Sumo's ... one through Sumo's email list, one through push notifications, through Facebook Messenger notifications, through our chat bot.
Then, we're also running ads, we're running layered ads. So we'll get our customer persona. We know that our audience is marketers, male, 25-54. Then it'll have one really broad interest, so the ads won't fatigue, so we don't have to change the ads out a lot. For example, for Tony Robbins ... Tony Robbins has a huge audience. So we'll tie it like, "Tony Robbins has a blog-

Eric Siu: You wrote that one?

Chris V.: Yeah, I wrote that one.

Eric Siu: That's a really good one. You should read that.

Chris V.: Yeah. We'll target Tony Robbins and we'll run the traffic to mobile, and then we aim for 50 cent clicks. Once we get around that mark, we'll then re-target that traffic back into a free version of Sumo.

Eric Siu: Got it. How much are you spending? So let's say you write the Tony Robbins article. How much are you spending per post to promote on a Facebook, for example, with ads?

Chris V.: Yeah. So Noah gives me ... when the first month, he gave me $40,000 budget. Now, it's-

Eric Siu: $40,000?

Chris V.: Yeah. $40,000 and $60,000. That's the whole content budget, that's everything. That's writing, that's editing, that's promotion. At the moment, I'm setting aside $500 for each article and we have two articles a week, but, then, based on the results, like how much traffic it's getting, how well it's ... we're looking at stats, like time on page and things like that. Based on which ones are the most successful, we're running more ads to it. We're also testing out other things, like running ads and getting people to sign up first through Messenger, and then delivering the article. So we're just testing things like that, as well.

Eric Siu: Got it. You're mainly aiming ... your metric when you run ads is you're looking for 50 cent clicks, right, not particularly emails?

Chris V.: Yeah, 'cause my goal is traffic. My goal isn't collecting emails for the blog. Even though [inaudible 00:08:08], I have that in the back of my mind and think about it, but I'm measured on how much traffic I drive for the blog. Obviously, it's got to be qualified traffic. Now that we're starting to get a lot of traffic, like we have a bit more emphasis towards capturing emails, so I'm doing some email tests. One test I'm doing is we're running a pop up after 45 seconds. Someone's reading an article, if they haven't seen a pop-up in 14 days, then they'll see one and it'll be a pop up that mentions about ... I look inside our Google Analytics, see which two articles ar the most successful, like most time on page, and then I'm AB testing the two top ones on this pop up, and people are adding their email address to get access to that. So we're doing that test to get more emails.

Eric Siu: Got it. Okay. What's interesting to me ... Actually, you just made me think of something. Noah and I were talking about the [inaudible 00:08:57] of how he gives everyone one goal. So he really only gives you one key metric to focus on, right? Does nothing else matters? Is that how it works?

Chris V.: Yeah, it's always like unique traffic to the blog ... In our meetings on Mondays, if I'm behind the goal, it's like, "What are you doing to get on track to hit the goal?" It's always measured against that one metric-

Eric Siu: Got it.

Chris V.: Unique traffic.

Eric Siu: We talked the other night. You said you had to get 50,000 or 5,000, something visits in the next two days or so?

Chris V.: Yah, so I've got to get 50,000 in the next two days. There's one day left now and I need to get another 27,000 to hit the goal. We've got something planned that's gonna go out later tonight for Sumo Con. Everyone will see it. It's a bit hush hush, bit of a surprise right now.

Eric Siu: Can you talk? I mean, this is gonna go live way later, so you might as well say it.

Chris V.: Okay. All right.

Eric Siu: I won't say anything. Yeah.

Chris V.: What I did was, we've got a Facebook group for Sumo Con. So I've made a post in the Facebook group, and I've said that ... in the post, it mentions that Noah's gonna fly Yama, who's the two-time world Sumo champion. He's the heaviest human being in Japan. If people go on that post, and they share ... I've listed our five top articles. If they go on and 100 people share one of the articles, and they leave a comment that they do it, I'm gonna get Yama to come in on Sunday and fight Noah in his final speech. So that's something just a bit out of the box.

Eric Siu: I love it.

Chris V.: [inaudible 00:10:32] trying to do around content promotion. What we're going do is we're gonna deliver a text message to everyone at Sumo Con, linking to the Facebook post later tonight.

Eric Siu: Got it. So the key takeaway is that sometimes, you have to balance outside of the box 'cause you talk about sending tacos to people, this whole Yama thing. I think you just need to be creative and that's why I like your stuff, it's really creative.
Really a pleasure having you. I mean, is there anything else you'd like to add to people looking to grow their business, promote their content, whatever?

Chris V.: The only thing is I just try and always try and be creative, like with individual pieces of content. So I can just give another example. When we were running the Tony Robbins one, I'd look up the decision-maker and see who he was. I asked our sales guy at Sumo, who closed Tony Robbins? 'Cause he's a customer of Sumo. Found out who it was, the Demand Generation Manager. Looked up his LinkedIn. Saw where he went to high school and then bought him a jersey and a hat. I knew he was a big fan of Noah, so I wrote a postcard and put from Noah and then sent it to him. The goal was to try and get cross-promotion with Tony Robins' list. That didn't end up working out because Noah has an article on OkDork, "Why I Walked Out on Tony Robbins," and they weren't really happy about that article, but just trying creative things like that out with individual pieces of content can often have a, yeah, a big impact.

Eric Siu: There you go. There you have it. Thanks so much, Chris.

Chris V.: Cheers.

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