Starting life as a Twitter scheduling app, it quickly evolved into an all-round social media scheduling app, and today has over one million users.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the success of the Buffer app is that over 70% of their app's growth is attributed to content marketing.
But how exactly did Buffer achieve such impressive growth, and are there any lessons we can take and implement on our own blogs?
For anyone struggling to gain traction with their own blog, Buffer is a textbook example of how powerful content marketing can be, when it’s done right.
1. Guest Posting
In today’s SEO-obsessed world, for many bloggers guest posting is all about getting that nice, shiny backlink to boost their position in the SERPs.
For Buffer, the backlink was merely a by-product from having their work published on another blog; Buffer’s approach to guest posting was always focused towards building relationships -- with a new audience and with other bloggers.
When you write high quality, genuinely useful guest posts, you open your blog’s doors to a much wider audience. Impress another blog’s readers with your post and they could become your readers.
When you discuss, share and actively promote another blogger's content, you’ll find that most are willing to reciprocate, meaning they’ll talk about you when you need them to.
Much of Buffer’s success can be attributed to harnessing these relationships incredibly well, particularly with their industries big hitters. Every update saw their app being discussed by many high-profile bloggers, and this provided them with enough visibility to build some early momentum.
2. Writing for the Right Audience
When you write on your blog, who are you writing for?
Of course, you should always be looking to produce the best content possible, but it’s also critical you understand who the right audience to pitch your content to are.
If you aim all your content at your existing customer base, you’re missing the point -- these people have already bought your product!
It’s much better to write for your potential customers -- this is something Buffer quickly realised.
In fact, Buffer succeeded because they took this further still: They targeted potential customers who were more likely to interact with other potential customers.
How did they do this? Not only were they writing to people with problems that their app could help, but they were making their content highly sharable, meaning their message reached a wider audience.
By switching approach, their content became almost four times more sharable, literally overnight.
For Buffer, the final piece of the jigsaw was to keep their momentum building.
It is never enough to write just one fantastic article, to publish one in-depth guest post, or to build one important relationship -- you must do these things consistently.
One of Buffer’s co-founders, Leo Widrich, wrote almost 200 guest posts in the first year alone, on top of the content he produced for the Buffer blog. Each one developed a relationship and potentially added to their ever-expanding audience. As soon as they could justify it, they added more content producers to their ranks, allowing them to publish even more high-quality content.
It is this consistency that has enabled Buffer to grow from an app that barely anybody had heard of to having over 1.2 million users.
What can we take from this? Never rest on your laurels. Always keep doing the good things you’re doing if you want to achieve long-term growth and success.
There's no doubt that what Buffer has done with content marketing is impressive. One look at their SEO metrics is enough to confirm this:
But it's also how well Buffer ties everything in to their business objectives. Great content marketing is not just about generating vanity metrics. It's about using your content to actually grow your business.
At buffer.com/transparency you can learn more about how Buffer operates, both on the business side and their marketing and growth strategy. Buffer is one of the best examples of a long-term build in public strategy, by how radically open and transparent they are about everything they do.