Buying views with coffee

At Automattic we love to experiment, and as part of an initiative to be more empathetic with our customers we were posed with the following challenge:

Pick a colleague’s post, and explain why you chose that one. Outline a plan for the post to get 1,000+ views. Imagine that you have a US $20 budget to work with.

For a while working remotely has been a hot topic of conversation on online communities that I participate and when I engage in real life conversations with people whose work orbit the same area of work. Students are interested in looking for work experiences that feel like they are operating in the future. Working 9 to 5 in a physical location does feel like a thing of the past. Tons of people who have been working on that classic model also want to escape it. Working from anywhere, without a clock to punch in, being able to explore the world while still being productive and contributing to a better society is a dream many want to make a reality.

With this in mind I chose the post titled “Designing Your Remote “Office” by Brie Demkiw. Working remotely poses a lot of questions for those who have never experienced it, this post provides a great primer on the challenges design teams face. So I though it would be a good starting point for this small project. 

As part of this experiment, and instead of spending time researching for a formula on how to achieve it, I asked how could I reach 1000 views with the resources that I have at hand.

Using myself as part of the target audience I know that I never engage with paid content in any of the platforms I rely on. So I want to experiment with something different than paying any service to get traffic to the post.  So I thought about two strategies:

Strategy one: promote online

How does one promote content these days? The platform where I find most of the content I consume is Facebook, and Twitter here and there. For content related to some topics of my interest (say design, music) I make an effort to actively get to it, either by reaching those sites myself or via newsletters I subscribe. Assuming this is what a lot of other designers do, I would try to figure out how to post of my selected blog post in one of those publications. Some of those resources that come to mind are Designer, the Designer Hangout slack, and the UX Design Weekly newsletter. Of course I have no guarantees the post would be picked up by most of these, but that feels like another experiment!  

Strategy two: use my close network’s social reach to promote

So if I want to use my $20 on something other than paid traffic, what can I use it for? Over the years I’ve built connections with people that have a large Twitter and Facebook follower base. I thought I would schedule a coffee for a casual chat and propose them sharing/tweeting the link to the blogs post. Fortunately I live in a country where an espresso is very cheap. So for $20 I could meet maybe a maximum of 20 people ($1 per espresso and I’d pay for my own expenses). I know that it sounds silly and a huge time commitment to accomplish a simple task, but I thought of this as an opportunity to also see people and have a good conversation about a very interesting topic, it feels worth it. By meeting people I would solve a problem that working remotely causes (isolation), and create more interest around the subject, and maybe even getting someone to join us. These people I would meet share the audience that have interest in design and remote working, so my bet is that hopefully all tweets combined could meet the target 1000 views.

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