During The Texas Tribune’s institutional fellowship, project leader Tim Griggs, now former publisher and chief operating officer, and his team piloted “growth hacking” (using a rapid test-and-learn technology approach to marketing) to spur digital audience growth. A growth hacker — part engineer, part marketer — focuses on low-cost, innovative alternatives to traditional marketing. According to Griggs, this is particularly important for organizations like the Tribune, that have little or no marketing budget.
Growth hacking is widely used in the startup world, and with success at places like Dropbox, Twitter and Evernote. According to Griggs, it’s rarely used in the media space, particularly in news media.
The RJI Fellowship allowed the Tribune to pilot the approach with a short-term contractor (Lindsey Lee) who has both coding skills and marketing acumen. Lee used a variety of tactics at her disposal (search engine optimization, social media, partner distribution, content marketing, etc. — with a constant A/B testing methodology) to reach new audiences in a systematic, measurable way.