How Do You Know Your Go To Market (GTM) Strategy Is Working?

You can’t fake passion or authenticity. Readers pick up on bullshit. Get inspired and write your heart out.

How Do You Know Your Go To Market (GTM) Strategy Is Working?
Photo by Clark Tibbs / Unsplash

The most important thing any business or person can do is build a Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. This is how you will sell yourself or your product in a market. How do you know it’s working? Simple. Some measurable metric is moving in the right direction and you’re making money. I call it hitting pay dirt.

I realized I had become an “old stick in the mud.”

The game

I approach most of my life as a game. I’m not a gamer in the sense that I sit in front of an Xbox all day, rather I like to play a game called life. I like to poke and prod things. I like to break the unbreakable and I love to tinker. I learn more from trying new things, seeing what works, and tossing what doesn’t work.

You can’t fake passion or authenticity.

This past summer I took a long hard look at my web properties and took note of what was working and what wasn’t anymore. What I discovered during that analysis and reflection made me cringe and feel angry. I realized I had become an “old stick in the mud.”

Everything I did wasn’t working anymore because the metrics were in a long slow decline. I was letting the market pass me by because I wanted to keep things the way they were and didn’t keep an eye on the ball.

So I started to make changes in August and it’s paying off in spades.

A new go-to-market strategy

This took me a long time to internalize because I’m a big fan of blogs. I love the indie web and loved the old blog rings. Somewhere along the way the market moved toward a more siloed approach and I hated that but I had to make peace with it because so many of my readers went to Medium or Substack.

Why was I fighting this? I always talk about fishing where the fish are, why was I casting my fishing line in a paved parking lot? I was being stupid so I made some changes. I decided to embrace Medium and focus my writing energies there.

Lesson learned: Fish where the fish are. Go where the most people are for your niche/industry.

The next thing I changed was my inspiration, or rather I let inspiration find me again. My family and I took a long vacation to the desert Southwest and I got inspired to write about nature, climate change, sustainability, and travel. I saw something that bothered me and I felt it was my duty as a human being to call out those injustices.

…I saw that I caught the Dragon’s Tail

I didn’t care if anyone read my articles on those topics, I just wanted to write and make my voice heard. I wrote with passion, sincerity, and authenticity. About a month later my voice started to resonate with Medium readers. My follower count skyrocketed and my earnings ballooned. Granted, I can’t make a living off it but an eerily familiar pattern is starting to emerge.

The viral-like activity reminds me of when I wrote my RapidMiner tutorials on my blog. I turned my passion for data science and machine learning into a full-time career in a new field.

Lesson Learned: You can’t fake passion or authenticity. Readers pick up on bullshit. Get inspired and write your heart out.

After I started writing my heart out I monitored my stats. I know there is a lag effect because it takes time for SEO and the internal Medium distribution to work. About a month later I saw that I caught the Dragon’s Tail. My follower growth exploded and I beat my previous best record of follower growth by 100%. I confirmed that I hit a nerve and I started to optimize my writing by adding “Follow Me” and “Read More On This Topic” sections at the end of the article.

Lesson Learned: Measure and optimize. If you’re not seeing follower growth or changes to your income then something is wrong.

All this can blow up!

Any market is fluid and I expect Medium to change its engagement algorithm whenever it feels like it. Part of my success so far has been aligning with it. I plan on diversifying my content strategy so I don’t get slammed if Medium “blows up” or gets sold.

No matter what I do to figure out this diversification strategy, I will follow the three lessons learned above. You should too.

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