Is Adding a New Feature Really The Right Move?

I Bet This Story Sounds Familiar

Earlier this year I was working on adding a new feature for this site. It's the table of contents on the right sidebar of this post (and all my blog posts). I looked at a lot of table of contents plugins before deciding on LuckyWP Table of Contents. It does the job well and I really like it.

Then I got a Facebook Messenger note from my buddy Joost, founder of Yoast. He asked if I had looked at the TOC feature of Yoast. Now hear this clearly, I really like Joost. I have used Yoast since I started working with WordPress and it was available. I own the premium version, along with other add-ons like the WooCommerce add-on.

And I had no idea that his plugin did a table of contents.

I told him as much. And we both had a laugh (though I bet he felt a bit of pain), because building features is hard, but marketing them is harder.

Adding a New Feature is Always Easier

I've been building software products and features since the late nineties. I remember being the one in the room suggesting a new cool feature that would help bring in more customers.

Adding a new feature is always easier than marketing the feature. Because as a software person, it's something I can control. I can determine the scope, architecture, and staff. Designing the interface is also in my control.

When it comes to marketing, it's not the same. Yes, I get control over the creative and the copy, but I don't control who sees it, how often, where, or how they react.

When you like control, you choose things you can control.

Here's What Damon Says

My buddy Damon said this today on Twitter.

What's hilarious about this is that I had an early morning conversation with a buddy who lives in Europe (hence the early morning call) where he was telling me all about the new features he was adding. He clearly noted I wasn't as excited.

So he asked me about it, and my reply channeled my inner-Damon.

ā€œDo anything except adding a new feature.ā€

More Meetings, Same Challenge

My meetings later in the day today were more of the same. Several of us met to talk about the cool things we'd already built at Nexcess but hadn't marketed. Why? Because telling the right story is hard work.

Then I met with our LearnDash team, and it was more of the same. We have a ton of new features coming out next week. It's awesome. But there are also a ton of features we have already, and we haven't told their stories well.

So Here Is My Question To You

My question to you is pretty simple.

Are you busy adding more features to your product and ignoring your marketing?

If that's you, here's what I suggest.

You likely are already pretty good at telling the stories of your customers, right? You're also good about announcing your new features.

So simply look at your editorial or blog calendar and every 8th post, make it a promotional post that highlights a feature that isn't new.

If you're blogging daily, it's one post every two weeks. If you post weekly, it's one post every two months. Either way, it won't come across as a constant promotional dynamic.

Either way, whatever timing you choose, my recommendation is that you build up the muscles to learn how to tell the stories of your older features. They'll be new to a lot of your existing customers, which will surprise you.

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