Grow Ensemble Community Update: October 2020

Building a Community Around Better Living & Better Business

by | Nov 3, 2020

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Hey y’all, welcome to another Grow Ensemble Community Update. If you haven’t seen one of these before and you are curious how they work, you can check out our first two from August and September.

I hope that everyone enjoyed their October and Halloween. Annie and I didn’t see a single trick-or-treater. Maybe it’s the demographic of our neighborhood, a reflection of the concern for COVID, or…both. 

Also—happy (?) Election Day here in the U.S.! We’ve all been waiting for this for some time. It feels like this election could bring a great feeling of relief, or the complete opposite. Focusing on work this week might be a challenge.  

Before this election potentially flips the world upside down (hopefully for the better 🤞), let’s share an inside look at what we are working on here at Grow Ensemble.

But before we do, once again a reminder that our primary goals are to:

  1. Learn (and apply) everything we can as it relates to leaving the world a better place than we found it. 
  2. Share everything we learn to bring more people into the community of more sustainable living, work, and business. 

We attract and engage this community through our content! This means our blogs, podcasts, videos.  

Let’s see how things looked in October.

The Social Good Community Growth: Numbers & Milestones

✏️ & the ‘Social Good Blog


October was a MONSTER (😜) month for the growth of our blog. We hit 67,032 pageviews for the month—that’s up 48.8% vs. September!  

Also, with the close of this month, we celebrated a full year since the launch of this Social Good blog. It makes hitting such a growth curve right now even more special.

In October of 2019, we saw 1,583 pageviews. 

Our traffic in October of 2020 was 4,134.49% higher than October 2019!


So, in 12 months’ time, we went from 1,000 – 2,000 views per month to now over 67,000 per month and we expect that to continue. 

What’s changed as of late? 

Well, nothing. For the last 12 months, we’ve consistently published quality, SEO researched content. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is a long-term, compounding game. The efforts you put in today, might not take hold until 3, 4, or sometimes even 6 months down the line. 

That’s been the case for us. As long as we’ve put in the work and stuck to our process, the results have come and as seen by the graphs above, compounded with time. 

That process being: 

  • Research what topics and questions people are interested in. 
  • Consistently create posts that cover those topics and questions in depth. 
  • Publish the posts in a manner that’s both user friendly and Google-friendly
  • Promote & distribute to help get early eyeballs on the content and build our authority.

We’ll share more on that process with time. I really want to see that other better-for-the-world businesses and high-impact nonprofits use these strategies to attract and engage a community around their own mission. 


Here’s what we published on the Social Good blog this month: 

🌊 How Does Plastic Get into the Ocean? And How Do We Stop It in Its Tracks?

🚽 How to Go Zero Waste & Plastic-Free in the Bathroom (For Less Than $200)

🏥 How Does Plastic Pollution Affect Humans: Know the Risks and Join the Plastic-Free Movement

🏔 Patagonia Men’s Topley Jacket Review: The John Dutton of Jackets

❄️Patagonia Nano Puff Review: 10 Oz of No-Wind, No-Cold & No-Worries

 P.S. — Thanks to all our contributors this month! — Rebecca Cruse, Jackie Goodwin, and Telma Goncalves! 

🎧 The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast


Podcast growth this month was minimal, but we still set a single-month record nonetheless. This was even with missing one Thursday’s publication! 😲

We saw 3,112 downloads for the month making for 2.4% growth over September.  

There weren’t any adjustments to our production and promotion process this month, really just business as usual. I’m more so focused on recording a ton of episodes right now to take something of a sabbatical when the holidays hit. 

We have 8 guest episodes in the bank right now, with more recordings lined up in November. We also ran a second ‘re-run’ this month, with Lindsey McCoy from Plaine Products to ‘kick-off’ our partner campaign ongoing plastic-free. 

Running that episode again increased the download total by 97%. 

ICYMI: Out on the podcast this month: 

💌 The Better World Weekly Newsletter


 ConvertKit is our Email provider of choice. Sign up here to get 1,000 subscribers for free.

We grew the newsletter by 23.6% in October, bringing the total subscriber count to 1,293. 

Late in the month, we began to focus on increasing the numbers of subscribers we are collecting from our total site traffic. 

This process has been really simple (thanks to one of our writers Jackie Goodwin & Rebecca Berry!): 

  1. Identify our highest traffic posts & pages in Google Analytics. 
  2. Create specific & useful bonuses that correspond with those pages. These are called content upgrades or lead magnets. 
  3. Setup capture mechanisms on those pages to offer up those bonuses in exchange for email addresses.

We tackled that work a little too late in the month to report on any results just yet. That should come in the next Community Update. 

We did however pass another anniversary, that being one year of writing and publishing the Better World Weekly Newsletter! 

52 weeks in a row. Every. Single. Monday. 

It’s been a lot of fun! And, I think it’s been really important to keep a consistent presence with our community around Grow Ensemble. 

Our first Better World Weekly Newsletter went out to 292 subscribers. 

Our fifty-second, went out to 1,123 subscribers.

A big plus—engagement with our newsletters remains strong! 30% open-rate is what we strive for, and with the added technique this month of resending the newsletter a few days later to those who didn’t open, we actually saw a 45.5% open-rate!

I’m working this month on a guide for how social enterprises and nonprofits can write effective and engaging newsletters. 

That should provide some more nitty-gritty details on what goes into that weekly process and how we see our newsletter fitting into the whole Grow Ensemble ecosystem

Cause Campaign This Month: How to Go Plastic-Free!

In the month of October, we ran our first official partner cause campaign!  

With our friends at Plaine Products, we covered going zero-waste and plastic-free in our everyday lives, as well as specifically in the bathroom. 

In Part #1, we dove deep into how plastic pollution affects human health. Part #2, we got more specific (with the help of our Plaine Products friends), talking about going zero-waste and plastic-free in the bathroom

Finally, we welcomed Plaine Products’ Co-Founders (& sisters) Lindsey McCoy and Alison Webster to the podcast where they shared insights from their own plastic-free journeys

We’ll also have a few other pieces of content coming out this week to wrap up the campaign.

We’ll be doing a dedicated write-up of some of the stellar plastic-free products from Plaine, and an overview post on reducing plastic use.

The best part about the way in which we create content here at Grow Ensemble, is that we are on a mission to create a library not a publication. Publishing the content in these campaigns is just the beginning! Like every article we write, the objective is to have people discover them month after month after month.

And of course…take action because of them.

😢 Shutting Down Better World Business Growth: A Lesson in Focus

We decided this last month to put an indefinite hold on the Better World Business Growth side of our business. 

*If you’ve been watching super closely, you may have noticed we didn’t host a workshop this month.*

As often is my problem, I want to do everything all at once and I can sometimes bite off more than I can chew. As we head into 2021, we want to narrow our focus to the following: 

  1. The things that drive the greatest result for the growth of our Grow Ensemble community, and add fuel for our mission (revenue). 
  2. The things that we enjoy the most. 

With most early-stage businesses, it seems you try a ton of different things and see what sticks. For us, that’s been the content creation on the blog, podcast, etc. 

But at some point, you can’t sustain everything. Especially if it’s not financially sustainable at the moment. 

For me in particular, that’s been the concept of this Better World Business Growth Community. Still an idea I believe in and a community I think could be valuable. But just not something we have the proper bandwidth to give our attention to. 

And so, for the moment, we’ve shut it down to put more focus on our content and using that as a vehicle to affect the change we want to see in the world.

Up Next in…November 🦃

Setting plans while not ignoring the elephant in the room (the election results) feels unsettling. Either way, this is what we have on schedule. 

Next Cause Campaign!—Conscious Consumerism—This month we’ll be running a campaign with our friends at A Good Company where we’ll be covering conscious consumerism. This, in anticipation of the holiday shopping season where ‘mindless consumption’ can run rampant. 

Wrapping Up the First Campaign — Zero-Waste & Plastic-Free in the Bathroom—

We’ll also be officially wrapping up our first campaign with our partners, Plaine Products. We plan to do a detailed write up/case study here as to how it went and how we expect it to progress. Remember: We are building a library here, not a publication. 

Grow Ensemble’s Social Good Blog, a Case Study—As well, I’d like to do a case study on how we were able to take our Social Good Blog to 67,000+ monthly pageviews in 12 months’ time. I hope that it can be a resource for other purpose-driven businesses and organizations in their efforts to build a community and inspire action around their mission.  

Launching this Month, The ‘Buy Ensemble’ Directory—As a compliment to our more in-depth sustainable product write-ups and reviews, we’ll be launching a directory to making finding sustainable, ethical, and responsible options for whatever you are buying much easier. Think of this directory as the ‘bulleted list’ for quick finds, whereas our current Buy Ensemble content has been more of deep-dives into companies, industries, or product options. 

More Changemakin’ Podcast Guests—More great episodes out this month (as always)! 

Schedule to air in November 

  • Sian Conway, from The Ethical Hour
  • Paul Lynch, from Cage Free Productions
  • Dion Hughes & Nora Schaper, from HiBar
  • Dean Cycon, from Deans Beans.
  • & More!…

End Note

Thanks for reading this Grow Ensemble community update! I hope you enjoyed it and have a great month to come. 


-Cory (follow me on Twitter

P.S. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast!

Subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts!…

👉Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or others!

P.P.S If you are a purpose-driven business or a high-impact nonprofit and you want to work with us at Grow Ensemble to use content to drive awareness and engagement around your better-for-the-world mission, reach out to us here


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