Website: PowerPoetry.org

Power Poetry is a safe, creative, free place for young poets and teachers. It is a one-of-a-kind place where young people can have their voices heard regarding issues that matter to them. Power Poetry isn’t just about poetry: It’s about using poetry as a tool for change and growth.


The Challenge

Taking what they learned from creating the wildly successful documentary To Be Heard, which followed the lives of 3 teens in the Bronx, Power Poetry’s founder wanted to build a safe online community for young poets. His vision was to move the needle on youth literacy, taking inspiration from the mantra: “If you don’t learn to write your own life story, someone else will write it for you.” 

He approached Whole Whale in 2010 to build the platform and then figure out how to achieve this audacious mission. 

What we did

Starting in 2010, Whole Whale served as a technical partner and digital team for Power Poetry, an organization that started with an idea and has now grown into the largest teen platform for poetry in the US.

Web Design

Whole Whale built a digital platform and developed branding and a strategy that utilized the Google AdWords grant and Google Analytics to identify key markets for user signups. Power Poetry grew from 0 to over 300,000 poets in its first 3 years of working with Whole Whale.

Power poetry case study


Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics metrics such as average visit duration and conversion rate, Whole Whale was able to identify which sites referred the highest quality of traffic. This knowledge helped Power Poetry drive even more referrals, which now account for over 75% of their new user signups.

After a slow start attracting members, Whole Whale was able to hone in on insights to build up their membership. Now, Power Poetry is the largest online teen poetry database with over 300,000 uploaded poems. They also have quite a knack for web analytics.

Digital Marketing

For its first few months of existence, Power Poetry’s membership total dawdled in the hundreds. They had been testing out different marketing ideas to attract users to the site, yet none seemed to have the breakthrough success they had hoped for.

In October, they decided to host a contest, awarding a prize to the best poem. Most of the visitors who found the subpage entered a poem, yet there were still a significant number of visitors who came to the Power Poetry home page and left. The million dollar question: How can we get more visitors to convert?

Getting conversions on the internet has few parallels to sales conversions in the physical realm. Whereas a boutique can attract customers to peruse its merchandise with an appealing front window display, the same tactic fails on the web. Getting users to a site’s homepage doesn’t mean they’ll click around to visit the other subpages. As such, it is crucial to treat every page as a potential front door or landing page.

A/B Testing

Instead of directing users to the homepage, Whole Whale found that directing users straight to the contest page would lead to a higher number of conversions. Furthermore, Whole Whale helped further optimize the page and streamline the signup process via A/B testing.

SEO + Content Marketing

Whole Whale worked to define the right keywords that young poets search when teachers give them assignments or they are trying to write new forms of poetry. Searches for terms like “How to write an ode poem” or “How to write slam poetry” lead users to Power Poetry’s resources. We then worked turn that traffic into new poets and poems through testing and targeted call-to-actions.


“We have had a profoundly productive relationship with Whole Whale since 2010. They have provided clear, transparent guidance, a full developmental tool kit and constant high level monitoring of our site. This attention to detail and hands-on accessibility has yielded a state of the art site, running smoothly and sensitively around the ever evolving needs of our community. In addition to these straight line services, Whole Whale has been instrumental in lassoing a half-million per year Google AdWords grant and numerous networking opportunities with peer organizations. There is no question that without the collaboration of Whole Whale, Power Poetry would be a far less sophisticated platform, used by a small fraction of its current quarter million registered users.”

Roland Legiardi-Laura, Founder + CEO of Power Poetry. (July 2015)

Presentation of Case Study

16NTC Ignite – NPTech Makers: The Pain and Poetry in Building a Platform – George Weiner, from NTC 2016.

Tragically, Roland passed away in April of 2016. George Weiner, the co-founder of PowerPoetry.org, continues on the legacy of their work together with the help of Whole Whale’s resources. Read the full story – The Pain and Poetry of Build a Platform.

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