Growing a blog takes time. It takes consistent sharing of great content for months and months on end. Usually, it takes most people about two years to get big.
This means that your growth is slow and steady just as the traffic coming to your site is slow and steady. While that strategy will work, it’s always nice to get a huge jump in traffic every once in awhile.
Would you like to know how to do that? Then study and apply the following online marketing tactics.
Tactic #1: Write ultimate guides
Over at KISSmetrics we create a lot of ultimate guides as I do at Quick Sprout too.
These are great tools for generating traffic since people like to share them via the social media, so I wanted to share with you the tips for creating your own, based on an article by Kristi Hines called Creating Ultimate Guides and Using Them to Build Your Marketing List.
Here are the tips to your first ultimate guide:
- Subscribe to hundreds of blogs in your field – Get to know what is going on in your industry, wait for that single piece of eye-opening information that no one has blogged about and then create an ultimate guide.
- Read posts on your topic – Once you have an idea about an ultimate guide, see if there are any others out there. If there are, how can you make yours different? Can you combine some of the current guides to make an ultimate guide?
- Provide a ton of screenshots – Even if the topic behind your ultimate guide is pretty basic, provide screenshots. The visuals break up the content and help people scroll through it. If the topic is complex, then do screen shots of the steps.
- Present case studies – An ultimate guide comes alive when you share real life examples. People tend to believe what you are saying when you have credible examples.
Once you’ve written the guide, your next step is to promote it.
If you don’t have that big of an audience, then you may want to offer to share it on a popular blog. This is exactly what the authors of the Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies did with their Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing at Copyblogger.
Once traffic dies down, the nice thing about your ultimate guide is that you can then turn it into a free download.
Tactic #2: Get covered in big media without spending a dime
A few years ago, I interviewed Chris Winfield of Blue Glass on public relations and on how he got tons of press in big media like the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times.
The thing you have to know is that Chris didn’t spend a dime on that type of attention. Fortunately, you can repeat his success with these proven steps:
- Understand your message – Knowing who you are and what your business stands for is your first crucial step. When you know your message, then you can target trade publications in that industry.
- Create a list – Pull up an Excel spreadsheet and start filling it with magazines, websites, blogs, trade journals and newspapers you’d like to appear in. In the column beside each entry, type in the reporter who covers that field.
- Collect contact info – Sometimes you can find contact info like an email address in the article. Grab it! If nothing is available in the article, follow the link to the author’s page. If that’s not available, then you will have to Google the autor’s name, search LinkedIn or simply call the organization.
- Connect with the reporter – Email them when you read an article you liked and let them know that you’ve been reading them for awhile. If they email back, offer to help them in whatever way you can.
- Pitch reporters with ideas – When news breaks in your industry, send the reporter your angle of the story. Keep it short and to the point. If they accept your content, send them a bio.
- Go above and beyond – After your phone call, make sure you email them additional information: act like their assistant in collecting research and data about the story.
- Get out of your office – Don’t forget to attend networking events, parties and press conferences. Talk to as many reporters as you can. Be friendly and not pushy. Get to know them and understand what they need in order to write their stories.
Building a relationship with a reporter as an indispensible resource will lead to more introductions and leads. So, be persistent and become the person everyone wants to interview.
When you finally get a break, and a reporter writes a story using you as a source, then you’ll get that massive boost in traffic that you’ve been hoping for!
Tactic #3: Suck in traffic with egobait
Egobait is a pretty simple concept: offer a reward to people who accomplish a certain challenge. If they win, they get to show off to the world.
In other words, this technique appeals to their vanity.
For example, Write to Done runs an annual top ten best writing blogs award. Those who win get to display a badge that declares they are one of the best. Of course, that badge drives traffic back to Write to Done.
Social Media Examiner does the same thing with their top ten social media blogs as does Advertising Age’s Power 150 List.
Even the social media tool Klout appeals to people’s vanity by showing them how influential they are in the social media world.
The disadvantage of this technique is that it is not going to work unless you have some authority in the space. If you don’t and you create an egobait badge, then nobody will care.
You first have to develop a loyal following through consistent publication of practical and persuasive content. Then, you have to offer your badge year after year until it gains a following.
Tactic #4: Create a stampede of visitors with StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
StumbleUpon can drive some massive traffic to your site if you create a piece of content that goes viral on the site.
However, that’s not easy to do because it’s sort of a guessing game on what will go viral. Plus, you have to know some serious StumbleUpon users to help your content spread.
It can happen, but it takes time. If you don’t have time, you can always speed up the process with Paid Discovery.
A Paid Discovery campaign is broken down into 5 steps:
- Choose a plan – You’ve got three options. Make sure you choose the middle or expensive one. The lower end plan doesn’t work too well.
- Enter the URL – Drop in the web address of the page you want Stumblers to stumble and visit. You can track this with a Google Analytics utm_parameter.
- Choose topics – You have 10 topics to choose from. If you can’t choose, you can let StumbleUpon choose for you. You can also do a split campaign based upon topics.
- Choose your audience – Next, choose who your audience will be based upon demographics like gender, income and location.
- Set your budget – You can find your way to the front page of StumbleUpon with a priority placement, but that comes at a premium price. Or just set a daily spend limit and generate as many leads as you can afford.
- Schedule – You have two basic options: let the ad run as soon as it is approved or schedule to launch it at a predetermined time. Scheduling will allow you to create multiple campaigns at once.
- Add funds – Your last step is to pay for your campaign, and you can do that inside your StumbleUpon dashboard.
If you want to optimize your content, select “Manual Targeting” before you submit content to see the most popular categories. Then experiment with your content to see pulls the best response.
Tactic #5: Going viral on Tumblr to drive traffic
Strike the right combination on Tumblr, and you will create a meme that could get you some serious traffic. The other way to go viral on Tumblr is to publish a long post.
That may sound totally wrong for a site like Tumblr, but let me explain.
When people who are flying through Tumblr come to a post that is four times as long as normal, they are going to pause and look.
Then, you’ve got them.
The trick to making either technique work is to have links back to your site. Perhaps this means you share a long post on Tumblr but link back to your site, where you share even more details and data.
For the meme, the link back to your site could send the readers to a gallery of your other stuff. Either way, you’ll get massive traffic.
Tactic #6: Timing your Reddit submissions and buying traffic
Reddit is a huge site getting huge numbers of page views. Back in December of 2011, they got a total of 2 billion.
That means you can post content on Reddit and drive a boatload of traffic to your site. Naturally, you have to create great content, but when you share that content is just as important.
Studies have shown that before 5 PM EST is the best time.
But studies have also shown that other things affect your ranking on your submissions on Reddit. These include whether you shared an older story versus a new one or how quickly you get your first 100 upvotes.
If it takes you 10 hours, then your post will not appear as high on the front page than if you had gotten those 100 upvotes in the first hour.
Here is a chart to explain…
What’s interesting is that the first 10 upvotes matter just as much as the next 100. And those 100 matter just as much as the next 1,000…
Keep in mind that controversial stories don’t really work as well on Reddit as you might think. The reason for it is that a post with many upvotes and downvotes doesn’t rank as high as a post that got proportionately more upvotes than downvotes. In theory, a submission with 1,000 upvotes and downvotes will not rank as high as a post with 750 upvotes and 250 downvotes.
Another element that affects your Reddit rankings is how many comments people leave. The more comments, the more weight that post will get. This means you need to use these strategies to generate more comments.
And just like StumbleUpon, Reddit also offers a way to buy traffic on Reddit.
There are two ways in which you can do this: buy an ad that shows up across all of Reddit or buy an ad that targets specific sub-Reddits.
This approach can drive a lot of traffic since you are targeting a highly-engaged segment.
Tactic #7: Leverage Pinterest like a power user
The image-driven new social media powerhouse known as Pinterest can also provide you with massive traffic. But you have to know how to get people to pin images of your content and products from your website and blog.
Here are 6 techniques that are tried-and-true methods for creating a flood of visits using Pinterest.
- Formatting photos - First of all, your blog should be set up to allow people to share content on Pinterest. This means having a simple Pinterest button on your site. However, have you ever considered whether your photos are even going to work on Pinterest? You can check by going to this page and replacing your URL with “YourWebsite.com”. That little test will help you see what people might see on Pinterest. If your photos are not optimized, then use these great tips on optimizing images for Pinterest.
- Put messages on your images – You probably put a lot of effort into writing great content, but do you do the same with your images? To get people to pin these images, share a great message about your content on your featured image like this one from a blog post title from Complex Style. You can use tools like Pixlr, FotoFlexer and Gimp 2.6 to create these messages.
- Daily theme board – If you want to take the text-based message image idea into overdrive, then create a board in your Pinterest account that is based on a theme. Sevenly has done this very well with their Daily Inspirational board.
- Run contests and giveaways – Do a simple search for “giveaway” on Pinterest, and you will see that contests are very popular. The reason they are popular is because of their ability to stir up traffic. Create a contest where people have to go to your site to enter, and you’ll get that spike that you’ve been dreaming of.
- Share pics of people, animals and cool technology – Since Pinterest is hugely visual, images of people and animals work really, really well. GE has created an account with boards that show off their bad-ass machines and that are full of photos of trains, airplanes and huge turbines. The U.S. Central Command has done a really great job of humanizing its institution with a board called Interesting and one on its military dogs.
- Follow the golden rule – This one is simple and basic…if you want people to pin and share your pins, then you need to do the same. You need to develop relationships with targeted users and share their stuff. The karma will come back to you…I promise.
Tactic #8: Write a high-quality guest post
One of the hottest and easiest ways to give your traffic a significant bump is to write a guest article for a popular blog.
Easier said than done, of course.
Your first step is to build a relationship with the blog’s owner. Fortunately, with social media, connecting with these bloggers is pretty easy.
- You can contact them on Twitter and comment on their site. When tweeting their stuff, make sure you are using their Twitter handle so they know what you are doing.
- Then head over to their blog and leave high-quality comment on posts.
- Get introduced by another guest writer. Contact one of the writers who has published on this popular blog and ask them for an introduction. That will give you credibility when contacting the blog owner.
- Meet them face-to-face. I love it when people come up to me during conferences and strike up a conversation. They are usually readers of Quick Sprout like Alex Mangini or Doina Oncel. After hearing their story, I’ll either usually write about them or give them the opportunity to write.
Once you have that connection with the blog owner, make sure you take care of it. Make yourself available to do things that they need done. Maybe it’s providing them with content they are missing, or maybe it’s putting a series of articles together they can package as a book.
Now, let me give you a few tips on creating a guest post that will actually knock them out and create a stream of leads to your site.
So, writing a popular guest blog post goes like this:
- Use simple words – You want people to be able to read and understand quickly what you are writing about, especially if it is about a complex topic. So, write at a 5th grade level.
- Write advanced how-to blog posts – Once you have your topic, sit down and write out all the steps to accomplishing your stated goal. Then revise, working in greater and greater detail.
- Links – Put plenty of internal and external links into your post. Bloggers love this. Ali Luke did a great job with her Copywriting Essentials from A-Z post.
- Create a conversation – Ask questions throughout your post that invite readers to think about and respond to what you are saying.
- Prove you are the authority – Fill your post with research and statistics that prove your point and show readers that you are an expert on this information.
- Create powerful headlines – Finally, concentrate on generating some truly persuasive headlines. This is by far the most important feature, so work hard at it! I know you can!
Okay, that will help you create a great article, but you’re not done yet. You want to catch all those leads you drive to your site, right? Then do this:
- Use 3-sentence formula for your byline – Your byline is the bio on your guest piece. To make it truly compelling and concise, answer these three questions: Who are you? What do you do and for whom? What’s the call to action?
- Create a landing page – Next, the links in your byline should drive traffic to a landing page that is designed for that audience and is tied to the topic of your guest post.
- Write a killer headline – Your landing page headline should address that blog audience. For example, if you wrote a quest post for Quick Sprout, you might write a headline like this: “Quick Sprout Readers, Get This Free and Exclusive Report on Traffic Boosting Secrets Today.”
- Write killer copy – Of course, you have to write clear, concise and compelling copy if you want people to read what you wrote.
- Add a call to action above the fold – Make sure you add a clear call-to-action button above the fold on your landing page. Do not bury it below the fold or your conversion will sink.
- Add a short video on the landing page – This Eye View Digital study has shown that you can skyrocket conversions simply by adding a short video to your landing page…by almost 80%. Now, that’s huge!
- Do not request a lot of information – The minimum amount of information that you need is an email address. If you can live with that, then don’t ask for anything more. If you want to, ask for a name. Asking for any more than that will drive down conversions.
- Use social proof – A great landing page needs social proof. This includes things like endorsements, number of clients, subscriber counts and social media followers.
- Don’t forget the design – A well-designed site will always convert better than a site with poor design. No ifs, ands or buts. If you can’t do it yourself, hire someone.
- Test – Obviously, this won’t be the first and last time you write a guest post. A good strategy involves writing dozens a year. That means you need to test with each one…maximizing your conversions each time!
Tactic #9: How even an average infographic can get you 10,000 impressions
People love infographics because they make complex ideas simple and visual. Several years ago, GOOD magazine used them effectively to grow their magazine. Some of their most popular ones are The Almighty Dollar and Drugged Culture.
LinkedIn also created a really sweet example of an effective infographic with their 100 Million professionals. And The Oatmeal’s 15ish Things Worth Knowing About Coffee uses humor to show you the history of coffee.
The great thing about infographics is that even an average infographic can give you a nice boost in traffic. Why? Other bloggers want a simple way to give their readers content, so when they are offered the ability to embed an infographic into their site, they jump on it.
This means that by conservative estimates, you might get five people embedding your infographic. If they have an average of 500 subscribers, it’s like getting in front of 2,500 people. But if 100 blogs embed it with different sizes and subscriber numbers, then hold onto your servers!
That kind of attention is also likely to catch the eye of people like Mashable, who have a huge audience, which would amount to a huge score for you.
I get really excited just talking about all of these tactics that can drive traffic to your site because they are the tactics that anybody can use, and they work!
What other ways do you know of that can help people drive a lot of traffic to their sites?