Alcohol makes many things a little more fun. But before you get any further, I should probably clarify that this article is NOT about how to increase your webmaster’s productivity with alcoholic substances.
If, instead, you want to learn how you can throw 800-1000 viewers to your new site in a single day, then read on.
(The answer to my title’s mystery can be found a little lower on this page.)
Doubtlessly, the most difficult part of website setup lies in attracting a core user base from which to launch yourself.
Consider the problems faced by a brand new, unestablished restaurant – As long as it stays empty, potential new customers may feel the place is untrustworthy, and stay away from it from a purely precautionary standpoint. Can we blame them? We’d probably do the same thing too.
Now imagine thousands of new customers showing interest in your restaurant, based on a glowing review from an established food critic who praises your establishment. I want to show you how you can take advantage of a technique that allows you to do this for your website, with about one week’s preparation. For free.
In online websites, building confidence in your brand is a little easier that in restaurants. In restaurants, customers have no permanence – the place might be filled one day, but empty the other. In websites, permanence is a lot more easily achievable, through viewer comments and social media sharing widgets. There are two ways to build this confidence: become a figure of authority (i.e. the best restaurant in the area), or the most popular locally (i.e. never be empty).
In this blog post, I will cover the “popular” aspect:
If a new visitor to the site sees that posted articles have an average of 15+ comments and 30+ shares on Facebook, they’re FAR more likely to subscribe to the site than if there is a lone comment.
So how can we painlessly build this user base, or help it multiply quickly?
Therein lies the relationship between your website and a bowl of punch. If it’s not exciting enough, spike it.
Harness the power of Spikes.
Google, WordPress, Blogger – Go to their help pages, and you’ll notice that every one of these major sites share a commonality when it comes to their advice on driving traffic and building a customer base:
Content. Is. King.
Their best advice for rapidly building a website is to post valuable material, and post often.
Well, they’re right… sort of. Granted, without valuable material, it doesn’t matter how many people are driven to your site – they just won’t stick around.
But if you think about it, does this advice really address the question of how to drive traffic to your site quickly?
Once you have a few high quality articles on your website, are there better ways of promoting it than just regularly posting new content?
Both Facebook and Google run multi-billion empires on their capacity to advertise. These ads allow companies to rapidly reach out to a wide but targeted audience. They typically have a very high ‘impression’ rate (user saw the ad), moderate click-through (user clicked on the ad), and lower conversion rate (user purchased the product/subscribed to the newsletter/became a fan of the page). Looking at your website analytics, these would look like “spikes”. See the graph below for an example.
For established organizations, the total cost of running such an ad is fairly low in terms of a general marketing budget, and tends to yield a good return on the initial investment. For start-ups and home businesses however, initial investment in a virtual listing may seem daunting and foreign. We’ll get to a way around that in a second.
Out of the 1000 new viewers of that ad, you may have 20-200 new subscribers, and perhaps even a new client or two. Over time, leveraging these traffic spikes to build up your site’s traffic and online popularity is FAR faster than a constant steady growth model, in which you “hope” people find your site, like it, and share it based on its content alone.
Let’s be honest. As producers of what we would like to think are quality products or content, the constant growth model is, well… less than entertaining. A spike is exciting, and the sudden influx of traffic can lead to renewed motivation in your business/website.
But still, I promised you a costless method, so how can we benefit from these traffic spikes without introducing a constant drain on our advertising budgets?
How can we achieve these Ad results on the internet, for free?
Put down that SEO guide, and get off the phone with that marketing executive. There’s a shortcut.
There are two techniques; the more widely known “ambulance chasing” (will be covered in a later blog post), and the lesser known (yet more efficient) following method…
The Drafting Method
What is it?
In a nutshell, the drafting method is a 3 step method for leveraging other existing online content into getting free online or press coverage on your articles. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is.
Step 1: Choose your springboard.
First off, you need to analyze the market for content which you can leverage to your advantage. Generally, this comes from your competitors: For example, if you’re running a website selling zombie survival kits, seek out other websites centered around the same purpose. If they’re receiving web attention, so can you.
You shouldn’t confine yourself to your direct competitors though – websites preaching how to survive the zombie apocalypse may also give you the opportunity to launch your drafting campaign – you can twist your story to complement or reflect an alternative take on the issue. In this case, how your zombie kit would be of use to said people interested in surviving the apocalypse.
Build a list of at least 10 companies/websites to be safe.
Now, check regularly (I recommend weekly) to find out where they’re getting featured (in other large blogs, the press, etc.). When you see a major feature that you can benefit from, quickly get to your writing desk and prepare a story that will make reporters WANT to share your content as quickly and as widely as possible. How? Read on.
(OR, you can ignore all of this hard research work and sit back while Google searches through millions of websites every day, for you, for free. Blog post on how to do this forthcoming. Subscribe to receive it immediately when it comes out.)
Step 2: Make reporters love you (platonically)
Let’s start with what you want.
You don’t have much of an audience, so you want this reporter/blogger (let’s just call him/her “linker” for now) to feature you, drive a traffic spike to your site and increase your traffic and customers.
How can you get that from the linker? Easy, just give them what THEY want.
Sure, pleasing a journalist isn’t always an easy job, but here’s the kicker: Most of the job is already done.
Linkers want to write a story that develops unique ideas, controversy, and/or new developments on a topic they’re familiar with.
First off, and this is key, Pitch it to the same linker who featured your competitor’s article in the first place.
By writing an article on their recent feature piece, you are providing the linker with three core elements that make them happy to write on your behalf:
1. Familiarity: A field they are already familiar with and are comfortable writing about (makes the job easier for them).
2. Relevant content: They can have peace of mind that their audience will engage with the story, as the previous feature already provided a precedent and is likely a “hot” topic.
3. A plot/unique twist/new perspective: By pitching your story from a different perspective, you’re doing part of the linker’s work for them. Who wouldn’t appreciate that?
Never mimic your competitor’s featured article. You don’t want to bore the reporter. Instead, read the article carefully, and do one of the following:
1. If the topic is subjective, write a controversial piece. Linkers tend to LOVE controversy. It’s half of what the internet’s made of. The other half involves cats.
2. Identify any loopholes/imprecisions and address them.
3. Expand the scope of the original article. Develop the arguments, show a different field of impact, etc.
Perfect! Now all you need to do is prepare a press release, get a testimonial from a trusted leader in the field to endorse your message, add in a couple of refferen- Wait, no. Don’t do any of that.
Step 3: Your foot in the door: A short email
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Who likes reading press releases?
Do you want to spend all of your time writing a lengthy formal document that is most likely going to bore or intimidate your intended recipient?
Of course not.
And if YOU were the one receiving such a letter, you wouldn’t want to read a long email from someone you didn’t know right? You’d want it to be clear, short, and to the point. So, let’s start there.
Social media guru Derek Halpern gives the following template email, with tips:
I saw you wrote about [insert topic]. Well, I’ve got some [insert unique story angle] that answers the concerns you raised in your original article. Here’s the article:
[insert link to article here].
You’re busy but you’ll find this as the perfect answer to [insert the concern they raised].
And that’s it.
That template works great for a three reasons:
- You’re drafting behind one of their topics, as shown with the first sentence.
- It also works because you’re promisnig a unique angle, which all reporters and bloggers want.
- This email works because it opens an information gap.
Note: I don’t recommend you copy this email word for word. Also note how I don’t ask for a link. That’s key. Asking for a link alerts the BS meters.
There you go. The drafting technique in clear, broken down steps. It’s really that easy: try it, and comment here in the post WHEN (not if) it works for you. Or give me feedback on why you don’t think this would work: All comments are welcome.
Don’t forget to subscribe for my upcoming post on that google feature that lets you sit back and relax while letting the world’s biggest search giant do your competitor research for you.