You’ve just spent hours (or days!) writing the perfect blog post.
It’s a work of art.
And then you hit publish and… nothing happens.
It’s a heartbreaking feeling that all of us have experienced.
In this article I’m going to show you some little tricks that you can use to ensure that your next post gets seen by thousands of people.
We all want that, right?
The benefits of big traffic
A few weeks ago we looked at how to get 100,000+ visitors from Google and why organic traffic from search engines is beneficial.
This type of traffic, however, is slightly different.
For starters, when you’re aiming for traffic from Google you’re thinking about long term outcomes. It’s not something you can rush.
Today I want to go a little bit further and talk about SEO traffic plus the short term burst you can get from writing a sick post and promoting it properly so that it results in a big social media hit.
This is also known as going viral.
The above is a screenshot from my Google Analytics account showing how I got over 11,000 visitors in my blog’s third week of operation after hitting the front page of Delicious and getting some big traffic from guest posts.
This type of thing is useful because it can help to get your site noticed by influencers and, of course, it usually results in a big spike in subscribers.
Here’s a shot of my email subscriber growth when I publish a post that gets even just a little bit of extra traffic and attention from social networks.
Have a look at how many extra subscribers my buddy Steve Kamb got after hitting the front page of imgur for a post that someone else did about useful websites.
Not too bad.
Of course, I’m not going to promise that everyone will be able to replicate these kinds of numbers. But hopefully with a little bit of tweaking we should be able to give you a well deserved boost.
How to get your next post seen by thousands
Let’s take a look at some little strategies that I’ve found helpful over the years.
As always, don’t be shy to pipe in if you disagree or have a better way of doing things.
1. Make sure you’re writing about EXACTLY the right thing
I couldn’t start this article without mentioning the vast differences in traffic that can occur if you pick the wrong keywords to target.
Have a look at this traffic estimation for “cure headaches” vs “get rid of headaches”.
Now, some people will argue that this is just a blogging SEO thing but in my opinion it’s also reflective of what people want. If Google’s data is showing that one search is getting 16,000 more queries per month than another that means more people want that information.
This can give us a big insight into the topic and keywords that we should be writing about and helping people with.
2. Think about what people share not just what they want
This is quite a subtle distinction but it’s very important if you want to make sure that your posts get shared around on social networks – a requirement for going viral.
People don’t share things they think are helpful, they share things they want other people to think they’re reading. – Tweet this.
It might sound a little bit callous but if we’re honest and think about all the content we’ve shared on our Facebook pages, a lot of it would be because we are trying to create a certain type of perception of ourselves
Here’s a quick example I saw just today about climate change policy. These types of stories attract a large amount of shares, partly because people enjoy supporting a good cause, and partly because they want to show other people that they’re reading about “good” and intelligent topics.
Another great example from last week is I Went Paleo and Now I Hate Everything by Geraldine (boy the produce some good writers in that household). This article is brilliantly written and hilarious, but it’s also perfectly aimed at a group of people who are sick of hearing about paleo and want to share that with their paleo friends.
3. Include links to copious amounts of resources and influencers
A lot of new bloggers have a problem with this one because they think it loses them readers. It doesn’t, I’m quite certain.
When you link to another website or blog you can add a bit of code target=”_blank” which causes the link to open in a new window meaning that your blog stays on their screen. So practically speaking, linking to people isn’t a problem
The main benefit here is that by linking to other blogs and influencers you get yourself on their radar.
This can lead to a few outcomes:
- They share your stuff
Ideally we’ll find that getting an influencer to share your content can lead to a big boost in your traffic and subscribers.
- They link to you
Another great outcome is when someone finds your blog post after you mention them and then gives you a big shout out in one of their own posts. I have a feeling this is how I managed to get two mentions from Neil Patel within a week.
- It builds connections with influencers
The last nice outcome is when one of the influencers sees that you mentioned them, finds another influencer in your article and then begins bonding with them. This kind of situation makes your blog look very powerful.
So when you’re writing your next post it’s a good idea to leave Google open in a separate tab and constantly be looking for new resources to link to. Not only does this help you in terms of your ability to promote the post later, it also makes for a better article because you’ll be expanding your knowledge.
Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker are two of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and they really take this concept to new levels by actually meeting in person and conducting seminars and group sessions with readers, as well as their podcast.
It’s a very good idea because it helps people, but it also helps their brands to get more attention than they already have.
4. Post your article and then promote it like a crazy-person
Here’s the hard part.
Once you’ve written that amazing article you have to let people know it’s there. And it seems as though a lot of us are uncomfortable with the idea of self promotion. And that’s okay.
One of the reasons I encourage bloggers to write posts that are as helpful as possible is because then you don’t really feel bad about pushing them. You know it’s useful and you really believe in the results that people might get.
Just have a look at Glen’s post from a few years ago on The Future of Blogging which is about 100 million words long and full of the most pithy and practical advice you’ll ever read. This is the kind of article that really helps people – it’s full of generosity.
So how can we promote our articles?
- Email your list
This one seems like a given but I’m often surprised at how afraid some bloggers are of emailing their subscribers for fear of bothering them. We really do need to let them know that an amazing new post is live, however, as they will help you get the word out. Craft an email with a great title and really build some interest.
- Email the people you linked to in the post
The next step is to email the people that you mentioned in your article. Just keep it quick and informal like, “Hey John. Just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you in this 5,000 word post I just published. Would love a tweet or share if you enjoy it. Thanks!” Don’t email them again if you don’t hear anything otherwise it starts to get a bit annoying.
- Create some promotional graphics
When you share your big post on your social networking accounts it’s a good idea to have some fancy graphics to go along with it. They are much more attention grabbing. Here’s a simple one I used for my checklist on how to start a blog which I also used as an ads campaign. Pat Flynn is a master of these graphics and has some really beautiful ones made up.
- Share on social but test different approaches
I can’t remember who it was but recently someone told me that you can get interesting results from testing different titles when you tweet out your posts. We can even go one step further and try different times of the day and by using different hash tags to see which gets the most uptake. If you’re sharing on Google+ and Facebook make sure you tag any people that you’ve mentioned in the post, or even ask them for a comment.
- Spend $50 on Facebook ads
It can be more or less depending on your budget but even a little boost can have a huge effect on your results if you target the right people. We have to accept that Facebook is really good as a paid platform and if we’ve spent days writing an amazing piece then maybe it deserves a little advertising budget.
These little starter promotional tips will give you a good initial burst which can then allow us to move onto the next stages and go a bit deeper.
5. Have a series of guest posts ready to go
This one is quite complicated and, in all honesty, is getting harder as the years go by as guest posting gets more and more popular and the marketplace more flooded.
But if you can pull it off it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do for your blogging business because the results are still so amazing.
The idea here is that when you publish this amazing blog post you also want to get out as many guest posts that link back to your post within a timeframe of about a week or two.
If you have a look at any of Danny Inny’s guest posts on ProBlogger as an example you’ll see that he links back to his blog in really exciting but natural ways – often linking directly to individual blog posts that he wants to promote.
In the example above you’ll see how the whole post is about landing “big fish” and then goes on to talk about a very cool interview he did with that very same “fish”. Clever.
Of course, this needs to be done in context with a wider blogging strategy:
If done correctly, this will give you a dramatic boost in traffic as you start to see people share your guest post, the post you linked to, and maybe a boost in the organic search rankings which leads to yet more traffic.
6. Create expert discussions around the topic you’ve written on
Another way you can get influencers to notice and hopefully share your article is by creating discussions and asking for advice on how you can improve the article.
There is currently a great example of this on Inbound where Victor has written an original post for the forum that links back to a guest post that he did on ProBlogger.
This forum post has got over 40 votes and 16 comments which means it’s been on the front page for a while now. This would definitely have been seen by some of the big names who frequent the site.
When you’re doing this type of thing you need to be really careful about linking to and talking about your own website/article. If it seems like self promotion it will not get any attention at all.
The way it was done above was by mentioning it in conjunction with another useful article. This is almost like a guest post. But you can also ask for honest feedback from people, and see what they might add to the article to make it better. This also creates another situation where you might be able to add a new link to your post and hopefully get another share.
7. Bribe your readers (sort of…)
This is a tactic that I have used around three times in five years here on Blog Tyrant.
I find it really interesting because the results can be massive, but you don’t want to do it too often or it loses its effectiveness (and annoys people).
For example, when I did this post on starting a blog I decided to do a huge series of giveaways in exchange for a comment or a share.
It helped to give it a little boost.
One way to do this is by mentioning certain products that you use in the post and then reaching out to those companies to see if they are willing to do a giveaway. This might work well if you are reviewing a particular product, or if you mention something in your post that relates to the topic itself.
Another option is to use a service like Pay With a Tweet.
This is a very simple product that can work really well if used in the right way. The idea is that you “lock” a piece of content and readers gain access to that locked content by tweeting about it. You might not want to do this for your whole post, but maybe just keep an aspect or extra downloadable bonus locked behind the tweet wall.
What do you think?
Do you use any of these tactics? Perhaps you’ve had a post that has done really well on social media after trying something different? I’d be really interested to hear about it so please leave a comment below.
Top photo © Ashestosky
37 CommentsJoin in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
Another awesome piece of article Ramsey. I liked the last part about bribing to readers. Although bribing is not considered as a good habit in our society, but it is a 100% full proof formula in blogging.
Besides, that regarding Facebook ads I read many places that people actually don’t get much benefit from that as most clicks are coming from some link firms clicks. Although I have read your experience and find it completely different and satisfactory.
Anyway, enjoyed another article. Keep going 🙂
I didn’t really mean bribing. Just more of an enticement.
If the post is going to be a MASSIVE post, such as a 3,000 word how-to post, then build up to it during the week. For example, on Monday, post an article related to a component of it and promote the upcoming guide in the post and on social media. Do the same a day or two later. If you really want to go big, do it every day of the week and then “release” it on Friday. It’s the same promotional process as if you were releasing a new product.
An aside on linking to other resources, it shows that you study and read up on what’s going on in your own niche. Always good to build trust.
I definitely don’t build interest for my posts enough. Good reminder.
Ramsay, you got some great posts on your blog, i just wanted to add that you could also leverage Instagram to get more exposure nowadays. It is one of the largest social media sites, and for some niches, can bring a lot of traffic.
That’s a really good point. I don’t use it much at all.
Hi Ramsay, I learnt few things which I was not taking seriously while writing my day to day posts on my different niches.
But now I am confident that I will implement and the result would change.
Thanks for sharing such an informative post with all your readers.
Mohinder Paul Verma
BloggingFunda – A Community of Bloggers
Glad you enjoyed it!
“People don’t share things they think are helpful, they share things they want other people to think they’re reading. ”
True. If you like it, and it will make you look good to be seen to have read it, you’ll probably share it.
One more thing about sharing: people share things that they feel strongly about.
Often it’s that they strongly agree with the points made. Or maybe they’re sharing something which they found absolutely hilarious. People will share content that they believe deserves a wider audience.
Yeah that is a really good point. Important distinction.
Thanks! This was jam-packed with good advice. Need to read through it again. Even though the topic of my blog has a narrow focus, I gotta believe there are a lot more folks who would enjoy reading it. Right now I’ve got the tiniest following and I really want to change that. 🙂 Thanks again.
Hope it helps.
I moved away from using target=”blank” on outbound links when I discovered that it works differently for mobile users.
When leaving the code out, mobile users can return to my site by clicking the back button on the far left – (one option). When including the code, the back button no longer works, but they can return to the my site by clicking the recent pages button on the far right – (multiple options).
I am curious to hear what others find works best for mobile users.
What don’t you like about the way it works on mobile?
Keywords are crucial! Before publishing my eBook, I searched Google’s keywords and Amazon’s. I was surprised to find that one small tweak to my title yielded big results. I forget to use the keywords tool for my blogs. It makes sense that it would also yield better results.
Thank you for the reminder AND for the hilarious article on “I went Paleo…”
Yeah she’s awesome!
Very nice tips, hardest part is to get influencers on board, they are the toughest nut to crack because there are lots of bloggers who are vying for their attention.
Yeah I think that comes down to quality and familiarity. You don’t want to ask for things straight away but rather build up a relationship.
FB Ads is my weapon of choice 🙂
[ Smiles ] I have no intentions of buying Facebook ads. But, I will promote my blog like a crazy person.
Don’t knock it til you try it. 🙂
Here is what I’ve done to beg, borrow, and steal all the traffic I get to my website. I’ve had a few viral posts hit upwards up 20,000 views in a day so it works. Sometimes. Also, I’ve never paid for any ads. I can’t afford to. I make $$$ only off of adsense so a slew of traffic is the only way I generate money. I don’t have anything to sell. It’s my only option. So these are designed to get eyeballs on your page, nothing more. Here is the website in question. http://thefilmbox.org/
1. Write multi page articles. My articles that generally do best are ones that are divided up into multiple pages. I have a whole section of my blog devoted to top ten lists. I’ve found these to be view multipliers. What would normally be 1 view turns into 10 as readers click through each page.
2. Reddit – I have a love hate relationship with Reddit. I was basically unaware of it’s existence before i started blogging, now I live and die by it. Every article I write I try to publish on there some way, some how. The amount of viewers on Reddit is simply to big to ignore. If you are not using it, you must. Some subreddits have upwards of 10,000 people online, at a time. Seriously, that’s a lot of traffic. Post your articles on Reddit and watch the views flow in.
And if you make the front page of the bigger subreddits, woo boy!
3. Becoming better at Reddit. Reddit doesn’t like us. Although it’s designed to be a place for people to share and filter through interesting links, those links are are looked down on if they benefit you in the slightest. On Reddit, self promotion is a four letter word. So create a username other than yourself or your blog. Link your articles as if you were a reader and not an author. Comment on your articles and stimulate conversation to increase views and upvotes. Find big subreddits that fit your subject matter and frequent them often. Even ones that don’t, find a way to shoehorn your stuff into there.
And this is key. Comment on other people’s stuff so it doesn’t look like it’s always about you. The moderator hounds will track you down if you don’t and ban you.
4. Recycle – To keep traffic coming repromote old articles you’ve written to a new audience that missed them the first time. One of my biggest spikes came from a 7 month old article that went semi-viral again.
Facebook can be a goof place to recycle old articles too if you leave links in similar groups to your subject matter.
5. Timing – I wrote an article on Star Wars back when the first trailer for the new movie came out and got crazy traffic riding the SW hype train for the next few days. Another hit came from an April Fool’s article I published on April 1st. http://thefilmbox.org/news/kim-kardashian-to-play-a-twiliek-in-new-star-wars-film/ If you can write timely articles coordinated with what’s going on in the world you’ll earn big traffic by piggybacking.
6. Leaving Comments – Maybe an article I write doesn’t crack the front page of Google. No bueno. But if I can leave a link to my article in the comments of those first few search results I can still make the front page in my own way. This seems to work best for me when I leave comments in articles under any news related topics in Google. People are more interested in looking at the comment sections of current events I guess. That’s fine by me if I can siphon off some views.
Obviously this is a lot of work, but if you overlap and always follow through on some of these ideas you’ll find you can bring decent traffic to your site through sheer force of will. This is short lived traffic like Ramsey said though. Some things like article comments may stick around over time, but Reddit and FB quickly fade away.
Hope this helps.
What a comment! Thanks so much for sharing.
I have to confess, I made a decision to quit Reddit recently after finding out what some of the subreddits are and the things that are allowed on there. Decided not to be a part of it. But, without a doubt, huge traffic potentials.
I’ve been following your blog since I decided to give blogging a shot. A lot of great stuff, can’t wait to start sharing my results and thoughts as soon as I get my own thing going!
Keep up the good work, thank you!
Glad it helps. Let me know how you go.
Great post. I’m realizing more and more that Facebook IS a great paid place and that man people get a lot of traction with their blog posts because they paid advertising. I’m getting involved in that with Facebook at the moment.
Also, the promotional graphics is something I have to do that I’m not doing. I’m just sharing my regular post image and that’s not good enough. Have to step my game up.
Thanks Andrew. Glad you enjoyed it.
Hey Ramsay! Thats a nice blog you’ve got here. I have been reading your blog for quite some time now and I have also started a blog in the same niche as yours.
I would be more than grateful if you write a post about how did you get domination in your niche with so much competition. Thanks
That’s a good idea. Thank you.
Hey Ramsay, great post!
I had never heard of creating an expert discussion, that’s a very clever way to get your content promoted.
As for pay with a tweet, you could also go for the email there, just make the bonus a content upgrade, put a CTA at the end, and grab the email with Leadpages for example.
Good stuff, thanks 🙂
Nice! Thank you.
[…] when you get more email subscribers you also start to get more visitors because those subscribers share, promote and evangelise your […]
Really insightful point here –
People don’t share things they think are helpful, they share things they want other people to think they’re reading.
It’s similar to forums: people don’t post really helpful advice, just what they can use to demonstrate their expertise.
Good reminder on keywords: easy to forget to use them when writing blog posts.
[…] when you get more email subscribers you also start to get more visitors because those subscribers share, promote and evangelise your […]
Nice suggestions but how about an outreach campaign for a post, you feel really sure about among your followers?
I especially agree with the point “Post your article and then promote it like a crazy-person”. Once your post goes live, you need to do everything possible to promote it. $50 is a good amount for Facebook Ads and it really helps boost your post’s visibility online. Thanks for sharing these points.