In an era where search engine optimization is becoming more and more challenging, traffic diversification is a MUST.
That’s why I’m super duper excited to feature Mark Trueman of Zen Spill on my blog today. Mark is a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur and he’s also a master at networking.
He knows how to grab the attention of influencers and wants to show you how to do the same.
So without further ado, here are some questions I posed to Mark.
What are some effective ways to get the attention of influencers in a given niche?
Have some sort of back and forth conversation with them before you email them. You can easily do this by leaving a comment on their blog or sharing one of their posts. Do this until they reply back to one of your comments or tweets.
Keep in mind that some bloggers don’t generally reply to comments. You’re going to have to find a different way to start a conversation with them.
Find a small forum they like to hang out at and reply to their posts, or wait till the end of their webinars and ask a good question.
Once they do reply, send them an email of you doing something for them, like linking to them in your post. 99% of them will share that post right then and there. But that’s not the point. Even if they don’t, you have now moved the conversation to a more personal space (email).
You can also follow their advice and send them the results. Is there a particular method they talk about or suggest? Do it and send them a detailed report of what happened when you took their advice.
Ask for advice on a particular thing (that they haven’t written a post about) once you move the conversation to email. Follow up with an email of what happened when you applied this advice.
Lisa’s Comment: I get contacted by a lot of people who want me to share their posts because they’ve linked to my site.
I’ll share some of the posts (if they’re well-written), but I never mind sharing Mark’s content because I can count on his posts to overdeliver.
Even with this blog post you’re reading now, I expected him to send me a few sentences for each answer. No. He sends me detailed answers, screenshots, links to relevant posts and went the extra mile.
His articles are always very detailed with images, actionable advice and provide extreme value. In fact, I shared one of his posts earlier this year and he blogged about it…
Mark noticed the traffic coming from my share, wrote this post and then reached out to me after it was done.
So of course linking to my site provides incentive for me to share it, but if the post was not useful, I wouldn’t have.
Contacting people about a link to their site is the first step, but the quality needs to be there too.
Fast forward to today. As a result of the earlier exchange and the trust/credibility that Mark has built up through his previous content, I reached out to him regarding this post today.
So he’s going to get even more exposure and a natural backlink from a related blog.
See how this all works?
What is the biggest mistake bloggers make when trying to reach out to influencers?
1. When reaching out, keep it short and to the point. No one has the time to read an essay. Neil Patel gets 207 email’s a day. What happens when he opens an email from someone he doesn’t know and it’s more than 4 lines? He moves on.
But here’s what I find. Most influencers will take the time to check out who you are the first time you do something for them (2nd time for really big influencers).
If they like what they see, they’ll usually share it right then and there. Providing some value can also be pointing them to something they asked about or something that supports their stand on an argument. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you sending them traffic.
2. Always be thankful. These guys didn’t have to do anything for you. But they did. They went out of their way in their 14 hour work day life to do something for you. Here’s what Ramit (New York Times Best Selling Author) has to say about showing gratitiude:
One thing I learned is THANK PEOPLE FOR DOING NICE THINGS. Duh, sounds obvious, but let me count the times people don’t say thanks when I’ve hooked them up.
- A college acquaintance moved to NYC asked me to connect her to some CEO at a company. She ended up getting the job because of my connection! Two years later, she asked me for another introduction. I ignored her email
- I gave a first-time entrepreneur advice on pricing. They quadrupled profits in less than 1 month doing what I said. I only heard about this because I have a mutual friend.
- Etc etc etc kill me
If you don’t even seem like you care, don’t expect them to do anything for you again. Ever. E-mail them and thank them.
What are some of the biggest mistakes (or assumptions) new bloggers make when it comes to traffic building?
1. They think that if they write epic content, traffic will magically show up at their sites. Writing epic content is definitely a must, but you also need to actively go out there and get traffic back to your blog.
Peep Laja of ConversionXL did exactly that. He wrote epic content and then went around telling people about it. He ended up raising 40,996 visitors in his first 30 days:
2. They underestimate how much presentation matters. How seriously people take you and how reliable they think you are depends on the way you present yourself.
This means your blog should be full of useful posts as well as show your readers that you’re credible and trustworthy. You can show this with good design, social proof, testimonials, etc.
3. New bloggers sometimes think they are going to build a successful blog all on their own. This is possible, but it’s also a highly inefficient way to build a blog.
Being friends with influencers and even other bloggers who are just starting out is going to help you grow immensely.
With all the Google algorithm changes over the past year or two, do you think guest posting is a good way for a new site owner to get more exposure?
Not in terms of SEO, no.
But should you guest post?
Here’s what I mean. Guest posting will help you get some traffic but there are other ways to earn links.
For example, Richard Marriott got links by emailing bloggers about broken links on their blogs and asking them to link to his post if possible.
Here’s the exact email he sent:
A few E-mails back and forth later, he got a handful of replies like this:
He got plenty of authority links with a few hours of work.
But back to your original question about guest posting. Here’s my experience…
Writing a guest post for KissMetrics with just one link took me about four days. If you’re doing it purely for link building purposes, don’t.
If you’re thinking it would still be worth it for the traffic, here’s some data to show you otherwise. The KissMetrics post (or really any guest post I’ve written) sent about 200 – 500 visitors to any link in the post:
Here’s another example…
I’ve been lucky enough to get on the good side of Brian at Blog Engage. He sent me almost 300 visitors from Blog Engage in the first two weeks alone.
Even if a guest post could send me 1000 visitors to my blog, I’d still rather be friends with an influencer.
The traffic from the guest post will stop, but the benefits of being friends with an influencer won’t.
Ok. So why should you even bother writing guest posts?
Three reasons: Credibility, Expertise and Relationships.
Credibility: You can be the world’s best at something, but no one is going to take you seriously until there are some credibility indicators to prove that you know what you’re talking about.
Showing your readers that you’ve written for some well-known blogs in your niche is going get them to listen to what you have to say.
Expertise: Seeing you everywhere is going to make your audience view you as an authority figure.
People may not check you out the first time they run into one of your guest posts, but they’ll really be curious as to who you are the third time around. If they run into you enough times, you suddenly become an expert in their eyes.
Relationships: The strongest relationships you can build are through guest blogging. Not just with the blog owner, but also with the blog’s sphere of influence.
You can reach out and thank all the influencers who shared your guest post. This will allow you to suddenly tap into a much wider audience.
Oh, and how did I get in touch with Brian? I let him know I was about to write about him in a guest post.
What recommendations would you have for someone looking for guest post opportunities?
Look for blogs in your niche that publish guest posts on a daily basis. Find blogs that mainly focus on publishing posts from guest bloggers (like FamousBloggers) instead of one main blogger.
These blogs generally have some sort of system in place for deciding which post to publish. This will allow you to side step credibility because they will care less about who you are and more about how good your post is.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and write for blogs that are managed by a single blogger. There are plenty of ways to find guest posting opportunities on these blogs.
However, a single blogger who doesn’t have a system in place for weeding though all the guest post offers is more likely to base their decision on who you are rather than how good your post is.
Allow your guest posts to fall into each other. When you write a post for a blog, be sure to already know a few blogs you are looking to write for in the future. Link to these other blogs in your guest post where they’re relevant.
This will allow you to reach out to these bloggers and say Hey, I ended up linking to your site on this post I wrote for this blog. Most bloggers/influencers will respond to that.
This not only gives you an opportunity to write for their blog, but also shows them you are credible because you just wrote for another famous blog and linked to them.
Lisa’s tip: Ann Smarty has a site called MyBlogGuest.com where you can connect with people looking for guest posters.
You have a very active blog with lots of comments and shares. What techniques would you attribute to the success of your site?
Always keep your reader’s problems and needs in mind. If you solve a problem that they have, it’ll naturally get them excited.
This will make them want to take some action. Your only job then is to make it easy for them to share your post, comment on the blog or subscribe to your blog.
And if they get the urge to do these things, they shouldn’t have to spend any effort trying to figure out how. If they want to share your post but have to actually ask themselves how to do this (even for a second), you are going to lose most of them.
I also make sure to reward people who subscribe to my blog by sharing exclusive content like How I Increased My Search Engine traffic by 2.87 Times or How Do You Find People Many Influencers Follow?
Rewarding your subscribers with unexpected bonuses also makes them happy and makes for a much more active/loyal fan base. This is why you’ll see comments by the same people on many of my posts.
So What Do You Think?
Mark offered up some great advice, and I thought the part about connecting with influencers was stellar.
People with large followings cannot respond to every single comment, email or tweet and they don’t have time to read emails that are 10 paragraphs long.
They are also not going to share everything people ask them to. It’s not that they’re trying to be mean or arrogant, but it’s about setting boundaries and protecting their reputations.
So if you want people to notice and connect with you, try these strategies that Mark employs. Be creative!
And I REALLY love the tip about using one of the influencer’s strategies and blogging about it. If you’ve had success with something they recommend, document it, take screenshots of the results and write a very detailed post showing what you did and how you used their tips.
People LOVE sharing content like this because it makes them look even more credible, and it’s encouraging to their followers because it shows their advice really works.
Mark also provided a great tip about writing a post that addresses a stance or argument the influencer made.
I call these response posts. If the article is well-written, it is beneficial for influencers to share this response post because it links back to their original post.
In other words, it gives them an opportunity to promote their original content again by showing how people respond to it.
So are you going to try any of these strategies that Mark talks about here? Maybe you already have. Share your results below!