How did I get 6.2 million people to view my articles and 144,920 people subscribe?
This article should not be missed, as any company on the Internet needs to be able to blog. This short 15-minute guide will help you understand how you can collect a millionth audience for a penny.
So, here we go: the
15-minute Blogging, Online Marketing and Development Guide
I’ll get right to the point, because I have a lot to share.
A long background in a nutshell:
Strange things began to happen, starting in the morning of September 12, 2014, on that day 1009964 people watched the story of my life.
This was my second article, which received a massive response from readers, and since then my life began to develop at an accelerated pace at the intersection of freelance, startups and blogging.
Here is the main idea that I would like to share with everyone in this article:
I'll start with a set of specific scenarios that have already repeatedly shown their effectiveness in massively increasing traffic and visitors, as well as their further transformation into subscribers and followers in all networks.
I got this information from the theory of online marketing, social media management, the history of the development of the companies of my friends and clients, as well as from my own experience.
But I got most of the information from the field of content marketing and writing articles, especially from 21 articles written by me for clients on their behalf over the past few months, as well as from five of my own articles in my Media Blog.
Below I also shared the latest statistics on media work and some translations, including data on the first week of traffic for the article that you are currently reading.
First of all, I must admit that not every article became a hit. Of the 26 essays I wrote, only 5 received more than 100,000 views. Two of them scored 81 and 54 thousand after publication, while the remaining 3 scored an average of 8.3 thousand views each.
However, the statistics are still impressive, since most of the giant blogs I know are gaining an average of 1 to 10 thousand visitors per article.
In addition, in almost every article I managed to test various writing styles in various topics.
This manual is not for you if ...
... you are looking for tips from a professional in the literature. I am not a professional writer, and I am not able to create a literary best seller in English.
On the contrary, this guide is primarily for people like me who do not have any outstanding abilities or a huge budget that they could spend on artificially building clicks. For those who want to attract the attention of their audience at the expense of the most natural way.
This guide will help you gain readers in this world full of informational noise, and then turn these readers into long-term followers.
I will break the briefing into several parts:
Part 1 - Before writing: Preparing for the assault and determining the right set of tools.
Part 2 - In the process of writing: Writing style and basic techniques aimed at attracting a large amount of traffic.
Part 3 - Before publication: About what you need to do before you click the Publish button.
Part 4 - After publication: How to become one of the media giants, how to double the traffic of your blog using distribution channels and other features that no one thinks of.
Let's start with a few simple things before going into technical details.
→ Part 1 - Before writing ←
Creating text is only part of the story. Preparing for the process of writing an article is no less important than the process itself. And that's why:
- Second Chance Effect: Why pageviews mean nothing.
People give you a chance by turning your attention to your article along with many other open browser tabs that distract them.
Traffic can fall very quickly, and the next morning no one can even remember your name.
Using the right tools, you get a “second chance” to read - a “second touch point” that will allow you to reconnect with the visitor and remind him who wrote the same article.
Here are some key tools:
1.1. Email Subscription: Pros and Cons
For a long time I ignored the advice of one of my favorite marketing experts, Noah Kagan, and finally added the email subscription option to my blog only after I lost more than half of the traffic.
I was late, and I managed to dial only 32 thousand email addresses.
After a number of email subscription campaigns, I must admit that using email tools is the most effective for me today. This technique works smoothly, not only for me personally, but also for absolutely all my clients, without any exceptions.
This is how I get the first 100 posts. I just use email to attract my subscribers, and they are already starting the process of distributing my work to a huge number of their friends and acquaintances, who, in turn, can share with someone else ...
Therefore, immediately add the option of electronic subscription, It’s not too late yet.
1.2. Other tools for an extra “second chance"
Determining the right tools depends on your goals.
What kind of reaction do you expect from your readers in the process of reading or immediately upon its completion?
What do they follow on your Instagram? Register on your site? Read your other post? Watch a video? Fill out the form? Will they recommend you to a friend, share on social networks or leave a comment?
Let's say your goal is to achieve a “second chance” for your Twitter account: have you added your @ Name to the post’s short title?
If you are engaged in the electronic promotion of a fashion brand, did you add at the end of the article any information that, say, would be associated with the reader with your most successful products?
Similar to how you turn your visitors into subscribers using e-mail, you can use other tools to turn them into followers on social networks, customers, viewers or participants.
I do not claim that every article I wrote is ingenious - it’s just that with each subsequent article I increase the use of “second chance” tools , increasing the number of subscribers, followers, clients, etc.
- About corporate and personal brand.
Perhaps this is the main thing that you need to decide before uploading content to the Internet.
If I could go back, I would definitely make a choice in favor of the business and give up my personal brand.
In the case of a personal brand, every time you need to share something or say something, you should start the sentence with “I”, while you could start with “We”.
After some time, you begin to feel like an absurd madman. It seems to you that you are too many, or that your “voice” is too loud.
I do not think at all that a personal brand is something terrible. You just have to be 100% sure that this is exactly what you need. Gary Vaynerchuk writes wonderful things about this, and you might find them useful.
Just think carefully about which option is best suited for you personally and best suits your goals before making a final decision in this regard. You can also try to combine both options and create the perfect combination from them.
- Check technical specifications.
Huge traffic can attract anything, anytime. More on this later.
But to begin with: Did you find out if your hosting can withstand the huge influx of traffic to your post? Have you tested the e-subscription to your site? Is your blog supported by mobile devices?
→ Part 2 - In the process of writing ←
So, let's start writing, since all the preparatory stages before the assault have been completed, and all the tools are in place.
a. Writing style
- Write as simple as possible, but not primitive.
Every time I wanted to impress my readers, I tried to write complex sentences, pretending to be a real writer. However, in the end, something turned out to be a bit complicated, and my editor continued to leave notes in the text like: “What do you mean here?”
It is obvious that none of the readers could fully understand what I had in mind, despite the fact that my proposals were getting longer and longer.
Here are two tricks to help you simplify your text:
1.1. No more than 25 words in a sentence.
Let real writers amaze our imagination. Our task is simply to convey a certain thought to the reader as simply as possible.
25 words is a check digit that I refer to every time I feel that I'm stuck on some sentence. Usually I just break up a complex sentence into two simple ones. By the way, the Hemingway app can help you with this task.
1.2. No more than 3 sentences per paragraph.
This is my personal rule, which I adhere to. But I do not insist that everyone use it, because I do not think that this is the only true way to write articles.
The concentration of our attention decreases every day, so your article competes for the attention of readers who have 12 more tabs open in the browser at the same time, not to mention endless notifications on mobile phones.
In a world where people don’t even read my tweet of 140 characters, I have to try very hard not to go beyond the three sentences in the paragraph and not deviate from the main idea.
- Think of your article as a startup.
Each article has its own unique audience, and each viewer has his own problems. Similar to how you solve the problems of your startup users, you can make certain decisions regarding your articles.
Regardless of the topic or client, I start my articles by identifying the problems of the audience for which I am writing this very article. This does not mean that you should always share some intimate or personal things to attract an audience.
Are you writing about an independent music publishing industry? Before you start, just find out what problems these musicians face? In your narrative, you can also write in confidence and write as if your reader were sitting next to you.
Seriously. Treat your writing as a startup.
- An ideal trio: long texts, the value of information and practical advice, for which the reader would have to spend a huge amount of valuable time to get it on his own.
For most of my clients, I use accept with this trio, which I learned from the guys at Buffer and Crew, and I must admit, this technique works flawlessly.
Writing long texts (1000-1500 words) is always justified. Practical advice increases the number of reposts by 45%. And if the article is supported by data from an unusual source, this percentage increases even more.
PS Below I give an article in which I do not share any practical knowledge
b. The basics of blog posts
Each person has their own style, and this is how I see the structure of a blog post:
- Perfect combination: Curious headline and eye-catching picture.
Check for yourself. Try to temporarily remove the corresponding picture, and you will be amazed how the statistics will change dramatically.
The “How” and “Why” in the headline always attract attention, while the “List” on the contrary is annoying (but remember that these are not the only factors). You can familiarize yourself with the most interesting headings in the Medium Top 100 list , just look at the lists for the past months.
Choosing a good title is great, and choosing the right picture is even better. If you manage to combine these two components - it will be just perfect.
In my opinion, this is the most important part in the article.
You only have a few seconds to convince the reader that your headline is not a dummy, and you are able to reveal its contents in your article. It is in these few seconds that he or she decides whether to open a new tab.
Attract the reader’s attention step by step. Grab his attention so that he will forget that at the moment he is only reading an article. Start with some shocking, amazing fact, unusual detail, personal story.
Try to start as if from the middle of the story. When did it happen? Who was with you at that moment? Pay attention to a recent article by Andrew Wilkinson, in particular its amazing introductory part:
“It's stupid to build a business on a lifestyle,” the investor croaked menacingly across the table, casting a look of hate at me.
A few seconds later I read his article to the end.
- Main part.
Here are two main things that I pay attention to in the main part:
3.1. Let the reader catch his breath
Remember, you have already survived the introduction and reached the reader to the main content of the article.
However, the Reader is still in the middle, and it seems that it can easily get tired and lose attention to your article by opening a new tab in the browser.
Add a visual component and let the reader catch his breath.
3.2. Do not use distracting links
There is a significant difference between using links to really useful (loyal) resources and clogging up articles with unnecessary links, supposedly to prove to your reader that you wrote a high-quality post.
Always ask yourself, is this resource really important? Is it really interesting to your audience?
- Finish on a high note
Here you need to lay out your latest cards. The reader was really tired while sorting through a huge number of open tabs in the browser and notifications on mobile devices.
Try to relax and slow down the story. Write even simpler sentences. Reduce the size of paragraphs by filling them with the most useful information, without distraction from the topic.
Summarize what was said, as if confirming that you have fulfilled the promise to maximize the subject of the headline, and release the reader on this high note.
→ Part 3 - Before publishing ←
Now, after the article has already been written, the real game is just beginning.
- Ask people to share with others.
Unlike most other authors, I use this technique quite often: I ask the reader to recommend my article and share it.
This technique allowed me to increase the number of reposts of some of my articles by 32%.
People are not so picky at all - if they do not share your link to your article, this does not mean that they did not like the article. It only means that some people simply don’t have the habit of sharing information, or doing it as often as you do. But often, if you ask them about it, they will easily share your work with their social environment.
- Publication of your article during periods of greatest activity (peak hours)
The ideal start time for your email newsletter largely depends on the characteristics of your audience, its time zones, industry, etc.
As a rule, Sunday, 12 a.m. is a win-win time for a global audience because, starting from this time, people are in search of new information that would be interesting at the beginning of a new week.
However, I would recommend that you test the newsletter at different time periods. There are a huge number of email applications offering the appropriate tools, such as Mailchimp, with which you can send the same letter to two different groups of your subscribers.
Above, I give an example of one of the oldest email companies that I conducted for clients. Pay attention to the striking difference in the initial readings, although initially it seemed that the temporary difference in these two groups was not so significant.
- Make the first run simultaneous.
Suppose, by experience, you have determined that the ideal time to send out to your audience is Sunday evening, 18:45. Try to send the same information to another information channel immediately after you start the email distribution process.
Try to organize the first information one in such a way that all information available to you channels passes simultaneously.
Always repeat the distribution of your post on social networks several times in a row in order to cover different time zones.
- Try to play the same content in different ways using all available channels.
This is what will provide you with impressive additional traffic. After making sure that the article is successful once, convert it to the new format for the new channel. The following options are possible:
- Articles are processed into slides and posted on Slideshare, converted into pictures that you post on your Instagram account or Facebook page, infographics on Pinterest, or you shoot a video based on the article, which you then post to YouTube .
One of the best reproduction options is a website or software or a standalone application. Here is a small example of what I turned into a site after an article of the same name collected more than a thousand likes on Product Hunt .
→ Part 4 - After publication ←
In the screenshot below, you see only part of the available Media channels that you can use to distribute your article. By attracting giant companies to the process, you can double your performance.
What is really interesting is that most people exaggerate the inaccessibility of the media giants, believing that only top authors can access these channels.
In fact, editors who work for large media are very nice people to talk to. They are not your enemies, and they do not intentionally ignore you.
As a rule, they face a very large workload, but the priority for them always remains one: to get the best and high-quality content for their site.
Here are a number of steps that you need to take so that the editors get what they need, and as a result, you enjoy the huge additional traffic and benefits of a leading media platform.
- Set Your Goals
Go through the “feedback” pages of targeted publishers or technical blogs, find email editors. If the email address is not available, try to find these editors on Twitter. Make your targeted list of editors with all available contact information.
- Lack of feedback or results blocks further distribution.
Remember one thing: all they need from you is a confirmation of the real results for your product (article). If you yourself do not see real traffic in Google analytics, you will never succeed in convincing the editor to post your content on his site.
Wait a few days to collect analytical data. As soon as you notice some real outstanding results on your article (and these are not necessarily traffic indicators, it can be an assessment of the high quality of the content by authoritative experts and leaders) - take a screenshot from them and then:
- Email the editors or tweet with an attractive headline:
Please do not write in your message something like:
“Hello, my name is ...,
I am so-and-so, so-and-so,
I wrote an article here ....”
Write about the case and be as brief as possible. Talk about the results. And speak only if there are any.
Here is a typical message that I usually send, and to which, as a rule, I get the answer:
Headline: “42% of the readers of my article shared it with their contacts , in the application a screenshot, want to publish it with you? ”
Email: “Hi, the results of my article are really impressive, please see the analytic report in the appendix. I would like to post it on your portal. Please contact me if you are interested. Ali ”
- What? Do you have 42% reposts? Stop immediately and stop taking any action, right now!
If your article has huge traffic or if you see any active movements on analytical data, STOP. From now on, you don’t need to take any action at all, because one way or another, literally within a few hours, the media giants will contact you themselves.
Most of them have specially trained employees who monitor such activity on the Internet and look for promising primary sources for posting on their media resources.
For example, according to my viral history, I was contacted by representatives of four major technical blogs within seven hours of publication.
- Beware of exclusive deals
Some media portals may ask you to sign an exclusive publication agreement that will not allow you to use the capabilities of other portals.
I am not saying at all that exclusive agreements are bad; you just need to understand which distribution channels of your article are most preferable for your specific audience.
I have posted a viral article on several available platforms, such as Business Insider, Lifehacker, and Tech in Asia. However, with some articles I apply directly to The Next Web with exclusive rights.
- Decide when to use the media for future distribution.
If your product is really good, give it some time so that it can disperse through the main channel that you use for this purpose (be it your blog or a certain media platform).
Leave your article alone for at least a few days; otherwise, the media giants can simply swallow your main channel and break your whole “bomb” into several small parts.
Some additional channels
- Right channel
Sometimes your content takes time to find the right channel. This article took 2 weeks to complete: someone uploaded it to Reddit and StumbleUpon. As a result, these two channels began its viral penetration into the Facebook network.
One of Jeff Goins' travel articles didn’t begin to spread viral until a year after he published it when a student movement leader in Singapore shared a link to her on his travels Facebook group.
There is no time limit for the viral distribution of an article; however, there is always a well-defined, correct distribution channel. Instead of waiting for outside help, try to go out on such a channel yourself and publish your content on it.
- Multilingual channel
If you see that your article is of interest to readers around the world, the media will translate it into several languages for free, and you will get many new followers around the world and a new international traffic stream.
Here is an example of several articles that they translated for me in this way:
If you don’t use the services of the media, you can hire a freelancer in test mode to translate your article (into Spanish, for example) and arrange with one of the leading Spanish technical communities about it distribution.
- False channels
Unfortunately, it also happens that people can distribute your content without reference to your authorship. Moreover, they can even publish your LinkedIn article on their own behalf.
Personally, I was faced with the fact that LinkedIn did not even bother to reply to any of my letters in which I wrote about the violation of my copyrights.
If the number of unauthorized copies is small and controlled, you can still influence this. Otherwise, do not be nervous and get killed about it.
→ Final thought ←
I have repeatedly met in various sources the idea that “everything is based on content”, but I did not understand what was actually being discussed.
As a representative of the generation of zero, who lives in an extremely noisy world, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to attract the attention of people, and I begin to feel an urgent need to become a better storyteller.
And this applies not only to my articles. It’s also hard for me to get the attention of my 3 year old niece or my brother during our long distance phone calls.
It seems to me that in the year 2015 we really become the best storytellers, constantly improving our negotiation skills.
We need to learn not to be distracted from the essence, otherwise it is very likely that soon our mobile phones will cope with this function better than ourselves.
Content is indeed a key element. You can attract the attention of millions of people with a simple story or article.
You should never underestimate yourself or seek excuses for your inaction, such as “you don’t have enough budget”
In your small workplaces, in your small apartments, almost out of nowhere, you are able to attract more traffic and visitors than huge companies with their army of professional writers.
At the core of everything is Content, and you can manage it!
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