You have been trying to get visitors to your site. You have been using guest blogging methods. You have seen all of these claims by others who have magnificent growth in traffic in your site, especially with guest blogging. You have even seen the graphics and screenshots that “prove” this traffic growth!
But, why is it that you are not necessarily seeing that same growth?
I mean, you are just as intelligent as the next person, right? There isn’t anything that they have that you don’t have, is there? You can educate yourself in areas that may be unknown, right?
Before you attempt to become this other person, let’s take an inventory of what you do have going for you, ok? Let’s figure out what skills you have that you can apply toward that traffic growth spurt (and continued traffic), eh?
We have all heard that guest blogging is one of those methods, but we are actually going to examine other methods and attempting to do it without only the guest blogging. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use that as a method, but let’s play a game of identifying how we can do it without guest blogging, ok? That way, if you want to add it back to the mix, it only helps you instead of hindering you, eh?
According to Justin L. Morgan, a marketing specialist, it is important to identify what is satisfying to you and when you find that something that you are good at and the service that you can provide to others, go with that! In Justin’s case, it is marketing specifically for dental clients. By applying his marketing view, and extensive experience, he has been able to help clients within that field. He has helped them to find success when pulling traffic to their sites. And, Justin has done it without being “lofty” or full of himself. This is a great example of how to focus on what matters rather than the semantics that does not matter.
Before we dig into the strategy that we will try, let’s define some components, ok?
Before We Rule Out Guest Blogging, What Would Have Been the Objective of GB if We Had Wanted It?
In order to understand something and rule it out as a strategy, it is helpful to understand it. In order to do so, we would want to understand the objectives of guest blogging. What better way to really understand why we are opting to not have it as a strategy? Or, better yet, what better way to truly evaluate IF we want to include or exclude something as a strategy.
I love how Jennita puts it in the article, “Time for Guest Blogging With a Purpose” on the Moz blog. Granted it is a while ago, but I believe it still holds true. Here is the quote: “As with anything, you don’t want to be out there trying willy-nilly to get your posts on every blog for the sole purpose of building (probably bad) links. It’s important to have this tied to your business and marketing goals, as you would with any other tactic.”
- It “can” help to bring traffic to the linked site.
- Done right, it provides the opportunity for Brand Awareness and helps to build a brand following.
- It does have its SEO connection within the strategy, but this should not be the only reason.
- Provides the opportunity for the author to meet and get to know the publisher, the publishing team, and the reader audience; opportunity for engagement (on the article; social media; etc.).
Continuing Our Understanding of GB Before We Rule it Out as a Strategy
One of my really good friends, Ann Smarty, mentions that she likes to reciprocate when it comes to guest blogging. She points out that anything that helps the other person, also helps her, when it comes to SEO benefits. She truly believes in reciprocation. (I can vouch for that because I know her personally!) To read the article where she states that, visit “Make the Most of Guest Blogging: Second-Tier Link Building” on Kissmetrics.com.
I have actually met many of my dear friends on the internet and it often started with guest blogging.
What does that say? And, why are we NOT focusing on guest blogging in this article? We are actually shifting the focus to the engagement aspect and building those relationships.
Yes, you can do it with guest blogging. Check out this article if you want to read about how to do just that, guest blogging. However, we are going to focus on the end goal so that you can do the same… Build relationships without (or with) guest blogging.
So, let’s continue on our path, shall we?
Building Engaging and Valuable Relationships
We have four steps for you to try, in building your relationships – those engaging, valuable relationships.
But, first, you may want to pull out your favorite Spreadsheet program, so we have a place to record our steps and then use them. If you don’t have a Spreadsheet program, you can use Google Sheets for free, with a Google account.
Step 1: Define Your Niche
There are many niches out there. There are also different ways to define them.
One way is to define them according to the traditional listing of article types (according to Jon Morrow):
- 01 Business and Entrepreneurship
- Creative Endeavors
- Social Media and Blogging
However, if you consult other sites, you may find a different list, like this one:
- Arts & Entertainment
- Business & Financing
- Health & Well-Being
- Home & Family
- Sports & Recreation
- Travel & Leisure
- Internet & Technology
How you define your niche list is not as important as how you define your niche.
It is not like there is a “Niche List Police” out there, so that part doesn’t matter. What you want to do is identify the niche for your blog so that you can find similar blogs, competitors, and anything else you may need to research.
In this case, it is because we will use it to identify the influencers in that niche, in our next step(s). Keep that in mind as you ponder your blog and come up with the niche to which it belongs. Also, keep in mind that if you do not properly define your niche, that is ok. You can always redefine it and go through these steps again 🙂
Step 2: Identify the Influencers in Your Niche
Now that we have defined our niche, we need to seek out the influencers in our niche.
There are several ways to do this.
One way would be to type the name of the niche in quotes and search in Google. Since it is generally the articles that get the most attention that are showing up well in the search engine results page (SERPs) you are likely able to find some blogs owned by influencers by doing a simple Google search.
You can also use your Chrome browser, enabled with the Klout reading capability (you may need to install the extension) and search through Twitter. It is not that that is a guarantee that the person is an influencer, but it is a good probability. In that case, you could search within your niche in quotes (again) and include “site:Twitter.com” to only search Twitter. Of course, you could also search from within Twitter. And, there are many Twitter tools where this is done for you. If you have the Klout extension in your Chrome browser, you are able to see the Klout score when you view the Twitter profile. This is a general measurement of influence.
After you have compiled your first list of influencers in your niche, ensure that you have listed them in your spreadsheet.
Step 3: Define Your Target Influencer List (TIL)
If you have spent your research time obtaining every last influencer you can identify on your list, chances are that you have quite the list. That is good!
However, burnout is likely in your future if you attempt to target all of the influencers all at once. This is where you can use your spreadsheet to break out the influencers into groups. You could set dates in another column, according to targeted periods of time where you want to connect with the influencers. Or, you could separate out the groups with empty rows in your spreadsheet.
The idea is that you select three to five influencers that you want to target this week (or this month) and leave the rest for the next time you are connecting with influencers.
That doesn’t mean that you have to ignore the other influencers. Not at all! In fact, if you have the chance to retweet one of their tweets, or respond in a discussion, etc., go for it! The idea is that we are targeting the specific group of influencers that you have targeted.
Step 4: Define the Method of Communication
Many people will swear by email communication.
This is a great method and has been very effective in the past. However, there are two issues that you may run into with using email:
- The influencer hates the use of email (or doesn’t appear to respond to emails), or
- You hate the use of email
The key thing here is to identify what method of communication the influencer likes. Many times, this can be identified by reading their blog posts, their social media posts (including tweets), their policies and agreements on their site, their contact forms on their site, etc.
There are several methods of communication, including, but not limited to the following:
- Facebook Messages
- LinkedIn Messages
- Twitter Direct Messaging
- …many more
For anyone who insists that any one method is the only method, I would counter with a question of how much interacting they have truly done. Why? Every one of those communication types in the list above has been listed as a 1) preferred method of communication and 2) an “absolute no no” when it comes to communication. This, coming from fellow influencers. Based on the fact that the response can be so diversified, I would not want to venture that there is one method and only one method. That is why I say that it is best to identify what the target influencer’s favorite method is (and then record it for your records).
If the second item applies to you (i.e. you do not care for email) then the problem is that you may email the influencer, but you may not see their response because you do not like using email. If this is the case, think of using some email filters and automatic filtering of your email. That way, the email program will do the filtering for you and you can check that special folder for a response from the influencer. Many email programs have how-to guides and documentation online. All you have to do is search for those guides and articles. 🙂
Now – wondering what to communicate? Keep it focused on the influencer, short, to the point, and a quick sentence of what you are asking. Do not make it braggy or too much about yourself or you are being a big smarmy and creepy. Let the influencer have the opportunity to respond with questions about you. This is the first contact, so keep it short and sweet, with the objective being that you create engagement and develop a business relationship. You may even want to incorporate interviews into your blogging. It wasn’t my intention, but when I did that for a couple of my blogs, I ended up making some of the most special friends on the internet, just because there was so much engagement.
Don’t be afraid to ask the biggest celebrity to be interviewed. Often times, I have found them (or their team) to say “Yes.” Dream Big! … and it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
Once you have identified the preferred method of communication for each influencer, add it to your spreadsheet, so you have a spot to look to find that preferred method. Keep in mind that not all influencers will have the same preference, which is why a spreadsheet is so important. While you are at it, make a note of when you sent a communication and how. The last thing you want to do is bombard the influencer with unwanted messages. If you do it too often, that is the definition of SPAM and they literally have every right to block you, so use that spreadsheet to ensure that you do not SPAM the influencer. 🙂
Keep in mind that 40k is a number and that this is not a promise or guarantee that this method will provide you with 40k of blog visitors. There are a lot of other components on which it depends, including the chosen niche and competition. This strategy will get you going, so you can find YOUR secret sauce.
Sam Fiorella talks about the idea of reciprocity in the context of the human need to incorporate that into one’s life. He mentions it in his article, “ The Principle of Reciprocity and Influence Marketing” on senseimarketing.com. This is consistent with studies of psychology. And, I can say that since it is the study of psychology in which I am finishing my Ph.D., in areas of behavioral motivation and organizational processing.
So, what are your next steps?
If you are serious about growing your traffic, may I suggest you sit down with your own four steps and get started? Map out what you are doing, even if it is on a sticky note. Though, I think the free Google Sheets will help you to map it out more clearly and easier. This will help you to keep track of what you are doing and take each succeeding step.
So, are you ready for that traffic growth?