This is a guest post by Jaime Tardy from Eventual Millionaire.
As a blogger I’ve had a lot of success with national press.
I’ve been on CNN Newsroom with Tony Harris, MSN Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, Success Magazine, Fox Business, Fortune.com, and my face was on Yahoo’s homepage twice.
I get asked about how I’ve done it – but not only that, they ask how much traffic I received from it. Since you are here at ThinkTraffic, I bet you want to know how much traffic I got and how to get it yourself.
In this post I’ll also share with you a few lessons I’ve learned, and stupid things I did along the way.
The First Press Experience
Six months after I started EventualMillionaire.com, and about a week before I was planning on quitting blogging altogether, a journalist from CNN emailed me. They ended up doing a story on how I paid off $70,000 in debt so I could quit my corporate job. (Shout out to Adam Baker from Man vs Debt who was also in that story.) The day after the story aired they wanted me to be on their TV show, CNN with Tony Harris. A few days after that, my face was on Yahoo’s homepage.
I was floored! I started receiving email from old friends from high school who saw me there. But it turns out, when there isn’t a link to your website, you don’t get a ton of traffic. I assumed I would have MADE it with my face on Yahoo’s homepage. I got some traffic, a lot of people trying to sell me stuff, and even a marriage proposal out of it. These are the results:
That bump in traffic came when I was on TV. My article on Yahoo didn’t have much of a bump at all. I received almost 3,500 visitors. Since there wasn’t a direct link to my site, I had many people looking up my name on Yahoo or Google.
Mistake – Bad SEO: At the time, if you looked up my name, my site didn’t come up first. In fact another blogger who wrote a post about me came up first. The second listing was my personal Facebook page. Back then, I didn’t even have a link to my blog on my Facebook page! I should have taken time to make sure my name produced the results I wanted.
Smart Move – Email List and Leverage: The weekend before I was on TV I created a giveaway for my email list. I worked all day and night and created the Eventual Millionaire Starter Kit. I was able to add 350 people to my email list. I also leveraged that press to land on the front page of my local newspaper, and also an interview with the local TV station. It took about an hour to draft a quick press release and get the email addresses of six people to send it to.
Yahoo’s Homepage Again
Less than four months later it happened again. (I had no idea it would happen once, let alone twice!) I was in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine and since Yahoo syndicates its content it picked up this story too.
This time there was a link, and a LOT more traffic.
There were over 8,000 visitors to the site in less than 2 hours. AND THEN MY SITE WENT DOWN. My face remained on the homepage of Yahoo for 48 hours. My site was down the whole time. I remained on the phone with tech support very upset that they would not do anything about getting the site back up.
Mistake – Bad Hosting: I didn’t plan for traffic spikes. I had the cheapest shared hosting option through a company called 1and1 (I do not recommend using them, or having shared hosting when you are trying to drive traffic).
Smart Move – Use Your Connections: Since my site was down there wasn’t a ton that I could do. But I did start to work with what I had. For example, one person that I knew locally called me. They offered to email Dave Ramsey’s right-hand man with the link to the article. I jumped at the chance and sent him everything he needed to know. Dave Ramsey put a link to the article on his Facebook page. (Of course my site was still down, but a lot of Dave Ramsey people sent me messages on Facebook!)
Action Item: How to Get Press to Drive Traffic
Help A Reporter Help A Reporter Out (HARO) sends out three emails per day with requests from journalists and blogs looking for sources. I would highly suggest signing up. I’ve landed Fox Business, Success Magazine, MSN Money and many others from HARO. Here are my tips for landing them:
- Get the email, scan it, and send to the most important ones ASAP.
I’ve used HARO when I have been looking for sources, and I can tell you, journalists get FLOODED with requests. It’s much easier to be noticed as one of the first few received.
- List your qualifications, and get to the point.
Since they receive so many requests, use the first sentence to really explain your qualifications–Why are you an expert on this? Then quickly get to the point and tell them what information they are looking for. I usually use the last sentence to be personable, and ask them to call or email if they need anything else at all.
- Journalists usually don’t care about you; they just want a great story/tip.
We tend to get egotistical thinking we are really great. Most of the time I’ve worked with high level journalists, they have been rushed for time, and don’t really care about me – they just want a good story. (I know right??) Make sure your focus is on them and not you.
- Practice and then only send to the big ones.
This is what I do now. I used to send a reply to almost any request I was qualified for. I’ve been in books, on blogs and websites. I started to get really good at having my information accepted. I rarely got much, if any traffic from these smaller places. Now I only send to larger publications. It’s just not worth my time now to send to the smaller, lesser-known avenues. With the larger ones, I get a less responsive rate, but when I do get a response, it’s much bigger. Last month I was in Success Magazine, and while it was more of a slow and steady flow of traffic, the new subscribers I have from it have been amazing and awesome. From that magazine I had a millionaire call me, give me his advice on becoming a professional speaker for an hour, and now he wants me to interview him!
Action Item: Sign up at HelpAReporter.com as a source. This week, reply to at least one journalist looking for your expertise.
Guest posting is still important too, even if you plan on focusing more on national press. CNN found me within my first six months because I had guest posted on GetRichSlowly. Not only did I get 400 new subscribers from that first guest post on Get Rich Slowly but it paved the way for CNN and Kiplinger’s (which both lead to landing on Yahoo). I highly recommend guest posting. My guest post for Get Rich Slowly, which went live the day after I submitted on January 10th 2012, had 263 people sign up for my email list.
Action Item: Email at least one bigger blog (10,000+ subscribers) about guest posting. (Make sure to send ideas and don’t just say, what do you think I should write about?) Specifically find a blog in your industry where journalists might be reading.
Interviewing Strategy – Traffic Results
When I started my podcast about a year ago, I thought I had a great idea: I’ll interview business owners with a net worth of $1 million or more. Then I’ll ask them to help promote the interview. Therefore I can grow my traffic by leveraging their traffic too. It made sense in theory. It turns out it’s a lot harder than I thought.
First, most millionaires don’t have social media accounts or email lists. Second, they are really busy. So even if they have a presence online it’s hard to get them to promote it. But sometimes it does work. I interviewed David Heinemeier Hansson of 37 Signals (creators of Basecamp and co-author of Rework). We had a great interview, and he ended up tweeting to his 57,000 followers about the interview.
His tweet brought in over 1,000 downloads on that day for his interview. It also brought on a lot of new subscribers. While the idea for driving traffic from millionaires was really hit or miss, one major benefit that I didn’t expect came about. I know over 50 millionaires personally. In fact, I consider a few of them friends now. One is in my mastermind group. Two are mentoring me for free. More than half of them have specifically told me if there is anything I ever need to just ask. These are huge benefits that really change the way I do business.
Action Item: Try interviewing someone. It can be just questions via email, or you can do one video or audio interview to try it out. Don’t put pressure on yourself, just try it and see if you like it. I had never interviewed anyone before I interviewed my first millionaire. (So do as I say, not as I do!) Email someone this week that you think would make a really great interview. It’ll provide you content and expertise and start to help you build a great relationship.
Just Try Something Today
The only way you get traffic is to take action. So choose one of these three Action Items to do this week. Go put it on your “to do” list.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you only hit a home run if you take a swing. So go and start hitting things!