What Happens When Your Site is Featured on the Front Page of Yahoo? Plus: How to Get National Press

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.

front page of yahoo

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:

front page of yahoo 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.

front page of yahoo 2

This time there was a link, and a LOT more traffic.

front page of yahoo 2 results

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

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.

interview with 37 signals

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!

Jaime Tardy is a business coach and speaker and each week she interviews a self-made millionaire for their tips, advice on business and stories. You can download her Top 10 Actions recommended by millionaires and check out her latest free webinar called Millionaires Say What?

45 thoughts on “What Happens When Your Site is Featured on the Front Page of Yahoo? Plus: How to Get National Press”

  1. Great stuff! Leveraging media is something not enough people are talking about/doing (myself included). Thanks for the great stuff and cheers to your success!


  2. Great post and lessons.

    I had a personal essay in a national newspaper almost a year ago. It made waves, had over 2000 likes on Facebook, and I got some decent traffic from it. It would have been HUGE except my blog was listed in the piece but not hyperlinked.

    What it taught me: ask for things and be prepared. Now I will specifically ask for my blog to be listed and hyperlinked if I’m being interviewed. I was also surprised at how journalists cannibalize other media. The one essay lead to two radio interviews, a television appearance and at least a half dozen other interview requests. If you’re in something big expect follow up media.

    Congratulations on your success, Jamie!

  3. Interesting blog experiences. I am recently try to develop guest post and interview at my blog. Thanks for giving me precious lessons from your personal experiences. Surely I want to try something today!

  4. OMG, I could feel the part where you talked about your site going down.

    About a year ago, one of my clients was featured on Oprah. The producer at Harpo Productions had emailed to warn us that the vast majority of people featured on Oprah crash the server and their sites go down. We didn’t go down. Didn’t even hiccup.

    A lot of small businesses focus on getting more traffic, but don’t stop to think of things you mention — like can people find them by their name and will their website stay online if they get a blast of sudden traffic.

    So many great tips in this article, I think everyone should read it twice. Maybe take notes of things to check into.

    1. Thanks Linda! That’s really impressive to get a client on Oprah, and not have their server crash!

      I just hope these things don’t happen to someone else. :)
      We think too much of how to get traffic and not how to make sure it’s worth it once it comes!

  5. Jamie,
    Thank you for sharing your experience along with simple, do-able tips for generating traffic and then “being ready” for that traffic. I had similar results with interviews–while they generated moderate traffic, the “reward” was the connection, which continues to grow beyond what I could have imagined when initially requesting them.

  6. I was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal last semester. It drove almost no traffic because they refused to link to my site – and worse, they linked to an internal profile page for a DIFFERENT Thomas Frank (one in his freakin’ 50’s).

    Luckily, that wasn’t press I was seeking; it kind of just feel into my lap. I’m only now starting to build things I think are press-worthy, and thus researching strategies on how to get press. Great article, by the way – I’ll be using these tips alongside the HUGE press guide that just came out on SEOmoz.

    I guess the only tip I can add to this discussion right now is this: if you’re actively seeking publications to cover your story, look for the ones who tend to link out to other websites. Getting press from outlets that are stingy with their links is ok, but the results won’t be nearly as good.

  7. Jaime says it all,just do something.

    I never knew someone could agree to do a text chat interview with me until i mailed him and he accepted. Sure why now? That was his answer

    So get in front of these people and get things started.


  8. Jaime,

    This was good insight on the process behind your success. I try to make it good practice to scan HARO each morning and afternoon to find opportunities for both personal branding and clients.

    I agree with the earlier comment that the reward is in the connection even if there is no initial coverage.

    Thanks again for this helpful post.

  9. Thank you so much for the post. I have note some of the points which I think will help me with my new blog am working on.

  10. Great tips Jaime! I especially like the advice about HARO. I’m off to subscribe.

    Before I do, I have a tip about hosting. Have a different company manage your domains than your hosting.

    That way, if your site ever goes down (mine have gone down due to unannounced host server upgrades, a server room fire and other reasons) you can redirect your domain name to point to something else, like your Facebook biz page or LinkedIn profile when the need is urgent such as during a PR window.

    1. Great idea Johnn! Now I have my host and domain provider separate but I didn’t before. I’ve already gotten a few emails asking for more tips on the hosting situation Maybe I’ll have to write another post about that.
      Did I mention I’m a geek and have a degree in IT? Yeah, I should have thought of some of this stuff beforehand. Ah well!

  11. Jaime,
    Thanks for a great article! The funny thing is that when I started reading the article and saw your face you seemed very familiar. And then I remembered: I actually read your article on yahoo (the second one) and tried visiting your site. I remembered it mostly because it was down but I came back a couple of days later and subscribed to your feed (I guess it shows how much I loved your post :-))

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  12. Jaime – thanks for the actionable advice based on your experiences (including the importance of having good hosting!). Also, I appreciate your writing style: real, personable & straightforward. Great article.

  13. Thanks Matt! (Your site is cool too by the way- love the name, and love that you learn about the universe too. I’m a good ol’ space geek. One of the reasons why I want to have a million, so I can spend $200k going to space!)

  14. I read your post and the sentence about 1and1 not being a good hosting choice, well it wasn’t their fault that you chose an entry level plan and mistakenly thought it would survive heavy traffic. With just one phone call you could’ve solved your web loading issues at 1and1. At 1and1 they host over 1,000,000 web sites, so just learn to choose the correct plan next time.

    1. If I had more space I would have explained that better. :)
      I was with 1and1 for almost 8 years, since they first started. It wasn’t that the site went down- I understand, they had to take it down so I didn’t hurt the other shared hosting. But they handled it horribly. It wasn’t a phone call, it was about 5 hours on the phone talking to people that didn’t know what they were doing. I used to work in a network operations center and have to do something similar, but they lost my business because of their customer service not because of the outage. :) Hope that explains it better.

  15. Nice Jaime, The biggest step I need to take is to upgrade from shared hosting, then I’ll try and use some of your info to get into the press, if not national then at least local.

    1. Good luck! I went to a VPS with a company called ServInt and when I had a spike in traffic in January they upgraded me to the $150 a month package without a problem (down time was only about 10 min). So I do recommend it :)

  16. Being on the press for hours could be a nice feeling for sure but it can’t be easiest way to go live on the home page of yahoo.

    Since i have started my blog i kept hearing from blogger that guest blogging is the easiest and quick way to build network, backlinks and to get boost out of traffic.

    I have been learning from many top blogger’s now. It’s been great reading out your story, thanks for the article.

  17. Hi Jamie,

    Totally agree a lot of people get hung up on links that it turns to spam, but methods like guest posting and interviews are great.

    I also use VPS and think that it is a lot more reliable than shared hosting, in the past i have used dedicated, but id still suggest VPS you have so much more control :)


  18. HARO is frustrating but I am going to redouble my efforts due to your comments.Thank you for such cogent and down to earth suggestions.

  19. My one and only brush with online greatness was when my blog won the Zillow Awards for best Real Estate Blog some time back. Obviously it’s nothing as exciting as appearing on the front page of Yahoo or on national TV, but we’re quite proud of it all the same!

    Good job though on your second Yahoo feature, I appreciate you sharing your experiences on how to maximize on your success. More bloggers should realize that exposure is not an end-in-itself but rather a stepping stone to something bigger.

  20. Hey Jaime,

    Fantastic post….i was actually reading Think Traffic through RSS, saw this great title (nice linkbait) and then saw your name! Really thorough and thought provoking post and I definitely plan to use a few tips like HARO to help promote my new blog (linked above). I’ve actually made the same mistake as you, getting interviewed by a big source and not having a link in the interview (and I won’t be doing that again!!). Hope you’re doing well!

    Geoff (aka Car Negotiation Coach)

  21. It’s the 3 P’s of success!

    And stick “action” somewhere in there as well 😉

    But it’s always so great to hear of success stories like this… you never know when a big breakthrough could happen!

  22. This is first time I am on this blog and I would like to say that I am impressed with content of this blog…still exploring….


  23. Great that you got traffic. When I was on the home page of Yahoo! My list exploded and my traffic shot to over 16,000 up from 700 and over 18,000 by the months end ( my blog was brand new) in just three days. I’m not sure why that didn’t happen when you were on it should have maybe it was that there was no link. But that is awful about your server being down the whole time. I’m on hostgator and I suppose reading your story I”m glad that I was.


  24. Great Stuff i need to use some of your techniques on my site to improve our visits. I been working on our SEO for a couple of months and its been doing better each day thanks to all the advice i get from your blogs, thanks

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