It seems like shenanigans to write a guest post about ways to grow your audience without guest blogging, but my reason for addressing this issue isn’t because I don’t believe in guest posting, but because I know you’ve heard about it enough.
Guest blogging or not, you still have a problem: your excellent content isn’t getting the readership it deserves.
Today we’re going to avoid the tried and true (and let’s be honest, overly discussed) methods of growing your audience and get into creative ways YOU can get the exposure your content deserves.
1.) Give Journalists What They Want
Spend hours on outreach or re-writing content for them? Waiting days for a response from the submission form?
As a matter of fact, neither: each post only took me 5 minutes to get live!
Big sites are always on the search for hot content, they likely publish far more times a day than you do. Take advantage of this by making their life easier with something to cover, and pitch your idea with some PROOF based on a past success.
In my instance, I emailed the nice gal who published my buddy Leo Widrich’s post on Lifehacker, and told her I saw how well it did and had something that could perfom just as well, if not better (yeah Leo I said it ).
Easy enough, right? I accomplished this by following Derek Halpern’s easy to utilize “drafting technique”, which is essential to this process because it allows you to connect with journalists by utilizing common ground and giving them incentive to feature you (especially if you reference a former piece of content that did well).
If they don’t accept syndicated content like Lifehacker, Derek recommends checking their previous coverage of a similar product, topic, or even a competitor, and then pitching them on why your article/feature would be even better.
Whether it’s with content, an interview, or a product you offer, always be on the lookout for easy ways to break into big features.
2.) Use Multimedia Content & Spread the Love
One of the great things about multimedia content is that it’s essentially “immune” to the duplicate content penalty that so many bloggers worry about.
This makes outreach easy to do: with no penalty for republishing, you can land as many features as you are able, all with the same piece of content.
The most obvious form of this strategy is the standard use of infographics.
You can also take things to a more creative route, like the way Grasshopper made their own version of the popular viral video “!@#$ Girls Say”, managing to generate over 68,000 views:
“Dude, let’s go viral right now!”
It definitely takes a bit of extra legwork (and maybe some additional costs) to get this done, but outreach with multimedia is far easier to scale than constant guest blogging.
While the quality of the multimedia content you create is far and away the #1 most important aspect to getting features, also be sure to keep in mind the “3 P’s of great outreach”:
- Positioned – Why is the piece a good fit for their site? Does it align with their current content? Point that out.
- Personalized – Get a hold of an individual on the team when applicable and create a connection by doing a bit of background research.
- Persuasive – What’s in it for them? This is why I reference a previously successful post, and state why mine will do just as well (or better).
3.) Unleash an Amazing Product (or Resource) unto the World
It might seem strange to think that a huge resource or… *gasp* … a paid product could generate the same amount of buzz as a blog post, but it’s certainly true.
I’m sitting green with envy over here after seeing those results!
Over at Help Scout, I’ve placed a large emphasis on creating an ever-growing resource page for readers and prospective customers.
Corbett and the ThinkTraffic team do this well themselves, with an entire toolbox being available for subscribers.
The other thing you should do with these big releases & manifestos is to go multi-platform. After a big initial bump in new readers from our 25 Ways to Thank Your Customers e-book, I decided that a SlideShare release would be a great way to promote it:
It turned out to be a good decision, because we hit the homepage and ended generating 22,000+ additional views!
Resource promotion is the ninja stuff of getting your name out there: fortune favors the creative in this regard.
Got a fellow blogger who likes your stuff?
Collaborate on a big release or let them use a resource of yours as a reward for their list. You’ll get a ton of great exposure from a highly targeted audience (as well as creating even stronger connections).
4.) “Be” A Case Study
You likely follow a few blogs that give some fantastic, actionable advice (that’s why you follow them, right?).
What you may not realize is that even these huge blogs simply LOVE having case studies to prove that their advice actually works.
If you can serve as the example, you’ll get the press as the case study.
I often see visitors leverage Tim Ferriss’ massive audience by presenting him with detailed accounts of how they used his advice to succeed.
Students of Ramit Sethi often get to feature their success stories on his widely read blog when they approach him with tales of how his tactics & courses helped them with their finances & earning potential.
What better way to capitalize on great advice then to use it and then get even MORE exposure by revealing what you did?
Best of all, unlike a guest post, the spotlight is all on you, resulting in a much more useful feature that will get you a full serving of exposure for your fledgling business.
5.) Network Without an Agenda
My buddy Tom Ewer puts networking in a fairly simple lens for new bloggers:
Network with those around you, not just those above you.
Natural networking is reaching out to interesting personalities in your space WITHOUT putting your hands out for something.
Getting to know people naturally leads to mentions, and even better, to future collaborations.
Just look at the massive launches that Only72 has been able to create, powered by the incredible network that Adam Baker from Man vs. Debt and Karol Gadja have managed to create over their years as prolific bloggers.
A humble networking tip: Reach out to one new person in your industry every other day (without trying to get anything out of it), you’ll be amazed at how quickly these new connections begin to pay off with more knowledge, insight, features, and collaborative efforts.
All it takes is a personal, friendly email to break the ice, so what are you waiting for?