Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Traffic that never runs out, just as the fictional candy never ran out in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Too bad it’s impossible.
Or is it?
Well, consider the evidence:
In fact, you’ll find examples of it all over the web. Most popular bloggers can point to a handful of posts that people never stop talking about, that never stop getting traffic, and that never stop bringing them new fans. Traffic shot up, and it never quite came back down.
And the really good news?
The same thing can happen to you. Let’s talk about how…
1. Envision your ideal reader
Note from Jon: My ideal reader is an umpa lumpa. Somebody tell me there is an umpa lumpa reading this blog. Please!
Before you write and publish your post, you need to know who you want reading.
To riff on Seth Godin, imagine you write about how to make balloon animals for kids, but one day, you get a huge rush of traffic from people who use balloons to create porn (such people exist, apparently). It’s not going to do you any good, right? Wrong audience.
The truth is, traffic in and of itself is pointless unless you’re attracting your ideal visitor. The one who reads every post, subscribes via email, leaves lots of positive comments and spends money on the products or services your blog promotes.
So, figure out who they are. Take some time to think about their lifestyle, their dreams and their problems. Now answer these 5 questions:
- What do you provide that they desperately want or need?
- How do you know that they need it?
- Can you become even more useful to them? How?
- What do they read, aside from your blog?
- Who do they trust?
Your answers give you the basic knowledge you need to create a huge rush of traffic to your blog.
2. Talk about them, not you
This part is easy. You ready?
People pay attention when you talk about them.
More specifically, they pay attention when you talk about
- How to get something they want
- How to get rid of something they don’t want
The magic trick that allows you to discern such topics?
The best way to find can’t tell topics is sending your audience an email, asking them on Twitter, opening a poll on Facebook. Look at what they’re saying in the comments too.
If you just started a blog and don’t have much of an audience yet, take a look at some other blogs where your future readers hang out. Note what topics are among the most popular posts, and read through the comments to see how people reacted to them.
Do those two things, and you already have a great start. Then all you’ll need to do is…
3. Make your visitors feel at home
Here’s one of those head-smacking secrets:
Your visitors feel at home when they are at home.
Don’t try to pull them to you by force. Instead, reach out to them. Go where they already are, and connect with them there.
You can do this in several different ways:
- Publish your post on your own blog, while getting to know some of the people who influence your target audience. Be helpful and respectful, then point out to those influencers exactly why their audience would like your post. If they agree, they’ll share it.
- Publish your post as a guest post, on an authority site loved by the readers you’d like to make friends with. [That’s what I’m doing right now.]
- Publish it as a free download instead of a blog post. Network with relevant influencers to tell your target readership about your download, and ask readers for a tweet, Facebook share or email address in exchange. [I do this with my Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs.]
- Publish it in an email newsletter. That could be your own newsletter, but it’s often more effective to have your single post published in the newsletter of someone who already has the audience you’d like to connect with.
- Publish it in print. Ink and paper aren’t dead yet, and there’s a whole second market out there that reads more hard copy than blogs. This is your shortest route to their eyeballs. If you want tips on writing for magazines, Linda Formichelli’s written the ultimate guide. Don’t forget local newspapers or specialist publications, which can help you reach a specific set of people.
- Publish it for people to give away. Find a respected expert offering a product that’s highly relevant to your post, and ask them to give away your post as a free gift with their own product. You add value for their customers, while gaining attention and traffic. Win, win, win.
Did you notice a theme to that list you just read?
Yep, every single one of those points involves asking other people to help you promote your post. Getting huge traffic is not something you can do all by yourself, so don’t waste your energy trying.
There’s a whole world of people out there who are willing and able to help you get your post noticed. All you need to do is write a brilliant blog post and explain why their audience audience will enjoy it.
In fact, you can even schedule your promotional efforts to decide when you’ll get that big surge of traffic. Here’s how:
4. Plan your growth ahead of time
Choosing when to publish your post is simple. All you’re aiming for is to synchronise your post with other stuff that helps to promote your blog.
Grab a calendar and mark out all the other blog-boosting activities you’ve planned for the next few weeks. Got a guest post scheduled somewhere? Write it down. Interviewing an expert, or running a Pinterest contest? Write those down, too.
You can see where I’m going with this, right? Look at your calendar and find a date that’s surrounded by as many other blog-boosting events as possible. That’s the date you want to publish your post.
There’s a tipping-point beyond which online content goes viral. The more promotional activities you have on the scale, the easier it is to spark massive traffic growth with just one post.
You may be wondering how you’re supposed to get a guest post, or someone’s email newsletter, scheduled to go out at a time of your choosing. In many cases, all you need to do is ask.
“Do you have room in your publication schedule during the last week of October?” is fine. If they say no, go with the closest date that works for your host. You can reschedule some of your own activities to fit with the chosen date, if you like.
5. Control circulation
This is the part that most people have a really hard time believing.
Yes, you can get long-term traffic growth from just one post.
You really can. And I mean you, not me or Jon “His Royal Awesomeness” Morrow or anyone else you think has the keys to a secret kingdom of blog traffic.
You can get everlasting traffic from just one post.
Each time you get a rush of relevant visitors to your blog, after the big traffic spike tails off, your visitor numbers tend to wind up higher than they were before, and stay that way for quite a while.
All you need to do is maintain the growth you’ve already achieved, and keep nudging your post into circulation over and over again as time passes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Share a link to the post on your social networks once a week.
- Add a sidebar link on your blog to that one post.
- Create a helpful resource page that lists it along with your other best posts on that topic.
- Go through your older blog posts and add a few links pointing readers to the new post.
- Create new posts that incorporate a link to your traffic-boosting post.
- Create new posts and link to them from that post, to keep visitors reading on your blog.
- Link to your traffic-boosting post from future guest posts.
Is it a lot of work?
But here’s the thing:
You Can Do This
Now, listen. You’ve read this far, right? And it must have made pretty good sense to you, because you wouldn’t keep reading if it didn’t.
So, stick with me here:
You might think you can’t network with online celebrities. You might think your blog is too small to get attention. You might think people won’t be willing to help you out. In fact, if you try hard enough, you might think yourself out of the whole idea.
But it’s not true. You can do this. You really can.
You know how I know?
I’m not such a big shot myself, but I’ve done it. And that means you can too.
Act on it.
And then taste the sweet rewards.