This is a guest post by my good friend, and fellow Swedish blogger, Patrik Edblad. I met Patrik through our mutual friend Henri Junttila in the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, and I’ve been following his very inspiring personal development blog, Selfication.com for a while now.
When Patrik told me the story of how he got featured on Lifehacker and got 14,625 new visitors over night, I was blown away. I was so impressed, that I asked him to share the story over at my site. I hope you will enjoy this post as much as I do!
Without out further ado, take it away, Patrik!
I picked up my phone and looked at the clock. It was past 2 A.M. already.
In just a couple of hours I was going to have to get up and take an important exam and I hadn’t slept a minute yet.
Feeling a bit frustrated of not being able to fall asleep I decided to have a quick look in my email inbox.
And that was the start of my craziest 24 hours as a blogger.
Sleepless in WordPress
In my email inbox were 40 new messages. This was really weird to me as my blog is still pretty small and since I’m an avid inbox zero practitioner I don’t usually have to deal with much spam.
This wasn’t spam. It was notifications on 39 new subscribers to my email list and a message from my web-hosting provider cautioning me that taking up too much bandwidth could lead to suspension of my account.
At this point I was confused and curious enough that I had to get up and log into WordPress on my computer. When I saw my visitors count my jaw dropped.
Since I’d gone to bed 3 hours earlier, more than 6,000 unique visitors had landed on my site and more was flooding in by the minute.
As I started digging deeper into what was happening I saw that the massive traffic was coming from this link from Lifehacker.
I was so ecstatic I couldn’t sleep. Every hour or so (more like every 5 minutes) for the rest of the night I was simply too busy checking the insane traffic numbers and new subscribers signing up. On social media I was getting what seemed like endless tweets, Facebook likes and G+ 1’s as my post spread like wildfire and went viral.
If you’re anything like me you spend crazy amounts of time making sure to put out great content so you can imagine the feeling as all of my efforts was paying off in this way.
My small blog who was used to seeing around 30 visitors a day would eventually peak at 14,625 (13,463 uniques) on March 21st and a month later I’m still experiencing the impact in my visitor stats.
The feeling I had when I got out of bed that morning with a solid zero minutes of sleep was an interesting blend of euphoria and fatigue.
As it turns out, taking an exam as your site is crashing from traffic is kind of hard. 🙂
What Had Opened The Floodgates
Apparently, the fellows over at Lifehacker had somehow found a piece I’d written months earlier called How to Breathe Properly – A (Surprisingly Important) Complete Guide and decided to feature it.
How this had happened was way beyond the comprehension of my sleep-deprived brain. This particular post was one of the very first pieces I’d ever written online and as such only a handful of people (my mom and her friends?) had read and shared it. However, as I dug deeper the pieces of the puzzle started coming together.
A few days before all of this went down I had posted another article called How to Improve Yourself: 50 Ways to Kick Ass in All Areas of Life. This post was a link collection containing some of the best self-improvement resources I could find for all kinds of different areas of life. After publishing the post I’d let everyone who I’d linked to know it by sending them an email and mentioning them on twitter.
As a result of this Mr. Adam Dachis from Lifehacker checked out the article, noticed my article on proper breathing that was sitting neatly at the top of my sidebar, read it and then decided to feature it.
What’s really awesome, and I’m very grateful for, is that Adam posted just the benefits of proper breathing on Lifehacker. That way, to find out how to actually get those benefits you have to click through to my article to learn proper breathing. How sweet is that? 🙂
The 3 Steps I Used to Make This Happen
Obviously I got more than a little bit lucky when I got picked up by Lifehacker but I won’t be making any excuses. Luck, as we all know, is what happens when preparation meets opportunity and this whole thing went down as the result of a consistent strategy:
1. Write epic shit
There’s no getting around this. Before success can happen you need to be remarkable. In the words of Corbett Barr – you need to write epic shit.
This means your material is always:
- Extremely useful – Find your own way of being insanely valuable to your readers. Solve your readers problems by creating a must-have resource of practical tips, links and tools.
- Magnetic – Write your articles in a way that plays into your unique strengths. Can you be inspirational? Educational? Entertaining? Funny? Let your readers get to know you.
- Scannable – Huge chunks of text are a major turnoff. Sort your content up logically and divide it under subheadings and bullet points. Help your busy readers pick up the main points effortlessly.
- Simple – Avoid fancy words, jargon and acronyms. Write in your own voice and like you’re talking to a good friend. Consistently work on your writing. Make time to read and write every day. My writing is far from perfect but I’m always putting in the time and getting better.
Essential reads on writing:
- 5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with a Bang
- How to Write the Perfect Blog Post
- How to Write a Blog Post in 70 Minutes or Less
- The Secret to Effortless Writing
2. Showcase your blog to the right people
Generally, bloggers spend way too much time writing and way too little promoting. Posting frequently only makes sense if there are people actually reading what you put out.
Think about it. There are roughly 2,5 billion people on the Internet. If a hundred of them enjoyed your article, isn’t there a good chance thousands more would benefit from it as well?
Your job is to get your awesome material into the hands of these people as well. That’s why I’m a big fan of Derek Halpern’s principle of 80 % promotion and 20 % creation.
A great way to do this is by leveraging the influencers in your field. Both me and Navid have used variations of David Garland’s shout out strategy with great success.
What you do is post a list of bloggers in your field basically promoting their work and describing why you like what they do. Here is one of Navid’s shout out posts and here is one of mine. You then let the bloggers know you’ve featured them by sending them an email and mentioning them on social media.
These kinds of posts have some major benefits:
- They tend to drive a lot of traffic.
- Your readers start associating you with the biggest experts in your field.
- Most importantly, you get to showcase your epic shit to the people who can make it go viral.
You never know who might take a liking in your material and offer up things like guest posting opportunities, interviews, collaborations and so on.
My Lifehacker feature was a direct result of a link roundup where I happened to reach out to the right person.
Essential reads on blog promotion:
- How to Get Major Press For Your Startup, Small Business, Or Website (with No Connections and Without a PR firm)
- The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing
- How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog and Keep It There
- 10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers
“Your path will take you as far as your work ethic is willing to travel.” – Tony Robbins Tweet This!
As always, progress is all about focus and consistency. Find a way to keep putting in the time to sharpen your saw. If you can do that you’ll be amazed at how much your writing improves and network expands.
Navid knows what I’m talking about here. He employs a similar approach and his awesome roundup post on personal branding advice was recently linked to by the massive English newspaper The Guardian.
Some 18 months ago I’d never written a blog post before and knew no one in the blogosphere. English is not my native language and the particular article Lifehacker featured took me 20 hours+ to write. Yet here I am writing for one of the fastest growing blogs on the Internet for Navid who I’d consider a friend at this point.
And all of it is the result of consistency and the awesome people just like the ones I’ve linked out to in this article. Without them, I could never have made such a rapid progress.
What I’m trying to say is that everything you need is out there. You just need to show up, do the work and amazing things will be waiting around the corner. 🙂
In essence, this ”strategy” is all about working hard and connecting with people. Hopefully I’ve gotten you curious and inspired to try it out for yourself. I highly recommend you do so you can see for yourself how potent it really is.
Here are the 3 steps summarized:
1. Go out of your way to be useful and helpful to your readers. Hone your craft by writing and reading every day.
2. Involve the influencers of your field. Mix your own content with shout out posts, link collections and expert round ups. Always link out to resources that benefit your audience and let the author know.
3. Rinse and repeat. Notice what works and what don’t. Refine your approach and keep taking massive action. Your break may be only one new idea or connection away.
Before you get to work, I have two things to ask of you:
1. If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend.
2. How do you improve your writing and promote your blog? What’s your take on this approach? Let us know in the comments.
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