10 Unique Traffic Generating Strategies for Bloggers by Steve Pletz - HTML preview

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10 Unique Traffic

Generating Strategies

for Bloggers

Brought to you by: http://littleknowntrafficsources.com

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Table of Contents


Host a Contest

Write a Series

Do an Interview Series

Write a Round-Up Post

Hold a Twitter Chat

Add Video

Cross Blog Conversations

Blog Tour

Blog Carnival



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Ask any blog owner if they have “enough” traffic to their site, and you'll get a resounding “NO!”

Website traffic is like chocolate – you can never have enough of it. The good news is that unlike chocolate, more traffic is easy to get – and it's also easier on your waistline.

If you've been trying to get more visitors to your blog – and therefore, more sales – but the old-school ways of traffic generation aren't working for you, read on. This special report will cover some little-used traffic generation methods that will soon have your blog humming and your virtual cash register ringing.

Whether you're a service provider, a virtual assistant, a consultant, a teacher, or an information marketer, these methods can work for your blog. There's a little bit of something for everyone, although some of these suggestions may require you to move outside your comfort zone.

But if you want different results, you need to try different tactics. So let's get going!

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Blog Traffic Generating Method #1: Host a Contest No one can resist a contest, whether it's a drawing for a free lunch at your favourite fast food restaurant or a month's admission to the nearest 24-Hour Fitness. The same is true online.

Contests have two main advantages: They draw new visitors to your site, and they are a great way to reward your existing readers and customers for their loyalty.

There are four main steps to running a contest: 1. Deciding on an appropriate prize.

2. Planning the format.

3. Announcing the contest.

4. Promoting the contest.

That's it. Of course, there's a bit more to it than that, so let's go into those four steps in some detail:

1. Choosing a prize.

There are two schools of thought on prize selection: You can pick something that's universally attractive, or you can choose something that's complementary for your market.

Which you select depends on your goals.

A universally appealing prize is something that virtually anyone would be interested in, like a gift card to Amazon, a piece of electronics equipment, or cold, hard cash. The advantage of a universally appealing prize is that you will draw tons of eyeballs, and that can bump your traffic stats. The drawback is that many of those visitors may not be interested in your site beyond the ability to win free cash or a free iPad and will disappear as soon as the contest is over.

A prize that's applicable to your market is more preferable if you want to generate TARGETED traffic that's pre-qualified. For instance, if you run a diaper delivery service, you might offer a prize of a free month's service, a baby sling, a gift certificate to Babies 'R'

Us... things new parents would find appealing. Obviously this will draw more valuable visitors to your blog, although they won't be in such large numbers 2. Planning the Format.

How, what, when and where?

Now that you have the prize chosen, what will your visitors have to do in order to win it?

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Obviously an important element of planning your contest is creating a way to capture the traffic that visits your site. The most common way to do so is to ask people to join your email list to be entered to win. Another option is to ask people to leave their email address, with the knowledge that they may receive future communications from you.

3. Announcing the contest details on your own blog.

When you announce your contest, make sure to include all the details, such as how people will enter, when the contest closes, and how the winner will be chosen and notified (Tip: If you have people visit the site to see if they've won, you'll make sure they visit at least one more time!). If you received the prize as a donation from a sponsor, you may need to disclose that fact in “the fine print” on your site.

4. Promoting the contest.

If a person gives away an iPad on the web and no one enters, does it make any noise? No.

To get attention, to get traffic, to get customers, you have to make some noise. This means talking up your contest and encouraging others to do the same.

At the bare minimum...

 As mentioned above, post about the contest, but don't do it just once – write at least a few blog posts about the contest.

 Tweet about it several times.

 Add it to your Facebook page.

 Use any other of your social media tools to get the word out.

 Mention the contest on any forums or message boards that you participate in.

 Ask friends in your industry to include a note about the contest in their ezines.

Other ideas...

 You can also give extra entries to entrants who also Tweet and/or post about the contest on their blogs.

 Think about creating a small blog button for people to add to their sites (make sure it's clickable and hot-linked back to your site).

 If you're giving away something huge, write up a press release and submit it to appropriate media, online and off.

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 There are also industry-specific sites that list contests of interest to that niche, so submit your contest for added bang.

One caveat: The bigger the prize, the bigger the promotion. You may burn people out or disappoint them if you make a big deal about a contest to win a new toothbrush!

Contests don't have to be complicated. A prize, a set of instructions, a little buzz, and you'll be raking in the rewards in the form of higher traffic in a matter of days. Good luck!

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Blog Traffic Generating Method #2: Write a Series

“Lost.” “The Biggest Loser.” “Days of Our Lives.” Why do people tune in week after week after week for the latest installment of their favorite characters' lives? Because they want to find out what happens next. You can leverage this human tendency to want to stay up-to-date by writing an ongoing series for your website or blog.

Dripping a little bit of info, day after day, keeps readers coming back to see what you have to say next.

Think about it this way: What if at the very beginning of the first episode of “Dallas,” the main characters spilled the beans and told you who shot J.R.? Would millions of people have continued to watch the show through to the resolution? Probably not. And if you tell your readers everything you know in the first blog post you ever publish, there's nothing left for you to say.

Now, I'm sure you've started an online business based on a topic that your knowledge is more than one blog post deep – or at least I hope so. So here's how to make a blog series work for you:

1. Choose a specific topic. Pick a topic that's meaty enough to get into. Think “deep.” For instance, if you have a business selling health supplements, you could write a series on supplements for weight loss, for building muscle, for aging people. Any one of those topics would provide deep enough subject matter to allow you to write a half-dozen informational posts.

2. Divide it up. Once you've chosen your topic, brainstorm different post titles. Linear thinkers may be comfortable writing this brainstorm in a list format, while more creative thinkers might want to do a brain dump in a mind map format. However you choose, come up with five to seven titles for posts. In our supplements for weight loss example, the list might include:

-Introduction: Can Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

-Natural Supplements vs. Prescription Supplements

-Vitamins and Minerals for Weight Loss

-Supplements vs. Diet: Can You Get What You Need Naturally?

-Danger. Supplements to Avoid

-The Top Five Weight-Loss Supplements

Heck, you could do a series on just one of the topics above: “Danger: Supplements to Avoid” -

that could be a juicy series all in itself.

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Once you get started making your list, the hard part may become trying to find a stopping point. But just remind yourself that you're writing a series for your website, not a book (though more than one blog series has been turned into a book... “Julie and Julia,” anyone?).

3. Write. The ideal length for blog posts is between 300-700 words, but you know your market best. If you think they prefer longer or shorter posts, adjust accordingly. Some people like to write all their related posts at once and then space them out over a period of a few weeks, while others write just ahead of publication. The advantage of not pre-writing is that you can answer questions from readers in your upcoming posts, letting them know you're listening to their comments and giving them a greater feeling of interactivity.

4. Publish. You can publish your series every day for a week or more, or you can space them out, releasing the next installment each Monday, for instance. Either way works, but if your main goal is to generate traffic, you may want to allow at least a few days between posts to allow momentum to build.

5. Publicize. Let people know what you're up to and when a new “episode” will be posted –

take a hint from the TV stations and give teasers, early and often, to build interest. At a minimum, you should tweet about your new blog post and add it to your Facebook page status update. And make sure to link previous posts in the series at the end of each new post, so newcomers can go back and catch anything they may have missed (this is also a great way to build links and get a higher ranking on Google, bringing you even more traffic!).

Writing series posts should become a regular part of your blogging and website strategy. Keep it simple, be consistent, and talk up your expertise. And each time you finish a series, start the next!

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Blog Traffic Generating Method #3: Conduct an Interview Series

We've discussed how blog series can be excellent traffic-generating strategies, but there's one type of series in particular that deserves special mention: The interview series.

The interview series is can be ongoing or close-ended, but the premise is the same: You interview a set of people, preferably with a significant audience of their own, on a specific topic and run their answers on your blog as text, audio, or video. For instance, if your market is fitness professionals, you could interview the “trainers to the stars,” asking each one how they got their high-profile clients, how much they make, and the pros and cons of working in Hollywood.

This type of series is effective for several reasons: 1. It provides great value to your readers, who will enjoy getting an insider's view of the topic at hand.

2. You can generate content without having to write anything yourself.

3. It gives consistency to your website or blog, building momentum over time and giving readers something regular to look forward to.

4. It allows you to leverage other people's audiences. Example: If you interview Jillian Michaels for your celebrity trainer series, you will gain visibility from people who follow

“The Biggest Loser.”

Creating an interview series is fairly straightforward: Create a battery of questions, generate a list of interviewees, send them out, and when you get answers, post them to your blog as a regular feature. There are some hints, though, that will make your interview series rock:

Keep your list of questions short and to the point. Make it easy for your interviewees by focusing on only a few targeted queries, rather than asking them to write a novel for you.

Have a backlog of interviews. Before you roll out a “regular” feature, make sure you have enough interviews in the can so you don't have to take an indefinite break before the next set of responses rolls in.

Keep your interviewees in the loop. Let the subjects of your interviews know when you post their information. That way they can post a link on their blog and share it with their readers, thereby driving traffic your way.

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Encourage audio and video responses. Audio and video are great ways to increase your audience and appeal to other learning modalities. Some of your interviewees may find it easier to answer your questions via recording, so let them know they're welcome to do so.

Create internal links. Just like with any blog series, drive traffic internally by linking from each post in the series to other posts. Not only does this practice let readers know about the other interviews they may be interested in reading, it also improves your search engine rankings.

If you'd like to take a look at a neat spin on interview series, check out internet marketer Nicole Dean's “Expert Briefs” series on her blog, NicoleontheNet.com. (You can find them all here: http://www.nicoleonthenet.com/category/marketing-experts/ ) Instead of posting a single respondent's answers to a group of questions, she posts a single question or topic to a group of respondents. Inventive, interesting, and traffic-worthy!

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Blog Traffic Generating Method #4: Write a Round-Up Post

Round-up posts are similar to suggestions from a friend; there's so much information out there that it's impossible for us to sort through and process it all on our own. So when you create a round-up list for your website readers and link them up with resources, blog posts, and other content on the web that they might not have discovered on their own, you're doing them a huge service. You're becoming an information broker or filter, helping to guide them where to direct their focus. And when you do a good job of putting them in touch with the information they need, they'll come to rely on you and trust you with their most valuable of all resources: Their attention.

Here's how to create successful round-up posts that will increase visits to your site: 1. Pick a unifying topic.

Round-up posts are most successful when all the links you provide relate to a single topic.

Rather than just creating a round-up of your top five favorite blog posts from the week, choose a narrow subject to make your post more appealing and “retweet-worthy.”

For instance, if your audience is work-at-home moms, a post of seven home office organization tips, five networking techniques for home-based professionals, or six super-quick, make-ahead suppers would each be a great topic for round-up posts.

2. Find unusual resources.

If you stick with Yahoo headlines and the top stories retweeted by Guy Kawasaki, you're not going to provide your readers with anything they can't get a hundred other places. Seek out little-known or undiscovered sources, so you're providing something unique to your audience.

3. Keep it manageable.

Bigger is not always better. If you're hoping to save your readers time, you want to give them a boiled-down version of the best of the best, not a recreation of the top forty headlines of the day. Keep your round-up posts to about a half-dozen entries, give or take an entry or two.

4. Choose a variety of media.

To keep things interesting and to appeal to many different personalities, include links to videos, audios, and images, as well as text-based content.

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5. Invite participation.

Always ask your readers if they have anything to add on the topic, and invite them to do so in the comments section of your post. Not only can comments give you some great leads, it will also make readers feel a part of your website, increasing the likelihood they'll return.

6. Notify your chosen ones.

As a final step, send an email or leave a comment on the blog or website you've linked to. Let them know you've included them in your round-up post, and invite them to stop by to check it out. They may link back to you, driving more traffic your way. At a minimum, it puts you on their radar and may open the door to partnership or guest blogging opportunities.

Try including a round-up post in your weekly website schedule; you may find you and your readers enjoy it so much that you make it a regular part of your blogging routine.

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Blog Traffic Generating Method #5: Hold a Twitter Chat

With over 3 million regular Twitter.com users and over 50 million tweets sent each day, the Twitterverse is the place to see and be seen. So why not leverage that power to bring attention to your online business by hosting a Twitter chat? Exchanging tweets with your audience is like holding a really interesting conversation in the middle of a crowded coffee shop; everyone around can't help but wonder what's going on.

Here's how to hold a Twitter chat that will draw attention: 1. Pick a time.

Twitter is busiest during weekdays, from late morning to late afternoon. If you post during these peak hours, you have a greater chance of garnering more eyeballs, but you also have more competition than you would if you were tweeting at, say, 3 AM on a Sunday. My advice is to forget about picking a peak Twitter time, and instead pick a time that is most convenient for your readers. You're going to have trouble getting much attention if only three people attend your chat, so aim for a critical mass of participants rather than trying to pick a “perfect” time.

2. Choose a topic.

Which is more appealing: “Come to my Twitter chat today at 4!” or “Come share ideas on how to leverage social media to grow your client base!” No brainer. Pick an interesting topic and people will go out of their way to get there. (It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Pick a topic that's at least tangentially related to your target market.)

3. Publicize it.

Plan your chat far enough in advance (a week or so) that you can start talking it up. You also want to give readers an opportunity to create a Twitter account and learn the basics before your chat, if they're not already die-hard tweeters.

4. Have a giveaway or prize.

Prizes and giveaways always draw attention. You can make it as simple as, “Stop in to our Twitter chat where I'll give out my number one secret to getting booked for your next photography gig,” or as complicated as a drawing for a year's worth of photo developing.

(Note: Give the prize away at the end of your chat, rather than the beginning, to ensure that people stick around.)

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5. Have a hashtag.

Hashtags, or the “#” symbol, are the way Twitter users can track topics and conversations.

Create an appropriate hashtag so your chat participants can identify each other.

Tip: Keep it short enough that it won't take up an unreasonable portion of your allotted 140

characters, but long enough that it's unique. Share the hashtag with participants ahead of time so they can track the conversation.

6. Capture leads.

Have a way to add chat participants to your list. At a minimum, make sure to follow all participants on Twitter. You could ask attendees to sign up for a dedicated email list to be entered in a drawing, or to receive a special report you've created for the occasion.

Making your next Twitter chat the “in” place to be on Twitter.com is a lot easier than getting an invitation to the popular table in the high school cafeteria. In fact, all it takes is a little bit of planning and a lot of publicity.

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Blog Traffic Generating Method #6: Add Video

Humans are visual animals, and as we become more isolated in our work habits, our desire to see each other becomes even more important. Witness the stratospheric growth of YouTube.com – people around the globe are watching over 2 BILLION videos a day. Are any of them yours? If not, they should be!

Many online entrepreneurs are moving away from strictly text-based websites and incorporating additional media, most notably, video. Adding video to your blog is a great way to increase the connection visitors feel with you, grow the trust factor with your audience, and communicate in a personal manner. People are more likely to do business with people whom they know, like and trust – and video helps with all three elements.

Here are some tips for using video on your blog to increase your traffic, and, also, how to use video to promote your blog:

1. Keep it on-topic.

It's easy to get chatty with video, but make sure that you're providing value in whatever content you give to your audience. If your video is three minutes long, make sure each minute is valuable or you will lose your viewers.

2. Keep it brief.

With video, compared to text, it's more difficult for your audience to scan the whole thing and skim forward and back. There's nothing worse than asking your viewers to sit through a twenty-minute video, promising them great content, and then hit “the good stuff” in minute 19.

Instead, be brief and to the point (it also saves on bandwidth). Under five minutes is the bar to aim for; 2-3 minutes is even better.

3. Post it everywhere AND on your blog.

Use video on sites like Vimeo.com, YouTube.com, Facebook, and any other video sites you can find (tubemogul.com is a great service that will automatically distribute your videos for you).

When you post to video sharing sites, use key words, and provide a link back to your website so viewers can find you easily.

4. Know your audience.

Not every audience is ready to move from text to 100 percent video. If a large percentage of your audience is outside the US, they may still be working on dial-up. Or if your audience is mothers or fathers who are cruising the Internet at night after the kids are asleep, or business people who are poking around while they're in the office, they may need to keep their online work stealth.

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5. Optimize it for your blog.

You don't need fancy cameras anymore. Your iPhone video, a Flip camera, or other sub-$100

digital camera will do just fine. HD (high-definition) cameras are becoming more affordable, but are not necessary. The key is to test different quality levels to find a good balance between file size and viewability.

6. Don't forget the audio.

If your audio is unintelligible, it won't matter if your videos are great because your viewers won't stick around to know.

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