How many sock puppet Twitter accounts do you have? That’s not cool, you know. – @copyblogger
When in the course of blogging events it becomes necessary for one blogger to dissolve the blogging bands which have connected him with another and to assume the powers of the A-listers, the separate and equal station to which the First Rule of Two Hour Blogger entitles him, a decent respect to the opinions of his subscribers requires that he should declare the causes which compel him to write his blog post.
Running a popular blog is cool, but it has a serious downside. Whenever you publish something, tons of people unsubscribe.
The only way to break even is to get a lot of new subscribers each time you publish. We are not talking about growing here – we are talking about breaking even.
Your numbers will go down if you do nothing about it.
What is difficult is to sustain them. Getting these subscribers to come to your site enthusiastically and consistently is difficult.
For example, I get emails from people telling me they spent their entire weekend reading every single post on Two Hour Blogger. They download the free eBook and read it. They get really excited.
And then you never hear from them again.
In short, you constantly need to find ways to grow, or else your blog will die. You cannot rely on last week’s ravings.
But how can you grow, exactly?
1. Write something that spreads by itself
When a follower tweets a link to your blog, he is exposing you to an entire audience you do not have access to. That is powerful. That audience visits your blog, and decides to tweet it too. It begins to snowball.
This will not happen to any old content. Your writing must really knock it out of the park. You need a couple of things in place.
- A headline that promises to meet a need that your audience has
- Solid content that delivers the goods in a fashionable manner
It is hard to describe how powerful and exciting this can be when it is done right.
2. Network with friends and get them to share your stuff
It is important that you have some move-your-couch friends online – the kind of people who will like your Facebook fan page when you ask them to. Not just anybody will do that for you.
These are the people who spend time with you over Skype. You read each other’s blogs. You tweet each other’s stuff.
3. Make your enemies so mad they have to link to you
Believe it or not, bad buzz is often as good as good buzz. I once wrote a Problogger guest post that made a lot of people really mad and they just had to tweet about it. As a general rule, controversial content does quite well. Learn to use it.
You should constantly be searching for ways to present traditional content in a controversial way. Am I being sticky here? You bet I am.
4. Persuade the big boys to link to you
Of all of the risky traffic secrets, this is the most dangerous of all. For my financial friends this is the equivalent of short selling Google stock; you might make it big time, or you might lose your shirt.
This is where that unfortunate @copyblogger tweet comes in. Those were not sock puppet accounts mind you, but my strategy backfired big time. Oops. Sorry Brian.
Is there a right way to do this?
Every now and then you can successfully convince an A-lister to link to your stuff, but the fatality rate is pretty high. If you discover a consistently successful way to accomplish this, let me know in comments!
5. Participate in a blogging carnival
Gathering together in a friendly community of like-minded writers is a safer bet. Here you are mingling with less-influential bloggers, which means you are more likely to be taken seriously and given a chance. It is also a good place to compare notes with how others are doing.
6. Get involved in #blogchat
Every Sunday night between 8:00-9:00 PM CST the Twitterverse becomes infested with #blogchat. Read more about it here. When you participate, you expose yourself to a lot of passionate bloggers. You gain followers and build relationships. This all turns into traffic.
Everyone walks out a winner in #blogchat. Do not neglect it.
7. Humble yourself and write a guest post
As responsible, hard-working humans, we do not enjoy taking handouts because we know “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Conversely, we do not enjoy giving out handouts either.
Writing a guest post goes against every fibre of our nature, which explains why we rarely do it. Humbling yourself and writing a guest post is a hassle. It takes a lot of time. It irks you.
But it works. I average 100+ new subscribers each single time I guest post.
How risky are your marketing tactics?
Seth Godin said it best:
You can’t have success unless you’re prepared to have failure.
As soon as you say, “failure is not an option,” you’ve just said, “innovation is not an option.”
You need to experiment with new traffic ideas on a regular basis. You cannot afford your list to diminish.
We all know what happens to bloggers with shrinking lists.