In my post on how to become a niche rockstar I said that in order to be at the top of your industry (in a lot of cases online) it’s important to know as much about it as possible. What your competitors are doing, how they’re making money and how they’re getting traffic are just a few things that you can discover with some in-depth niche research.
In that particular post I looked at the green industry from the perspective of a blogger and shared some of my findings. Based on some of the comments and emails I received at the time, a few of you were interested in how I collected the stats I did and how you could go about investigating your own niche further. I’m going to expand on that topic today, in the way I always do.
Though the title of this blog is ‘viral marketing’, regular readers will know that it’s far from being the only thing I talk about. Sometimes I’ll share a case study to inspire you. Sometimes I’ll offer insights to educate you, and sometimes I’ll give you step-by-step advice so you can take action.
This post is, purely and simply, for those who want more from their lives. If you’re happy with the position you’re in or at least like how you spend your days, then skip this post and come back next week (I have $7K/m case study on the way). Today I’m simply sharing what I wish someone else had written a few months ago when I was once again at the busiest point in my life and questioning the direction I found myself heading.
There’s more documentation on ‘how to make money online’ than most subjects out there, yet I can safely say that 99% of people who try to replace their offline income fail to do so. Many of you have seen the case studies of marketers – who clearly already know what they’re doing – building another successful website. Inspiring? Without a doubt. But obviously there’s still something missing.
For a long time I wondered what it would take to fill that gap. What would increase the number of people who follow advice in this space and actually achieve some form of success. Then the answer came to me. Or rather, she did.
A common desire for humans, once we’ve surpassed our basic requirements for survival, is to be part of something bigger than ourselves, while making a contribution to the world. The huge growth of online sites like Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, which have the potential to give anyone a large audience are a great example of this in action. This same desire is why there are over 100 million active blogs out there, each with authors trying to connect to the bigger whole.
Even though there are thousands upon thousands of micro-niches and active communities discussing the most peculiar topics, there’s still only room for a handful of ‘rockstars’ to emerge from each of them. There are always going to be fewer influencers than there are people to be influenced. That’s common sense, not helped by the fact that gaining a following isn’t some paint-by-numbers process, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.
Just looking at the to-do-list of projects I have lined up for ViperChill is tiring enough, never mind the part about actually putting my ideas into action. One such idea I’ve discussed a lot with my friends was that of a social voting system for Tweets and Facebook shares.
Basically, all users would get a ‘score’ for how valuable a Tweet from their Twitter profile or Share on their Facebook fan page actually is. Then, they would accumulate points based on those shares or tweets they make for others. In return they could spend those points and get actions (Facebook likes / Tweets) from other users.
Now and then I’ll have an idea which I just know is going to be a success. Sometimes though, I’m just plain wrong. Like the time I decided to email every single Technorati Top 100 blogger asking for their ‘secrets to success’. It took me longer than I would like to admit, and of the few replies (12 to be exact) I did receive, pretty much all said the same thing. An entire day wasted.
Thankfully, sometimes I’m right. My experiments with taking Facebook Fan pages to the next level is one example where my intuition has been spot on. Many of you know I’ve worked with some of the largest companies in the world (Nissan, Hewlett Packard, Land Rover) as there social media manager, and still consult with a few companies now and then. I had some ideas to increase the conversion rates on their Fan page, and the results blew me away.
I’ve been a big advocate of guest blogging over the years; currently ranking no.1 for the phrase in Google and using it to build my personal development blog to over 6,000 subscribers. Many people who come across the idea of writing guest posts and the benefits they offer automatically think it’s the best use of your marketing time.
Well, it’s not. If I write a guest post for someone, I might receive 100 visitors to my blog and receive about 15 subscribers. Yet, if someone links to me naturally, interviews me, or mentions one of my posts they happen to like, the visitor to subscriber ratio is way higher. In other words, I would rather be mentioned on a popular blog than write for it.
One of the first lessons that newspaper journalists are taught is to structure their content so that the most important information is first, with the importance decreasing as you read through the piece. Pick up any newspaper around you and you’ll see that the first few sentences contain the most crucial elements of the event.
This not only creates impact, but also allows editors to simply snip off the bottom paragraph of a story if they need space for other articles. As the final paragraph is the least important, their editing does not affect the article too much. I’ve already shared how I personally became a much better writer (though I don’t rate myself that highly) and now I want to get into the specifics of how to create compelling content.
Many bloggers end up having a love-hate relationship with StumbleUpon. They love the amount of traffic that the service – which now boasts over 10 million members – can send, but they hate the conversion rate on that traffic. ViperChill received 12,040 visitors from StumbleUpon in May, yet their average time on site was just 26 seconds (overall site average is 2 minutes and 24 seconds) and they each viewed around 1.22 pages.
Simply put, compared to other traffic sources, StumbleUpon is terrible. However, because the service sends so much traffic, even leveraging just a small percentage can see a decent increase in your comment count and subscriber numbers. Today I’m going to give an in-depth guide to the service and then give my tactics for getting the most out of it.
A question I receive time and time again is “Once you’ve published a blog post, how do you promote it?” and right now my response is simply “I share links to it on Facebook and Twitter.” That’s it. And I don’t even do this manually; the process is automated thanks to RSS feeds.
Of course, I’m able to do this because I’ve managed to grow the audience to a considerable size here at ViperChill. If you’re trying to get a new blog off the ground, it’s advised that you put in quite a lot more work. Even though I do such little promotion, many posts get hundreds of retweets and comments. The reasons why are quite simple.