3 Incredible Blog Growth Tricks (and How I Got on Lifehacker)

By Gregory Ciotti

I’m not the biggest fan of discussing “tricks” when it comes to talking about blog growth.

Sometimes, however, there are a few tidbits of info that can have a big impact on your subscriber numbers, and when that’s the case, it’s worth talking about.

Today I’d like to reveal 3 tips I’ve been using recently in order to grow my own blog.

1.) The power of email

Recently, I had a post get featured on Lifehacker.com, and the result was a ton of traffic back to my site.

How did I get this to happen.

Would you believe it was as simple as a single email?

It’s true!

Well… there’s a bit more to it.

The key to getting featured on these big sites (see Steve Kamb’s experience of getting featured on Gizmodo) is to create the kind of content that they already share.

Here’s what I did: I saw that Lifehacker had already shared a post by my buddy Leo Wildrich on What Multitasking Does to Our Brains.

These are the kind of things you need to look out for.

I knew that if Lifehacker was willing to post about some cool psychology studies that reveal something about our brains, they’d be willing to do it again (as long as the article was different and interesting).

So, I wrote up a piece called How our Brain Tries to Sabotage Our Goals and had it featured on the Buffer blog.

I then shot both Leo and the Lifehacker contributor email a quick message about wanting to see if my post was suitable for Lifehacker.

Within a week, I got an email back saying it was going to be featured, and I’ve had great results since, all for a little extra effort both before and after creating my post.

You can do the same thing by finding popular pieces of content on large sites (not limited to the Gawker network!) and then pitching the original author a piece of content that you’ve written on a similar topic.

If the first piece did well for them, they are going to want more.

Derek Halpern would call this “The Drafting Technique“, which asserts that journalists are always on the hunt for content that will perform well, and it should be your job to give it to them.

The “drafting” effect comes in by following up on a previously popular piece, because you won’t have to make the argument that your piece will do well: they already know because they’ve already had a similar piece.

Are you reaching out to the right people to promote your content?

2.) Capturing leads on SlideShare

Earlier this year I wrote about getting on the homepage of SlideShare and how it can effect your traffic.

One thing that I didn’t know was how effective capturing leads on SlideShare can be (especially email subscriber).

Over on HelpScout, we did a test with our 75 Customer Service Facts & Statistics by putting a big chunk of the content on SlideShare:

It’s been really effective so far, because the call-to-action at the end of the presentation is much more effective if there is more content to consume.

A few things to keep in mind is that design is important and that your call-to-action should include a link to an opt-in page for more: don’t just tell people where to go, allow them to get there easily.

Fortunately, SlideShare allows you to include links into your PowerPoint presentations, so this is easy to do.

As I mentioned, formatting a large e-Book like we did for HelpScout has been super effective so far.

Readers seem much more likey to check out your call-to-action if it’s more of the same great content that they’ve already been reading.

3.) How to Easily Network with Fellow Bloggers

Networking has been the greatest asset that I’ve leverage in gaining the thousands of subscribers that I have on both Sparring Mind and Sophistefunk.

I talked about how I didn’t even use guest posting for Sophistefunk, relying totally on artists interviews and word of mouth from fans and other blogs to grow my site.

I relayed to you above how I reached out via email to both Leo and the Lifehacker staff to feature my content, and you can probably guess how that payed off (hundreds of new email subscribers in a single day).

Point is, networking is a powerful tool for growing your blog.

Most bloggers don’t know where to begin in this aspect though.

One place to start is by guest blogging.

If you need to find sites, you should be hitting up places like AllTop (browse by your category, they even had one for electronic music which I used).

Once you get started, you’ll find it easier to land guest blogging gigs.

The power here isn’t necessarily in the articles though: although guest posts can send you a fair amount of traffic, the real power comes in establishing connections with fellow bloggers and getting on their radar.

I’ve done a few guest posts for the Buffer blog, but the support Leo has shown for me and my business far outweighs the direct benefits I saw from posting for his blog.

This goes a same for a lot of bloggers I’ve connected with, and this isn’t niche specific: networking is the way to go no matter what you write about.

Don’t be afraid to shoot out friendly emails (not promoting yourself, just asking to connect) to bloggers, writers and journalists that cover your niche, you’ll never know what kind of connections you’ll be able to establish until you start.

Guest posting is good for networking because it allows you to offer something to busy people, and it starts the process of reciprocity with no former connection between the two parties.

Over To You

Thanks for making it to the bottom of my post! 🙂

Here’s what’s next:

  • Let me know which of these techniques you are going to try first.
  • Have you ever been featured on a huge site? How were you able to get featured? I’d love to hear your story.
  • As a special thanks for reading my post, feel free to download my free e-Book on ‘Conversion Psychology’ or grab the HelpScout e-Book on 25 Ways to Thank Your Customers, totally free!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the comments!

Gregory Ciotti is a regular DailyBlogTips columnist and a content strategist for HelpScout. You can get more from Greg on his blog Sparring Mind.



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12 Responses to “3 Incredible Blog Growth Tricks (and How I Got on Lifehacker)”

  • Rahul Kuntala

    Hey Greg,

    Is 3 your lucky number ;)? (Wherever I read your guest posts, you use 3 tips)

    I’m gonna implement the 3rd strategy first, it has a lot of meat in it.

    I think sending friendly emails to other bloggers (just to connect with them) is one of the smart strategies. Thanks for this awesome post bud 🙂

  • Manoj Rawal

    By adding slideshare on your blog is one of the vital step to make your blog audience. Really very useful info……..

    Manoj Rawal

  • Maxwell Ivey

    Hello; I hadn’t thought of actually writing blog owners like you suggested. I usually seek out relivant blogs and begin regularly commenting on their posts. after a while the owner will send me an email and in some cases i’ve been asked to submit a guest post. thanks for the advice, max

  • Ehsan Ullah

    Heye Greg,

    These are really incredible tricks to grow a blog, but I like the tricks number 1. You’ve really showed us the power of email. I will try to find a popular topic on those popular blogs and will try to do what you did.

    Thanks for sharing the great tricks here.

    And yes, I have grabbed your E-book on Conversion Psychology and I must say what a great write up. No words! Just thanks.

  • Trent Dyrsmid

    I’ve got a blog where I invite long time friends or new found friends whom I think my audience would like to hear from and learn about their ideas. It’s through a podcast.

    Now I’m trying to be visible in other people’s blogs and hopefully be able to guest blog for them. So I guess I’ve already done #1 & #3.

    Will check out slideshare. Thanks!

  • Prabir

    All the three advice are great but imbibing email marketing in your daily activity is much more powerful than the others. It connects through through your audience and bring them back to your site. Networking is also great for long term plan.

  • Guy Manningham

    I use these techniques for my site and it’s been very effective. I’m all about free methods of gaining exposure and thankfully there are tons of ways out there. Thanks for the post.

  • Guy Manningham

    I use these techniques for my site and it’s been very effective. I’m all about free methods of gaining exposure and thankfully there are tons of ways out there. Thanks for the post.

  • Guy Manningham

    I use these techniques for my site and it’s been very effective. I’m all about free methods of gaining exposure and thankfully there are tons of ways out there. Thanks for the post.

  • Earl

    All “blog growth tricks” I look for seem to point back to guest blogging, so I guess I’m going to do the third one first. Probably in a few months, though. Thanks for sharing!

  • Janet R. Chamberlain

    I’ll have to look into SlideShare – I didn’t realize it was so popular. Continual content creation is key, but these are some great tips to go further!

  • Flemming

    I have been trying the Lifehacker thing myself for quite a while, yet still with no luck, so cudous to you for making it! Hopefully my time will come…

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