When starting a new business or a new blog, I've found the biggest hurdle was to drive traffic to my website and get people to hear about my brand. I remember googling over and over again, 'how to drive traffic to my website'. Everything I read took SO MUCH time... which is fine. But, I'm really impatient and I wanted something FAST.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands. I remember a friend of mine at the time had recently started a blog and got featured on Buzzfeed. That day she tripled her traffic and gained about 4,000 new Instagram followers overnight! My eyes were huge with envy... I wanted that! I wanted to not just triple, but quadruple my website traffic and sales overnight. So I was on a mission. I made a goal to be featured on a major website as soon as possible, whatever it takes.
Guess what? It happened not once...but twice! Today I'm going to show you the exact steps I took in order to quadruple my website traffic and sales overnight not once, but twice yo! P.S. I've used this strategy for my product based business as well as my blog. It freaking works!!!
Okay, the first time this happened was on the Oh Joy! blog (named one of Times 30 most influential people on the internet) . Just 3 months after I started Lot801 I attended a conference where Joy Cho from the Oh Joy! blog was speaking. At the time she was pregnant with her first daughter and I knew I had to get her some of my clothes. So what did I do? I put together a nice gift box for her and took it with me to the conference in case I was able to meet her face to face.
Well, luckily I brought it because after she spoke, I met her out in the hallway and we chatted for a bit and I was able to give her my gift. She was super sweet and thought it was so nice of me to even think about giving her a gift for her little one on the way.
I remember checking her blog everyday for a few months... just in case she happened to mention Lot801. A few months went by with nothing. Until one morning I woke up, checked my email and noticed I had a TON of sales flooding in already and it was only 7AM. I was like what the??? So I checked where my traffic was coming from and sure enough, it was from the Oh Joy! blog where she wrote THIS post.
I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Within the next 30 days, my traffic and sales quadrupled!!! The best part was that people were finally hearing about my brand and buying my products. I can never thank Joy enough for including me in her post.
Lesson Learned: Go after what you want. I could've showed up to that conference with nothing in hand because I felt stupid... but I didn't. Come prepared when you know you're going to meet someone you look up to or someone that's influential in your niche. Take that extra step and have a clear intention.
The second time this happened, I was featured in The Huffington Post. Yup, I made my first goal a dream come true.... holler! Keep reading on to see exactly how I made that dream a reality:
1. I WROTE DOWN A SPECIFIC GOAL, WITH A SPECIFIC PUBLICATION, WITH A SPECIFIC TIMELINE
This one may sound like a no brainer, but trust me, don't skip it. Once you write it down... it's out the for the universe to help make happen. I wrote this down on a piece of paper, "Lot801 will be featured in The Huffington Post by the end of the year", and I taped it on my computer where I could see it and read it every single day.
So instead of thinking.. oh I want to be featured on The Huffington Post... and not really giving it any thought after that, I kept it at the front of my mind every single day just by writing it down and putting it somewhere I could see everyday. This is more powerful than you think... trust me!
Action Item: Write down your specific goal and tape it somewhere where you'll see it every single day.
2. I DID A BIT OF "STALKING"
Okay, so I'm not a complete stalker, I just really did my research first before taking any other steps. I wanted to make sure I knew I shit. I thought of it like a job interview... would you take the guy that came in and already knew about your company and what it was about... or would you take the guy who was completely clueless in what you even did? Yeah, thought so.
I made it a point to read The Huffington Post every single day. I would read the Parents section, the Fashion section... anything really that I thought might apply to me.
I took notes on what kind of stories they liked to feature and who was writing those stories. I wanted to know which stories were making the cover page of that section and which stories weren't. Which stories were shared on social media a lot and which stories weren't. Which stories had a lot of comments and which ones didn't.
This gave me a clear understanding of what was popular, what people wanted to read about and what The Huffington Post was most likely to publish in the future. I'm pretty sure this step helped me out the MOST in getting featured.
Action Item: Make a list of all the sections of the publication you want to get featured in that apply to you and your niche. Now read those sections on the daily and get familiar with the stories written, the ones making the cover, the ones being shared on social media a lot, and who's writing them etc.
3. I DID SOME SOCIAL MEDIA "FRIENDING"
For some strange reason, not manny people are taking the time to do this step... why? I don't f*cking know?!
Seriously, it's a major step in getting noticed and getting your emails read yo! I found the editors writing these stories and I friended them on Twitter and Instagram. Side Note: if their account was private, I didn't request to follow them. I figured they wanted to be left alone and their social media accounts were for friends and family. I didn't want to be a pest.
Once I started following them, I supported them. I would tweet out their latest story or share it on Facebook and tag them. I would write genuine comments on their posts when they popped up in my Instagram feeds. You may think this is a tiny step, but it's NOT! These guys took notice. They replied to my comments, often times followed me back, would start conversations on twitter thanking me for sharing their stories. A little went a long way.
Action Item: Start following the editors on social media and converse with them!
4. I SENT THEM AN EMAIL
Alright this was the fun part. I finally emailed them a story idea or a pitch. You might think... sounds nice Linds but how in the world did you get their email address?
Ha, guys it's so easy. Most major websites like Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post have a bio section. Each story has and editor or writer that wrote it, if you click on their name it will take you to their bio and most cases than not (that I've found) their emails address is listed right there for you. If not, try a simple Google search.
Now here's the juicy part... I noticed that most stories that were making the cover and getting shared weren't solely "featured" pieces. Meaning they weren't written about one specific company or blog... they were interesting topics and stories with a list of companies or blogs that applied to the topic.
I really think that was my golden nugget. So instead of pitching a story idea just about Lot801 and how cool my brand was, I pitched a story that I thought parents would be interested in. Something like, "11 Cool Kids Brands your Little Ones Will Love". I even listed out 11 brands (including Lot801 of course) for the editor so she didn't have to come up with the other 10 on her own. I made it as simple as possible for her to say yes.
About a month later I was checking my Instagram like I do every morning and noticed I gained 1,000 new followers over night and my website traffic was cray cray. Sure enough, that morning THIS post went live on The Huffington Post. Whoop whoop!
I literally jumped on my kitchen table and danced like I was Beyonce lol. Now this happened WAY sooner than I had expected. Remember how I gave myself till the end of the year to get featured? It actually happened in JULY... 5 months prior to my goal.
The best part here is that when I sent the email, the editor knew exactly who I was. Instead of cold pitching her and this lady not having any idea who this person is that's pitching her... she was already familiar with me and my brand because we connected on social media.
Action Item: Send your pitch. Take some time on figuring out your pitch and creating your story, don't half fast it, be strategic.
PRO TIP: 5. THANK THE EDITOR FOR FEATURING YOU
DON'T skip this step. When you get a mention or feature, make sure you share the story everywhere on social media tagging the writer. They love the fact that you're helping their work get exposure and will be more likely to feature you again in the future.
Lindsey, a professional gangsta boss and founder of Lot801 and Lot801Marketing, helps small biz owners and bloggers grow their brand through social media and free publicity. Follow her on Instagram@lot801 and visit her website at lot801marketing.com.