This is the exact formula I followed to launch my new fitness site GymJunkies.com. Gym Junkies a website and blog about hardcore fitness training. We launched on November 18th and by December 18th we were averaging around 350 unique visitors per day.
Our plan for launching this site can be broken down into three parts…
- Make REAL connections with fitness pros and bloggers before launching
- Have awesome flagship content on our site before launch
- Make GOOD blog posts 1-2 times per week
Making real connections
Connections are the backbone of getting great traffic to your blog. You can read all you want about content and SEO, but when it comes down to it ….content doesn’t mean shit if you don’t know anyone.
In the past I always struggled with getting quality links to my good pages. But when I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, and stumbled upon the idea of “connectors”, a light finally went off in my head. I needed to work with the connectors.
Connectors are the people who are at the center of the industry. They have a large audience and connect publishers with readers. Online these people are the popular bloggers. Popular bloggers are sometimes tough to get a hold of, but I used a few different strategies that worked very well…
- Do something for them first – This is so CRUCIAL when talking to bloggers. Popular bloggers get hundreds of emails everyday, and everyone usually wants something from them. By doing something for them first, you make yourself stand out and the blogger will be more likely to help you in return. So if you can send them traffic, or help them with SEO or help design their site, then do it!
- Try to connect with them on Twitter or Facebook first – If you can make a small connection on Twitter or Facebook that will help you get your foot in the door. With this you’re just looking for them to remember your name so they’ll be more likely to read your email later on.
- Get a referral from a mutual friend – If you know someone who has worked with the blogger in the past ask them to send the blogger an email on your behalf. This will help you start a conversation MUCH easier.
- Comment on their blog A LOT – This is probably the easiest one to do, but it takes a bit of time. If you post 4-5 REALLY good indepth comments on someone’s site the blogger is going to definitely remember your name. Then down the line you can send them an email and try to make your connection then.
One of the keys to doing this is to figure out who the top bloggers are in your industry. My favorite resource for researching this is All Top. Just type in your industry’s name and it will show you the top blogs in your industry. Start with them…
After you’ve made a small connection with the blogger, then you should send them an email and either ask them an important question you have, or appeal to their self interest in some way. This could be pointing them to a helpful link or recognizing them in a Top 20 type post, or just telling them how much you love their blog.
Just get yourself on their radar so that the next time you have a great post on your site, you can email/IM/call the blogger and they’ll link to the post.
Have awesome flagship content on your site
I like to think of flagship content as a piece of content that’s going to still be useful a year from now. Flagship content also can be updated with new information and tweaked regularly.
We made it a point to load up our site with flagship content like our articles on How to Build Muscle and How to Lose Fat and also our instructional videos in the Exercise Library. Flagship content works very well for a few reasons.
- It’s highly sought out information – People are always searching for the information that we’ve featured as our flagship content.
- It’s prominently featured on our site in the left hand navigation bar. This makes it easy for new visitors to find our BEST content right away.
- It gives bloggers easy access to our best articles and content so they can find them if they want to send a link our way.
Figure out 3-5 pieces of content that you can make that are highly sought out in your industry. If you don’t know what your industry wants, there’s a few good sources out there to figure it out…
- Yahoo Answers – Check out the category for your site and if a question continues to pop up time and time again, well its probably a pretty good choice for flagship content.
- Blog comments – Read comments in your blog and ALSO in other blogs in your industry. Figure out what people are REALLY looking for.
- Read your old emails – If you get a lot of email from clients and readers, make sure to put the pieces together and figure out what most of your customers need help with.
So once you have your flagship content ideas, then you should focus on making your first piece of content. Here are some pieces of content that work very well as flagship content
- How to and Advice type articles
- A resource list (ex… Copywriting 101 and Internet marketing handbook)
- Your biggest tip
- Frequently asked questions page
- A page full of videos you’ve made
Be sure to feature your flagship content in your navigation bars and also anywhere else that fits. I like to use something like “Popular posts” to title it so this gives new visitors a clue as to where they should start.
Make good blog posts 1-2 times per week
Being a top blogger doesn’t mean you have to write a new post every single day. In fact a lot of people (like myself) don’t like blogs that post every single day. It’s too hard to keep up with them and then you end up feeling bad for missing posts altogether.
My opinion is that blogs that post 1-2 times per week usually have much better content. They put up well thought out posts instead of just posting something because they have to.
Just think how much better your posts would be if you spent a whole week working on one post.
If you continue to write good content AND promote it well, the links will continue to come in. This will bring you more direct traffic and also increase your search engine rankings.
If you’re stuck for topics to write about, make sure you go back to Yahoo Answers like I talked about above to get some good blog post ideas.
How to promote your blog content
Promoting your content is as important as writing good content. Here’s what has worked for us at Gym Junkies…
- Email/Call the bloggers you know and tell them about your new post. Ask them to link to it in an upcoming post if they can. If not, ask them to Twitter/Stumble or bookmark on Delicious.
- Put a link at the bottom to promote it on Delicious and StumbleUpon. We’ve found that StumbleUpon works the best for us for bringing in traffic. If you’re not in a tech savvy market, a link for emailing it to a friend would be really helpful as well.
- Make a post on Facebook/Twitter about it. This usually fuels a lot of backend links and tweets if you’re friends with bloggers and website owners.
Ok so what should I do now?
Take action now and find the top bloggers in your industry. Start making your connections. After that draw up an outline of how you want the content on your site to eventually look. I like to start with big items and then fill them in….for example….
1. A page about weight lifting exercises
- A. Page about The Squat
- B. Page about Deadlifts
- C. Page about Shoulder Presses
- D. etc…
You can do this for any topic. Figure out the main flagship content pieces for your site and then fill in the details with more posts and pages.
These are the exact techniques we used to take Gym Junkies from nothing to 350 vistitors on average per day. If you have any questions post them below in the comments, I’ll be sure to answer them…