AskPat 305 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 305 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Awesome. Here's today's question from Daniel.
Daniel: Hi, Pat Flynn. My name is Daniel. I have one question for you. This is regarding people who are just starting out. How do they build traffic earlier on to. . . how do they get visitors to their website before they have a large following if they don't have the budget to purchase the required traffic and advertising?
Pat Flynn: Daniel, what's up? Thank you so much for the question. I must say, I really enjoyed your accent there. I don't know where you're from, but wherever it is you are awesome. Let's get to the meat of this question really quick. Traffic, how do you get traffic early on? This is a great question because a lot of us feel like that when we're starting a blog, or a podcast, or a video channel. We’re kind of just doing it for nobody. Maybe just our mom or our roommate, and that's it. Who knows what we're up to. We have this amazing content that we want to share with the rest of the world, but nobody else knows about us. How do we get traffic out there? There's a number of ways I'm going to share with you starting right now.
I do want to start off actually by just saying, you don't need to purchase traffic. Sometimes that's a little bit scary to think of, just purchasing traffic. There's a lot of services out there like on Fiverr and other sites that say, “Well, I can get you 10,000 visitors for $100. Never, ever do that. Especially if it sounds like that kind of offer, which is what you'll see. It sounds tempting to get that many visitors, but you don't know who those visitors are. Even if they say it's targeted, it's not. What you want to do is build traffic organically over time.
There is legit paid traffic like through Facebook advertising, Twitter advertising, YouTube advertising, Google AdWords, and things like that. I will say that within the first four years of my business, which you know is very successful, I didn't spend a dime on advertising. I didn't spend a dime on building traffic, but I spent a lot of time with building relationships with people and doing a lot of the thing that we're about to talk about.
The first thing I want to say is an old school strategy that has worked and has continued to work over time and that is guest posts. Putting some of that content that you have that you know is amazing, not just in front of the small audience that you have on your site, if any, but in front of a larger audience on a site that matches your target audience. To do that, you're going to want to build relationships with other bloggers too. There's a lot of different ways to go about doing that. Providing value to them, connecting with them on social media beforehand, sending them emails, doing what you can to help them out in any which way. A lot of times when you do that, they're going to give you opportunities to be featured on their sites. You might want to go and find sites out there that already have guest posts. Therefore, you actually know that they accept guest posts.
Then you actually want to send a draft of a guest post that you feel would be amazing to them. Look in their archives, see what's missing, give them something amazing that they're going to not want to not post up there, if that makes sense. Meaning, sorry I just kind of confused myself right there. What I mean is that you want to write something that is so amazing that they'd be silly not to have you become a guest poster on there. You can go and do that and make sure you send traffic back to your site either directly on your homepage, or even better, to a landing page so you can, like with AWeber, collect those email addresses and start to build your list.
Having your list early on is going to be very important for building traffic as well because the people who are on your list, those are people who have said, “Yes, I like your stuff. Let me know when more stuff comes out.” You send those emails out, and those people will come to your page to read whatever it is you have to offer. A lot of times those people will share that thing. Again, they are somebody who is sort of giving you permission to give you something, but also says, “Yes, I like your stuff and I'm willing to share it too.” They're going to share, more people come back to your page or on your list. Even that right there is a great start. There's going to be a lot more I'm going to share with you here, but I don't want you to be overwhelmed by all of this.
Make sure that you pick one or two things and just go with that. When you try to divide all of your focus into all of these different parts, nothing is going to be focused. You just want to focus on some of these that seem to resonate with you and that's it. Guest posting is great. Obviously, in order to do that you're going to want to build relationships. That in itself will help you get more traffic as people begin to retweet and link to your stuff. Or they might just link to you and give you praise in general, in which case they would send you traffic organically. A lot of the traffic that comes on my site is a result of people just mentioned a lot of the posts that I've written as well.
Then, also, guest podcasting is another thing that can go along with that too. That's something that's kind of more common now as podcasting has become more popular. Then also I want to mention episode 145 the Smart Passive Income podcast with Kimanzi Constable who told an amazing story, but also gave us a lot of actionable advice to not write articles that get posted on other people's blogs, but to write articles for large media sites like Entrepreneur.com or Huffington Post, or places like that. There are a lot of large media sites related to the niches that you're all in. Daniel, whatever niche you're in, find the large media sites that are related to that and then you can go through the content in episode 145. You can find that at SmartPassiveIncome.com/Session145. That will take you to that podcast and also the transcript so you can read that as well. That's some great actionable advice to cut to the front of the line and get your articles featured on those sites. A lot of those sites will allow you to link back to your own site as well. It's not only going to just help you for getting targeted traffic, but potentially lots of it, and also some SEO value or search engine optimization value, since those are larger media sites and counts as a very high vote from, at least in Google's eyes it does.
Now, another thing you can do along the same lines as building relationships is to create a round-up post. This is something I did to get massive traffic on day one of the launch of my niche site at FoodTruckr.com. I emailed over 400 different food truck owners asking them a single question. I asked them in this email, it was very personable, each one was unique to a point. There was a lot of the same content and there's cut and paste except for the first part, which is like, “Hey, I'm a food truck owner from San Diego.” Some of the trucks I've been to before. Some of the trucks were in areas that I've been to before and I said I'd love to find their truck one day. Just so it just doesn't seem spammy. Then I asked them a question. I said, “Hey, what is one thing you wish you knew before you started your food truck? I'd love to hear your answer. I'll feature it on a blog post and give you some free exposure for your truck and try to help you get more people coming to your truck as customers.”
About 10 people responded after those 400 emails, which is not very much, but those were really good information. That was really great information. Those were 10 people whose answers I could feature in this post. Sometimes those people will be more than happy to share it because they've been featured on a site related to something that they've said. I will say that I followed up with the other 390 emails that I sent out who did not respond. I got 40 responses from the followup. The followup is really important. As Dane Maxwell once said in a recent podcast episode, “The fortune is in the followup.” Again, “The fortune is in the followup.” Then I included those 50 total answers to that single question in a round up post and highlighted each of their food truck. That article has been seen tens of thousands of times. On day one over a thousand times. I got a lot of traffic on day one, a lot of email subscribers on day one. That was a great way to go about it.
Another thing you can do is to get involved with other platforms where your niche might be, might benefit from what you have to offer through different kinds of media. Like podcasting or YouTube. Picking just one of those and using that as a secondary platform besides your blog or website to reach out and get more people to understand who you are, what you have to offer in a different way, hearing your voice, and to come over back to your website. It's a great way to build SEO as well. Podcasting and YouTube are fantastic. Each of them are the top two ways people have found out about my blog actually.
I will say, however, as much as you might be inclined to do both of those, make sure you just do one at a time. Starting your website is great. Make sure you keep coming out with great content. But if you're going to venture out into podcasting or YouTube right from the start as well, pick one of those only. I would even caution you to pick any of those if you hadn't yet started a blog and created a good foundation of articles on there. I would say maybe 10 to 15 posts at least before you try one of these things.
The reason I say this is because, as much as people see what I do and I'm trying to be a good example for people of what can happen if a single person just does all this stuff. I have a blog, I have a video channel on YouTube, and I have a podcast and they're all working together for me and all doing fantastic. I didn't do all of them at the same time and neither should you. I started with the blog in 2008, the YouTube channel in 2009, and the podcast in 2010. Don't move onto the next one until you've gotten it down on the first ones. That's all I want to say, but there is a lot of opportunity out there with the podcast and your YouTube channel, for example.
Another way to get traffic is to just write and publish. The more you write and the more you publish, the more content that you create, the more opportunities you are going to have for people to share your stuff, for Google to find your stuff, for your long-tail key words to be found. Just write and publish. You're going to get better at it. You're going to find hot topics that, some that you wouldn't even think would be hot topics that you can then expand on, create a series about. Just write and publish.
Finally, make sure that what you publish and what you write, or any sort of content you create, make sure it's amazing stuff that gets talked about. You want to create something that people will want to share. That is what your aim is. You don't want to create stuff that is already out there. You want to create stuff, and putting your own voice into it, putting your own spin or experience is going to help. It's going to help you stand out and be unique.
Also, you just want to create amazing stuff that people are going to want to share. They're going to want to share and they're going to want to share because they're going to be the ones to want to share something amazing. That's one of the reasons why people share in the first place. A lot of people don't share because what they're sharing is helpful. A lot of times people share because they want to be the one that's sharing something that is very helpful. They want to be the connector for everybody. Create that piece that people will want to share with other people. Again, this is that whole unique content, that amazing, epic content that we keep hearing about. That's what you've got to do and that's going to help you get more traffic as well.
As you can see, there's a lot of strategies here and not any of them that I mentioned require you to spend a lot of money, but they do require you to spend some time and also pay attention to what other people are doing, who other people are in your space, and then also what you should be talking about. Daniel, thank you so much for the question. I really appreciate it. My assistant will contact you shortly to collect your information to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
Thanks so much. I appreciate you. For those of you who are or have been voting for SmartPassiveIncome for top business podcast at PodcastAwards.com, thank you so much. There's only a couple of days left. Final day is tomorrow, March 24. We'll hear the results in about a couple weeks at New Media Expo. If you're going to be at New Media Expo I'll see you there. You'll see me in the Key Note on April 14, which is going to be fun. Thank you again for your votes at PodcastAwards.com under the business section.
Finally, here's a quote today from Craig Davis. He says, “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” Cheers. Take care, and I'll see you at the next episode of AskPat.