Years ago, a few months after I started this blog, I was chugging along at a few hundred subscribers and an average of 1,000-1,500 daily uniques. As with most everyone else, I have been concerned with how to get more subscribers at one point or another.
Over time, my post frequency and passion waned
And as a result, my subscriber numbers dropped and the daily uniques decreased to the low hundreds. This was not surprising given that I was not posting as much, ans when I did, it was probably not as useful as my previous posts had been.
Three months ago, I sat at under 70 subscribers.
Today, I sit at over 1,400 subscribers. How did this happen you say?
Gather around, and let me tell you a story.
In the last three months, I have written three successful guest blog posts, some might say very successful while others might say mildly successful.
I also wrote a guest post for Flightster about getting through security at airports faster. Now, this might not seem like all that amazing of a post to you, but it currently has 29 comments, 62 Likes, and who knows how many stumbles, diggs, etc.
The last guest blog post I wrote was for Jobacle on the topic of how technology and the marketplace are forming the resumes of tomorrow. That post was picked up and shared widely within the always active recruiting and career advice verticals.
During this time, my subscribers have grown from less than 70 to more than 1,400 despite the fact that I do not blog often here and most of my serious posts are either on Grizzard or in guest posts. As well, my Twitter follower numbers have grown from 5,043 on December 7th to 6,545 today despite not focusing on how to get more Twitter followers.
Guest posts are best when targeted and well researched.
With the SEO blog post, I had the help of Ross Hudgens to make sure that I made no SEO missteps and Mark to make sure that the writing was solid. I also read and re-read many of Mark’s previous posts and ALL of the comments to narrow in on what his audience might respond best to.
With the Flightster post, I visited the travel sections of Alltop and SmartBrief to see what was doing well and getting picked up on the most in terms of comments, sharing, etc and realized that there was an intersection between something that is beginning to be shared more and more and something that I could write well about – security hassles at airports. My research paid off because SmartBrief picked up on the post and drove a ton of traffic to it.
Outwardly, the resume guest post was probably the least successful, but it was shared significantly on Twitter, and I was able to strike up conversations with a large number of the people tweeting the post.
Despite the growth in subscribers, very little traffic actually came from the sites I guest posted on.
A common misconception by people beginning to guest post is that you will drive a lot of traffic from those other blogs. My experience has always been that very little traffic comes directly from those blogs. The majority of it comes from people mentioning my name along with tweets or Facebook shares of the posts. Then, I get a lot of traffic from people either clicking through from my Twitter profile or searching for my name.
The value of guest posting is in being exposed to new audiences and getting inbound links if you ask me.
Some might say that Twitter followers and subscribers don’t mean anything.
And, by many definitions, you’d be right, but we can all agree that they at least might serve as a directional indicator of attention and reach.
If you are looking to grow your subscribers, Twitter followers, or other numbers, do your research, focus on topics you can write passionately about, and then when you do get traffic, be true to the image that you presented in your guest post so that people will stick around and give you a shot instead of just unsubscribing/unfollowing and returning to their regularly scheduled programming.