The longer you’re in a room, the more you notice the little details, and in my blogging tenure writing for the likes of Lifehacker and Huffington Post, I’ve picked up on some growth hacks that have helped my clients and I score some major success together. A lot of them are simpler than you’d think, and I’m here to share several of those tactics with you.
Here are five growth hacks that will help you dominate the blogosphere in order to draw more traffic to your website:
Growth Hack 1: Inject adjectives into your headlines
Sounds weird, right? But it’s true. Most people will click on a headline that says, “Why Avocado Is Terrible For Your Health” before they click on a headline that says, “Avoid Eating Avocado For Your Health.”
Disclaimer: Avocado is still good for you.
Descriptive words in headlines fuel the curiosity gap. Readers want to know why it’s so terrible, or great, or disgusting, or simple, and click through at higher rates to find out. The more intense the adjective the better – but be careful not to mislead readers into thinking they’re about to see the most hilarious thing on the web when it’s really just fake “laugh out loud” funny. You’ll lose engagement on the backend and regret it.
It might not be your level of exposure that needs to be increased for growth, it might just be a little headline tweaking. Start there before moving on.
Growth Hack 2: Contribute everywhere, like you mean it
With millions of blogs on the internet, why are you growing yours alone? The major publications don’t even go at it without help – they link to one another all the time, sending traffic right through the ecosystem.
You don’t have to jump from contribution zero to submitting to the top ranker on Alexa in your niche, but there’s no shortage of reasons for you to get out there and start connecting with other blogs.
A few primary points for the “like you mean it” portion of this statement:
- Contribute to multiple sources in a short period of time. Most people won’t click your link the first time they notice you, but if they see you two or three different times in a week, they’ll be more inclined to wonder who this new person is that keeps popping up and what they’re about.
- Write for the host blog’s readership, not your own. While there may be differences in formality or presentation, the blog’s niche should seamlessly compliment yours. Whatever it may be, research the blog you’re pitching to and dress your content for the occasion.
- Use tools like Buzzsumo (the free trial converts to their free plan, no credit card required) to brainstorm trending posts on the blog you’re writing for. Choose one that works for you, and pivot your angle on the topic to make it unique. If there’s a trending article, such as “Habits Dog Owners Should Adopt For Better Training,” then perhaps you could write one called “Habits Dog Owners Should Avoid If They Don’t Want Behavior Problems” and get a great response.
Growth Hack 3: Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing goes hand in hand with guest blogging. The entire concept of influencer marketing is to connect with other people (instead of other blogs) that have a larger reach than you do, and get them to share your content.
In terms of blogging, this is generally done by asking the influencer for a contribution to the post, which is typically something like an exclusive quote or a full interview. The idea is that if you put together a good piece of content and publish it with the Influencer’s name, brand, and link attached, the influencer will then share it with his or her following – as long as they’re getting something out of it, too.
That last point is where most people find pause: “my blog traffic is low, I have nothing to give them.”
The key? Use the influencer quotes and interviews to leverage your guest submissions to blogs much larger than your own. By connecting a major media outlet with an influencer, your smaller audience is no longer an issue. Links to your own blog appear in your author byline within the post, and when the influencer promotes the post, the host blog promotes the post, and you promote the post – everyone wins.
Growth Hack 4: Nail the entertainment element
Cats, dancing, satire, someone punching a kangaroo in the face to save his dog – there’s not a single more consistent element of viral media than entertainment.
If you have trouble writing in an entertaining way, it might be time to add memes, videos and GIFs to the mix of what you’re working with to help. In the long run, you want to try to let your personality shine through a bit; sarcasm, dry humor and all.
Regardless, when you find your style of entertainment to share with readers, you’ll see your engagement and share rates go up quite a bit.
Growth Hack 5: Write “the ultimate guide”
Readers cling to (and spread) ultimate guides that help them improve their lives in some way, but you have to be smart about what you choose to write about and how you write it.
There are two ways to do this with validated topics:
- You could find a topic that has a solid curious audience and write the missing ultimate guide on it, OR
- You can update an existing successful guide that might be outdated or missing some valid information, but still relevant in context
I’m a huge fan of modeling off of what’s already working, so I’m going to walk you through the second option. Hop on Buzzsumo again to see some popular ultimate guides in your niche. Make sure you filter the date so you’re looking at recently trending material.
Pick out a couple of your favorites and read through them. Note questions that the ultimate guide didn’t answer that you can, and anything that’s outdated. Also take note of elements that you have better tips and tricks for, hacks, and anything else you can think of to improve on it.
Now sit down and write your own “ultimate guide” for your brand that you already know is highly sharable material and promote it through the proper channels.
If you start adopting these tips, even one by one, you’ll find increased rates of engagement, clicks, and shares with your readership.