“Self-publishing means no more convincing gate-keepers. Now you need to convince the Signal-Boosters instead. Expect this to be VERY SIMILAR!” ~ Howard Tayler (Award Winning Author of Schlock Mercenary)
How to increase your blog’s exposure by 50x in a single day.
Most days I use this blog (www.staging.rodneymbliss.com) to talk about leadership and business. Today I want to talk about the blog itself a little bit.
I’ve been a writer for over 20 years. I’ve written books for traditional publishers. But, today, the world has changed.
Bloggers are writers, of course. The Internet has opened up the opportunities for writers to go out and find a niche. But, bloggers are also self-publishers and self-editors. (Being your own editor is like a lawyer who represents himself, you end up with a fool for a client.) But, there’s no getting around the publisher role. We write with the hopes that someone will read the feeble efforts we make. But, unless you are writing for a branded site like NYTimes.com, or Forbes.com (my brother, Richard is one of their bloggers) you are pretty much on your own.
My blog gets pushed out to my LinkedIn profile, my twitter account (@rodneymbliss) and my facebook account. In addition, there are a couple dozen people who’ve registered to get emails from WordPress when I update. I am grateful to all the readers and especially those who reply, or who choose to repost, retweet, or otherwise help me promote it. All of that increases the reach. But, there are a group of people whose influence is so extensive that a single mention from them can make a huge difference to a blog. These people are called Signal-Boosters.
My blog got signal-boosted last Thursday and Friday. In this case it was from my friend Howard Tayler (Giving Your Product Away For Free Is a Business Plan?) as a thank you for help I gave him a few weeks ago. Hopefully some of those people will like the blog and come back.
So far this is a pretty simple model. Find someone popular (Howard gets over 20,000 hits per day on his www.schlockmercenary.com site where he blogged about me.) As a self publisher, a Signal-Booster is like the publisher and the distributor all rolled into one.
Getting a signal-boost like that does three important things for a writer. First, it validates what I’ve written. Blogging can be a lonely business in that without a true editor, I’m left to decide for myself what I think is blog-worthy and what isn’t. If I pick good topics and write a compelling headline, more people come read my stuff. If I pick wrong, they stop coming. But, I think EVERYTHING I write is good. A Signal-Booster, especially if they boost a single blog entry says,
“THIS! This is worth sharing.”
Secondly a Signal-Booster promotes a blog. A friend joked “I’ll just bake cookies for the Signal-Booster!” But, that won’t work. The only reason Howard is a Signal-Booster is that he has attracted an audience who trusts what he says. If I write terrible content and then bribe him to promote it, eventually his audience starts ignoring HIS content.
The third thing that a signal-boost does is it looks really cool. If I’m used to pulling in 50-60 views per day and all of a sudden I get 650 like I did last Friday, it’s like watching your favorite team go on a scoring run.
There’s a downside to Signal-Boosters. I’m a numbers geek. A signal-boost screws up trend lines. This is a problem I’ll take. But, it is hard to see if minor tweaks I’ve made are having an effect. They get totally washed out with the signal-boost.
I got signal-boosted on Week 16 and Week 21, by Howard and several other people who thought the content was especially compelling.
Week 16: Racist Programs and Assaulting Servers,
Week 21: Datacenter CSI: The Day The Servers Died
Week 23 was a series I did on “Leaving WordPerfect and Going To Microsoft” but was not signal-boosted that I noticed.
The important point from a blogging standpoint is that dark blue line. It’s the number of visitors. The light blue is the number of views. As you can see last week’s signal-boost pushed the number of views to the highest I’ve ever had. But, the number of visitors actually was not as high as previous weeks. The lesson is that the people who came, looked around a lot more. The Signal-Booster got them to the site and they saw enough compelling content to stay and look around.
There’s lots more that goes into a successful blog. But, for bloggers who are trying to increase their reach, it’s not enough to just write well. Sometimes you need a boost.
Rodney Bliss is an author, blogger and IT manager. He lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with his lovely wife and 13 children.