Third Month: Building Your Snowball Effect

snowball effectPhotography by redjar

This post represents the third stage in the 3 Month Growth Plan. I’d suggest getting an overview of the first stage and second stage before you tackle it.

The third month roughly applies to sites with 300+ daily visitors and 200+ subscribers. I think these strategies still apply very strongly to this blog, meaning that they may well be useful for any site with less than a thousand daily visitors and subscribers. I can’t write about growth beyond that stage, as I’m still learning as I go.

Now that your site has found its feet, this stage of growth is, at its core, about creating a network of fans who will begin to promote your work for you.

While readers are voluntarily recommending you to others in a variety of ways, this allows you to focus on what’s most important: creating vital content that will help build an even stronger snowball effect.

Guest-posting: aim high, because you’ve earned it

By this point you should have experience guest-posting on a variety of blogs in different stages of growth. With that experience under your belt I’d suggest going straight to the top of your niche and pitching your best ideas at its most well-known bloggers.

Make sure to highlight your guest-posting credentials and keep the email short. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that high profile bloggers are incredibly busy and, more often than not, simply won’t tackle an email that is longer than two paragraphs.

Guest-posts on the highest trafficked sites in your niche will yield many targeted clickthroughs to your site. In my experience, guest-post traffic is the second-best traffic you can get (trailing only traffic coming through personal recommendations).

Be mindful of diminishing returns

At this growth stage, the traffic you receive from comments and forums will begin to seem modest in comparison with other strategies.

I’d suggest no longer viewing commenting as a traffic building strategy, but instead focusing on whether your comments will be worthwhile in a networking capacity (or simply whether an article moves you to comment, purely from a personal perspective).

Forum use should also be stripped back to whatever level you get personal enjoyment from, rather than maintaining it as an intensive strategy — unless you feel your site rides heavily on the back of your forum profile.

The main reason behind a disengagement from these strategies is that the sheer volume of writing required is no longer going to be an efficient use of your energy, when it could instead be poured into creating a great article. At this stage, the latter will always grow your site more.

A stronger focus on virality and social media

With an established reader base your chances of social media success or virality increase, simply because there are more people around to support your content.

Now that you’ve stripped back some self-promotional growth strategies, it would be wise to reinvest this energy in writing value-packed articles your readers will champion in a variety of ways. The importance of this growth strategy will grow exponentially as your site does.

Connecting and co-operating with other bloggers

Ask quick questions, offer to guest-post, help out, or simply say hello. There are plenty of opportunities for bloggers to enter into mutually beneficial relationships.

If there’s one thing we sometimes lack, it’s audacity: the audacity to think we’re worth noticing.

Your chances of success are relatively easy to calculate. If you approach the other blogger with your own self-interest in mind, there’s no reason for the blogger to do something that only benefits you. I

f you approach the other blogger with mutual benefit in mind, your chances go up. However, opening the dialog by giving and expecting nothing in return is always bound to be noticed. Mason said it best:

It’s often times good to start out with just a brief offer or introduction, something that doesn’t ask anything of them (in fact if you can give, you’re better off).

Once you have the conversation going, it is a lot more effective to send along links (but infrequently, it’s not something to be abused.)

Make it great to be a reader
Some of the most profitable companies in the world got to where they are by making it great to be their customer.

If you want readers to get a snowball effect going, they need to feel motivated to do so. One simple and very rewarding way to do this is to treat your readers as you would your friends.

  • You don’t treat your friends as a mass — you treat them as individuals.
  • You would do something for a friend without expecting repayment.
  • If your friend had a problem, you would try to solve it.
  • If a friend asked a question, you’d try to answer it.
  • You’d tell your friend that you appreciate her/him.
  • You would treat your friend to spontaneous acts of kindness.
  • You would be selfless in your dealings with them.

Of all the growth strategies, the last has been the most personally important to me. It’s something that deserves greater discussion and something I think many of you will resonate with.

Now that we’ve explored the 3 Month Growth Plan, in my next post, I want to present grassroots growth as the over-arching philosophy behind it, and mount a case why this method is not given the attention it deserves.

About Skellie

Massive nerd who just happens to enjoy anything related to blogging, creativity, and online marketing.

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