Guest Post by Lisa Kanarek
Attracting visitors to your site can be challenging, yet it involves more than just having good content. You need to think outside of the blog box and create an event that can double your traffic or even quadruple it.
What happens, though, when you get what you wish for?
For the past three years I’ve hosted Working Naked Day, a virtual event that celebrates the freedom those of us who work from home enjoy every day. Sure, the holiday brings awareness to my site, but it also highlights the benefits of avoiding a daily commute, not working with a boss looming over your shoulder, and not having to deal with chatty co-workers.
Two years ago, a few days before the event, I submitted a news release to several free online news wires and contacted writers that had written about my blog and business in the past few years. Then I wrote a teaser blog leading up to the big day.
What happened on the day of the event was beyond what I could have imagined.
AOL News.com featured an article titled “If you work from home, you don’t need pants! Happy Working Naked Day” on its home page and FoxBusiness.com shared tips for celebrating the holiday and linked to my site. The articles from both sources were tweeted and retweeted, while my new Facebook page brought in even more visitors and fans.
My traffic jumped from a few hundred visitors a day to several thousand overnight. I checked my Google analytics every 30 minutes and I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Then the realization hit me…thousands of readers were going to read my next blog post. Although I invest plenty of time into each blog post, this time it was different. Now more people than ever were going to read what I wrote. Moving forward, every blog post couldn’t simply be good…it had to be awesome.
I had writer’s block.
If I were an actress, I would have had stage fright. My audience was expecting greatness and I wasn’t sure how I was going to give it to them. I thought about the line from the old movie, Sunset Boulevard, "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." But I wasn’t ready.
When I calmed down, I realized I needed to keep doing what I had always done: provide useful information, tips and guidance that my loyal readers were used to reading. I had to forget that thousands of new readers were going to read my posts and decide whether or not they should come back again.
When in doubt, film a video
After two cups of coffee (decaf since my mind and heart were already racing), I sat down in front of my laptop and spent several hours (in-between checking my analytics and pinching myself) working on a new blog post. Then I changed course and decided to film a video instead.
Why a video? I had just received a shipment of “I’m Working Naked…Are You” t-shirts and figured that it was time to show them off. Also, this was a good way for readers to get to know me. Maybe deep down, though, I was worried that my next blog post wouldn’t match up to the one the day before.
The video didn’t go viral and isn’t one of my top-watched videos, but it gave me a chance to further prove the benefits of working from home, which was why I created the holiday. And the video didn’t have to compete with the blog post from the day before.
Add an opt-in form where people will see it
The day after Working Naked Day, visitors were still going to the blog post from the day before. The blog post was on my home page, but visitors were coming from the AOL and Fox articles and those links went to my secondary pages. They weren’t going to my home page with my opt-in form. I quickly added the opt-in form to my secondary pages and noticed a huge jump in sign-ups.
Make sure your About page is up to date
Before I knew that the AOL article was going to include a link to my About page instead of my home page, I updated my About page. For once, my timing was perfect. Thousands of people learned about me, especially five different corporations and associations that subsequently hired me to speak at their events.
The naked truth
Last year, Yahoo.com picked up the holiday (after I promoted it the same way I did the year before) and the same thing happened…my traffic went through the roof for a week. Three months later, I didn’t have the huge amount of traffic I had during the week of Working Naked Day, but my readership is still strong and growing steadily. Also, more major sites are publishing my guest posts, which helps build traffic to my site.
There’s no doubt that hosting a national holiday can boost your site traffic and visibility. I’m already working on my post-holiday blog post for next year’s event. I want to make sure I’m always ready for my close-up.
Note: The 2013 Chase’s Annual Events edition has already gone to press but they will be accepting 2014 submissions soon. There’s no guarantee that your holiday will be accepted but it’s worth submitting your event.
Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation’s leading home office experts and the author of five books including, Organize Your Home Office For Success and Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life. She is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a firm that advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home and is founder of the blog WorkingNaked.com.
Notes from Michelle... Check out my review of Lisa's home office organization ebook, Get Back Your 76 Hours. And if you enjoyed this post I encourage you to explore the other helpful posts Lisa has shared here:
- Winning the Tug of War Between Your Home and Office Life
- How to Create Your Perfect, Inspirational Home Office Space