A woodsman was once asked, “What would you do if you had just five minutes to chop down a tree?” He answered, “I would spend the first two and a half minutes sharpening my axe.”
We will help you sharpen the axe.
However, we don’t want to just post boring tips “do this, write that.”
This is a case study of how to get 10,000 Unique Visitors in 5 days with one blog post. We needed time and inspiration, and we are giving you the latter. Read this – you can do exactly as we did – whatever you do it is bound to work.
After you read this article, you will know how to:
- Craft an expert opinion article.
- Implement a solid content reachout strategy.
- Increase your traffic x3 in shortest period of time.
Bonus: Influencer reachout spreadsheet and email templates included in the article.
The spark that began it all
It all started with the e-book by Sujan Patel and Rob Wormley 100 Days of Growth, which covers a variety of tactics and tips that you can use in order to grow your business.
The tip that made the wheels turn was the Tip Number 19: The Industry Influencer Blog Post. It spoke about how one can reach out to the influencers in a given industry and ask them for their opinions on a specific subject.
That’s a sound tip – it’s better to use the authority of a person who is experienced in a given field and rely on their audience and expertise. We rolled with it.
However, we needed to come up with an idea what and whom to ask.
Despite Visual Analytics and Session Recordings, our product is oriented also towards Usability, User Experience, and User Testing. Therefore, we’ve decided to set our sights on UX. It was a good decision, as it is a rather well-saturated field helped us learn how to get 10,000 unique visitors.
I began to wonder “what are the worst mistakes in User Experience?” There are cases where the design does not go pair in pair with UX, after all.
We asked UX designers in our neighboring company what they would think about a post that shows experts talking about UX mistakes they hate, a post that is informative, catchy and entertaining for people in the field.
The reaction was positive, so we came up with the title “UXperts Share Most Annoying Usability Mistakes.”
The “Gathering” stage
Since we decided on a topic, it was time to gather necessary materials for the blog post. First of all, we had to collect a list of influencers that we would reach out to. We began with our own knowledge, for example people we follow on Twitter or whose blogs we read, but after compiling a list like that we saw it’s not enough.
That’s where ContentMarketer.io stepped in. It’s a platform crafted by Colin Mathews and Sujan Patel (here he is again!) that aside from other features allows you to mine contact data from posts and websites.
We gathered a list of blog posts that list various UX influencers – there are tons of them available at hand.
After you get the article, you simply post it to ContentMarketer and it scans it for contacts. However, you need to verify them manually, because more often than not there are some discrepancies and errors – still, it reduces the amount of frantic googling drastically.
As a result, we created a Google Sheet featuring most influential UX designers, writers and developers:
We have the topic, we have the list – time to collect the responses.
First of all, we crafted a simple Google form, which can be filled out with the answer to the question: What ONE UX mistake on websites drives you crazy?
We decided to ask only for one answer, as we believed it was more interesting for surveyed experts to think about that one and only pet peeve. It was easy to answer, but also allowed surveyed people to answer in a variety of ways, thus providing more interesting content.
We had the list of people, and we had the form – now we needed to craft a sample email that we would use for reaching out.
Here’s the template that we used:
My name is XYZ and I am [JOB TITLE]. I have been following you since the day I started working here and I believe you are one of the influencers on [THE FIELD] nowadays.
Every week on our blog, we are publishing educating content about website usability and conversion optimization. Our current idea is to write an article about common usability mistakes businesses do. To make our article even more educating, we would like to include the opinions of [EXPERTS] to our article.
I created a really short form asking [YOUR QUESTION].
Would you take your 5 minutes and fill out our form? Getting your answers will make our article more meaningful.
The anatomy of this mail is rather well thought out and based on experiences of others despite our own.
First, we refer to the name to personalize the e-mail and apply a friendly tone. Then, we introduce ourselves as it is a courteous thing to do. Afterwards, we mention how we know about a given person – we are their followers, and we value their opinion. Not only is this true, but it also flatters the recipient, so it is a double win.
The main part of the e-mail explains what we do in detail – we hooked the e-mail receiver and then we ask them to get acquainted with our activity. Then, we proceed towards the aim of this email – we ask for an answer to our question. We want their expertise and they can share their opinion by filling out the form we prepared beforehand.
Finally, we say thank you and end the mail.
Since the amount of people we reached out is rather large, we wanted to track the emails, so we know exactly what is happening to them. For that, we used Yesware – it’s a great mail analytics tool that interacts with Gmail and tracks the amount of open e-mails, the clicks on the links contained within, the bounce rates – anything you would need to know about your outreach.
Here’s a sample mail we sent:
Once the mails were sent, the waiting game began – we had to wait for about two weeks to gather a substantial amount of responses.
We didn’t expect to receive a lot of them, as people usually do not have the time or will to participate in small projects like that. However, as a result we ended up with 7 opinions, which we also tracked in Google Sheets.
Since we had everything we needed to proceed with writing, we began to prepare the first drafts.
The writing stage
First of all, as a writer of this article I had to structure it. I ordered the opinions under the hierarchy of least-to-most annoying, according to my subjective tastes.
Then I searched the Internet far and wide looking for worst UX mistakes mentioned elsewhere. Tweets, blog posts, websites dedicated specifically to that, and matched them to the topics covered by our UXperts.
Paul Olyslager provided us with an opinion that he hates the “unexpected” results when you perform an action. I decided to broaden that topic to all unexpected effects in UX – not knowing what to do on a website, bad navigation, and bad design – anything that would lead to “unexpected” and “unwanted” results.
I even managed to include a case study from one of our clients, which told exactly about that – people were clicking on a button that wasn’t really a button, despite their expectations.
I backed up all opinions with data coming from other sources – that means I included links to articles, posts, and tweets. Data and opinions made the issues covered look authentic.
Finally, I tried to make it funny – you will be the judge of whether I managed to achieve that.
The post was ready. We talked about it, changed some writing, and corrected mistakes, basic editorial stuff. Then, we sent it to UXperts and asked for greenlighting it, so we can proceed. Once they agreed, it was final – Time to publish.
It has been published! What’s next?
Once the article was up, we needed to spread it so people knew about it. We sent out the newsletter first, but then we contacted people on whom we relied the most: UXperts.
Since we included them in the article, we reached out to them once it was published and asked them to share:
Do you see what we did there? We didn’t contact people who gave us an answer only – we contacted everybody we reached out at the beginning! They were already “into it”, and the curiosity to check out what they missed out on made them at least check out the article.
After that, we proceeded towards cold reachout – we used Buzzsumo for that. It’s a great platform for analyzing content and scouring the web for the best ranking articles with a given keyword or topic.
As you can see, we searched for “UX mistakes” keyword and saw top ranking articles. We also filtered it to last 6 months, so the articles are recent. The power of this tool lies in the button “View Sharers”.
Here is what you get after clicking it:
You see people who share the article on Twitter. You can export that list as a .CSV file, and we did exactly that. Why? Well, people who shared an article about UX mistakes apparently express some interest in that topic. There is a high chance that they might be interested in another article related to that.
With the file of sharers we went to aforementioned ContentMarketer.io and uploaded the .CSV file, so the platform could analyze it.
ContentMarketer is capable of finding the e-mails and Twitter handles based on the data we provided – sometimes just names or websites are enough.
We pruned all suspicious and unsuitable accounts and thus ended up with a list of people who could be interested in an article about UX mistakes.
Then, we tweeted those people saying that since they were interested in a given article, they should check this one out. Most people react positively – after all we took time and effort to find content curated exactly for them. So, because of gratefulness they check out the article.
If ContentMarketer managed to find emails – even better. After all, according to Content Marketing Institute, E-mail marketing is still an effective strategy in reaching out, especially in B2B businesses.
We also prepared an e-mail campaign to reach out to people. The template we used is similar to the one we used above. However, since we are reaching out to seemingly regular people, we care to mention that we saw them share an article about UX mistakes, and we thought ours would be interesting to them as well.
After people click the link and start reading it’s all up to the article.
If it’s good and interesting, people will share and talk about it, and it will mean that our effort paid off.
Did it? I told you, this is a case study on how to get 10,000 unique visitors in 5 days.
Here are the results from Google Analytics and share stats after 5 days of promoting.
The article stays as one of the top articles on our webpage and is still attracting huge traffic – even after 3 months.
Hopefully our experiences will be an inspiration for you – if you liked this post, please pay for knowledge by sharing the article!
TL;DR – 9 Steps of Creating an Influencer Blogpost
- Find a source of inspiration and decide on a topic.
- Come up with a question in your field.
- Find the influential people in your field and their e-mails.
- Craft an online form to send them.
- Prepare an e-mail and send it.
- Collect responses and begin writing.
- Finish, edit, ask for permission, and publish.
- Promote – reach out to people on Twitter and through e-mails.
- Enjoy the fruits of your labor!
After some time we also figured out it would be good to use Facebook and LinkedIn groups to promote the article: we used the tags UX, usability, user testing, user design, and such. We joined the groups and wrote unique messages for each about our article – it was a good success. However, you must remember – do not copy-paste and spam, but make sure every message is unique and interesting. Otherwise you will seem as dishonest.