It was about a year ago and I noticed a rather quirky social media blog with a good selection of key words in its title called the ” Social Media Examiner”. It was late last week and an article in the worlds largest blog the Huffington Post featured an interview with the founder of that blog Michael Stelzner that piqued my interest.
The reason my ears pricked up was because on scanning the article the traffic and success that he has garnered in less than 12 months was not just notable but stunning.
Here are some of the milestones after launching on October 12, 2009.
- 13,000 people visited the site within the first 2 weeks
- January 2010 (only 3 months after launch) he had 10,000 email subscribers
- January 2010 he had 55,000 unique visitors to the blog
- In February (less than 5 months after launch) the site was rated as the number one small business blog on the planet by Technorati
- It currently generates 300,000 page views a month
- The Social Media Examiner Facebook Fan page has over 11,500 fans
- Less than 12 months after launch he has an email list of over 30,000 subscribers
So what are some of the secrets behind Michael’s success with the “Social Media Examiner”? but before we answer that let us look at what he was doing prior to launching the blog.
In 2005 he started a blog called “Writing White Papers” which was quite successful… its tag line “How To Capture Readers and Keep them Engaged”. He wrote whitepapers for Microsoft, FedEx, Motorola and Dow Jones. In just over 4 years he had just over 25,000 email subscribers so he had obtained some blogging experience that provided him with basics of what to do and not to do with a blog.
The success secrets of the “Social Media Examiner” are highlighted by the following ten revelations as stated by Michael.
1. He collaborated with other successful people such as Mari Smith, a Facebook specialist, Chris Garrett who had co-authored Problogger the book and Denise Wakeman from the blog sqaud.. he called them his firestarters.
2. Held a major online virtual summit called “Social Media Success Summit 2009″ prior to the launch of his blog which attracted over 700 attendees and was completely online and Gary Vaynerchuk was the keynote speaker. (by the way the summit generated over $900,000 in revenue)
3. Composed a team of writers who provided guest posts on Social Media Examiner including Jason Falls and Casey Hibbard of the blog, Stories that Sells as well as an additional team of writers. A proportion of these writers substantial followings drove readership to the new blog.
4. Interviewed 16 social media marketing thought leaders at Blog World Expo including Scott Monty and Chris Brogan and released these videos over 9 months slowly.
5. Publishes a long magazine-style article every weekday that is edited for top quality writing prior to hitting the blog publish button
6. Implemented an email acquisition strategy that includes a pop over form that hovers over the screen for first time visitors (it includes a free Twitter video tutorial) as well as offering a subscription form on the right sidebar. The other email subscriber tactics includes a suggestion to refer a friend to to join the email list and the Facebook fan page also has a video inviting visitors to subscribe.
7. A Facebook fan page that is well designed and optimized including a Friendpile social plugin that shows all of a visitors Facebook friends that like Social Media Examiner. Other strategies included invitations to join the Facebook Fan page that were broadcasted to the email list generating almost 1,000 fans overnight. He made a note that the keyword to use is “Join” not “Follow Us”
8. On Facebook Michael has the rule that they reply to every comment on the Facebook page
9. Social Media Examiners Facebook editorial guide involves “breaking news” as opposed to “writing features” on the flagship blog site.
10. Ultra-rich content that is offered for free on social media examiner acts as the major incentive to attend a virtual summit where people know they will get even more valuable and in depth information from the top experts in their field
What is empowering about this story is that he didn’t spend a dime on his marketing (just his time) and leveraged the power of social media including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
How could you take these tips and make your blog more successful?
It would seem that we need to take some of Jeff Bullas’s good advice. Do you have any additional suggestions to add? Are you writing “breaking news” or “writing features?”