Given the incredibly positive feedback that my previous post on building 30k subscribers in 12 months received, I wanted to take the next few articles and share some more in depth tactics on strategies I used to make it happen (so make sure you’re on my newsletter).
To begin, it’s very likely that you’ve come across a “round-up” post on your time online. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when a blog rounds up a few notable experts on a single topic and gets them to share their advice. Here is an example on the Buffer blog.
The gist of using this technique is that the people featured will share the post.
It’s a nice way to get a post off the ground, but wouldn’t it be even sweeter if you could somehow get that benefit while writing a truly long form article that address an topic in full?
This is where the drip technique comes into play.
The “Drip” Technique
First of all, this has nothing to do with “dripping” your articles out on social media (lame).
This promotional strategy actually has everything to do with how you create the piece of content in question.
I’ve used it most recently in the following articles on Help Scout:
Can you see the similarity between these two articles?
I won’t make you wait for the drum roll—the not so sexy secret is that they feature a handful of experts, but instead of being the focus of the article, their thoughts are dripped throughout the content, where appropriate.
(I tend to like putting these features under sub-headlines)
I told you in the headline that this technique was stupidly simple!
Why does it work?
Simply enough, people love sharing things that they are featured in. It’s for this very reason why round-up posts work so well… but there’s always been that one problem: while you can control the topic for a round-up post, you cannot truly control the content, as you’re dependent on what your contributors have to say.
That’s pretty awful if you’re trying to target a competitive search term, or give your readers a truly complete look at a single issue.
Instead, “dripping” in these features gives you the best of both worlds—you get to write a long form piece of content addressing what you feel is important, but have the benefit of featuring experts who will share the post and help you get it off the ground.
Putting This Into Action
First up, when choosing someone to feature for this technique, there are two things you need to keep in mind:
- Does this person have experience in what I’m about to to ask them?
- Does this person have have the audience I want?
The first one is obvious—the person has to have some relevant experience in order to properly answer your question. For the question I featured above, I asked Ruben Gamez of Bidsketch what his thoughts were on a recent Harvard Business Review piece that stated that focusing “product” is a bad idea. Since he is a bootstrapped entrepreneur with development experience, he’s a reliable source.
The second requires a bit more thought. You have to gauge whether or not the following that they currently have is the one that you want as well, regardless of what that is (entrepreneurs, moms, gardening fanatics, etc.).
Don’t just pick random people with audiences, pick the people with audiences that you’d like in your seats, otherwise you’re just wasting your time.
Next, you need to make your pitch—and if you’re not making it all about them, you’re doing it wrong.
Sure, this is far easier if you already have a big audience, but it can still be done with a small audience if you focus on quality (trust me, I’ve done it).
When asking someone for a quote/excerpt, be respectful of not only their time, but also of their genuine opinion. I’ve had far too many people blast out random emails to me wanting a quote, like I owe them something.
Instead, make your pitch like this:
Love your [recent work] on _____, I’ve got to say that [comment about it].
I wanted to know if we could get you out in front of our audience. We aren’t the biggest newsletter in the world, but we do have plenty of people who are really passionate about [mutual interest/their industry] who I know would appreciate hearing about what you do.
I’m putting together an article on [topic], and I’d like to grab a quick 2-3 sentence quote from you on [specific issue]. Feel free to make it longer or to lay it all out there :), either way I’d be happy to include your thoughts in this upcoming piece and link back to your [site/book/etc.].
Anyone with a blossoming audience will see the opportunity in a pitch like this: “So, for 1 minute of my time, I get a feature, link, and traffic from a site who has a small audience of my ideal customers? Count it!”
I rarely have people turn me down when I ask for quotes for this very reason: I make it about them.
Do the same, and focus on achievable experts (Bill Gates will not answer your email, sorry) and you should be able to put this strategy into practice with no problems. Better yet, if you’ve already grabbed a few high profile names, leverage that as social proof: “You’ll be alongside experts like Gregory Ciotti in this upcoming article on being really, really ridiculously good looking.”
When the article goes live, simply ping them about it with a link, and watch as it easily gains traction as the experts you feature start to share the piece.
Better than a “round-up” post though, you’ll also get to watch how this article slowly ranks in search (assuming you picked a decent keyword), and how people share comments on your writing, which is still the centerpiece of the article.
And that’s how you use the “drip” technique.
So Dumb that it Just Might Work
That aptly describes this tactic, I know, but trust me when I say this is a technique worth adding to your playbook, as it can ensure that more people get to see great piece of content if you do it right.
Because I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention this, please feel free to reach out to me if you’d ever like a quote/excerpt on content strategy, I’m usually available to assist (as I should be, since I’ve used this technique enough myself!).
Hope that it helps, and remember to sign up for my newsletter below as I share more “so easy a Caveman can do it” teachniques for getting great content in front of the right audience.