Chad has a bone to pick with me.
Recently I responded to another subscriber who was looking for a quick way to share blog posts and score some easy traffic, and my response bummed Chad out:
Strange email this time, Josh. I’d put this one in the “negative promise” category.
MeetEdgar — doesn’t sound like you’ve used it. I did, and got more engagement, but not enough to justify the cost.
Medium — meh
Quora — inconsistent.
LinkedIn Pulse — 0.15% engagement … maybe
Inbound.org — fickle
Reddit — “playing with fire” but here’s a link (not really moved to click that link… )
It’s unusual for you to not offer some POSITIVE advice for something that works,
but I this is helpful to hear wasn’t doesn’t work so well.
I'll admit—that email was kind of a downer.
I have an unusual perspective on this whole “how do I get more traffic and grow my audience” thing, because:
1. I've been doing this for a few years now, long enough to see some trends, and…
2. I get to straddle both sides of the “haves/have-nots” divide when it comes to traffic.
When I first started blogging 4-5 years ago, there were some pretty easy and reliable “hacks” that I could use to get in front of a lot of eyeballs with minimal hassle.
As the Internet has gotten noisier, those hacks went away—and they ain't coming back.
That brings me to the “haves and have-nots” part.
This blog is small, and it's in a small but crowded niche (email marketing).
I've experimented with a LOT of different techniques to grow the traffic, without much success.
I know do it if I put full-time effort into it, but as a side thing it doesn't really grow using the “traditional” approaches.
(“Create great content that people love” is *not* enough.)
Simple Programmer is the reverse.
There we have a big audience, and a well established presence.
Once you get a solid foothold, you can actually benefit from the very same trends that make it hard to get started in the first place.
All well and good, but what's a “little guy” to do these days?
Here are three strategies I see delivering consistent results:
I was *very* skeptical when my business partner John started pumping out YouTube videos.
In a year and a half though, he's taken our channel to 92K subscribers and nearly 700,000 views per month.
In most niches YouTube is WIDE open.
Yes you have to learn how to do video.
Yes you'll have to create a ton of content.
The opportunity is huge though.
If there's a hack for building a following these days it's finding ways to get yourself in front of large audiences that already exist.
Doing guest podcast interviews is one of the easiest ways to do that.
When you do a podcast interview, you get to spend 30-60 minutes talking to hundreds or thousands of people in your niche.
You also get a backlink to your website (good for the SEOz) and often free social media and email exposure to a new audience.
3. Paid email newsletter advertising.
In many niches there are email newsletters with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
And if you have a little cash to spend, you can get some serious audience growth in a hurry.
For the upcoming Simple Programmer book launch, I'm talking to one software development site with 550,000 subscribers, and another with nearly 120,000.
With some of these newsletters, I can get new email subscribers for around $1 each (which is *very* affordable these days).
You'll notice that each of these approaches has a high barrier to entry—either lots of elbow grease, or good ol' “cash on the barrelhead.”
That's the trend.
One way or another, you gotta pay to play.
The good news is it's hard for everyone else to climb this mountain too.
And that means the higher you go, the more the competition thins out.