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It’s what so many bloggers hope and dream of. You spend hours upon hours crafting the perfect blog post. You edit, then re-edit. You create a beautiful graphic to go with it, be sure it’s all on brand, has that lovely green light on your Yoast plugin and you have all the boxes ticked. You click publish, share your post and next thing you know it goes viral! Job done right?
The Big Mistake
It wasn’t until my blog post went viral that I realised I had no way of capturing all of these new visitors to my site. What on earth had I been thinking? Of course I had an opt-in in the sidebar of my blog, but it was just a generic ‘hey wanna join my email list’ opt-in. Not very exciting or enticing at all.
I don’t even know why I did it, but it was 2am when I checked my stats on Google Analytics to see how my traffic was going. At that stage I was a relatively new blogger and my stats were usually on the lower end of okay. When I logged into my analytics I saw I had already had over 4 times my usual daily visitors.. by 2am. I figured I must be getting trolled by spammy sites and went back to bed.
By the time I woke up at 6am I had over 10 times my usual daily visitors… and they were all going to one post of mine – the 11 Habits of Successful Women. So much ran through my head so quickly and one of the first things I thought was that I had wished I had already released the challenge I had been planning for this post.
A few weeks prior I had the idea that I could turn the 11 Habits post into an 11 Day Challenge where each of the habits would have an associated challenge on that day. I was planning on emailing out the daily challenge each day and giving people just something small to work on or think about for the day.
But I hadn’t created it yet.
How I Fixed It
After about an hour of wallowing in self pity thinking I was missing out on so much it clicked! Why not just do it now!! For some reason I had forgotten that once the blog post went viral, I could still actually change things.
Within another hour I had my email course set up (with no content in it yet mind you…) and the welcome email ready to be sent. I had written the first challenge for day one and made it go live.
I then added an opt-in form to the bottom of the post and hoped people would be interested.
I spent the rest of the day working on the challenge, creating new tasks for each habit and setting up the email series.
By the end of the first day I had more opt-ins in that one day than I had ever gained in a whole month. Within 4 days I had doubled my email list. This was powerful stuff.
Other Ways I Maximised The Exposure
Once this post had gained so much traction the flow on kept coming. It was (and still is) shared on social media repeatedly and I have more and more opt-ins to my challenge each and every day.
One of the most talked about habits on this list was in regards to finances. So I decided to create another post dedicated to the 11 Financial Habits of Successful Women and link it within the original post (as well as link the original post to it). This has resulted in my site being more sticky, longer times on site and more pages per viewer.
Because the interest was already there when the blog post went viral, I wanted to keep the momentum going. To do this I also ran Facebook ads and promotions for my 11 Habits Challenge and continue to promote it, especially within related posts.
What I Do Now
I learnt many lessons from this experience, including the technicalities of running an email challenge. However the big take aways have been:
Don’t Put Off Doing Something That You Could Do Today
If I had created my email challenge when I had the idea originally I would have had it exposed to thousands more people who had been stopping by my site. I could have created it sooner, I had it all mapped out and knew exactly what I wanted done…. but failed to actually do it.
Now I prioritise tasks that result in increasing my email subscribers. It is my number one priority.
Always Have Relevant Ways To Encourage Your Readers To Subscribe To Your List
Considering that growing a highly relevant and authentic list is my number one priority, I need to ensure I have relevant ways to encourage readers to subscribe to my list. This can be done in many ways.
If I’m talking about The Lady Boss Library, I’ll ensure I have an opt-in form allowing readers to sign up right there (like the one at the bottom of this post). If I am talking about my 11 Day Challenge I’ll link to it.
The key point is relevancy. Ensuring everything I offer is on brand and of interest to my readers. You can read more about how I realised this here.
Having a post go viral is an amazing feeling. It gives you such a boost of encouragement for what you do and can feed your drive to succeed even more. And when it happens to you, please learn from my mistakes and ensure you already have your post optimised for conversion. It will save you chasing your tail and flapping about like I was.
Have you done anything similar when your blog post went viral? Do you already maximise your posts? I’d love to hear what you do and what works for you.