Hello No Hatters, my name is Dave and I moved down to Valle De Bravo to live in the No Hat Digital Mansion for a few months at the beginning of the year (you should really come down and work with us).
I just recently had my guest post: "How to Travel Around the World With Just a 20lb Backpack" published on The Art of Manliness and Hayden thought you all might enjoy a case study on the experience.
Below I'll discuss some of the numbers, how I was able to get the post, and why I think the article was so successful for me.
On to some numbers!
15,000+ social shares on the guest post and 40,000+ pageviews, 12,000+ unique visitors and almost 800 new subscribers to my blog.
The Art of Manliness constantly gets pitched ideas, so in order to stand out from the crowd I decided to send them a hand-written Breaking Bad postcard from Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where the show was filmed.
The postcard was a picture of Walter White’s driver’s license and it worked out nicely because not only does the postcard fit in with travel, but since it’s a postcard, I didn’t have to worry about them not opening it or throwing it away with the junk mail.
For the postcard itself, I modified Ramit Sethi’s template on pitching someone for a consulting gig or job interview to fit what I needed. The format I used for the postcard was as follows:
Hi [Person's Name],
[Intro + Compliment]
[Pitch on 2-3 ideas]
[Offer and Call to Action]
P.S. - [Fun fact about the postcard]
My initial pitch was to be a guest on their podcast, but when I heard back from them a few weeks later, they suggested a guest post on minimal travel instead.
The Post Itself
The Art of Manliness rejects 95% of the guest posts written for them, so after I had successfully reached out to them and we had settled on a topic they would be interested in, I still needed to write something better than 95% of what people submitted.
My goal was to provide actionable advice and tips as well as specific stories and adventures from the trip to provide entertainment and inspiration.
The post ended up just over 2,400 words and made it into the 5% pile of accepted posts.
Large And Engaged Audience
So, why did I chose to reach out to The Art of Manliness in the first place?
Well, The Art of Manliness has over 200,000 e-mail subscribers, 600,000+ Facebook fans and 100,000+ Twitter followers.
Not only is their audience large, but more importantly, they are engaged--as you can see in the image above, my post had over 600 Facebook shares and over 1,400 likes on their page an hour after being posted. If you take a look at their Facebook page, you’ll see how basically anything they post does well socially, because of how engaged their audience is.
Now, their audience might not be as big as sites like The Huffington Post, but I knew what I had to say would hit home with their readers (75% male and 52% are between the ages of 18-34), which I figured would mean more relevant traffic for me on the back end.
Taking Advantage Of The Situation
After I wrote and had my post accepted, my next question was: how am I going to take advantage of the influx of traffic to my own website?
My current goal for The Quest for Awesome is to increase subscribers in order to create a community of individuals looking to pursue their own version of excellence in whatever it is they are doing.
My Art of Manliness article was about minimal, long-term travel, so, in order to maximize opt-ins on my site, I made sure to offer the referral visitors from the guest post something relevant when they came through investigating to see what The Quest for Awesome was all about.
I figured most people coming to my blog would be interested in finding out details on what exactly I packed (in the guest post I linked to my detailed gear list).
Once they were on my site, I made it very clear with a combination of opt-in forms that I had updated my gear list for 2015 and to get a free copy all you needed to do was sign up for my e-mail list.
The 2015 gear list explained what I had learned after a year on the road with the 20lb backpack:
- Tips I learned to optimize packing for efficiency
- How to reduce sticking out like a tourist to prevent theft
- Essential gear for me
- Nice-to-have gear
- Unnecessary gear I brought
- Gear I updated/upgraded
In short, it was an offer corresponding very closely with the reason the visitor was coming to my site in the first place, so it made sense for the visitor to opt-in. After 10 days the opt-in rate was just over 6%.
This entire process isn't what I'd call easy, and it's not what I'd call quick, either. But, the results were massive and completely worth the effort. I urge you to look for opportunities like this, opportunities that have a larger up front effort, but are much more sustainable and effective long term.
Hit me with questions if you have 'em. I'll be answering them with one hand on the keyboard and one hand on a delicious, juicy taco. *Drool*