Watching trends is just a part of blogging. With information changing as fast as it does online, if you are not paying attention to what is going on around you, you might as well get used to being left in the dust.
In every niche, there is going to be an event or time of the year that you are going to have to be on your A game. Big name print publications are even looking to blogging as a way of providing real time information and updates for their readers, so where do you fit in as the blogger and how can you capitalize on trends in your niche to cash in big? Let’s take a look at my example and how you can apply it to your blogging.
Covering Real Time Events In Your Niche
As you can probably imagine, things are pretty busy over at the road biking side of Bike198.com this week. With the largest cycling event of the year taking place with the 2010 Tour de France, it is a jam packed 3 weeks of Tour results, information and coverage. As a blogger, I need to position myself as a reliable, return resource to capture the benefits of the largest event of the year without actually being in France. This is not always an easy thing to accomplish even if you have a vast amount of resources. As you can see by this traffic graph from Google Analytics…things are going pretty good so far.
So what can you do to get a 68% traffic increase on your blog and rake in the cash from this new traffic at the same time?
8 Ways To Go Big Or Go Home
So…you want to cover something big in your niche or ride the trend wave, what do you need to get done to enjoy the benefits of a drastic traffic increase over a period of time? Here are some tips to help you cash in on the increase and keep a larger percentage of those new readers as your blog moves forward.
#1 – Have Your Blog Prepared – Monetization and Conversion Items
You are going to see a sharp wave in traffic like the graph you see above, so you are not going to have much time to change and edit your blog. You need to have all of your conversion items and monetization strategies in place before the wave starts. About a week before you start your coverage, you need to make sure you have everything in place. During this time period, your main focus is going to be on delivering the content goods and not on blog design or monetization strategies. By planning ahead, you can cash in even bigger.
Money Making Note: It is also a good idea to throw in 1 or 2 extra monetization strategies for this time period. It will bring in extra income for your blog at a time when readers will not be as sensitive to the idea. Even this big publications are inserting a couple more ads here and there to cash in.
#2 – Credit External Sources
Since I can’t be in France to take my own pictures, I have to rely on the pictures and other resources of the people on the field. Because of this, you have to be extra careful about using pictures and make sure you credit the photographer and organization responsible for the shot. Unless you want to really piss people off to the point they will never work with you again, go overboard on giving credit where credit is due.
#3 – Integrate In Other Content Types
Your goal during this process should be to increase traffic to your blog but also to convert that traffic into regular readers. One of the best ways to do that is to mix in other content types with your coverage to show new readers what they can expect on your blog. Ideally, you want to mix in more pillar type articles to really feature your best of the best. For example, on Road.Bike198.com, I am mixing in in-depth how to articles and product reviews…my two “showcase” article types that convert the highest on that blog.
#4 – Be Prepared To Work Longer Hours
Right now is one of my busiest blogging times of the year, to even scrape together the precious minutes to put together this article took some planning. When you are covering realtime events or a growing trend in your niche, you need to be prepared to work longer hours than you are used to. There is time to research (or stay glued to the TV for hours in my case), write articles and stay on top of what everyone else is covering in your niche as well. All of this has to be done at the same time you are still mixing in your regular content. Tired yet?
#5 – Partner With Other Media Sources
One of the best ways you can lighten the load and have higher quality content during these periods of mass blogging is to partner with higher profile media outlets for content. For the Tour, I got together with the crew at Bicycling to use pictures, interviews and Tour stage explanations on my blog crediting back to Bicycling. This cuts down on my research time and provides Bicycling magazine with more vistors to their online real estate. It is a win/win for the both of us.
#6 – Bring Something Different To The Table
Everyone and their mom is providing the same cookie cutter information on whatever you are trying to cover. By bringing something a little bit different to the table in terms of related content, you can improve the stickiness of your blog during this time period. Since my readers are used to riding tips and product reviews, I am going to mix in articles related to the Tour from those two categories. This will differentiate my blog coverage from the typical news media coverage and bring readers back to Bike198.com.
#7 – Test, Test and Test Again
Unfortunately, the preparation you made at the beginning of the process might not be converting. If your monetization strategies or conversion items are not doing well during this time period, you need to put in the extra hours to get it right. This is your one and only shot at this, so make sure all of the extra effort isn’t going wasted.
#8 – Pre-Write and Plan Content
Do you have other blogs or already know what you want to mix in during your coverage? Pre-writing and scheduling content the weekend before you are covering a large event is the best way to lighten the load during periods of high blogging stress. If you have other blogs that are going to take up precious time needed to continue your coverage, schedule those posts ahead of time or get in some guest posts to lighten the load. The worst thing you could do for yourself is sacrifice your hard work in other areas just because your focus as shifted temporarily.
Stressed Yet?! It’s better than you think…
While this may seem like a stressful time in a bloggers life, it can also be one of the most rewarding. During times of extreme blogging, you can make the biggest gains and get over that plateau of traffic and earnings that you have been hopelessly sitting on for months. If you put in the extra effort with content and planning, you will see the increases and enjoy the fruits of your extra labor for years to come. You just have to go after it! Do large spikes due to special events last for forever? Of course not, you are going to see a decrease in traffic after the event is complete, but the idea here is to leave with more traffic and conversions than you came in with. If I am seeing a 68% traffic increase during the Tour de France, I would expect to retain a 20% increase on the backend with new readers and subscribers.
And remember…as the blogger, you have the unique ability to adapt and change on the fly unlike the big print publications.
Wave Image by mikebaird