This guest post is by Jaime Tardy of EventualMillionaire.com.
Within six months of starting my blog I was contacted by a reporter from CNN. Less than a month later I was on CNNMoney.com and did an interview on CNN Newsroom with Tony Harris. A week after that, my story (and face!) was on Yahoo’s Homepage. Since then I’ve been in Kiplingers Personal Finance Magazine, iTunes New and Noteworthy list, MSNMoney.com, Probloggers Top 40 to Watch List, and on Yahoo’s homepage again.
If someone told me this would happen a year ago, I would have said they were crazy. I started EventualMillionaire.com in March of 2010 as a way to talk about my story of getting rid of $70,000 in debt and quitting a job I disliked. Plus I have a goal to become a millionaire and I wanted to chronicle what I was learning in business to help others increase their net worth too. I was one out of hundreds of new blogs in finance and business, but I really wanted to learn about online marketing and blogging so I figured I would give it six solid months of trying.
Here are a few important lessons I learned in my first year of blogging:
Lesson #1: Believe your story is awesome, then tell it often
We all have a story. Before you ever get mentioned in other blogs or press, you need to believe your story rocks. You are telling your story for a reason on your blog. Is it awesome? Sometimes we are too close to our own story so it sounds easy or not good enough. What do others think about your story?
(If they don’t think it’s at all interesting, then go out and create a more interesting story in your life!)
I asked the journalist from CNN how she found my blog and why she contacted me. She couldn’t even remember how she found my blog, but she did say that she loved my story. She said she was always on the look out for great stories.
Action #1: Believe that other people need to hear your story. Then: Tell your story. Tell your story. Tell your story.
Lesson #2: Don’t quit
The month before all of this press, I was so close to quitting blogging. I had done it for six months and had less than 500 subscribers. It was a ton of work, and I wasn’t getting much in return for all of the time spent.
I even told my coach that I would email my subscribers to tell them I was going to put all of my blogging on hold for awhile. For some odd reason, I could not send the email. Logically it made sense to quit. After six months I didn’t have a lot to show for it, but I couldn’t pull the trigger.
A week after that feeling the first journalist contacted me.
Action #2: Listen to your gut! If you feel pulled to continue, do it.
Lesson #3: Some tech stuff is important: SEO and shared hosting
Yahoo is mostly a content aggregator and takes stories from other sites like CNNMoney. So the first time I was on Yahoo it was a repeat of the CNNMoney story, and there was no link back to my blog. That meant there were a lot of people looking up my name.
When someone looked up my name on Yahoo, my blog didn’t show up first. First was my LinkedIn profile. Then there were links to comments and forums where I had posted. Then my blog. People couldn’t find me! It was a huge mistake.
Action #3: Make sure your websites are first when you look up your name.
The second time I was on Yahoo because Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine did a story on me when they found my blog. This time I had a link. I was so excited, but within two hours and over 9,000 visitors my site crashed and was down for the two days I was on the homepage.
I never thought I would be on the homepage of Yahoo the first time, let alone twice. This mistake cost me all of the visitors to my website, but also my image. There were people commenting about how my site was down for two days. The worst part was that I never fixed my SEO so when you looked up my name my blog wasn’t even on the first page!
Action #4: Prepare for traffic just in case. Now I have a VPS but there are services like Cloud Flare that help with traffic spikes too.
Lesson #4: Prepare as best as possible
I was asked to be on interviewed on CNN on a Friday. The interview was going to be live on TV on Monday. My husband was out of town so I asked my Mom to watch my two small children so I could prepare my blog.
I set up an Aweber account, created a 49-page ebook with worksheets called “The Eventual Millionaire Starter Kit” and created the best blog post I could to greet the new visitors.
The preparation paid off. I received about 5,000 new visitors from mentioning the site, and I converted almost 500 people to my email list.
Action #5: If a guest post or media outlet will mention you, find out ahead of time when it will go live. Then prepare your site to make your new visitors have the best experience possible. (And have a way to contact them in the future!)
Lesson #5: Figure out how to make any success even better
Usually we are just so excited to get attention we don’t think about what more we can do afterward. I wanted to capitalize on the appearances as best I could. I brainstormed and spoke to my mastermind group and mentor. I ended up sending out a press release to local newspapers and TV stations. I even sent a note to RIT, the college I went to.
It took about an hour or so to write the press release. It landed me on the cover of the local newspaper, and an interview with the TV station. I’ve also been in RIT’s magazine and newsletter.
Action #6: Capitalize on the successes you already have. Ask yourself, “How can I take advantage of the success I’ve already had and make it better?”
This past year has been incredible, and it was all because of my blog. Even if your blog isn’t financially rewarding yet, it can open up a lot of new opportunities that you never would have found without it. It’s a long road with twists and turns but it’s an amazing ride and I highly recommend it. Keep on blogging!
Have you had any rollercoaster rides following coverage of your blog? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Jaime Tardy is a business coach and consultant who helps you make and keep more money. You can find her at the blog at EventualMillionaire.com, and listen to her interview millionaires about business and finances at the Eventual Millionaire Podcast.