The brutal truth of blogging is this:
It’s hard to get readers.
And it’s even harder when you follow some of the fluff marketing advice you see these “experts” put out.
But the fact remains that you need readers—more readers equals more business.
That’s why I want to show you how one entrepreneur used my drafting technique to flood her business with hundreds of new readers in just one day.
But First, What’s the Drafting?
I filmed a video about it last month, and you can see that here: how to land major press with no connections.
It’s a short video. So, go watch it right now, and I’ll wait :-).
Now that you’ve watched that, let’s talk about this one blogger who used this method to go from 20 hits a day… to more than 800 hits in a day.
And then, how those 800 hits helped her generate $2,000 in revenue.
Here’s How Katrina Padron Used The Drafting Technique To Score Blog Traffic
Let me break this down:
Drafting is about hopping into your competitor’s slipstream. If they get featured somewhere, you try to get featured there too.
Well, Katrina Padron saw that one of her competitors was featured on a blog, a large blog, that was capable of sending a whole lot of traffic.
Most people would have wondered “aww, I wish I could get featured there too…”
And then they would have left the site never to return.
Fail. People who are serious about increasing their blog traffic would NEVER do that.
So what did Katrina do?
She used what I call the Drafting technique, took her success into her own hands, and BAM!
She got featured, and her new blog went from getting 20 hits in a day… to over 800 hits. Here’s the proof:
Not bad 🙂
But what’s amazing is this:
That burst in traffic attracted 171 subscribers, and $2,000 in revenue from two new client acquisitions.
And thats’ not all!
It Gets Better…
…Instead of resting on her laurels, she then leveraged her success to land a major interview on a HUGE blog.
She saw one of her competitors get featured for explaining how they saw a massive traffic increase with a unique strategy.
Well, since she did just that… saw a massive traffic spike from my technique… she decided to leverage that success to land an interview.
And she got it! She pitched herself as a potential interviewee, and bam! Now she’s got that too.
Now How Can You Land Media Coverage Too?
By now you know why I share this advice with you.
When I release my premium training course, you won’t wonder “does it work?” Instead, you’ll think “is this right for me?”
(If you run a blog, then it is right for you :-D).
But that aside, this technique has worked for years, and I’ve personally used to build my email list and my business.
(And I still use it today!)
But if you’re stuck…
…Even after watching the video, then here are step-by-step directions on how to use the drafting technique to land major press coverage.
One note: I can’t guarantee that you’ll see the same results. That would be irresponsible of me. So, just remember, your results are entirely dependent on how you execute this simple 3-step formula.
Step 1: Discover the Perfect People and Businesses to Draft
Before you begin drafting, you’ve got to take inventory on who you’d like to draft. There are two types of people (or businesses) that I’d target:
1. Direct competitors – Find people who offer competing products, services, or yes, even content.
These people are perfect to draft because you offer almost the same thing. If they’re getting coverage, you can too.
2. Indirect competitors – These are companies or people who are in the same vertical as you, but offer something slightly different. For example, they might offer invoicing software for designers whereas you offer invoicing software for freelancer writers.
These people are GREAT to draft because you’ve got a unique angle to approach reporters with, right off the bat.
To be safe, I’d build a list of 10-20 people.
Once you have that, keep an eye on where they’re getting featured. With Google’s new tools for searching by date (within 1 week), it should be easy to check up on each of them.
Then, when you see an opportunity, here’s what you do next:
Step 2: What Incentive Can You Provide Reporters With to Cover Your Company?
When you’re looking to get featured on a website, you’ve got to realize one thing:
It’s not about you or your company. It’s about providing the reporter with an incentive to cover your company.
Because remember, reporters are people, and as Levitt and Dubner wrote in Super Freakonomics, “People are people, and they respond to incentives. They can nearly always be manipulated—for good or ill—if only you find the right lever.”
Now I’m not telling you to bribe people. That doesn’t work. But there are other incentives that fire a reporter up. Let’s go through that.
First, what does a reporter do?
They write stories, and their stories cover unique ideas, controversy, and/or new developments to an existing story.
Now if you can make their job easier… and provide them with a story… you’re golden. You made the reporter’s work life easier, and who doesn’t want that? 🙂
Yes, I may have over simplified it, but you get the idea.
Keeping that in mind, when you want to draft behind one of your competitors (both direct and indirect), you’ve got to position your company in a way that creates a story for the reporter.
To do that, analyze the story about your competitor. Was there any holes? Concerns? Or was there room for additional commentary?
If so, you’ll want to pitch the story idea, and position your article, product, or service as the focal point of that story. Or you can focus on crafting contagious content.
Now what happens when you have your story idea? Proceed…
Step 3: How to Pitch Your Story to Reporters and Bloggers
This is the final step, but as a fair warning, if you skimped on the prep work and story creation in Step 2, this step is pointless.
That aside, let’s do this.
Most people pitch reporters and bloggers ALL WRONG.
I know you know what I’m talking about too…
If you run a blog, chances are you’ve seen a PR rep send you an email that talks about some new press release and asks you to link them because “they think you’ll be interested.”
Are you ever interested?
So what’s the right way to pitch a reporter or blogger?
The trick is to NEVER send a long email with a long pitch. People are busy, and they ignore long emails from people they don’t know.
Instead, you want to write an email that people can’t resist. YOu want to write an email that BECKONS a response.
What’s an email like that look like?
I saw you wrote about [insert topic]. Well, I’ve got some [insert unique story angle] that answers the concerns you raised in your original article. Here’s the article:
[insert link to article here].
You’re busy but you’ll find this as the perfect answer to [insert the concern they raised].
And that’s it.
That template works great for a three reasons:
- You’re drafting behind one of their topics, as shown with the first sentence.
- It also works because you’re promisnig a unique angle, which all reporters and bloggers want.
- This email works because it opens an information gap.
Note: I don’t recommend you copy this email word for word. Also note how I don’t ask for a link. That’s key. Asking for a link alerts the BS meters :-D.
Getting Press Coverage Is That Easy, But…
…You have to take action on this advice.
When I first shared this tactic a month ago, you had the opportunity to implement it.
Katrina did, and she reaped the rewards.
(My content contains no fluff. Just concrete marketing advice)
But how about you?
What’s holding you back?
In the end, building a blog that generates business is possible… even in an overcrowded marketplace.
But you’ve got to take action.
Now leave a comment and tell me how you plan on leveraging the drafting technique 🙂
Thanks…. it was really great moment for me that i had read in your blog post..I will try definitely.
Great article Derek! I just finished getting my branding and website launched, and the next step is how to increase my traffic. I love what I offer, but know little about marketing. Great advice on how to reach out to other bloggers or journalists!
This is something I am going to put into place right away.
Would you say that the company HARO has pretty much streamlined this process? There are reporters already begging to promote you.
Make a great pitch and you have a total shortcut to this brilliant process.
When you’re emailing journalists & blog owners and linking to your own article is this one that you have written specifically to send these journalists/blog owners? Or do you reference existing content?
You could very well have changed my life (I’ll e-mail you about it if it happens)
Whenever I’m in the US I’ll be sure to let you know and buy you a dinner, and maybe even give you a massage gift card since you seem to be into that :- )
I think I grasp the complete concept of drafting.. but If I just may ask, how do you actually find where your competitors have been featured? Are you referring to using a software to find all your competitors backlinks and going through them? Or are you talking about having a look at their site and see if they have any “featured in media” kind of widgets in their sidebars and then follow it and see if you can find that featured article?
Keep the awesome content coming.
Ok i have a question? Where do you find the reporters and bloggers and don’t most bloggers get hundreds if not thousands of request like this?
Nice idea for looking at competitor’s content/interviews/etc for holes or inconsistencies.
I like the point about reporters. The power of the press can never be underestimated.
Hi Derek, Just getting started and have already been helped by your advice on how not to confuse a potential customer. It helped me focus on making a site that is not complex. Thanks !!
you’re obviously an expert at the drafting technique and I have to admit I’m guilty of not taking action in this case as it seems like it would be more work than you make it seem. I do keep coming back to it though and know I will follow this advice soon.
You always give solid advice which we can usually take right away that day – in this case I think it’s a little more work doing the research, setting up the alerts etc. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth it though.
Thanks so much for sharing this – as always, awesome!
You have simplified these tactics in such a way that I have no choice but to implement these strategies. I think many of us who are itching to expand our scope of influence oftentimes over analyze what steps we should take in getting our names out there.
Thanks for a great post!
Great stuff. Thanks for the advice.
171 subscribers and $2,000 revenue in just first month release a new website are awesome and amazing for me, in fact I still didn’t understand how you could do it but it made me thinking about re-starting my way to make money online.
Sounds like a cool and legitimate way to guest post for other blogs too! I should think the concept is the same right?
Great post big D! Used the same strategy on facebook and my fanpage shot up to 50,000 fans in 5 months. Like you said…gotta take action immediately. If you don’t, you’re gonna be left in the dust!
Great advice. Tried it for the first time yesterday and sent email to an author who wrote an article for the HBR. Her reply suggested I post my comments in the comments section of the post. Ugh. Will press ahead.
Great article Derek, you are 100% correct about the importance of those traffic spikes and the residual traffic they bring. I found the same thing happen with my site, http://www.remoteworkerdaily.com when I had a couple of viral posts on StumbleUpon.
I enjoyed reading your post from start to finish. But am just having a challenge of implementing email system for list building on my blog so i can convert visitors into leads and sales even from the spike.
Hi Derek Halpern,
Media exposure definitely brings in traffic spikes but it depends on how well we are utilizing that spike ! Gaining new subscribers and opportunities out of that is the intelligent part.
Another great post.
Looking forward to your next post
Love all of your stuff. When you say that you captured new subscribers…is that to the blog or to an email newsletter? Is there one that’s more important than the other, or should I be working them hand in hand?
Whether you call it drafting or slip-streaming, this media relations tactic isn’t a new thing. It’s a low-budget tactic that pre-dates, blogs. Heck, it pre-dates me and probably every one reading this blog. Edward Bernays, the father of PR, used it before we had media data bases.
But to approach a journalist, one must take care. You have to give them something newsy. Anything else, and they get pissed. I know, I was once a journalist.
To be successful, you need to write the perfect pitch.
More importantly, to get quality media coverage that ACTUALLY drives business, you need to develop relationships with journalists in a niche and be their go-to news source.
Great post to see how it was applied.
Just out of interest – can you explain a bit more about how you track where your ideal ‘drafting list of competitors / related businesses’ are being featured?
Is this something that works better in the blogging world (ie to get an article featured on someone’s blog), or more for offline media – newspapers, trade journals etc – what’s been your experience with that?
Looking forward to your upcoming posts 🙂
Derek (and Katrina)
Thanks for sharing this specific example and how your advice was applied.
I’ve seen the traffic “spike” result happen with guest posting, but drafting is such a great (more efficient) way to get the same (or better) results.
I saw your original vid when you put it out, but this concrete example from Katrina is even more powerful. I’m going to seriously implement your technique and see what happens.
I’ll definitely keep you posted as I’m building a new blog site from scratch right now.
You’re the best. One of the top 5 “must reads” in my world.
I’m glad to hear it Steve.
One of the reasons I did the follow up was because I knew people would love to see a concrete example.
Great article, but I have one question.
Many consider the subject line to be 50% of the message, because it determines if the recipient will even open the message.
Got a killer subject line to go with your template?
This is an amazing post and encouraging for those of us that are starting blogs and websites in new genres. I am now making a list of potential targets for celebrity gossip websites that might appreciate my twist and niche on content.
Thanks for always writing informative information. I greatly appreciate it.
I loved this article for two reason.
1) I already read (watched, listened) to the original post on the drafting technique. I thought it made perfect sense. Plus, it was posted at the serendipitous time when I was hunting for some media buzz. I listened carefully and it highlighted a strategy that I had never considered before. Love that light bulb.
2) The follow up. Gotta love the follow up. It reminds us all that all the knowledge in the worlds is nothing–NOTHING without action. Katrina acted. Katrina won. Yay Katrina. I wanna win too so I am simultaneously commenting on social triggers and writing a letter to the travel editor of the Globe and Mail (A large Canadian newspaper).
Thanks Derek for the content. Thanks Katrina for the inspiration! (oh- and just printed your post via design sponge–top notch article there too–gongrats).
This is awesome and I love it… in theory. I’m kind of getting stuck on how I’d use this for my own biz, as a coach (“life coach” for clarification purposes, but let’s pretend I didn’t use that word).
As a coach, I don’t offer concrete advice or strategies….
Any brainstorming help on where I could be looking for places to draft behind?
So the focus of this technique was on a new blog. My problem is that I keep thinking to myself, “I’ve only got 3 or 4 good articles – my blog is still new. Why would anyone feature me when I don’t have a huge history and library of articles?” Should I just get over that?
Thanks for sharing this technique. Small business owners need to understand this tactic. Some of them still believe that purchasing links and link building is the only way to build a web presence.
I just saw one of Katrina’s comment to this post, was curious about her site, checked it out, went to her About page, clicked on the “free tools” link, subscribed, confirmed the subscription, which took me to her facebook page, and I “liked” her page.
Right away, I could see her savvy use of not only email list building, but social media marketing as well. I learned a bit just by subscribing to her list. This has been an eye opening experience.
Thanks for this tactic. I’ll try to adapt it to a physical product. Let’s see how it’ll work.
Awesome Richrad, you’re welcome.
This is perfect. Something I can easily do a few times to get some things rolling in the right direction. I will be giving this a shot tomorrow! Luckily I just finished a great infographic that is prime for this kind of tactic.
Infographics are primed for this, FOR SURE.
Let me know how it works. If it does work, would love to hear about the results.
I agree that connecting with your “competitors” is a huge help. I sent a simple email to a blog I admire (it’s in a similar genre as my blog). I included a link to an article on our blog that I thought her readers might benefit from: http://familysponge.com/parenting/tv/ The blog owner actually read it and shared the link in one of her posts which brought us 1,211 views on our site to that specific article on the day it was posted with consistent 400+ referrers from her site days after. We had another big blog share with the same article weeks earlier on another site bringing us 1,737 views on that one article the first day. We actually back linked one of her posts in our post. Sometimes people get afraid to leak out to other blogs, but I find it as a way to share resources and ideas. I want to build an honest community and give credit where credit is due. But not sure how it will pay off in the long run. Our blog has been running less than 3 months, and I’m thankful for the articles I read here for inspiration and action steps.
Nice move. Glad to hear that it’s working, and I hope it continues to work for you.
PS I just found one of those reports telling me to submit my blog to a list and to blog more than 20 times a month – before I would have taken them seriously – NOW I just think, “Yeah? What would Derek do?!”
20 times a month? Why are you even reading that report ;-p
It was a HubSpot report, I’m sad to say…
Your tips are about 100x more insightful, unique, and useful, not to mention, they bring results!
Thanks for the tips, Katrina and Derek!
Hey, I don’t want to steal Derek’s thunder on this one, but it can totally work for you. Think a little bigger than your knitting niche – maybe try to draft on other big crafters.
…sorry Derek, I’ll stop now 🙂
I don’t want to pooh-pooh this and say, “Oh, this won’t work for me…” but I feel like that’s true.
I WANT it to work for me, but…
I don’t know how much “breaking news” there is in the knitting video industry, or how many “big” interviews. Except when the “world’s fastest knitter” competition comes around, maybe.
I don’t really know where to look, watch, or follow to be aware of these big interviews or newspieces that I could draft on. Is my industry just special, or is my thinking messed up?
Of course it can work. You might not draft behind a company, though. Instead, you can draft behind a specific type of product.
Could you talk a little more about drafting behind a product, Derek? I’m not sure just what you mean.
You articulated this process really well. I basically used a technique like this about 2 years ago and got a traffic spike of about 1400 visitors over 2 days, when the most I’d seen to that point was probably 30 visitors. It was crazy. Great advice.
Good stuff John
I found the comments between Derek and Brandon even more insightful than the article, personally.
Understanding how to convert those spikes from guest posts, PR pitches, etc. is very high-leverage. 🙂
Great stuff on the ‘triggers as always 😀
Interesting and strategic… While I did notice that the traffic went back down, I think the scale of the GA graph got ‘compressed’ and we didn’t see the residual increase in traffic after the spike occurred… What’s key is the increase in subscriber base and of course, the income 🙂
You’re absolutely right.
Very simple and effective strategy. Thanks for sharing!
It never ceases to amaze me how many ideas you have about increasing your traffic. Always impressed!
My brain is spinning right now on ways I can utilize this. I am not exactly certain at the moment…but I am definitely thinking techcrunch!
Did you call me Ana? ;-P
This idea of traffic bursts works. I did a guest post for Simple Mom – got over 350 comments and that turned into ebook sales and subscribers.
Huge spike the 3-4 days after the post ran.
I’m definitely going to start using the drafting technique…because it’s a more targeted way to get the right people looking at your content and when that happens – conversions happen. Plus – you’re become a source for people who may need your expertise again and again.
Great job Katrina!
Awesome to hear that Anne.
Thanks so much Anne! I’m now trying to use this in literally everything I do!
Can’t wait for the premium class, I’m ready to start having my website support our family! I just read the AONC and I’m pumped, thanks for the info Derek
You’re welcome Kimanzi.
Smart stuff Derek. I’ve been using this technique off and on for some time, and it’s amazing how grateful reporters are when you are genuinely helpful.
Full page press release? No response.
Two sentence email being helpful with a link? Instant press coverage, guest blogging spot, and tons of new traffic. Good times.
Yep — funny how that works right Cory? People don’t have time to read press releases. They want the meat.
What are some useful metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of one’s blog marketing efforts? What is the average blog’s viewership/readership? What’s a good number of nits per day/week?
Those are the wrong questions.
It’s all about how the blog impacts your business.
It seems like really sound advice. I’ve been getting features where I can by pulling connections (the joy of writing a blog about politics, connections matter so much!) but this just seems so much easier.
I think the centre of it is, when I blog, I try to solve a problem for someone. If someone on a major content provider features a blog and raises issues, there is a problem. Solve the problem, and traffic will come.
I love helping people solve their problems and be better at what they do.
By the looks of things – so do you. Thanks for your help!
-Gaining the Advantage
What does this have to do with using the drafting technique?
If someone has questions or issues after another blog has been posted, filling in those issues or having the answers fixes their problems. I really should have paid better attention when typing that! In fact, it would be best if I stopped trying to create content at midnight and got some sleep 😛
Its worth mentioning that before you take action on this, (or any marketing strategy really) you should have a suitable amount of attractive content on your site, as well as a high converting MWR, so that you can convert this burst of traffic into subscribers…
You’re right. Before you take action this, you should probaly watch these 7 site review videos 🙂
Nice one Derek, I like this strategy, it different from the usual traffic tips we get every day.
I like the no fluff email. Bloggers especially are more receptive to short and to the point emails. I find treating guys you want to talk to like real people. No one likes to be sold to, just be yourself.
This is not even really a “tip.” This is a whole strategy that when you use it repeatedly, you can take a brand-new blog and turn it into a powerhouse 😉
Derek — when you’re sending an article link – are you sending something YOU wrote? Is that a silly question? Or are you just opening up a gap in information and then starting a conversation?
Yes, ideally it would be a link to one of your own articles. However, if you wanted to share an article with the reporter that wasn’t yours, and it truly helped them out, that’s a good way to build up the relationship before you need it.
A few questions:
1. So you are writing a blog post that precisely and intelligently echos the original post as opposed to a post thats “inspired” by the original post. Instead this is a direct retort, defense, answer, counter etc – correct?
2. How much concern for the original post author (the journalist) do you need to consider in your drafting post? I remember in one of your earlier post you said knowing what they are interested in was important to be relevant and targeted.
3. Do you echo back the original post, the original issue raised directly with a link etc or do you just focus on a post that the journalist knows is tied to their story, but your blog reader just sees it as fresh new content without knowing the story that prompted it?
Great work soldier.
Yes, this is a good strategy. It sounds a bit like one I heard in a podcast on Copyblogger. One thing they mentioned there, is to tap into trends. For example:
1) Once company acquired another company, and a small press blob was written up about it. So that company’s competitor wrote this very well researched and informative article about that, and it was the competitor’s article that everyone ended up linking to and talking about.
2) When President Obama went to Australia, an insurance company there gave him “free insurance against crocodile attacks.” It became this big thing, and that company’s name spread virally.
It’s all about being creative.
I heard the same podcast which refers to what David Meerman Scott calls “newsjacking”. I did a comprehensive write-up about it and I’m also currently conducting my own marketing experiment using similar strategies.
Derek’s drafting technique is about approaching the press while David’s technique gets the press to approach you. Derek’s technique is powerful and more easily managed, but if you can master David’s technique, your blog will not only get massive traffic, but you can leverage media mentions to help you build up your authority and credibility in the blogosphere (not to mention the hundreds of high PR backlinks from main stream media within a very short period of time).
They’re both what I would call “leverage marketing”.
Yes, the criticism is that these are temporary bursts of traffic. But like Derek said, it’s about getting them to at least give you a chance to convert first-time visitors into long-term readers. And you can’t do that without having some kind of traffic.
Newsjacking is slightly different. That’s entering the hot news that’s already happening in the world, and positioning yourself as a source that adds additional value to that particular hot news.
However, Drafting is how you can promote something you’d like to Newsjack. I personally call this ambulance chasing, but when you combine it with drafting, you’re golden.
Damn! And here I thought I was out of the ambulance-chasing business (ex-lawyer here). 😉
You can’t escape it apparently 🙂
That’s a little bit different. That’s what I call “ambulance chasing,” which means write about what’s hot in the media right now.
However, with Drafting, you don’t have to write about what’s hot right now. Instead, you write about what reporters or bloggers have a history of writing about.
Great post homeh. Been using a similar technique on affiliate sites for years. 🙂
Yea man… the art of promoting what you do… and the simple thing most people never do. So weird.
Interesting article – thanks for the help!
Not sure I understand. Seems like the traffic quickly went back to almost nothing. I’ve learned that it’s not about those spike days as much as it is about steady, quality traffic every day, week, and month.
1-2 spikes per week for the first 90 days and you got yourself a hit blog… Love the spikes, don’t hate em!
I think you’re right Justin!
The traffic did go back down, but a couple of awesome things happened that day. 177 new people joined my email list and I got 2 new clients and $2000 so far as a direct result. Plus, I am now posting on that blog on a monthly basis and that is generating more traffic, more email subscribers and more clients. Seriously, this really works.
You generated $2,000 in business, and my headline is talking about 800 readers?
I need to edit this headline ;-P
Derek – I feel terrible. I cannot believe I never thought to even mention that. Serious headline change FAST!
I was thinking that the strategy would be to rinse and repeat until she builds up enough of a following to have a steady flow of traffic.
And remember, every burst in traffic turns random visitors into subscribers, and those subscribers add up over the long haul.
I should, one day, publish some of the early traffic numbers for Social Triggers, and you’ll see exactly how this strategy helped me grow.
Here’s the deal Preston:
When you’re starting a new site, you DEPEND on those bursts of traffic. While the “daily traffic” doesn’t stick around, you can bet she converted some of those “random visitors” into subscribers.
And what happens when you add to those subscribers regularly?
Well, look at Social Triggers.
I built this entire site by going after huge bursts in traffic that would eventually fade.
However, every time I generated a huge burst in traffic, I’d grab a few hundred subscribers, or a thousand subscribers, and now Social Triggers has a decent subscriber base 🙂
Just “discovered” your site today…lovin it!
I am a new blogger and I completely agree with depending on those huge bursts. I haven’t had huge bursts like the example you shared, but each time I’ve had a “huge burst” by my standards I have kept a few of those visitors. I can imagine the effects of having a way to duplicate those huge bursts on a regular basis.
I haven’t tried anything like what you’ve mentioned…just been a basic steady content focus while I try to figure out how to massively increase my traffic. GLAD I found your site so I can learn and apply this stuff!
That was a HUGE ‘aha’ moment for me.
I guess my main goal was to build a loyal following over time, but I never considered those ‘huge spike’ days and converting some of them into subscribers — and building a list from there.
Now I can see why strategic placement of opt-in forms are crucial for your blog.
Social Triggers: fan for life! 🙂
It’s all about managing the spikes in the beginning, and you hit the nail on the head. That’s why you gotta be ready to convert.
I guess in retrospect, that’s what I did too. Well-put.