If you’re reading this, then you want traffic.
Lots of it, from all possible sources.
And if you’re reading this, you’re probably more than eager to learn about a traffic source that you may not have considered before.
Well, I’ve got one for you.
It’s the oldest source in the book, and I’m pretty sure you haven’t thought about it in a long time – if ever!
But it works. Always did, and always will.
Are you ready for the secret?
Traffic Sources vs. Traffic Mechanisms
You’re probably expecting me to say something like “Facebook” or “Twitter” or “Social Media” or “SEO copywriting” or something, right?
Well, those aren’t traffic sources, they’re just mechanisms of traffic delivery.
There are only three sources of traffic: people, and computers, and computers pretending to be people.
- Traffic from People is any time that somebody arrives at your site because somebody else told them that they should. It doesn’t matter if that message was delivered via Twitter, Facebook, email, a link on somebody else’s blog, or whatever. The recommendation came from a person.
- Traffic from Computers is any time that somebody arrives at your site because a computer told them that they should. In other words, they did a search, and Google’s algorithms said that “this is the best match for what you’re looking for”.
- Traffic from Computers Pretending to be People is when the recommendation came from a computer, but the computer was programmed to make it look as if it really came from a person. Auto-tweeting is an example of this. So is comment spam on a blog. Get the idea?
So forget about all the different mechanisms for a moment, and think about the traffic sources. Do you want to guess which is the best?
The Best Source of Traffic is People!
That’s right – it’s people.
We trust people a lot more than we trust computers, especially if they’re people that we have an affinity with.
That could mean that they’re a close friend that knows your taste, or it could mean that they’re a blogger that you follow because they consistently teach you new things.
Either way, you trust them.
More than you trust a computer.
And waaaaay more than you trust a computer that is pretending to be a person.
So the question is, how do you get more traffic from people?
The answer, again, isn’t Twitter, Facebook, or whatever. That’s just different places that they might do the talking.
But how do you get them talking to begin with?
The Answer is Buzz
You get people talking by giving them something that they want to talk about.
Not by jumping up and down, waving your hands, and saying “look at me!” while pointing to your latest generic blog post.
No – you have to understand what people are naturally inclined to talk about and create that content.
And what are people naturally inclined to talk about?
Here are the six triggers:
- The taboo
- The unusual
- The outrageous
- The hilarious
- The remarkable
- The secrets
Show me a campaign that was super-successful or a post that “randomly” went viral, and I’ll show you at least one button of buzz that was pushed.
Example: Penelope Trunk Calling Bullshit on Steve Roy
Steve Roy from EndingTheGrind started blogging about a year ago about how he hates his job and wants to start making an income online, so he can quit and spend more time with his daughters.
He’s written lots of blog posts, invited guests to post on the site, and become a part of an extended community of bloggers.
He also runs a regular podcast interview series and the latest interview subject was Penelope Trunk.
Now, this could have been another interview that adds content and value to his audience, but doesn’t spark much discussion or engagement.
I don’t mean that as a criticism; we see the same thing with our expert interviews at Firepole Marketing, and we’ve had some really amazing people on. It’s just a lot of content, and even when traffic is good, people don’t usually engage all that much.
But rather than answer the usual questions about blogging and the blogger’s lifestyle, Penelope quickly turned the interview on Steve, called him out on a whole bunch of things, and basically tore him a new one.
Steve, after taking Penelope’s advice to heart, posted the interview, un-edited.
And that got people talking.
Whereas most of his interviews get under 10 comments, this one already has over 150.
Where does buzz happen?
Buzz starts in the mind of one person and then happens between them and their networks.
It may happen through Twitter, or Facebook, or blogs, or email, but that’s just the mechanism.
Do mechanisms matter?
Yes, they do – they can have a multiplying effect, which is why you want your content to be easy to share.
But if you’re multiplying zero, then it doesn’t matter what you’re multiplying it by – you still get zero.
So think about buzz.
Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, and the co-author (with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, and many others) of Engagement from Scratch! (available on Amazon, or as a free download). The latest and greatest thing you can get from him (for free, of course) is his Naked Marketing Manifesto, about marketing that really works!