Generating short-term and long-term traffic for your online platformAug 31, 2022
During the summer of 2022, my daughter and I embarked on a unique adventure. We decided to apply to become ride operators at our favorite amusement park in central Pennsylvania. We told the office that because of our other jobs and commitments, we could only work on Mondays. They told us that we were making a very unconventional request, but they were willing to give us a shot. The experience was wonderful, and a strong sense of mutual appreciation grew between us all
Every Monday, we would arrive at the park early to clock in and test drive the rides we were stationed at that day. The main section of the park that they placed us in was where the majority of rides for younger children are located. That's also the section that gives you the best view toward the road that leads into the parking lot. So every Monday, we would watch that road to try to determine what kind of day we were about to have. If the road was filled with cars, we knew the park was going to be full and the day was going to be busy. If the road was quiet, we knew that the day was going to be slow.
The traffic was impacted by a variety of things. Weather certainly played a part, as did the calendar's proximity to holidays and the start of the school year. But even more consequential than the calendar was the impact the park's marketing office was able to have on attendance. When they ran targeted promotions or offered "bargain nights" where prices were reduced, or "buy-one-get-one" deals on park passes, the traffic poured in. I still remember staring in amazement one Monday morning when the road leading into the park was so jammed with cars the traffic barely moved.
Traffic matters to an amusement park. It also matters to people who are attempting to build online platforms. Many people make the big mistake of thinking that if they just create good content, they'll eventually be discovered. While that happens occasionally, it usually takes a very long time - much longer than most people have patience for. And as a result, content creators give up before they truly begin to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
If you're creating content and attempting to develop an online presence that allows you to consistently share that content with others, you need to think about marketing. You need to give some careful thought to how you're going to make it easy for people to discover what you're writing and recording. You may have created masterful content that can help a lot of people, but if no one knows about it, that help isn't going to be utilized.
So what should we do? How can we drive traffic to our platforms in the short-term and the long-term? Let me suggest a few things that are working for me. None of it is rocket science, but each suggestion needs to be consistently applied on a regular schedule if it's actually going to work.
First, let's start with generating short-term traffic. Short-term traffic sources tend to have an immediate effect, as opposed to an eventual effect. They're great for generating interest in the present and tend to work well for a brief period of time.
I have generated short-term traffic to my platforms in five primary ways; social media, paid ads (or boosts), contests, polls, and making requests of my audience to share my content with others. Let me break these ideas down individually to show you what I mean.
Social Media: I prefer to use social media in a personal way, more so than a professional way. I don't rely on it to build my business, but it's a helpful way to get the word out to people who trust me or have some kind of relationship with me. I use it to drum up initial interest in what I'm creating, and I encourage people who find it valuable to share it.
Paid Ads or Boosts: On occasion, I have paid a little extra to give certain posts an extra push. I have run ads or, more commonly, paid to boost a post. Boosting posts has worked rather well. In fact, the first time I did this, I was hosting an in-person event, and I paid $20 to boost visibility of the event via social media. Attendance was definitely impacted positively because of that decision.
Contests: I have also had great short-term traffic-building success by running contests. Usually, this involves a giveaway of some kind. I have given away free books, free trials, and free tickets to events when people have visited my site and registered.
Polls: People enjoy polls. Posting them and sharing them online can be a great way to build awareness of your platform, especially if you include a call-to-action on the same screen as the poll results.
Direct Requests to Share: One of my favorite things to do when I'm trying to generate traffic is to ask my existing audience to share something. Most of the time, they do it, and word of mouth is probably the most effective way to generate traffic for nearly everything we're building.
Short-term traffic generators are highly valuable, but if I'm honest, I spend more time thinking about what might help generate traffic over the long-term. Some of my favorite tools for generating long-term traffic are blog posts, books, YouTube, and podcast interviews.
Blog Posts: Many people don't realize it, but a major portion of the search results you'll receive for any subject you search for on the Internet are blog posts. If you title a post in such a way that it matches what people are searching for, you're increasing the likelihood of getting ranked in search engine results. At this point, many of my blog posts show up on the front page of search results, usually in the top 5 entries. That generates a lot of traffic for my online platforms.
Books: Books can also be a great source of long-term traffic. If you've written several books on a particular subject, even if they're short, people are going to start seeing you as an authority on the subject. When they search Amazon, they're going to find you. When they read your product page, they're going to learn about your online platform and may follow up by visiting your site.
YouTube: YouTube is another great way to generate long-term traffic. Some of my videos, including videos I made years ago, continue to get discovered on YouTube. Conversely, many of the people I follow online are people I first learned about by watching YouTube. It can be an excellent way to build traffic for your platform and an audience for your message.
Podcast Interviews: One other means of generating long-term traffic are podcast interviews, especially when those interviews are with notable people. When I have interviewed authors, celebrities, and influencers on my shows, that has directly helped me generate traffic to my platform. It also helps when I share these interviews on YouTube. Some of my best-performing videos are replays of interviews I initially recorded for my podcasts.
So, if you're looking to generate some traffic for your platform, consider using some of these options. If you are consistent, I believe they'll help you too.
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