Are you selling digital items, marketing services, building mailing lists or promoting affiliate products? Then you need traffic, targeted traffic that converts visitors into leads and leads into money.
If you’re looking for free traffic grabbing methods, there’s a proven technique I’ve tested multiple times which can provide relevant visitors for both short and long term gains.
Does an ‘expert roundup’ or ‘ask the experts’ ring a bell?
What You Will Learn
- How an expert roundup post works and why
- Top 3 ways to find experts to interview for free
- How to get them to say YES, fast
- How to make your roundup stand out
This method requires you connect with and contact successful people in their niche or industry and ask them (the same) key question. This question has to be relevant to your web site’s topic/audience and tie in with the expert’s specialty.
Once you collect their answers, then you create a blog post where you package up the expert insights, along with your introduction and other quick tips you may want to share.
In return, you e-mail all interview participants and give them the opportunity to share it with their followers and audience. Most if not all of them will be glad to promote the link (hint – your web site), bringing you viral traffic for weeks, months and years to come.
You can take a look at the link building expert round up that was published earlier this week to get an idea of how it looks and the results it generated so far.
At the time of writing that roundup has attracted 9324 visitors, 471 social shares & 58 comments in just 3 days.
Why Does An Expert Roundup Post Work So Well?
After engineering more than a dozen of these type of blog posts, I’ve learned a lot about how to optimize my approach and create the best ‘ask the expert’ articles.
Sadly, people who have never created expert roundups before think it’s childs play. It is a lot of work.
I spend 3 weeks preparing for each round up, carefully selecting the prospects, engaging with them one-on-one, asking for their availability, following-up and then creating the final article and in the 4th week, I’m out promoting the article like crazy.
Yes, once your round up goes LIVE, you’ll have to spread the word about it, just like with any other article or blog post you’re putting out. I may write a separate article on how to promote your round up if you guys need it.
You can create round ups for your site or for clients. The strategy is the same.
The biggest advantage roundups provide you with is RELATIONSHIPS, not just the social media shares and back links generated as a result.
A relationship can bring you hundreds and thousands of leads and clients down the road versus a link or Tweet that can generate a sale or two.
Here are the five steps I’m taking for creating a winning roundup:
Step #1: Research
First of all, we need to decide on the industry/niche. If you’re into SEO, then your industry or niche is search engine optimization and everything that has to do with it.
Secondly you brainstorm for topic ideas and then select the million-dollar question. This cannot be picked from the top of your head. Research plays an essential role here and your creativity as well.
Third step. Find the relevant experts/prospects.
Sometimes I start off with the experts and then with the question. It doesn’t matter that much. The more relevant and specific the question, the better.
For e.g. instead of asking : “What is your favorite IM tool and why?” , you may want to change to “What is your favorite keyword research tool and how are you using it for maximum results?
There are 3 main ways to hunt for relevant prospects:
The quickest way to find experts is to search for similar roundups in the field. Just type if “your topic + expert roundup” or “your topic” + “interviews”.
With this technique alone you can find all the experts you need along with their web site and Twitter profile (if available).
I usually aim for a minimum of 28 and up to 40 that go in the final article. For this, you’ll have to create a list of at least 100 prospects (experts + niche influencers).
You’ll be using the full prospects list when you start the promo phase later.
This is my favourite method because this is where most people you’ll ever need are “hiding”.
Let’s say you follow people who are big on “social media” (if that’s your niche) and then you look up for those that they follow.
Some influencers and experts have created their own Twitter lists where they have already done the heavy research for you.
Most of these lists are public. You only need your Twitter account to access them.
Take the example of Zac Johnson, a super affiliate and pro blogger who has created 6 separate lists, each relevant on their own.
One of them reads..
Traders Worth Following by Timothy Sykes
Anybody interested in trading, will easily find access to a bunch of people on the subject.
What you do once you find these type of lists:
You install a Mozilla add-on called Link Gopher and it’ll provide you with all the links in alphabetical order for all the people in these lists.
I’m talking about their Twitter profiles, along with all the other links available on that page.
This free tool alone can save you hours of manual labor. It’s incredible what you can do with it once you understand its power beyond Twitter.
Regardless, Twitter opens the gate to interact with these experts and have live conversations with your chosen prospects. That’s how you will be creating your list of relevant ‘targets’ and engaging with top influencers.
Here’s another method which most people overlook.
You can find the experts on popular blogs in your field. They’re usually commenting on the articles and guest posting.
Some bloggers are creating blog roll links where they’re showcasing peers and influencers. Some bloggers may have a Top X bloggers to follow type list.
This method helps grow your outreach list significantly.
Step #2: Collect
This is where we create a main folder and 2 sub-folders (headshots and screenshots)
In the main folder we will have an Excel file with 2 sheets (prospects and experts) and a document where we’ll be collecting the expert answers.
Excel file will have four columns:
Name – Web Site – E-mail – Twitter
You should create a 5th column where you jot down people whom e-mail addresses you couldn’t find, and include their web site contact link instead.
This way I can arrange my list to show these people first for later contact as I’m including the “C” variable in the 5th column.
Usually you’ll find people’s e-mail if/when you subscribe to their list. Most of them won’t list their address on the contact page due to spamming reasons and things like that.
In the past few days I have started to test Google Forms to collect answers. By creating a form and sending the link you can speed up the collection & management process.
I will update this post with more details once my experimentation is complete, but I wanted to mention it now as I’ve been pretty impressed with it so far.
Step #3: Engage
Most people make the mistake of interviewing the expert (or asking favors) without any previous contact with the person.
Thus, they’re getting low ‘conversion rates’.
This gets worse if you have no track record of expert roundups or stellar content on your blog.
What I do first is interact with each individual via:
This is the quickest method to get in touch with the experts.
Here’s how it works: you follow people, and then you favorite and re-tweet the latest posts which you like or find useful, considering it is relevant to your Followers.
I am not using any auto follow tools or Twitter management tricks here. Just my brain and hands although you could apply this Tweet Attacks Pro tutorial.
If you’re looking for some sort of automation – I’ve tried Buffer before – and recommend it because it enables you to schedule Tweets and Re-tweets in advance, among other things.
If you don’t have access to the expert’s Twitter or simply want to skip this step and just want to do cold e-mail, be my guest.
I’ve got lots of answers this way, however, for better results, use the Twitter approach.
If you’re building larger mailing lists overtime, go with an autoresponder like Aweber.
Sometimes you will have to connect directly via their contact page and start engaging from there. However if they have a blog this is probably the best method to get on the radar of influencers and experts.
You comment on their latest article(s). Once they approve your input, then you’re not a stranger anymore. Your name should stick in their mind, particularly if you’ve left 2 or 3 insightful comments (on different posts) and made an impact.
When you contact these people for the round up, you just skip the “introduction” thing, as they already know you’re their reader (it won’t bug to remind them anyway).
A simple e-mail like this will do the trick.
You’ll be using e-mail templates during your conversation with these experts quite often.
So ensure you craft short and friendly messages for each approach and interaction with these busy people.
You’ll have an e-mail for the first contact.
Another e-mail when you reply with the question and other relevant details.
A “thank you” e-mail where you should ask for referrals (other experts who may want to participate in your roundup)
Another e-mail once the article goes live and so forth.
The better you get at e-mailing and interacting with people, the more success you will have with this method and your entire business.
Your creativity is the only limit. Time can be bought and skills outsourced.
Step #4: Contact + Follow-up
If initial contact can be outsourced, you should personally follow-up with the experts via e-mail and Twitter. This step is the most complex as it requires you collect the answers and work back and forth within your inbox, folders and sub-folders.
You could include the question in the initial conversation with the prospect (but after you first engage with them). Or in the second e-mail (if they agreed to participate in your round up). I tried both ways.
NOTE: most experts will send you their head shots along with the answer (just ask them) and some will even include screenshots to make their response eye catching and complete.
Once you receive a response, you copy-paste it in into your “answers” document and then you jot down the expert and their details in the “expert” sheet in the correspondent columns.
Unless you use another answer collection method like Dropbox or survey systems.
It is up to you how you organize your folders and files and the methods you’re using.
The better you get at it, the faster you will be able to create these expert round ups and optimize your activity.
How to organise expert answers
It’s up to you. You may want to re-arrange the answers as follows:
- By quality (and relevancy) of the answer.
I often arrange the best or lengthiest responses first, then the “thin” and the “poor” in the middle and the next best or lengthiest afterward.
- Chronologically (in the order received).
I often combine this approach with the first.
Some contributors will require to have their answer nearer the top as they feel it deserves better exposure.
You could use the first two methods to reward the best answers and encourage more people provide insightful and lengthy responses.
Step #5: Publish (Go Live)
This is the most time consuming aspect of creating an expert roundup because you will have to:
- Read or at least skim through the content received. You’ll often get up to 7,000-word worth of expert answers (roughly 20 pages) you have to go through.
This implies editing and correcting any typos, broken links or misunderstandings.
- Re-arrange the answers based on the criteria above (quality, chronologically or alphabetically).
- Insert eye-catching elements such as boldings and sub-heads to make the most relevant ideas and concepts stand out.
- Add an introduction and an outro, along with each expert’s headshot and relevant screenshots.
Sometimes you may find relevant images on the expert’s web site, so you can copy-paste them from there (with their permission, of course) – and link back to the author’s post like I have done here.
You want your article to be very well written and include eye catching elements, not just the expert answers. So it is your responsibility and up to your imagination to make the article the best it can be.
- Double check everything
Before the post goes live, ensure you check all links direct back to the original site, Twitter profile urls work, graphics are in the right place and everything is ready for promotion.
I usually create a Bit.Ly link and give that to anybody I need to help spread the word about the post, including prospects, experts and influencers.
Your competitors are probably doing their own expert roundup posts as well, so your goal is to DIFFERENTIATE. You already do this in your business, right?
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it – a complete step by step guide on how to complete your own expert roundup posts no matter what niche you are in.
The real beauty of this process is when an expert is featured in a roundup they nearly always share it with their audience.
So not only do you end up with awesome engaging content your audience loves, you will also be exposed to new readers and eyeballs as the featured experts share the roundup.
It’s a win for your readers, a win for the featured experts and most importantly – a win for you.