I just put together a successful round up post and I thought I would share some of my learnings with the community.
You can see the round up post here:
39 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their First EVER Sale
So far this post has received over 250 shares and 420 visits. For some of you that might not seem like a lot, but my blog only gets 6k PVs a month, so for me it is a nice few days of traffic.
People probably think a round up post is easy because you yourself don’t have to write anything, but I would say it is just as much work as a regular post and potentially more. There is a lot of communicating that has to be done. You have to get a lot of people involved and promote it everywhere to try and make it worthwhile for the people who participated.
Here are some tips for putting together a great round up or interview. I am not an expert mind you and much of this might not be revolutionary, hopefully just a few "aha" moments.
1. Find The Contacts
Round up posts are fairly common nowadays as they have been shown to bring in a lot of traffic by inviting lots of people to share. A good round up post should probably have at least 20 people to make it worthwhile.
How do you find them?
There are basically two people to go to. Once are your friends, who you know. Nothing more needs to be said about that.
The other are people you don't really know. First you have to identify the people you are interested in connecting with. My favorite places to look are sites that are doing daily entrepreneur interviews like EOF, The Daily Interview, Income Society Podcast. I know they have a wealth of people to draw from and they have done the research to find cool people with large audiences and usually share their contact info as well.
2. Warm Them Up/ Contact Them
The proper way as we all know is to try to warm them up with some blog commenting and tweeting and that stuff. This gets you on their radar and helps break the ice when you email them.
Even so, you can expect that only 30-40% of people will reply to your email and get back to you. People are busy, they miss things, or they aren’t interested.
I sent an email like the following:
My name is Dave and I run a business blog selfmadebusinessman.com
I saw your interview on EOF and loved it. I was wondering if I can feature you in a blog post?
I'm putting together a massive entrepreneur round up post and I would love for you to be a part of it. I've connected with some very big names and I know that if you have just a few minutes to answer this question, it will provide some great exposure for your brand when it's published. Plus it will be a very cool post, as our first sales always have a special place in our hearts.
Here's what my audience would like to know:
What was the first product or service you ever tried to sell on a "large" scale? How did it go?
By large, I essentially am asking you to ignore any small sales, like selling an old computer on ebay. I'm talking about a service or a product you offered.
If you can elaborate on it (how you came to the decision, who you targeted) great!
Feel free to be as specific or vague as you like, and I am happy for you to include any links to your sales page if it is still active.
I know you're very busy, but I have to set a deadline on this. If you can get back to me in 7 days (that's May 5th) I can include you, plus a photo and bio/links (if you have them handy great, if not I can go digging).
In the subject I will say something like "Hey NAME"
The benefits of this message is that it is
1. Personalized in the subject
2. Added personalization saying where I found them
3. Ask an interesting question that allows for self promotion in some way. Asking about their first sale also allows them to pitch their products so they are more inclined to want to write about it. It is also a lot better than say blogging advice which is what everyone does, it stands out a bit.
4. I set a deadline a few days before I want to actually publish the post. There are always a few people who are a little late, and then there are people who are VERY late, and I will add them later if they get back to me but I don't want to delay the post.
Once I get the information I work with my VA to teach him how I want it formatted (I do two for example) and then I just email him the results as they come in and he does the rest so it looks nice. I also have him put it in a google doc for me where I can add information around the header, author bios, and stuff for him to add in the post.
Additionally I get their twitter handle because that is good for click to tweet stuff.
I used my illustrator to help make a custom image for the post, but remember to ask for a few different number variations because some people submit late. I had three submissions come in after I published the post, that I then added.
4. Post features
Aside from the usual (the answers) something things that are nice are:
A little summary at the beginning, which I called cliff notes and a table of contents. People want things to be easy. Long is great because it looks comprehensive but it also deters a lot of people from following through, so in order to engage with that segment I cut to the chase in various parts.
5. Publishing and Make it Easy To Share
First, before I published I spent an hour or so today going through the peoples' blogs and commenting on their stuff, tweeting them, etc, so I was engaging with them immediately before publishing my post to entice engagement in my post later on.
Once it has been published I sent them an email showing the how they could easily share and some places I submitted it to that they could upvote it. Here is the email.
If you have a chance to look and share, that's awesome.
If you're busy, I've made it easy for you to at least tweet it by clicking here.
Additionally, if you belong to any of these networks feel free to give it an upvote.
Thanks and if there is ever anything I can do for YOU, you know where to find me!
As you can see from the email I sent you I submit it to a bunch of sites and then include those along with the email so people can upvote, a few will. I also add an easy click to tweet in the email, again, people are busy so I just want to make it easy for them.
There are also some nice benefits that you get from just reaching out and introducing yourself to people. I got a podcast invite and someone who wants to guest post on my blog, so that's nice, plus just getting on the radar of a lot more people.
Hope that was helpful!
Edited by selfmadebusinessman, 07 May 2014 - 12:12 PM.