Last year was an epic year for round-up posts.
As a blogger of quasi-importance myself, I often receive a few invites every month. And honestly, I enjoy being a part of them.
Here are some awesome ones I remember:
- 60 Experts Reveal Top 3 Tools To Grow Your Email List
- 42 Blogging Specialists Explain How to Monetize Email Newsletters and Turn Autoresponder Messages into Profit
- 39 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their First Ever Sale (This one was my own)
Do you know why so many people have been doing these?
Because they work.
For example, in just four days, my post received over 250 social shares and 560 unique visits.
And since then it sent me even more traffic and up to 400 shares.
Making it my 4th most visited page of all time.
And I didn’t even write the content!
However, just because I didn’t write the post, does not mean that it’s easy.
If you don’t have a solid approach to organization and outreach, a round of post can easily be a nightmare.
Luckily, based on my experience, I have condensed it into 6 simple steps. Let’s go through the process together.
1. Come Up With The Idea
There is a bit of an art coming up with an excellent roundup question.
For one thing, you don’t want a question that is too easily answered. Then, no matter how many people you ask, you won’t have much variability in the answers.
For example, when I did my roundup post about your first sale, I knew that the answer to every single one would be unique because I was asking for a personal story. This mini case study technique is one way to ensure that your roundup post will be interesting.
However, another approach is to ask for a list, such as the three tools that you used to build your email list, and then tally the results as a way of ranking the different answers. This is exceptionally useful if you can combine it with some affiliate offers.
Above all, however, you want to consider the long-term benefit of having the go-to source for a question. The bulk of the traffic from my roundup post is from organic. This is because you can find my article on the first page of popular search terms such as:
- Successful entrepreneur stories
- First sale stories
And many more.
I always recommend making a list of burning questions in your niche, and then seeing if some variation of those would make for an interesting roundup post. In the business niche, entrepreneurs are always wondering how to make their first sale, so I turned that into a post.
And even if you are in the business needs, for example, you run an e-commerce site or a small business, you can still ask people about their favorite products and services that they use.
2. Find The Contacts
Having a great question is just the start. You need people who can actually answer that question in a meaningful way.
The ideal person is:
- An authority on the question you are asking
- Has a large following
- Open to appearing on blogs and being featured
And of course, you’re going to need to find at least 20 willing people to make it interesting.
Your first approach should be to tap into your network, but outside of that, you are going to need to get creative.
Every niche is different, and you’re going to have to find the places where people in your niche congregate.
Forums are a natural thought, but they can be a bit messy and it is difficult to validate the authority of each member.
Another option I quite like is Triberr. In Triberr, blogs get together and form groups around their niche. It is easy to see their website and their Twitter following so you can get a quick snapshot view of their authority.
Lastly, consider relevant podcast and interview sites in your niche that may be featuring experts. For example, in the entrepreneurship community, I might have looked at these:
3. Warm Them Up And Contact Them
Our intuition is to start sending out emails left and right.
But we know better than that, don’t we?
Let’s warm them up with some creative ways to attract influencers to improve our response rate. Here are some ideas:
- Follow them on social media
- Share their blog posts
- Comment on their posts
- Subscribe to their newsletter
- Leave their podcast a review on iTunes
- Leave their book a review on Amazon
Of course, you will probably never hit 100%, but if you make an effort at the above everyone will appreciate it.
So now you need a template to start with but remember it’s always best to personalize emails when you can.
Here is an example template that I used:
Let’s break this down.
- Personalize the subject to increase the open rates
- Lead with who you are and follow that by how you “know” them
- Hit them with the request, and tell them why it is worth their time
- Tell them that you appreciate your time
- Set a deadline (several days before you actually need it)
4. Create A Spreadsheet
Perhaps the organization phase is the most difficult. It’s easy to confuse the fact that because we are not writing the entire post ourselves, that this is not a lot of work.
But keeping track of dozens of people, their answers, their contact information can be a headache if you have a poor process.
This is compounded by the fact that many people are not going to send everything that you need or ask for, such as their image or author bio.
Personally, I like to use Google Docs, and I generally create the following columns.
- Contact Info
- Image Link
- Twitter Handle
- Author Bio
This covers everything from the person, their response, and formatting details, and it will allow you to scale the post quite quickly when you have it all in one place.
Lastly, it is also great to have this information handy if you ever feature them again.
5. Post Features
In order to make the post stand out a bit more we should add some custom features. This is especially useful because round up posts are often thousands of words long. Mine was over 10,000. Therefore you want abridged versions that people can read more quickly.
Here are a few features to consider:
Cliff Notes: I like to take some of the best advice of each of the people and combine it into a sort of cliff notes version that I can put at the very top. This allows you to get the gist right away.
Tweetables: It’s nice to organize some snippets into tweetable phrases that mention you, the post URL, and the author’s Twitter handle. That way when people share the article they are also letting the author know.
Custom Image: One common approach to a featured image for around opposed is to take a profile picture of everyone who is involved in and create a collage. This makes it stands out and people can visually see all the people involved.
6. Publishing And Make It Easy To Share
Because you featured 30 in your niche, it’s going to go viral – right?
Without a proper follow-up, it will just fall flat on its face.
What I like to do is reengage with all the people who participated in the post, again by warming them up using the above methods.
And then I let them know that the post is live.
Here is the template:
- Remind them about the article and how awesome it turned out.
- Make it easy to share with a click to tweet (at a minimum if the person is busy, they can do that).
- Send them links to other networks you’ve submitted the post so they can upvote it.
- Thank them and offer to help them out.
People will love you for making it so simple to share.
Whether you’re a business owner who does content marketing or a full-time blogger, a round of post can be a great way to get some attraction in your niche. They work especially well with new blogs.
In addition to the traffic, link building, and social shares I’ve received from the post I organized, I’ve also gotten a podcast invite, a guest post on my blog, and networked with a bunch of important people in my niche.