In October 2014 something kinda crazy happened that’s never happened to us before.
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The Tim Ferriss Effect
I was sitting at my computer (not at all unusual), and I got a Skype message from John that said, “Wow, we’ve gotten over 100 email optin’s today and it’s not even 12pm yet! What do you think it is?”
I was just as curious as he was – maybe even more.
After freaking out for a minute or so, I sent a message to one of our developers, Zach, who had been helping us with our Google Analytics setup. We were in the process of trying to get more specific with exactly where our site traffic was coming from, and I was hoping he had it up and running so we could easily identify what was going on.
After waiting very impatiently, I ran out into the living room to chat with John about it:
“Were you just featured somewhere HUGE?” I was so intrigued by all of this – what could it be?!
“No – I don’t think so…” he said.
We started typing stuff into Google to try and return something that would explain this massive email optin day we were experiencing. All I could think about was The Pat Flynn Effect – I knew something similar had to be going on.
Without any luck on Google, I waited to hear from Zach.
Within a few minutes, he sent me this:
“Wow”, he said, “Your guys’ site traffic is off the hook today!”
Okay, coming from someone who has started multiple websites and tried to make a go at blogging several times, this was basically a scene out of a movie for me. Never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I would be looking at website stats for a website that I actually contribute to and see these kind of numbers.
I was speechless.
I ran back out into the living room to show John. Both of us stared at each other in amazement.
Just to give you an idea of what a huge jump in optin’s and website visits this actually was for us, here’s what the day leading up to Oct 10th and 11th looked like, and also what the day after looked like:
Oct 9th: 48 opt ins and 3,099 site visits
Oct 10: 109 opt ins and 19,473 site visits
Oct 11: 147 opt ins and 27,600 site visits
Oct 12: 76 opt ins and 14,876 site visits
The search continues
We continued our search, not willing to let this one slide. We had to figure out why this was happening.
And then, Zach cracked the code. After digging through our Google Analytics he was able to see that the majority of our website traffic on the 10th and 11th was coming from Facebook. So we hopped into Facebook and started scrolling.
That’s when we found this:
Now things were starting to make a lot more sense.
WHAT?! Tim Ferriss shared one of our posts?? …And then to see that 1,163 of HIS followers shared it with their audiences???
You know me and John: we’re always looking for the lessons we can take away from the things that happen in our business, and that goes for both the insanely exciting (like Tim Ferriss sharing one of our posts) and for the not-so-exciting (translation: failures and struggles).
I want to take a minute and reflect on how it came to be that we were lucky enough to experience The Tim Ferriss Effect and the lessons we learned as a result.
The Tim Ferriss Effect
Our first lesson learned
If you’ll notice, this post was actually published over 1 year ago.
Realizing that taught us how important patience is.
We didn’t post something, and then within a day or two have Tim Ferriss share it. I’ve been writing blog posts for well over 1 year now, and over that period of time I’ve learned so much about the type of content our audience likes, and the importance of actually sharing your content, which brings me to my next point…
Our second lesson learned
Before Tim ever even noticed this post, it had a total of 179 social shares (on Twitter, Facebook and Google+), in addition to 49 comments.
The lesson learned here is two-fold: given this post’s popularity, that was feedback from our audience telling us they liked this content. Translation: write more posts like this one!
Secondly, there’s no way this post would have made it to Tim without the help of social media and us continuing to share our best content. Remember: it doesn’t start and stop with you hitting publish – that’s only the beginning.
Quick side note: after Tim shared this post, it went from 179 shares to over 8,200 shares:
Imagine the social reach of that number!
Our third lesson learned
There have been several moments over the past year+ when I’ve wondered whether or not the blog is actually doing something. You know that feeling of frustration with a dash of failure when you feel like you’ve been screaming from the rooftop, but you have no idea if anyone can hear you?
This feeling still creeps up on me every once in a while, but seeing that my content IS reaching people has taught me that this is a marathon, not a sprint.
I used to dream of posting something, and then the next day it going viral. But that has never, ever happened, and knowing what I know now, I don’t ever expect it to. Now I understand that growing your business, creating content, and learning from everything that happens along the way – both successes and failures – is a process that never ends. In a good way.
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. ~ Earl Nightingale
We’re in it for the long haul, and if that means publishing 30 posts before I figure out what the top 3 topics are that resonate most with my readers – or even 100 posts before my content reaches more than 1,000 people – then I consider that a huge win.
Connect with the right people when the opportunity presents itself!