A couple days I tried an experiment in which I covered a big event in my niche.
My blog is in the gaming niche. More specifically, I write about Magic The Gathering (MTG), a popular trading card game. MTG recently had their World Championship Tournament. This tournament happens once a year and take four days to complete. It is the most prestigious event on the calendar with over a quarter million dollars in the prize pool. This year the winner received a $45,000 check.
I knew that many players would be following the tournament online so I did my best to cover it myself. My hope was to get a lot of traffic by ranking for the relevant keywords that would come up as the tournament progressed.
I was pretty happy with the results
The graph above shows my visitors from the last 30 days. As you can see, my traffic had basically plateaued in the first 25 days. But during the tournament, my traffic grew sharply and the two days after the tournament I had my first ever days with over 1,000 visitors.
In the rest of this post, I’ll share what I did specifically. Hopefully, you can apply them on your own blog and get traffic spikes too.
Improve Your Speed
Speed is important because most of the topics from a big event are time-sensitive. The interest for the topics is high during the event but after the event finishes, people will quickly move on to the next big thing.
I found this out the hard way earlier this year. I was doing some work for the sports section of a site. The Super Bowl had just finished so I started working on an editorial piece about the game. I finished the piece five days later and sent it to sports blogs to see if they would link to it. I got a couple of links but some of the blogs said the Super Bowl was already old news so didn’t link. They said if I had published a couple days earlier, I would’ve gotten a link.
Once you find out some noteworthy news from the event, publish a post about it as soon as possible. Otherwise, the news will get old and you’ll miss out on the traffic from the initial buzz.
For the Worlds tournament, I published my posts within 12 hours of the news being released.
Work Long and Hard
You may have heard that writing more posts results in getting more traffic. That is usually true and the traffic is magnified when you write a lot of posts about a big event.
Typically, I only write 1-3 posts per week but during the tournament, I wrote 7 posts. Those 7 posts totaled about 7,000 words. This was a big change since I usually only write 750 – 1500 words a week. Needless to say, I sacrificed some sleep to keep up with the tournament and write all those words.
Therefore, if you want to get a lot of traffic from big events, make sure you have enough time to cover various issues and news. And be willing to work hard during that time period since you’ll have an increased workload.
I don’t think it’s not enough to get people to visit your site. If all you do is cover the event, they may not have incentive to become a repeat visitor. There are going to be other blogs that cover the event too so you need a way to differentiate yourself from them. You need to give your new visitors a reason to come back to your blog. You can increase your chance of turning them to repeat visitors by adding value in your coverage. Instead of just rehashing the news, figure out a way to add something extra.
I tried to add value in a couple of ways.
During the tournament, the hosts interviewed players on video and asked them about their strategies. The videos did not include notes, so I took notes of the videos and added them to my blog. My hope is that people will bookmark my posts for reference since text is generally a better reference source than video.
Also, since I’m a winning player and I keep up with the tournament scene, I made sure to give my thoughts on the various strategies being used in the tournament. Instead of just reporting the strategies, I evaluated them. My hope is that people will come back to my site to see what I have to say about new strategies that get developed in the future.
Use Relevant Keywords
If you want to get a lot of traffic from the search engines, you need to discern the keywords people will be searching with. Then, include those keywords in the titles of your posts. I think most bloggers get too “cute” with their titles or don’t pay enough attention to keywords and post titles.
For each post, I identified a couple related keywords on the topic and included them in the title. For example, the winning player had unique strategy which he learned from a friend, who was not in the tournament. His friend had an interesting name for the strategy. He called it “Naya Lightsaber”. I used that term in the title of one of my posts.
The winning strategy always gets a lot of attention and I was fortunate enough to get #1 spot on Google for naya lightsaber. My post on the topic is only three days old but it is already one of the top 10 most trafficked posts on my blog for the last 30 days with over 1,000 pageviews.
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