Today’s post is a guest post from Adam Ulivi. Adam approached me and asked if he could write a guest post for my blog. We threw around a few ideas but the one that really stood out for me was how he had built a band of brand evangelists for his website with little or no budget. His story offers lessons to both small and big businesses and he’s done all of this in just over a year.
Over to Adam….
One day I decided to make the best website in the world… on a particular subject. I wasn’t sure what that subject would be at the time; I just wanted to make my next website the best in its niche.
For several years before, I had hunted around for news on interesting, soon-to-be released products, and then made websites about them. My plan had been to cover news about the products, get a decent rank on Google, put up some affiliate links to Amazon and then move onto my next project. Classic internet and affiliate marketing stuff.
Eventually I changed my approach. Instead of making lots of adequate websites I wanted to make one great one which people would want to return to on a daily basis.
I’d always liked video games, so I waited for the next major games console to be announced, so that I was there from day one, working on making the best website I could on that topic.
As soon as a press release announced the new Nintendo 3DS, I began writing my first blog post for the soon to be launched 3DS Buzz.
I wasn’t the only one to be quick off the mark, with a blog about the latest piece of gaming tech, but I did want to go further than anyone else.
I committed to making at least one post on the subject every day, to ensure there was something new to read each day, even when there were weeks with no real news and visitor figures barely scraped into double figures.
My website might have started slowly but traffic levels began to increase by 50% every month. Eventually it got to a point where there was enough traffic to sustain a forum. At first I would personally greet every new member, but soon enough, there was a sufficient number of members that meant other members could do that for me.
When I put out a request for moderators to help me keep control of the forum, I was surprised with just how many people wanted to do my work for me. They seemed to be pleased just have a position of authority in the website I had put together. This was my first sign that people really cared about 3DS Buzz.
As the release of the new system drew closer, the amount of news to cover started to snowball. There was too much for me to cover on my own so I hunted around for other bloggers to help me. By this time I had built a small following and to my surprise I received enough interest in my request for additional bloggers than it allowed me time to work on ways which my website would become more than a blog and would offer unique aspects to its visitors.
I painstakingly produced a database of every 3DS game which had been announced, or even rumoured, along with an image for each. This was to be the front end of my new wiki, which would provide information on any 3DS game.
With a little incentive of the chance to win a free game, readers happily contributed to the wiki. Some helped by contributing useful information, some with not so useful information and some helped just by deleting the not so useful information. The Wiki is now at the point that each topic contains more information than the equivalent Wikipedia page.
With the feeling that we were gaining fans, I decided to try those newfangled social networks to help spread the word. Previously, my impression was that most people just ignore social media buttons on websites.
However, by providing a few incentives and the occasional bold reminder of, “Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook”, my relatively small website now has 15,000 Likes on Facebook (Check out our page here). That helps people see that their friends like my website so if they have similar interests, they might try it out too. Now, for the cost of 3 pence per thousand impressions, we can show Nintendo fans that their friends approve of our website.
Just recently as more evidence of fan initiative and a desire to get involved (to my surprise), one of our readers recently took it upon himself to create an unofficial 3DSBuzz YouTube channel dedicated to the website.
To me, the hard work in creating a useful resource combined with a few incentives has paid huge dividends. We are still a small website in the grand scheme of things but with next to no marketing budget, we have developed a team of brand evangelists, providing us with the most powerful marketing tool available.
About the Author: This post is by Adam Ulivi. When Adam isn’t working on building a following for his Nintendo 3DS website, he can be found working at a Harrow Website Design and Internet marketing company.