How to Gain 2,281 Subscribers—and Increase Traffic by 69%—in 27 Days

by Derek Halpern | Follow Him on Twitter Here


Today I’m going to show you how I slapped a jetpack on my blog’s growth.

And more importantly, I’m going to tell you exactly what I did so you can model it.

What’s better is this:

Even though I used this simple strategy to increase my blog traffic, you can use this framework to grow anything, from raw traffic numbers to loyal customers.

You ready?

Let’s do this.

First, A Little Backstory

Back in early November 2011, I was hanging with Pat Flynn in Los Angeles, and between beers, I heard Pat say “~20% of my readers said they first found me on iTunes.”

I didn’t spit on myself, thank god, but I did have the foresight to DRILL him on that number.

You see, I never ran a podcast before, but with results like that, I knew I had to create one.

But I wasn’t going to rush it…

Instead, I was going to follow what I call the “launch anything” formula.

And here’s what happened:

My Podcast Came Out In Early January…

…and here’s what happened:

It’s January 27th, and Social Triggers has already grown over December’s full month of traffic by 43%—and there’s still 5 days left before month-end!

If this rate continues, Social Triggers will experience 69% growth over December 2011, my previous “best month” for blog traffic.

But let’s not just talk about traffic…

…let’s talk about RSS subscribers.

On January 1st, 2011, Social Triggers had 14,309 subscribers, and on January 27th, 2011, Social Triggers has 16,590 subscribers, meaning my RSS list grew by 16% too!

(I don’t publicly reveal my email list size or my revenue on purpose, so don’t ask spacer ).

Why was the podcast a huge success?

It’s because I used the “launch anything” formula I told you about.

But now you’re likely wondering “how can I pull off the same thing?”

And more importantly, “how can this same strategy work for anything… not just a podcast?”

Keep reading.

The 3-Step Formula to Launching Anything (I Just Happened to Launch a Podcast)

Let’s get one thing straight:

Yes, I used this 3-step formula to launch a podcast, but it can be used to launch anything.

Releasing a new ebook? A product? A training program? A new service? New real estate listings?

It doesn’t matter. This formula works.

Why am I giving it away for free?

That’s simple.

You see, when I give away sure-fire formulas that get you results, that means you know my material works.

That way, when I release my premium training product, you won’t wonder “does it work?” Instead, you’ll think “is this right for me?”

That’s the psychology behind why it’s smart to give away some of your best material.

Makes sense?


Now let me walk you through this 3-step formula.

Step 1: Discover Your Unique Selling Proposition

Here’s the most important step, and if you plan on skipping it, you might as well stop reading right now.

Whenever you launch something new (a blog, a podcast, anything), you’ve got to fill a need in the market with a solution that doesn’t exist.

I know that sounds complicated, but it’s not.

All you’ve got to do is this:

First, Take a look at your main competitors (look at the biggest and best only) and figure out their core topics and target market.

Second, Write those topics on a piece of paper, and then begin to write other topics that might be related.

Finally, Begin combining 2, 3, or 4 topics together with your personality, and you’re set. You may not have unique ingredients, but you’ve got a unique recipe.

And that unique recipe is all that matters.

I’ll say that one more time…

For a successful launch, you don’t need unique ingredients. You need a unique recipe. – Tweet This

Nothing works better than a real-life example, so here’s mine:

When I decided I want to release a podcast, I knew I had to do something different from Pat Flynn, and the other podcasters out there.

You see, I write about internet marketing, which is one of the most crowded niches. So what did I plan on doing to stand out?

Instead of bringing on the usual suspects, the top social media influencers, I decided to go outside social media to introduce new people into our community.

I began featuring world-class researchers, professors from top universities, New York Times best-selling authors, and anyone else who could talk about the psychology of monetization.

And BAM. I was done.

But having a unique selling proposition wasn’t enough…

Yes, when you’re using the “launch anything” formula, the unique selling proposition is vital, but you also need something more.

And that’s where this next section comes into play.

Step 2: How to Build Anticipation The Right Way

Here’s the deal:

When most people release something new, they often announce it AND release it on the same day…

…And that’s a huge mistake.

No matter what you release… whether it’s a podcast… a new product… a new type of content on your site… you MUST build anticipation.


1. That anticipation gets people talking about you and your upcoming release.

2. That anticipation gets people to comment on your blog and say “I can’t wait for it.”

(Note: When people commit to something, they like to remain consistent with their publicly declared actions, as originally pointed out by Robert Cialdini’s consistency principle).

3.That anticipation opens what’s known as an information gap, and people can’t wait to fill it.

(When there is a gap between what people know and don’t know, they seek to fill it. This was first discovered by George Loewenstein, and it’s called “information gap theory.“)

How Do You Build That Anticipation?

That’s easy.

You tell people what’s coming, but you’re not too specific about it. You give details, but hold back the real meat.

For example, when I launched Social Triggers Insider, I filmed a short video that said “Introducing Social Triggers Insider.”

In that video, I told people what my podcast was about, but I never told them who I planned to feature. That was going to be a surprise.

And what happened?

That video announcement post attracted well over 300 blog comments… 300 tweets… and thousands of hits.

Just announcing the release of my upcoming podcast generated a huge amount of buzz, but there was an added benefit…

People KNEW I was releasing something new!

The reality is this: Most of your readers don’t read every email or blog post you write.

So, when you break it down into two separate articles (or emails), you get two chances to grab attention instead of one.

To really illustrate this, when I finally released my first Social Triggers Insider master class, that email update had a 75.3% open rate.

Yes, 75.3% open rate… The industry average is often less than 20%, especially when dealing with email lists as large as mine.

Anticipation works spacer .

Step 3: How to Deliver On Your Promises

Here’s where things get sticky…

When you build anticipation, you’ve got to deliver.

I know that sounds simple, but I’ve found that when people just do what they say they’re going to do, they’re light years ahead of everyone else.

Cynical, yes, but still true.

Now if you really want to woo your readers… and ensure that people KNOW you brought the goods… you should over deliver.

Here’s how:

1. Add an unannounced bonus – For example, when I released my podcast, I said it was an audio master class. However, I delivered a transcript, an audio file, and a video.

2. Deliver beautiful packaging – Your design is essential for building trust. So, if you deliver a nicely designed finished product, people will thank you for it. (I’m lucky that I like minimalism spacer )

3.DELIVER RESULTS – You can’t get around this. No matter what you release, you’ve got to make sure you’re delivering results to your readers and customers.

And that’s it.

You’re set.

Now Here’s What I Want You To Do

If you found this article helpful, share it with your friends.

I hope to help as many people as possible with my free content, and I need you to help spread the word. So, thank you.

But now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty:

First, you’ll need to come up with what you’d like to launch. Remember, it can be anything.

But here are some things to consider:

  1. You can introduce a brand-new type of content. If you often write articles, maybe now you can create a video series.
  2. You can release a brand-new, or updated service package. And I suspect that’s self explanatory.
  3. You can release a brand-new series of content. Instead of simply writing a one and done blog post, announce the launch of a blog post series.

And you’re done.

Once you know what you plan to release, just go back through this article and follow the 3-step formula.

Then, when it’s time to get traffic, use what I call “The Drafting Technique.”

Now let me know what you think by leaving a comment.


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{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

spacer Matt

Solid post, Derek. Thanks for the tips – the drafting technique is genius.


spacer Derek Halpern

Thank you Matt, and yes, the Drafting technique really is genius, haha. Might have just broke my arm patting myself on the back there, though spacer


spacer Ryan

Great detailed post. I’m guessing that step 1 is what most people, yours included, can get tripped up on. Thanks for sharing the info.



spacer Derek Halpern

You’re right, step 1 is the hardest, but it’s because people stress over finding that one unique idea. However, you just don’t need it. you just need the unique recipe.


spacer Suddenly Jamie

Great post, Derek.
Thanks for sharing your insights from your experience. You’re inspiring me to try my hand at some new things for my business … and I’m already in the throes of thinking seriously about “jetting off” in a differentiating direction – so you’ve given me a little validation there as well. (To be honest, I’m getting tired & bored of being “one of the hoard” … it’s time to take my own advice, create my own space, and have some fun with it!)

One quick question: How important do you think it is that you launch with a new type of content (video or audio, for instance, if your primary content stream is text-based)? And, (I lied – two questions …) do you think that the “newer” media types (video and audio) have a bigger draw in general? (I keep reading data that says people don’t like to read … )

Thanks for another great post. Off to share! spacer


spacer Derek Halpern

It doesn’t need to be a new type of content. It can simply be a new series.

And no, I don’t think newer media types are essential. It all depends on what you’re doing.


spacer Gregory Ciotti

As for how important new types of content are Jamie, I think it largely depends on your audience (nice middle of the road, vague answer, I should be a politician spacer ).

But seriously, topic & audience would seem to be the decider in most instances, in the “business blogging” world all forms of media seem acceptable, that’s just the way the audience is.

However, if you were running a “writing blog”, focusing on video probably wouldn’t be in your best interest.

Similarly, a blog about politics would probably have an audience that is keen to audio & podcast content, where as a personal fitness site would probably have an audience that favors video.

In the last session with Ramit, he talks about (and is generally very knowledgable on) creating surveys for your audience to get feedback on exactly these kinds of issues.

Your audience should really be creating the product idea for you with their demands and what they are looking for.

You could incorporate questions as to what content mediums would be preferred when asking them.


spacer Josh Sarz

Just wonderful. Well worth staying up at 1am in the morning. I’m going to sleep now. Thanks for sharing this, Derek.


spacer Derek Halpern

Glad you liked it Josh.


spacer AC

If I may…

“I keep reading data that says people don’t like to read”

Yes and no. The people you actually care about – those that aren’t just skimming your content – will want to read. Those people will convert far better than the skimmers anyway. Short videos may have a bigger draw but the net gain isn’t necessarily any higher.


spacer Derek Halpern

You’re right.

But the same goes for video and audio.

The people who are going to buy are going to read, watch, and listen.


spacer Steve

Excellent point that ‘those who will buy will read, watch & listen’. It’s so easy to lose focus on the ONE person who will pay $$ & chase rabbit ‘everyone’ down never ending rabbit holes. Assuming quality content, people will consume.


spacer Joona

Hey Derek, great post.

One question though: how do you go about announcing things if you are really starting from scratch and you have no following? By using the drafting technique?


spacer Derek Halpern

The drafting technique is a start, but more on getting that following in the course.


spacer Dean Dwyer

Well I must admit I am certainly rethinking my reluctance to do this (simply because everyone else out there is doing it). But I will add this Derek, since I started implementing a few of your strategies (ie adding a blog sign up at the end of my posts) I have been averaging double digit blog sign ups for the past month now which is pretty cool for a blog that is not quite 7-months old in a crowded niche.

So you know your sh*t my friend. I’m polling my facebook fans as we speak to see what they think.

Thanks for sharing with such great detail my friend.



spacer Dean Dwyer

opps meant to say daily double digit blog sign ups with your little tip (and most of them sign up using the form at the end of the post spacer


spacer Derek Halpern


The signups are what matters FOR SURE.

Can you email me those results?

Would love to save that as a testimonial spacer


spacer Isabelle

I love how you’re working with the USP – not just for the podcasts but for the entire blog. It’s not internet marketing, it’s internet marketing + psychology. Thank you for sharing the recipe!


spacer Derek Halpern

You’re welcome, and glad you’re digging it.

And you’er right.

It’s marketing + psychology.

And eventually, I may just trick everyone and teach them psychology. H aha.


spacer Nikki

Derek, I just want to say – I think you’re awesome (seriously). I really admire what you’re doing with Social Triggers and I’m not surprised you’re seeing those kinds of results.

PS. Being likeable and approachable go a long way — you reached out to me a long time ago on twitter asking if you could help me out, suggested potential hosts for my then non-existent blog, etc. I’ve never forgotten that.

Keep up the great work!


spacer Derek Halpern

I remember, and thank you Nikki!


spacer Deb

Awesome post, Derek!
I especially was interested in the releasing of a service or product in a two-step process. I’ve never thought about that. I love reading your posts as you share very valuable and insightful information. Thank you for all you do for all of us!
Deb spacer


spacer Derek Halpern

Thank you Deb.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Do make sure you share it up too spacer


spacer Andrea

This is a great article. Simple steps that are easy to execute but make all the difference in a successful launch. This couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m preparing for a new launch and was looking for some simple tips to make sure it’s a hit and not a flop!

Thanks so much for your insight!



spacer Derek Halpern

Awesome Andrea.

Let me know how it goes.


spacer John | Married (with Debt)

Derek, your advice always steers me right. I’m going to look into doing a podcast. Just need to hit up best buy for a quality mic. Adding value is something we should all strive for.


spacer Derek Halpern

Awesome man.

Podcasts are a lot of work, but if you pull it off right, it can be HUGE.


spacer Suzy Weiss


Normally, I read your blog posts with great interest, but I must say that ‘you hit the ball out of the park’ with this one.

I loved your approach to making yourself standout in the crowded IM space… Go for a BIG idea (World-class experts on the psychology of monetization).


Then you put a beautiful ribbon around it with the build up of anticipation.

Then delivering the ‘goods’ with a bit of showmanship and style (Steve Jobs could not have done it any better).

Thanks for sharing this with your readership. You easily could have charged some money for the content and strategy behind this blog post.

Thanks again,

Suzy Weiss
Dating Coach for Women Over 40


spacer Derek Halpern

Thank you Suzy.

Glad you enjoyed the article, and for that huge compliment. I’m obviously a big fan of Steve Jobs, like millions of other people out there!


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