A few days ago I wrote a post that may end up being the greatest post I will ever write. It wasnt some huge inspirational story about a 3rd world entrepreneur just trying to get by. It wasnt some incredibly in depth article revealing a corrupt government policies and how we can stop them. No, it was just a deal on plane tickets…but it went viral and the results were amazing.
(There is an important message I want to share with everyone at the end of this post, so if you cant be bothered to read about me going all blog-nerdy then please skip to the bottom so you can at read at least that.)
Before I wrote this post, I considered myself a professional style blogger, but really the numbers werent there to claim much more. I had done my research, studied other successful bloggers, and I tried to grow this site naturally with quality content (note the word tried). All in all, I would be lying if I said I wasnt happy with the work that I put out, but I knew the numbers could be better. There is just too much content in the travel blogging community for a newbie to really stand out without some help.
Then one post went viral
After posting about that crazy airline deal, I did my usual and sent it out to my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) and I made sure to tag some friends who I knew would be interested. From there, it didnt take long before people saw it and started to share it and tag even more people.
NOTE: I was in Manila, Philippines at the time but I published the post at around 9 PM PST. Basically the end of the day for the US. Statistically speaking, it’s not the best time to publish a post if your main audience is in the US, but with a deal like this, I knew I couldnt wait.
Within 3 hours, by midnight I could see the potential for this one post to catch fire. The first Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ from people I had absolutely no connection to began showing up.
I later found out that in those 3 hours alone over 700 people visited my site
By midnight I knew that there were only a couple hours before everyone back home would be asleep, and yet my Google Analytics was telling me that the Real Time number of people on my site was not dropping below 100 at any given time. This was major considering my next most popular post had something like 250 views total for one whole day.
Ok, now I have to share something a bit embarrassing. You can ask anyone that was speaking to me at that time and they will tell you that I was practically impossible to talk to. Not because I wasnt present, but because I couldnt talk about anything else. Watching the numbers go up and down was like being on a roller coaster. It was like a first kiss. It was like a hit of crack…and I was hooked. (By the way, I apologize to anyone that had to put up with my stupid, “Dude, the numbers are XXX right now…” So lame. Haha)
Eventually the numbers calmed as people began to go to sleep, and this was a big concern for me. I knew if it could last overnight then it might have a chance to go big…and big it would. The numbers overnight (mind you, the worst time for the post to be fresh) never dropped below 40 people on my site at any given time. Surprisingly, most of the visitors still came from the US, but the inclusion of some of my international friends meant that people overseas were looking at it too.
A long day passed for me in Manila while I anxiously waited like a kid on Christmas Eve, but finally morning hit the East coast and once again the numbers started to rise. At its peak, the Real Time numbers were steadily hanging around 200 people at a time.
And then the REAL work started.
My inbox was being flooded with emails, messages, and notifications from Facebook, Twitter, and from my Newsletter. People were sharing, liking, and commenting. I was spending more time thanking people, welcoming new subscribers, updating the post with relevant information, and responding to the same two questions over and over; “Is it still working?”, “What dates did you choose?”
I think I probably spent MORE time after the post was published than I did to write it and share it. I wanted to make sure (or at least try) to respond to everyone that I could.
Suddenly I was beginning to see that people were not only going to that one post, but were venturing on to other pages and posts. I became suddenly aware about all the errors on my site. All the typos, all the grammar that would make my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Pratt cry, every page and bit of content that I promised I would come back to one day an improve just as soon as I see some real traffic. Well, I did see some real traffic that day, and it all happened so fast. All these little bits of myself that I put into my site were suddenly being scanned by thousands of judging eyes (in my head it felt like that).
For a while I was running back and forth between checking what pages people were going to, going to that page to see what can be fixed, fixing it, the repeating. I wasnt trying to improve my projected self image, just fix some of the really silly mistakes…I didnt even have a comments section on my Contact Page…How stupid was that? Haha.
Well, I could only do this for so long, and at midnight in Manila I decided that I had put in enough work and patched enough leaks that I should just go to sleep, although I doubted I would be able to. By the next morning there would still be some people to respond to and message, but a man has to sleep. As it turned out, while I was counting sheep, the glitch was repaired and the deal was over, and so too was my time in the spotlight. So…
What did the numbers look like for 24 hours
Google Analytics: 12,977 sessions and 28,727 page views.
Facebook: Over 9,000 person reach, 32 new page likes, and I dont know how many messages and comments received and responded to.
Twitter: 11 new followers, about 7 mentions, and about 6 comments.
Tumblr: 1 new follower. Wheeew 🙂
Newsletter: 35 new subscribers.
(Originally I was going to publicly post all of my new followers as a thank you and recognition, but I think it’s better to leave it private.)
An important message to end with…
This turned out to be an incredible deal for me because now I will travel around the world in November. This could also be the turning point for my blog taking it from another sheep in the heard to a competitor in the crowded market. But those are not the reasons I wrote this post, or any of my posts for that matter. The greatest success that I took away was at the point when people began reaching out to thank whoever posted it because now they could finally make that trip that they had been dreaming about.
It’s not about seeking gratitude from others, it was just the tangible message that people were going out to LIVE LIFE and I just feel blessed to be a part of that. Anyone that shared that post is just as much a part of it as well. At the end of the day, I dont know how many people will be going to Europe/Asia at the end of this year, but I think it’s a lot, and I am happy for each and every one of them.
I write to inspire, assist, convince, and entertain others about travel and personal growth, and I will continue to do so as long as I can. The best ‘thank you’ you can give me is a postcard from your journeys, a beer together in a foreign bar, or a photo of you doing whatever it is that you love.
I want to thank and welcome all the new supporters for joining this community and helping it grow, and I also want to thank all of the everyone who was there from the start and all along the way for everything you have done. Without all of you this would not have been possible.
If you missed out on the deal, I am very sorry. I will try to give a heads up next time, but I cant promise much more like that in the future. If you were one of the lucky ones to book a flight, then you should post your itineraries in the comments and we can try to meet up. I would love to see you all in person. There is even a Facebook group created called Glitch Trip which is intended to result in a film (You can check it out and join if you want to take part). And please, dont forget to share any content that you find worthy so that others might join in on this as well.