For bloggers wishing to improve their traffic, hopping onto a media feeding frenzy can give a nice burst in traffic which can translate into increases in longterm traffic.
A media feeding frenzy is when a subject or thing that’s happened suddenly becomes a top headliner story for journalists. News organizations have a well-developed radar for which stories of the day are going to be the most interesting for their audience, and they avidly push to provide articles quickly to satisfy the public’s sudden thirst. As more journalists glom onto the subject, it suddenly seems that everyone is reporting on some variation of the same subject, and this is a media feeding frenzy.
Bloggers can hop onto these feeding frenzies, and ride the wave of traffic associated with them.
If you see a news story that you may have a unique take on, write a blog post about it. Interested readers sometimes seek out commentary and more information about the day’s news articles, and often reporters are also looking for more information or a unique spin for further articles on the subject. If you provide what people are looking for, chances are very good that they’ll beat a path to your blog.
I’ve accomplished this a number of times. Just this past year, a subject that I’d previously written about , the swastika-shaped building on a US Naval base, made it into the top news  on CNN as the government bowed to pressure and decided to renovate the building to change its profile when viewed from above. I blogged a new post about the subject and how Google Maps had played a big part in the Navy’s decision, and a number of bloggers and news journalists mentioned it also and linked over, giving us a large spike in traffic. You can see this in the September spike in traffic shown by the above graph.
Just a few weeks later, the big headline was about all the fires raging in Southern Calnifornia. I was struck sympathy for the Californians, and intrigued by a Google Map created by the Los Angeles Times, so I quickly blogged about it .Â I knew that people who were fearful of the status of their property were likely looking for this very sort of information, and I wanted to help them to find it. So, I took a screen-grab of the Google Map  to illustrate my article, and optimized it through tagging and linkin it up with the LA Times site and with my blog post.
This second example didn’t result in as much traffic as the first, but I wasn’t really trying to get traffic with these pieces so much as to help promote the information resource for fire victims. I’m really pleased that this succeded in helping connect people up with info — the traffic burst on the blog here was a little bit of a surprise.
A few suggestions for how to hop on a wave:
- Hop on it early. The earlier you are, the more likely your post is to get links from others who wish to comment about it.
- Add something significant to the conversation. If you don’t have something interesting to say about it, keep silent. Aim to provide a unique twist of some sort to the subject matter.
- Link over to the other top blog posts or main news story about the subject.
- For technology subjects, watch the top stories mentioned by Techmeme Â and consider commenting on those. Techmeme is really great for providing a “pulse” of what’s hot today in the tech sector (Slashdot  is pretty good for this, too). Cool thing about linking to the top originator of any story on Techmeme is that it may automatically give you a small discussion link in return. Some blogs and news sites may give you a “trackback” link in return for you commenting and linking to their stories, so this can help you, too. (If you want your post to have a chance of getting appearing on Techmeme, I’d suggest that you set up automatic pings through Technorati  — this will automatically get your latest posts spidered and available.)
- If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying! Not all of your “newsbait” stories will catch interest, so don’t give up.
This tactic can give you anywhere from 10 to 20 times the traffic you normally get over a few days around the time of the feeding frenzy, if you hop on the wave effectively. Over the longterm, this also helps gradually build your traffic up as the more links to your blog give you more incremental PageRank, and as future readers seek out information on the subject.