How I Got 1,500 Email Subscribers in 3 Weeks

email-subscribersDo you have a goal for your blog's subscriber count? An amount you are aiming for a certain amount of blog  followers by year's end?

I did. After starting my email list in June this year, I wanted to reach 500 subscribers by December 31.

Currently I'm at 1,832.

1,500 of those subscribers came over the space of three weeks, after my blog Slow Your Home was mentioned in one post on Becoming Minimalist, a leading simplicity blog.

The following days saw my traffic up by 1000%. Over a month later and it is still more than 300% up. My email subscriber rate soared and has more than tripled. As have my RSS subscribers. All thanks to one paragraph of praise by a very well-respected blogger in my niche.

The way to get 1500 new subscribers in three weeks? Simple – get mentioned on one of the big blogs in your niche.

Simple. Sure.

How to increase chances of that actually happening?

Well, that too, is simple. Spend time on the following four steps, and you will see your sphere of influence broaden, your fan base grow and your content improve out of sight.

It's not easy, but it is simple.

1. Build Relationships with Leaders and Readers

First and foremost, you need to connect.

Connect with the influencers in your niche.

And by connect, I mean ask yourself what you could do for them, with no reciprocation expected. These leaders want the same thing you do – more readers, more subscribers, an army of devoted fans. Help them get that and learn now to network effectively. To begin with:

  • Tweet their latest posts
  • Spread word of their newsletter
  • Become an affiliate for their products
  • Link to them in one of your excellent posts
  • Do a wrap-up of their ten best posts

RESULT: Over time you will appear on the radar of some of these influencers. That's all you're trying to achieve.

Connect with your readers.

Treat them as the human beings they are. It's easy to think of readers as numbers on our Analytics page – a total we need to manipulate into growth. But don't lose sight of the fact that every single reader is important. Because every single human is important.

  • Reply to emails
  • If someone asks for help, go above and beyond to do just that
  • Show your readers that you care, by creating helpful, in-depth posts from those emails (with the original reader's permission, of course). If one reader is struggling with an issue, you can be sure there are others.
  • Re-tweet their posts
  • Comment on their blogs

RESULT: You are creating a community of friends and fans. You are building a small army and once numbers reach a certain point, word will spread like wildfire.

2. Create Outstanding Content

Corbett Barr is fond of telling us to write epic sh*t. All the time. He says mediocre, good and even great content is not enough these days. Your content needs to be outstanding, viral or epic to gain any real attention online.

I don't know that my content could be regarded as epic, but I do know I have spent a great deal of time improving my writing and that has paid off – slowly, but significantly. Focus on improving your content by:

  • Studying the greats – really dissect the outstanding posts from the world's best. Look at Zen Habits, Derek Halpern and some of Problogger's best.
  • Learning about effective copywriting from the experts. You could do worse than reading through Copyblogger's archives.
  • Practice. Write daily. Hone your blog writing skills.

As you begin to produce excellent content on a regular basis, people will start to notice. And if you spend time building relationships with leaders and influencers in your niche, then they will begin to notice too. That puts you in a wonderful position.

RESULT: Shareability, fantastic value for your readers and sticking power once you get eyes to your blog.

3. Guest Post Strategically

Annabel is a huge advocate for guest posting and I am with her 100%. In fact, a strategically placed guest post was the final piece of the puzzle for me, in getting the attention of Joshua Becker, which in turn, has skyrocketed my subscribers and readership.

What do I mean by “guest post strategically”?

Guest posting anywhere and everywhere is good. It gets your name out there, gives you practice in producing outstanding content and helps build relationships with other bloggers.

But to guest post strategically – with a particular goal in mind – is even better.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are the influencers you would like to connect with?
  • Where do these influencers appear online?
  • What blogs do they contribute to themselves?

Once you have established the answers, make a list of blogs to target. Then spend time writing a guest post specifically tailored for that site and make it outstanding. Really, really outstanding. Pitch it and move on to the next one.

RESULT: Grab the attention of your influencers by appearing alongside them. They will be impressed with your content and you dramatically increase the likelihood of forging a relationship with them once you have something in common.

4. Rinse and Repeat

Make your efforts count by backing up and repeating this process time and time again.

RESULT: Repeated exposure to your name, your voice and your message will see you at the forefront of not only your influencers' minds, but also your ideal audience.

Some of these efforts will be in vain, while others will pay off in ways you didn't expect. The key takeaway is to make it as easy as possible to forge relationships with influencers and prove to them you have the skills and knowledge that makes your blog worth sharing.

Once that happens, it's just a matter of capturing the new visitors and making raving fans of them. But that's another post entirely…

Tell me, what's the one action you've taken that's seen the greatest increase in traffic and subscribers to your blog?

Guest post by Brooke McAlary

Brooke McAlary is a passionate writer, simple living advocate, big thinker, wife and mother. She is on a mission to help you live the simpler life you want and has created the insanely useful Slow Home BootCamp to do just that.


  1. says

    Couldn’t agree more, Johanna!! Staying power has helped my writing improve, helped my relationships expand, helped opportunities come to my attention.

    Glad you liked the tips. 🙂

  2. says

    Hi Johanna and Brooke,

    That’s so true Johanna. Perseverance pays off with blogging.

    The funny thing is I have a very similar guest post on this same topic that I wrote for Problogger after I’d been blogging a year. I also set a goal (1,000 RSS subscribers) and achieved it. I think it’s really important to set those goals. Love that you did that Brooke and exceeded it.

    Here’s to us all staying focused on those blogging goals long term:)

    • says

      I absolutely think something happens when we make our goals concrete and measurable – things start to fall into place.

      Annabel, your story of getting 1000 subs in your first year was actually my initial inspiration – so in a roundabout way, thank YOU!

  3. says

    I’ve been more happy if you had pointed out how to make a PITCH to get your guest post offer approved. After all pro bloggers don’t have time for silly mails when they are already being crowded with a whole lot of guest post requests.

    By the way, great post, Brooke! You’ve just inspired me on my way. Thanks again 🙂

  4. says

    Annabel, getting a mention from reputed and well know writers online can definitely boost your subscription as well as traffic and get you a whole lot of brand visibility. Thats the type of backlinks bloggers need to focus on building, because when you do that, the ROI is much higher.

    • says

      Couldn’t agree more, Eddie. The one link I received from a well-read and well-respected blogger in my niche garnered literally hundreds more subscribers and readers than any guest post has.

      That’s pretty hard to beat!

      • says

        Hi Eddie,

        It does help and as Brooke says you have to pay it forward first.

  5. says

    Thanks for a post which motivates me to make the effort to get some guest post spots sooner rather than later. Fortunately I have already been building up relationships with some reasonably big blogs so I have already been laying the groundwork for a future guest post opportunity.

    My challenge is to make the effort to write some additional posts on top of my blog itself. I think I just need to focus and come up with some good ideas which will mesh with bigger bloggers…

  6. says

    Such a small world isn’t it, Faith! 😉

    I love your addition of Setting Yourself Apart. I think a uniqueness, paired with excellent content and consistent relationship-building is a winning combination!

    Slightly off-topic, but congratulations on your stellar launch. I’m not surprised by the attention and subscriber numbers – the first issue of Simplify was astoundingly good. Can’t wait for next month. 🙂

    • says

      Hi Faith, Linda and Brooke,

      Yes, the magazine sounds like a great tip. Definitely reuse and recycle content Linda – some will prefer to read it in different formats than others and new readers may have missed your old content.

  7. Matthew says

    Gosh! you must be amazing at chalking out blue prints. Like in this post you clearly did- neat step-wise guidance to cash in email subscribers. Great post.

  8. says

    Congratulations on those subscriber numbers, Brook..

    It does inspire others to see how you achieved this in a short time frame.

    Unfortunately, I had to unsubscribe many people as the were actually spammers(there is a reason why they go the extra mile), and this seems to be another route taken( a step up from) comment spam…..

    So My list building took a hit….

    Without a doubt any input to your site from an authority figure in your niche, even when they happen to leave a comment on one of your posts, often ensures a “flow on effect” of other like minded and often well established webmasters….

    Your tip on building relationships with the “big blog” in your niche, is a massive plus!

    It takes time, and some of the the relationships may falter, or not work out too well…

    Though, sooner or later we can start to break into the inner circle(that’s what the whole point is)… many top Bloggers travel within similar circles, so it takes time for trust to be forged towards less established site owners…..

  9. says

    This is awesome post

    You have Mntioned Guest Posting Which is Good Strategy to get leads. iam going to implement som of them, thanks for sharing

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