The “Barack Obama” Formula: How the President gets traffic to his website

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - May 9th, 2014

2 months ago I was driving down the road listening to Colin Cowherd on the radio.

Leading into the 10 o’clock hour he began teasing an upcoming guest.

The guest? Barack Obama. It’s pretty abnormal for the President of the United States to go on a sports talk show.

So, I sat in my car for the next 30 minutes waiting for him to come on. I had to hear what this was going to be about.

What happened next was the biggest “AHA!” moments for me this year.

We’ll come back to this story in a minute…

The #1 hangup I had when starting Videofruit was “How will people find me?”

The motto of any brick and mortar store is location, location location.

Why is location sooo important? Because your location produces your traffic.


Wal-mart traffic leaches

If you want to open a Waffle House, just buy some property in front of Walmart.

You will have traffic and customers because Wal-Mart attracts them. You don’t have to do any marketing, just pay the rent.

Next time you drive by Walmart, look at all of the businesses that have sprouted up around it.

They do this because they know that Wal-Mart gets 450,000 people into their store per month and that they can convert a 2% of that traffic into customers.

The marketing plan is simple:
  1. Find a source of high traffic
  2. Build right next to them
But everything changes when you start an online business. There is no built in traffic.
Your map looks more like this:

You ain’t got no traffic.

You could make the best hamburgers on earth, but if your restaurant is in the Sahara Desert you are going to go out of business.

Same thing with your blog, you can have the best content, the most innovative ideas and the best eBook download the internet has ever seen, but if you have no traffic it does not matter.

How do you fix that?

Do what Waffle House does:

    1. Find a source of high traffic
    2. Tell those people about you

I’m going to show you exactly how to do that and give you a few examples.

Step 1: Find a highly qualified traffic source

One of my current coaching clients is Andre. He runs Bread’n Beyond, an animated explainer video company.

His #1 goal this month is to increase his traffic.

In a physical store this would be hard since the vast majority of your traffic is coming from a nearby anchor store.

You can’t exactly duplicate that. But online we can.

Want to get traffic from three big sources? No problem.


What’s better than one Wal-Mart? How about three?

First you have to identify your target traffic sources.

Here are three steps you can use to do that.

Step #1: Research your competitors traffic sources

Use to check your competitors backlinks. For Andre we did a quick search on and checked the linking domains.

This shows us the most authoritative sites that are linking to Demo Duck. If these sites are sending traffic to Demo Duck the chances of them being relevant traffic sources to us are high.

Demo Duck's top linking domains

Demo Duck’s top linking domains

This produced 3 potential traffic sources:


Step #2: Make a list of highly regarded blogs in your industry

Don’t be too narrow here. Even though Andre makes explainer videos his broader market is internet marketing.

That means if people are search for articles on ‘Guest Blogging”, “SEO” or “Inbound Marketing Strategies” they would also be in the market for video marketing as well.

So, who is the Wal-Mart of internet marketing? Doing a few relevant keyword searches on Buzzsumo produces 2 potential candidates.

Buzzsumo keyword results

Buzzsumo keyword results

You can also goto Technorati and look through their directory to find prime candidates.

Step #3: Google your keyword phrases

Write a list of 10 keywords and phrases that are relevant to your site. For example, Andre wants to rank for phrases such as:

    • “explainer video”
    • “video marketing”
    • “how much does an explainer video cost”
    • “how to make an explainer video”

Next, perform a Google search for this list and write down a list of the top relevant sites.


Google search results

Go through these three steps until you have a list of 20 high traffic sites that are relevant to you industry.

Make sure they are relevant.

There is a reason that Ruths Chris doesn’t have restaurants outside of Wal-Mart and Waffle House does.

Step 2: Tell that traffic about your product

The girl scouts do a great job of this.

They go to the manager of Wal-Mart and ask them if they can setup a folding table at the front door of their store to sell cookies.

The manager says “Yes!” and the girl sells tons of cookies to Wal-Marts foot traffic.

Now that you have a list of traffic sources how can you do the same thing?

How can you get Wal-Marts traffic to pay attention to you?

Technique #1: Guest post

Guest posting has a certain negative connotation in many circles. I don’t get it.

Guest posting will always work.

There is nothing Matt Cutts, Google or anyone else can do to kill it. All you are doing when you guest post is setting up a folding table outside of a highly trafficked store and telling that existing traffic about your product.

I have guest posted 4 times of the last 30 days. Can you guess when?


Google Analytics graph from last 60 days.

For step by step strategies on how to come up with good ideas for guest posts and pitch the blog owners, see these two articles:

Technique #2: Be interviewed

Back to our story from the beginning…

As I sat in the car listening to the President and Colin talk about March Madness and their brackets, I kept asking myself why he was doing this.

Then they got the the end of the interview and the President pitched his big initiative, The entire purpose of him coming on the show was to get the attention of the shows audience and tell them about his product.

That’s what guest posting is and that is what most every interview you ever listen to is about.

What does Tom Cruise do when a new movie of his is to coming out? He goes on Leno and Letterman for an interview.

He doesn’t do that because he was bored that night and needed someone to talk to. He does it because he wants the audience to go see the movie.

It’s advertising.


You need to do the same.

Who has your audience? Get that person to interview you.

Here is a good step by step guide to help you through that process.

Technique #3: Give away a resource

This isn’t popular. Not because it doesn’t work, but because most people are too lazy and short sighted.

What if, instead of creating a 30 page eBook, infographic or video series to put on your website you gave it to a high value influencer instead?

What would this look like?

Instead of me designing and creating the “Ultimate Guide to Ultimate Guides” or “My Personal Swipe File of 150+ Landing Pages” and promoting them on Videofruit I would give them to Buffer to publish.

They had 729,832 unique visitors last month. Do you think I would get more traffic by owning and promoting that guide to the 8,331 unique people that visited this site last month or to the 729,832 that visited buffer last month?

…that is an easy answer.

Yet, know one does it.

Technique #4: Try everything you can think of

There are hundreds of ways you could team up with other sites to get them to tell their audience about you.

  • Throw a contest where there readers get a free lifetime membership to your product
  • Giveaway 50 copies of your book to their audience
  • Preform a complete site audit for them and publish the details in the form of a guest post
  • Giveaway a one year membership to your Crossfit gym to a major local news anchor
  • Sponsor targetted up and coming blogs
  • Be active in hyper relevant forums and comment sections

Here is a list of ideas from Noah (founder of Appsumo)

How do you use this?

So, how does the President get traffic to his website? He finds other people that has his audience and give them a reason to talk about him.

If it’s good enough for the POTUS, it should be good enough for you

  • Phillip Swindall

    I keep getting a 494 page when I try to register my email address, Brian.
    GREAT content, by the way!

    • Now *this* is an indication of how good Bryan is. You’re actually reporting that you *can’t* get his email. Most people complain when they *do* get other sites’ emails.

      • Touche, @AndrewWarner:disqus!

      • Hey @Andrew Warner, let me take a swipe at Bryan’s suggestion and offer you a free 60-seconds explainer video that you can use for Mixergy’s 1000th interview (or throw it away if you don’t like it, it’s free anyway).

        When you were interviewed by Troy Dean, you did encourage everyone to take one small steps at a time, so here I am challenging myself! I know you don’t use email, so tweet me at @andreoen

        • @andreoentoro:disqus Instead of asking permission to give @AndrewWarner:disqus a video, just make it and give it to him.

          Making him contact you keeps this from happening.

          If you would have instead just made the video and linked it up here, I know for a fact he would have used it (because he was looking for this exact thing).

          • 10 4 @bharris007:disqus I will get it done first before pitching, Andrew Warner I will give you some nice surprise later.

  • For technique #3, wouldn’t the website want some kind of compensation? Are you saying to give away the resource and have their affiliate links inside?

    • I’m saying create an extensive resource (a course, a video series, a guide) and instead of housing it on your site, give it to a website that you want to get traffic from.

      • Got it. What do they get out of it? What would make them want to do that without compensation? I’m asking because I’m going to try it so I want to make sure I have the full concept down. I have a bunch of things I could create like that. It’s real interesting so I want to give it a shot.

        • They get a premium resource for free.

          Example: You could create a resource guide of the 1,000 best questions to ask in an interview and give it to Andrew @ Mixergy for free. He would be ecstatic. You would get traffic.

          • Ok, so the full idea is that it is a very extensive, high quality resource that would’ve taken them a TON of time to create or is relevant but outside their expertise so they couldn’t create it… but it is on target for their readership. You give it to them for free (except for exposure), they give it to their readership who get value from it and you get the awareness and traffic. Got it. Great idea. One of those simple ones that no one ever thinks about. Thanks!

          • Thats it. But it could be inside of their expertise. In the example with Andrew he could totally create that guide if he took the time. The key is that you did it for them and that its high quality.

          • Johnny Fame

            So how does the free resource you gave them point back to you so that you get more traffic?

          • Al Simon

            contextual links to other articles on your site and a link within the author bio, maybe a call to action at the end if they’ll allow, maybe a link back within an author profile page if they create them.

            the idea is to get authority from posting in a highly regarded publication, on or offline.

  • Righto, thanks for the extra enlightenment!

  • Kylegfitz

    You should ad dates to your blog posts, I have no idea if this contest is already over or not 🙂

  • Just listened to your interview on smart passive income & downloaded your gifts. This article rocks with valuable content as well. Thank you!


  • Hey Barry!

    Long time fan of your blog brothera! I’ve always loved your practicality and passion. You know your stuff.

    My current issue is massive information overload and product overload. Should I use leadpages, sumome, ninja popup, backlinko….the list goes on an on. You could easily accumulate $200.00 a month in recurring service fees. For a micro business that can be heavy. But money is the easy part. It’s time. Who could possibly read hundreds of blogs? Should I follow DotcomSecrets, VideoFruit, Ramit Sethi…all great guys & info but who is geared more for efficiency?

    At the moment all I can focus on is phenomenal content, insane hustle and getting traffic. I’m still really in the pre-pre-pre launch. Outlining content, testing traffic and experimenting.

    Thank you for the wealth of information! Just another guy in the grind! Peace brothera!

    • Al Simon


  • Franki Kidd

    Sweet idea (leverage someone else’s audience)

  • How would you apply this to non profits? In the commercial space there are lots of different related blogs based on the problem you product solves or a hobby or interest. But people who give dont tend to go on websites reading about international development. Thoughts?

  • Wynand Jacobs

    I think when you guest post on someone else’s blog it can help if their not in exactly the same industry as you are, but their audience could get value from your product. In other words, you help them serve their audience with something that is not their expertise.

  • Dhruv


    If we have a niche website on some particular product, how to take the first step after the creation of the website and contents ? Currently I have 0 email subscriber and 0 page visitor. Its like I have created a store in Sahara desert.

    • Dhruv, I would suggest you need to find *your* Wal-Mart. Look for wider
      niches that already attract people who will be interested in your more
      narrow niche?

      For example if you sell hand-sewn snow boots for
      dogs, you could guest post on sites where customers go for dog coats,
      books on dog health, hotels they can stay with their pets, and so on.

      Your own ideas will be better as you know what you do! I hope I’ve sparked some thoughts. 🙂

  • Camille Benoit

    Question- Let’s say your “Walmart” is also selling “girl scout cookies”… Why would Walmart want to let you set up a stand to sell the same product? In a nutshell, that’s the problem for me. What would you suggest as a “work around” solution? I’m trying to find a Target that doesn’t sell girl scout cookies already… my product is a specific industry niche, so do you have any advice about not to get into issues around conflict of interest?

  • Frostyplan

    I’ve been reading a lot about internet marketing lately – I don’t see anything about how an independent singer can get their CD out there? Any ideas?

    • jimihendrix

      have you read Derik Sivers anything you want? well I think thats what it was called. I recall a tip he gave of recording a cover song that hadnt been covered before and putting up on itunes/applestore etc. so when people searched for that popular song, your cover came up next. Free exposure, just like Brian posted above for having a store next to walmart. Have you tried CD baby? You have your record produced and ready to ship and sell right?