I should lose my domain name more often.
In the last edition of this blog marketing series, I discussed marketing your blog using a Facebook fan page. This time I’ll discuss using social bookmarking sites to acquire new readers.
I wrote a post in 2007 that listed the demographics of the various social bookmarking sites. It’s a bit dated, but you might still find it useful.
Blog Marketing With Digg
When people think of social bookmarking sites, they usually think of Digg but while a central feature of Digg is the ability to bookmark sites, strictly speaking it is a social news site because the main activity involves not just bookmarking sites, but voting and commenting on those links. For our purposes, I’m going to lump social bookmarking and social news sites into the same category.
I have been using Digg and StumbleUpon for quite awhile. Digg has never sent me much traffic. This graph is the visits Videolicious received from Digg during the past year:
Yep, a grand total of 23 visits. I keep using Digg because one day I just may submit that post that becomes so wildly popular that it crashes my server. There has been a long-running debate about whether or not Digg is rigged and there’s some truth to it. There are people who traffic in Diggs and you tend to see the same people on the Digg leaderboards. Either way, the investment in trying to rank in the Diggosphere is too much to be worth my time.
Blog Marketing With StumbleUpon
StumbleUpon, however, has been hit and miss.
As you can see, I’ve received far more visitors to Videolicious from StumbleUpon during the past year (578), than I have from the 800 pound gorilla of social news.
I haven’t spent a great deal of time building subscribers at StumbleUpon, so I’m likely not making the most out of the site. That said, however, traffic from the site is unpredictable but does bring in a stream of steady, low-volume visitors.
The unpredictability has to do with knowing what content will take off. I haven’t found any silver bullet for figuring out what content Stumblers will like.
In 2007, I posted a short film called Bad Animals and titled the post When Mascots Attack. There was nothing particularly more compelling about this video compared to the tons of other videos I’ve posted, but When Mascots Attack got me 370 visits on the day it was posted.
The nice thing about StumbleUpon is that 97% of the visitors I get are new visitors.
Why Reddit Kicks Ass
As you can see though, I’ve been handsomely rewarded for giving Reddit a second chance:
Though I only just started seriously using it, Reddit has sent Videolicious the most traffic than any referring site since I first started posting videos at Videolicious in 2006.
The following graph shows visits to Videolicious from Reddit from April 1, 2009, the month in which I lost my domain name, to June 7, 2009:
So why the Reddit love? I think it’s because I only submit posts I think Redditers will really like and I write eye-catching but honest headlines.
The post that brought the most visitors (1,100) was a hilarious parody of a Cleveland tourism video. While the title of the actual post was “Visit Cleveland…Or Not,” the headline I submitted with the link to Reddit read: “Visit Clevelandâ€¦Or Not: Hilarious Homemade “Tourism” Promotional Videos.”
Hilarious, Homemade and Tourism in quotes were the three essential words, I think, that caused people to click. Everyone loves to laugh; people are interested in the cleverness of people like themselves, thus the appeal of “homemade;” and putting quotes around Tourism indicates that the video is a parody.
Reddit has consistently brought Videolicious nice spikes of new visitors and has helped to bring the average daily visits up to about 400, 50 visits more per day than before I lost my domain!
But in addition to bringing me traffic directly from Reddit itself, my links on Reddit caught the attention of someone at the rather racy site Leenks.com. A link from that site to a post called Superman’s Awkward Moment In The Daily Planet Breakroom sent 2,155 of their visitors to Videolicious.tv.
It is for these reasons that Reddit kicks ass.
Blog Marketing With Gawkk
I don’t remember how I discovered it but Gawkk is great. It is essentially Twitter for videos. Gawkk users are obviously more likely to be interested in my Videolicious.tv posts than others, so posting links here is obvious.
The visits I’ve garnered from Gawkk have thus far been modest:
But because these are video lovers, I’m investing the effort to post links to Gawkk and it is paying off in more than just visits to Videolicious.tv. I’ve attracted more than 530 followers there thus far so even if most of those people don’t ultimately visit Videolicious.tv, they’re aware of the brand.
Plus, after you reach a critical mass of followers, the network effect tends to kick in and you get many more followers simply because you have a lot of followers. People figure if that many people like you, you must be worth following.
Blog Marketing Using Delicious
Though I don’t get a lot of direct traffic out of Delicious (the site was 8th among the top 10 referring sites to Videolicious.tv last month), I post all my content there for several reasons.
First, because of how people use Delicious by searching or browsing tags, it makes it easy for people to “discover” Videolicious.tv. When you discover something you like rather than being told about it, you’re likely to be more loyal to your discovery than if you found it any other way.
Second, though I have no proof, I have to believe that tagging content in Delicious can help with search engine rankings. Delicious is owned by Yahoo, and if I’m Yahoo, I’d be stupid not to take into account the data about content Delicious delivers when determining how to rank a given Web page.
Lastly, I use Delicious as a way to distribute content. Because everything is RSSified in Delicious, I can create any type of feed I want. So I have a Delicious feed going to my Facebook account and one going to my FriendFeed account as well, making it super easy to extend Videolicious.tv posts to other venues.
The Strategic Use Of Social Bookmarking/News Sites
The trick, I think, is understanding the audience of each site you plan to use and then only submitting content that you sincerely believe that audience will like.
Writing compelling headlines and descriptions can help a lot. If you take a look at the submissions on these sites of the exact same Web page, more often than not, the one with the clever or attention-grabbing headline will the most popular link.
There’s a reason I titled this post “Why Reddit Kicks Ass.” People who use these sites are naturally interested in them themselves. So when you submit content that has to do with the site itself, that content tends to get more attention.
I’ve seen this with other sites. When I post links to Twitter that are about how people use Twitter, statistics about Twitter, or parodies of the microblogging site, they tend to get more clicks than usual.
My Social Bookmarking/News Accounts