Is This Image Subtle Enough?

Avid fans may recall that a few months back I launched into a rant about promoting your own content. I explained that if you didn’t promote your own posts, they’d sink without a trace, and I recommended a half dozen websites that you might want to consider when it comes to shameless self-promotion.

Well, here’s the follow-up. Using my “The Five People You Meet in Online Marketing Hell” post as an example, I’m going to show you just where you should be promoting your SEO, copywriting and marketing blog posts.

The Candidates

My last post was submitted to the following websites, which I’ll be covering in some detail. Please note that I’m taking it as a given that you’re carrying out some search engine optimisation on your site, and that you’ll be generating some traffic that way.

Five People… was promoted on the following websites:

Sphinn: Internet Marketing News for Search & Internet Marketing Professionals
SERPd: Search Engine Marketing & SEO News
Twitter: Instant Microblogging Service
Facebook: The World’s Largest Social Network
StumbleUpon: Share and Discover The Best of the Web

The Criteria

When it comes to judging how effective the above websites are, you need to look at how much traffic they will deliver. I’ll also look at the average time spent on the post by visitors from each site, and point out how many hits you get per vote (ReTweet, Facebook Like, etc).

Hits: Pretty self explanatory – the amount of traffic driven by each site, taken from Google Analytics
Average Time on Site: Again, just what it says on the tin.
Number of Votes: How many people have Tweeted, Liked or Voted For the post?
Views to Vote Ratio: Do those votes equate to more views?
New Audience Percentage: Did the site attract new blood, or is it just spreading the word to regular readers?

A site that delivers lots of visitors who stick around and read, with as many hits-per-vote as possible is going to be the best place to promote your blog. Especially if it puts you in front of a new audience.

The Performances

Facebook

Like many of you, I started using Facebook as a social tool instead of a blog promotion tool. The Unmemorable Title facebook page is still growing, and is populated mainly with people who already follow me on Twitter. And it shows.

Hits: 15
Average Time on Site: 1 minute, 5 seconds
Number of Votes: 18
Views to Vote Ratio: 0.8 views per vote
New Audience Percentage: 53.33%

Facebook is undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool, but as you can see, you need to build up a core network of interested people first. My old university classmates and second cousins thrice-removed aren’t interested in liking my blog posts – so it’s left to a handful of people who’ve already seen the post through another medium to spread the message.

I’m loathe to write Facebook off on the basis of one post, but it’s clear that I need to use the platform better.

Should you use Facebook? Yes. Just work harder at creating a network.

Twitter

Twitter is where I focus most of my promoting energies, and on the face of it, it pays off. A tweet gives you an interested reader.

Hits: 72
Average Time on Site: 1 minute, 10 seconds
Number of Votes: 72
Views to Vote Ratio: 1:1
New Audience Percentage: 76.39%

Good old reliable Twitter. No other network I used had a higher average time on the site – which is especially promising when you take into account the fact that the majority of those visitors had never seen Unmemorable Title before. The views to vote ratio is unusually low for the post in question, but analytics shows that it’s usually far higher (This Winning post generated 68 hits from a criminal 16 Tweets).

I’ve always been of the opinion that Twitter is an indispensable tool for network building, due to the simple fact that it will help you create a core group of people who’ll listen to what you have to say and engage with it.

Should you use Twitter? Yes. If you’re following and being followed by the right people, it’s the most reliable way of getting people to read what you’ve written.

Sphinn

An admission. I was one of the people who abandoned Sphinn for SERPd when they moved from a voting to an editorial system. A second admission. I was wrong.

Hits: 361
Average Time on Site: 40 seconds
Number of Votes: N/A (or 1)
Views to Vote Ratio: N/A (or 361 views per vote)
New Audience Percentage: 96.12%

This is the first post I’ve had featured on Sphinn since the time I forced my fiance to use Bing. And the stats speak for themselves. After RSS subscribers and Google, Sphinn is June’s biggest referrer – and an average of 40 seconds per visit means that at least a few hundred people read my post right to the end.

It’s clear. Sphinn provides large amounts of high-quality traffic to your blog.

Should you use Sphinn? Yes. If what you’ve written is good enough to be featured, you should submit it to Sphinn without a second thought.

SERPd

I’m an early adopter over at SERPd, regularly hit the front page, and was one of the first people to guest on the SERPd blog. So the results surprised me.

Hits: 29
Average Time on Site: 4 seconds
Number of Votes: 17
Views to Vote Ratio: 1.7 views per vote
New Audience Percentage: 79.31%

SERPd has over 300 fans on Facebook, but it’s always appeared that the active user base is around about 30 people. This confirms it. But a small user base is no reason to abandon a platform – in fact, it’s an incentive. Get in on the ground floor and you could be a power user.

But it’s apparent that people are just clicking vote without reading the post in question. Only StumbleUpon gives less quality traffic, and that’s an indictment of just how much SERPd’s users engage with content. Chris, Gerard and the team have a lot to work on, it seems.

Should you use SERPd? I’m torn. I like SERPd. I like the sentiment behind it, I like the team, and I like (parts of) the community. But while it’s not attracting the right sort of people, you’re not going to get much out of it.

UPDATE: May 2012 – SERPd is pretty much dead. It’s used only by spammers, and won’t benefit you at all. Steer clear.

StumbleUpon

Ah, I only submit to StumbleUpon out of habit.

Hits: 81
Average Time on Site: 3 seconds
Number of Votes: 11
Views to Vote Ratio: 7.3 views per vote
New Audience Percentage: 100%

And I’m probably going to stop doing even that.

StumbleUpon doesn’t deliver any sorts of meaningful traffic. The site itself is designed to funnel people away from your page, not take them deeper into your site.

Should you use StumbleUpon? No

So, Where Should You Be Promoting Your SEO, Copywriting and Marketing Blog Posts?

Sphinn, Facebook and Twitter.

You may have a hard time promoting straight copywriting posts on Sphinn, but they do cover online marketing topics. But if you’re good enough to pass their stringent quality control, you’ll generate some interest.

Facebook isn’t a magic wand. It won’t deliver traffic if you don’t put the effort in. But I’m certain that if you take the time to build a network through a quality fan page, it’ll pay off in the long run. It certainly does for more famous names like Copyblogger and SEOmoz.

And Twitter should be high on everyone’s agenda. It might not be the most spectacular of platforms, but in terms of effort to payoff, it’s an easy way to spread your message.

But this is just taking one post as evidence. I know many of you have your own successful blogs – so tell us in the comments, where should we be promoting SEO, copywriting and marketing blog posts?


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