Go Viral

I try to post at least once a week to each of my seven current blogs. It takes a good chunk of time and usually happens between other tasks.

Many bloggers write as a job or at least do it to make some income, so getting more traffic to your blog posts and catch the attention of more readers is important. I certainly like having more people read my writing, but I have never made money with my personal blogs and don’t write them for that purpose. But this site is used to promote some of my services, including social media strategies, so I do pay attention to social media marketing articles.

But I am very skeptical of titles like “How To Promote Your Blog And Make It Viral.”  If anyone knew how to make a blog post or video go viral, then all of them would go viral and there would be no viral left.

So, do you just create content and hope Google will bring people to it?  I looked at this list of strategies and, of course, “going viral” is not an “accountable strategic outcome,” but there are some basic tips that can help increase your audience. I was surprised how many suggestions I actually do even though I don’t have a real marketing strategy for my personal blogs the way I would create one for a client.

Send your content by email. Most blog platforms, like WordPress, allow readers to subscribe and receive an email when a new post is available. Email marketing is still used and though it is less effective than it was in 2000, it works best when people elect to receive you mail – pull rather than push notifications.

Share content via social media. Again, it is fairly simple to set up your blog to automatically send a post to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and other social sites. I use that option. It’s easy. Perhaps, too easy. These automated widgets often just grab a post title or as much of the first line that fits into the 140 characters or word count. Customized posts are always better. If someone follows you on several networks, it’s not good for them to see the name information repeated.

Mention an influencer. Hmmm. Name dropping and guest blogger posts. Not my personal thing, but with clients it’s a good strategies.

Submit posts to a content community. A kind of re-post and cross-post strategy. I have experimented with reposting in other networks like LinkedIn, Tumblr or Medium which does open up other audiences. I also occasionally cross-post on another one of my own blogs. This post will appear here and on my LLC blog.

Similarly, you can connect with peer groups (like Triberr).

sharethisYou certainly should make it easy to share your content. These one-click buttons allow readers to share your content in their own networks. They may not have a big network of followers (though they might have more than you!) but their tweet is an endorsement and that probably carries more trust than your tweet.

If you were a client, I would advise you about using use paid ads and remarketing but for personal content I don’t see any point.

However, I would strongly advise following one of the tips: focus on places that get the best response. That requires some work using Google analytics, monitoring the keywords people use to find your content and tracking the source of your traffic. Currently, Twitter sends more people to this blog than other networks – and, of course, Google.

But, the real final tip is my own: write good posts about topics people are interested in. Easier said than done. Good writing is always tough, but figuring out what people are interested in reading is harder. Today’s top search term is “social media books” but should I write more content about that topic?  It’s not just duplicating content but building on popular content.

Web and Social Media Analytics

Google AnalyticsAnalytics are important is every business and organization. They always have been. Today’s world of “big data” has made them more important and has certainly given them wider use and more visibility.

With websites and social media accounts, the numbers (statistics, metrics, measures) you always hear about are hits, follows, likes, shares and reposts.  Every person using social media has become a part of others’ analytics – and probably follows their own numbers.

I don’t know of anyone who has a website or blog that doesn’t take a look at their hit counter and whatever data is being gathered. If you use WordPress, you get a suite of stats and analytics. But many users use other tools in addition. Google Analytics is another popular method of analyzing site traffic. I use WordPress.com and use their stats, and I use Google Analytics. Most of the time the numbers don’t agree. It’s not a small variation either. Have you heard the saying “A man with two watches never knows the correct time”?

I have read a number of explanations. For example, JavaScript based analytical tools, like Google Analytics, can never be completely accurate because many people have JavaScript blockers installed in their browsers. Some tools allow hits by the owner to be counted and some do not. I know that when I’m working on a site, updating and viewing it, that can amount to a few dozen “hits.”  That is why analytics will also sometime break out visitors versus unique visitors. The former is always bigger because the latter means that if I visit a site (or a site’s pages) 25 times today, that is one visitor.  Unique visitors may sound more accurate, but in some cases you would certainly want to know that your visitors are returning throughout the day (think of Facebook, Twitter or a news site) and visiting multiple pages.

That is why you’ll find articles with titles like “Is Your Social Media Content as Popular as You Think?

One of the buzziest terms out there now is “engagement.” Not a new word, just new to this new arena. Engagement means capturing and holding attention. As a teacher, I want to engage students and have interaction with them. I also want that to occur with this post and all my blogs and websites.

When we are talking about a business and profits, engagement changes. To Amazon.com, hits are good but engagement means all the things that lead to conversion and sales. Some critics of the aggressive online marketing we see now say that where engagement was once the journey, now it is the goal.

I am not a marketer, but I need to be aware of what is happening in the field, so I look at things like the content marketing goals in places such as the Content Marketing Institute reports.

“Likes” don’t necessarily mean a conversion or sale and thousands of views don’t mean a positive ROI. And yet, you still need to follow the numbers.

What did it mean that Twitter removed share counts from its widgets, buttons, and API? Are they telling us that the share count didn’t mean much? It didn’t count replies, quote tweets, variants of your URLs, or reflect that some people tweeting these URLs might have many more followers than others, so the share count was never an accurate measure of social engagement with your content.

Remember that analytics is not statistics, but what you do and learn from those statistics

YouTube only counts a view after approximately 30 seconds. That’s so that accidental views or bounces don’t get into the stats. You might also say that if 25% of your views were under 30 seconds that it is because your videos aren’t interesting – or at least they are not engaging in those first 30 seconds. YouTube analytics will tell you if someone watched 1, 2, 3, or all 4 minutes of your video and that is important to your analysis and further action.

Many of the “pro” tools are for a price and so is hiring someone to handle your analytics and marketing, but there are good free analytic tools to measure content effectiveness.