Last week I talked about using social networks properly to get some targeted visitors to your site. This week I'm going to post my initial results, which were definitely very “initial”, as I only got to do them over the weekend.
The results were definitely mixed. One site did better on Twitter, the other did better on Pinterest. I'll continue to experiment over the next few weeks with these social strategies as well. This week though, I'm going to focus on other ways of getting “targeted eyeballs” on your content, and promoting it.
Remember, while getting links to your content is essential to have any real ranking success, what we want is targeted, quality links from people who are simply liking our content and linking to it naturally.
This is the holy grail, but it's not exactly something that's easy to do. People aren't just going to link to you unless you are doing two things:
1.) Creating content worth linking to.
2.) Promoting that content.
So How Did I Do?
I set up my two pinterest accounts quite quickly, with a few boards and a few pins per board. Basically I went into each of my posts and pinned it to one or two boards. I then added a logo.
You can see how basic we're talking here.
The next thing I did was to go to BoardDeckHQ.com (needs free registration) and get a list of community boards. Once I'd got 10 or so boards related to the niche, I just asked to join them.
For DateAndSimple, I got invited to 3 boards over the next 24 hours, and started to pin a few infographics. For this, I searched in Google for dating related infographics, added them to a couple of my own posts (see here and here), with an attribution credit, then pinned them onto my new community boards.
The initial results were OK but nothing special:
5 new followers
1 pin “like”
A couple of visitors to dateandsimple.com (I expect traffic to slowly “drip” through from Pinterest as I add more pins).
This is obviously nothing amazing, but it shows that community boards are the key if you want to get anywhere on Pinterest.
For YourOwnGymZone, I got 0 invites to community boards despite reaching out to 10 boards, and that resulted in
0 new followers
0 visitors to YOGZ.
Again, this clearly shows that the key is to get onto those boards.
Tips for getting invited:
I had some feedback from 1 person who rejected my request, so here's what I recommend.
First of all you should follow the board (or they can't invite you), and follow the owner of the board (the first person in the list of contributors). Then, comment on a pin on the board and tag the owner asking for an invite (use the “@” symbol to tag them).
I really think it will help if your own account has more pins, more boards, and more followers before you do this though. While I did get a few invites, the person who rejected me cited my lack of followers and my account being too new.
I'll spend the next few weeks growing my two Pinterest accounts up and trying to get accepted to a few new boards in future. Of course, I'll pin more and track traffic too.
In fact, if you have a Pinterest account too it would be great if you could follow both boards.
So while DAS did much better on Pinterest, YOGZ was the winner on Twitter. I used an old Twitter account that was relevant to both sites, and had about 33 followers. This was mainly because I didn't want the hassle of creating individual accounts until I'd seen that it was worthwhile.
The first thing I did was to head to Hashtags.org and check which hashtags were getting the most searches on Twitter.
The winners were #Fitness and #Dating, with #Gym also doing quite well.
I tweeted twice for each site.
YourOwnGymZone instantly got 2 “favorites” (which is similar to ‘likes') and Dateandsimple got nothing.
Again, this only really resulted in a handful of clicks through to the site. I think the reason is either the titles weren't interesting enough, the topics were something that everyone is familiar with, or that my Tweets didn't reach enough people.
Hashtags are definitely the key though. When you don't use hashtags you're basically tweeting into a void.
Overall I'm happy that just for 1-2 hours work I was able to find ways of getting SOME attention to my site, although I'll admit it's not remarkable by a long way.
The little social network experiment I did was a good start, and the more I do this, the more effects it will have. Every re-pin or re-tweet I get over the next few weeks will always result in a few new visitors to the site, and that is a good thing.
Let's ramp it up a little this week though.
Today I'm going to discuss some more methods of promoting your content.
Finding Where Your Audience Hangs Out
One thing that you should consider as well as keyword research, is where your niche audience are hanging out. Are they regularly asking question in forums? Are there Quora questions that you can answer?
Facebook groups? Google Plus Communities? The list of places is endless.
Joining in with these discussions can be a great way of getting the right audiences looking at what you're doing, which can lead to shares and connections with others in your niche.
I know what you're thinking:
“Come on Bryon, nobody promotes their content in forums anymore. Most places ban link dropping, and people are jaded with all that stuff.”
HumanProofDesigns gets a lot of referral traffic from certain communities and groups that I'm involved with, purely because I'm adding value to discussions.
Links don't get deleted if you're adding value.
The traditional method of jumping into a forum thread and dropping your link isn't going to get you anywhere, but typing up a long response to somebody's question, the citing your article as the source can do well.
No, you're not going to get any link juice out of it, but you will get some views and quality traffic. That's the sort of thing that DOES lead to links and shares.
It's also important to note that right now, my articles don't have any promotions on them. If you're linking to information rather than promotions, people will be much more likely to tolerate it.
How Do You Find Them?
There are several ways of finding where your audience are hanging out.
You can use traditional methods like searching for “Forum + Niche Name” in Google, looking for Facebook groups, G+ communities, and looking for big influencers in social media.
Aside from that, there's another handy trick you can do, and that's much more highly targeted.
If you're looking for a particular topic, for example, dating after divorce, you can use the “discussions button for Google search” Chrome addon found here.
This is a free addon which will give you this handy “discussions” filter in Google.
Type in your search term, then click “more” and “discussions,” and it will show you all the forum threads talking about this.
This will produce some highly relevant discussions that also allow you to check for things like length of discussion, how recently it's been updated and so on.
Click on “Search tools” and change the “Any time” dropdown menu to past 24 hours, or past week.
Again, the traditional method might be to find an old thread and update it by dropping your link in. I think it's much better to find relevant ongoing discussions and join in. You'll get much more instant traffic.
Hats off to Gael Breton for introducing me to this method.
I can't post immediate results for you because I'm still waiting for various accounts to be approved by moderators, but really all you have to do is join in the dicussions and link to your article for further reading. It's probably better to not mention that it's your own article though 😉
Next week I'll give more information on how this went for me. I hope some of you can do the same.
What To Look For
As well as looking for things related to your current content, you should also be keeping an eye out for frequent questions that crop up, or questions that you think would make good articles.
Since you'll be going on all these new forums anyway, you might as well pop over to the FAQ sections or look for busy threads.
Remember that in this case study I'm trying to go against the grain of just blogging over and over again on a weekly basis and praying for ranks, but that doesn't mean I'm against adding new content.
As I learn the niches and audiences more, I'll get ideas about what people want to read about, and add content accordingly. So should you.
This goes beyond just doing keyword research. Call it audience research. You can still use keyword tools to find the best titles for your posts though.
Benefits Of This Method Vs Traditional Social Marketing
One reason why I like the idea of promoting your content in forums and via Pinterest, is because it will be worth a lot more in the long run. Twitter is good because it's easy, but an hour or so after you've promoted it, you won't get many new visitors. A forum post on the other hand, could serve you new visitors for quite some time.
There's no point getting a surge of traffic for a day or two, then nothing after that. You don't want to have to keep promoting your content over and over again.
Pinterest pins tend to “do the rounds” a lot more as well. I have pinterest accounts out there that haven't been updated in well over a year, but they still get re-pins and traffic.
If you're going to have to keep manually promoting your content via places like G+ or Facebook in order to get shares and traffic, you might as well spend the time on outreach and link building instead. The idea with this week and last week's methods is that once I've stopped actively promoting the content, traffic will still come, links might still be earned, and rankings will increase as well.
Later on, when I add autoresponders and promotions to the site, I don't want to have to go back and start promoting everything again. It will be much easier if there is a constant stream of traffic to plug into the promotions.
This is also why ultimately, we want to rank in the search engines.
My Assignments For The Week
So it should be quite clear what I'm going to do this week.
1.) Continue the Pinterest/Twitter experiment and get added to more boards.
2.) Join dicussions and get engaged with my audience. Promote my content.
3.) Write or outsource 1 new article for both sites based on “audience” research rather than niche research, then promote those articles.