Getting the most out of the time you spend writing great articles, optimizing them and then being active on your favourite Social Network is an on-going challenge for just about all of us. Understanding the strengths and the order in which we use our social tools helps clarify how our articles fit into the Social Loop…
For sake of argument, let’s assume you’re actively building your Social Network. Also, you’re a ‘blogger, too. Your time can be characterized as:
- writing articles and leveraging your Social Network to share and then promote them, and;
- reading articles, some of which belonging to people in your Social Network and sharing them through your Social Network.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well we all know the challenge is right there, hidden in the hinterland between writing or reading something and then seeing that article succeed.
The life and times of an article
As illustrated in the follow-up to my Socialize Me! Plugin for WordPress, there’s a cycle to content generation, which I call the Social Loop.
In closing this Social Loop, we’re attempting to bring people to the content from known venues like Digg, StumbleUpon, Pownce, et cetera, and presenting them with the option to connect with you.
Fortunately for us, the lifetime of an article is characteristically cyclical and often long lived, punctuated by a series of closures.
However, for the purposes of this article, let’s look at the lifetime of a fictitious article over a 30 day period. Enough time to be seen over your Social Network, shared and promoted through some Social Media website, as well as appearing on all of the major search engines.
We can look at all of these different ways of promoting your content as channels that are either long-term or short-term.
- Linkbait — sudden, extremely high traffic, but short lived.
- SMO (Social Media Optimization) — websites such as Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us, often marked by sudden high traffic that is short lived.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) — optimizing your articles for search traffic, working to or anticipating search trends, such as timing articles to coincide with current news topics.
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing) — if you’ve committed to your link building strategy, here’s where your strategy will begin to yield results.
- SMO (Social Media Marketing) & Social Networking — websites such as StumbleUpon, and micro-blogging platforms like Twitter and Pownce, building relationships and forging alliances with influential players. Breaking down the long-term strategies Social Networking and micro-blogging further:
- Twitter — status updates throughout the day, piquing interest, generating buzz.
- Pownce — piquing interest, generating buzz, bouncing ideas around, which sometimes turn into larger discussions.
- SMO (Social Media Optimization) — Social Media successes often become continual cycles of high-traffic exposure, creating spikes in subscriber numbers and friend requests on Social Networking websites and services.
The following chart is a representation of the kind of traffic patterns observed here on Blah over last year or so. Offering an anecdotal / general impression, rather than actual data.
The length and strength of a gradient signifies the period over which traffic continued to flow inwards towards a particular article and how quickly that traffic then fell off. Also, there’s a reverse effect for those channels that accrue traffic over time, rather than initially.
Getting feedback in the Social Loop
The truly wonderful thing about all of these channels is that most of them feed back into each other. As an example, a properly optimized ‘blog will help contribute significantly to search engine rankings, which may trigger someone to submit or vote for one of your articles via a Social Media website, or share with friends via their Social Network.
Similarly, a successful Social Media campaign often triggers residual “front page” successes elsewhere, that too starting a cycle of sharing and promotion.