My career in technology

Gee, marketing myself by saying something provocative like “Come see my most controversial post ever” really delivered the eyeballs!  Who knew?

Well, actually I kinda had that figured before I went and did it…

Saying something provocative is only one of many kinds of social marketing stunts.  Of course, you can pull those stunts only so often (and I certainly can’t pull the same stunt again anytime soon).

But more importantly, when you pull a marketing stunt, you had better deliver the goods.

One of the things I learned from Jason Alba’s presentation last year was about using social media to raise “brand awareness” of my product – me! While he did cover self-promotion, I don’t recall him addressing marketing stunts.

There are several factors to raising brand awareness, particularly when using social media. I’ve seen a phrase used recently about social media marketing, “He who sells first, loses.” When you sell something, you are asking others to give you something. While a mutually beneficial exchange of value is the end goal of any business transaction, in social media it can damage the social connection if it is made too early, while that social connection is not yet firmly established. You might make the sale but lose the customer, unless the exchange heavily favors the consumer.

Similarly, in trying to raise your own brand awareness, you are asking others to use their time and attention to give you “eyeballs”. It may seem to you that you are not asking for much, but to the consumer, their time and attention is valuable, at the very least from an opportunity cost perspective.

It is imperative, therefore, to give maximum value in return for their time.

Social Media Rule #1: If what you want is eyeballs, content is king, and your content must have value to your consumer.

Do my articles provide you with value exceeding that of your perception of your time and attention? Only you can tell me that, though I can infer from my hit count whenever I post a new article that I do, otherwise my hit count would decline, not increase, over time. I can also infer, from the number of “eyeballs” that find their way to my site through internet searches, that I am writing about what people want to know more about.

Social Media Rule #2: If you have any doubts, refer to Rule #1.

In my experience, blog posts about thoughts or ideas get some (or a lot of) hits at the time of publication, but that generally trails off over time. Blog posts about how to do a task, however, people tend to read only when they need to find out how to accomplish that task.  But the tradeoff for the lower initial hit count is long-term staying power, a steady drumbeat of hits over time, if what you are writing has value.

As I have built a catalog of information on my blog, I’ve watched some of my posts disappear from the hit counts. But I have watched others march along steadily, building a base of “eyeballs”, and in the month of June, 40 of my 56 posts and pages got at least one hit, so I do have a long tail

Of course, having keywords that people are searching for and having useful content are two different things, and you have to do both. If you have the keywords, but not the content to back it up, you’ll be “the boy who cried wolf” in no time at all. But if you have the content and no one can find it, it does no one any good. 

Which brings me to my next point… self promotion.

Social Media Rule #3: Promote yourself.

With the help of my little marketing stunt, last month my blog had its biggest month ever, as well as its biggest day and week.

How did I promote myself?  Well, I have my blog tied to my twitter account, so every time I make a new post, a tweet automatically gets sent out.  Same for my Facebook.  But in June I went a bit further.  On Linked in, I am a member of several SharePoint groups.  I posted my Provisioning series to the discussion boards for each of the groups.  I also realized that not everyone is watching the #SharePoint hashtag on Twitter 24×7 (for example, I don’t).  So when I post a new blog entry, not everyone is going to see the tweet, even though I use the hashtag.  So on May 27, I Sent off a tweet every 40 minutes or so announcing one of my SharePoint related posts (and begged forgiveness from my followers afterward).  For career-related posts, I always send out an e-mail to the discussion list for LaunchPad Job Club, which usually gets me about 150 hits.  When it came time to post No Secret, I knew I had a winner on my hands, and went a little further.  I posted to a number of non-technical LinkedIn groups that I am a member of, and used the provocative phrase “my most controversial post ever”.  Then when my hit count climbed, I tweeted about my hit count.  And of course, everyone wanted to see what they were missing!

How about some stats? (Scroll past if you are bored by stats, I’ve got more stuff to say after.  Me, I love stats!)

  Before June June
Biggest day  May 20, 2009 – 157  June 29, 2010 – 221
2nd biggest day  May 19, 2009 – 36  June 30, 2010 – 159
Biggest Month  August 2009 – 919  June 2010 – 1273
Second Biggest Month June 2009 – 684 July 2010 – 920+
Average Day 6 40 (since June)
Average Month  501
Most-hit Post You’ll never be able to guess, but I’d like you to try! Guess in the comments. First correct answer will get the pride of being right.



BTW, one of the interesting things you can find out from the stats is the best day to publish (and promote) a new blog entry.  Tuesdays seem to be the biggest days for readers to look at my blog….  Just a tip.

Well, now that you’ve seen what a little self-promotion can accomplish, how about I do a little more self-promotion?

Coming up in November, I am going to be giving two presentations. 

On November 10, I will be presenting “InfoPath and SharePoint: Business Partners” at the Central Texas SharePoint User Group

On November 16, I will be presenting “Tools, Techniques and Resources for Supporting and Guiding the Disemployed Back to Employment” at St. Martin’s Stephen Ministry.

(Presentation titles are subject to change, but I like them and I think they will stay)

And guess what?  You’ll be hearing more about these events as they get closer.

So bottom line: 

Jim Adcock is Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out other career-related entries.

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Comments on: "Social Media and the Attention Hog (Me! Me, me, ME!!!!)" (12)

  1. Patty Adams said:

    Jim,

    You amaze me with your writing! You truly have a way with words. I love the blog, although I don’t comment often.

    Keep up the good work!

    P

  2. Great article about promotion! You have really good stats. (I won’t mention mine.) I noticed numerous comments in Austin High-Tech LI group regarding most controversial post ever. Nice!

    Do you recommend other bloggers send announcements to LPJC also? That’s one place I have yet to announce any new articles I publish. Getting 150 sets of eyeballs from LPJC like you did sounds like an incentive for me! The places I do announce are the LinkedIn Network Activity update share fields, various LI groups, and other recipient groups, depending on content. Hmm, I’m not sure Google Analytics (GA), which I use, has such fine-tune settings that would show LPJC.

    No doubt that writing and publishing an article requires outgoing announcements! Without a fanbase, it’s outtasite, outtamind. GA shows me the visitor numbers always spike on the day I publish and announce. Regarding tails, seems I can infer articles from pre-GA that catch eyeballs tend to pertain to food and how-to’s.

    Self-promo here! Freshly published yesterday!
    “Ailing Fridge and DIY Door-open Alert Unit”
    Assess/resolve for ice inside the walls; make a DIY door-open alarm unit.
    http://whilldtkwriter.blogspot.com/2010/07/ailing-fridge-and-diy-door-open-alert.html

    • Thanks!

      I think you should promote your stuff wherever your audience is. You will notice that I don’t promote my SharePoint articles on the LPJC list not because I think it is inappropriate, but because that isn’t where my audience for those posts are. (Anyone at LPJC who does SharePoint should be a member of at least some of the places that I do promote that work.) I could promote them on LPJC, because what would happen is that, if not interested, they would just not click on the link. But I am concerned that it would dilute the “brand” I am developing for that particular audience, by training people that they don’t have to look at each new post I make to the LPJC list.

      As far as being able to tell about LPJC-based hits, WordPress shows referrers; that is, web pages that someone clicked on a link to my site, so when I see a hit from a referrer that looks like us.mc815.mail.yahoo.com, the link clicked was obviously in their Yahoo web mail. Since usually the only e-mail announcement I send for job-related posts is to the LPJC list, and LPJC uses Yahoo Groups for distribution, I can infer that any hits from Yahoo mail come from someone on the LPJC list. When I post to LinkedIn, the referrer will be linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=…or linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=… and so on.

      Counting up the number of referrers and the number of searches (WordPress stats show the search terms used when a click comes from a search engine), subtracting them from the total number of hits, leaves either clicks from e-mail clients (like Outlook) or clicks where a reader clicks on other articles in my archive from within the blog. Looking at the search terms used and knowing what pages have gotten hits, I can pretty well divide them out fairly accurately.

      For example, lets say I have a day with 28 hits. I got seven searches for SharePoint related terms that came to my blog, and there were 10 hits on SharePonit articles. I posted a new job search article I promoted to LPJC and LinkedIn a couple of days ago, and there are a 15 hits to that article, and three to another job search article I referenced in my post. Twelve hits came from mail.yahoo.com, two from Linked in. You can pretty accurately guess that there were actually a total of 22 visitors, two of which were from LinkedIn, and thirteen from LPJC.

      Told you I was a stats geek! 🙂

      Anyway, if you’ve made it through my rambling this far (and I know everyone hangs on my every word <rolls eyes>) I do want to say that Wanda’s blog make a good read and I recommend it (which is why it is on my blogroll!)

  3. […] As I have mentioned elsewhere, when you use a provocative come-on to get eyeballs, you must have the content to back it up, or people will stop reading your posts. […]

  4. […] But I have frequently used that phrase. […]

  5. […] now you can too. You have to promote what you write! […]

  6. […] On my main blog, Working It Out, I talked about a successful run I had after posting some content I felt would be controversial, and then talling everyone I could get to listen about how controversial it all was… […]

  7. […] Either way, give them something that will make them want to click the link (and make sure your content made it worth it to have clicked the link, or they won’t come back!) […]

  8. […] importantly, I had some really strong response to several posts. I talked about how it happened here, and it led to a succession of “Biggest Days Ever” – 221 views on June 29, and […]

  9. […] that produced similar spikes.  A year ago, at the end of June 2010, I published my “most controversial post ever“, It’s No Secret – Optimism In the Job Search.  The promotional push gave me my biggest […]

  10. […] Social Media and the Attention Hog (Me! Me, me, ME!!!!) (Social media) […]

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