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What’s the Lowdown on Digg Bait?

Muhammad Saleem wrote a post over at CopyBlogger this week by the title – ‘Is it OK to Write for Digg’ and makes some really good points on either side of the debate. Here are a few key quotes from his piece with a few of my own thoughts:

“for it to be classified as “Digg bait” it really has to appeal to the community and it has to incite a passionate response from the users, whether the response be good or bad.”

Love them or hate them – but Digg users are a passionate lot (or many of them are). There’s something about their youthful exuberance that can make them either love you or hate them in a way that can send a blogger to ‘cloud nine’ or to the depths of despair.

“But Digg tends to become like crack for many writers and after they get on Digg once, there is an intense desire to try to keep getting on Digg. It is here that writers often start disregarding their loyal readers, start pandering to Digg, and run into trouble.”

I think this (and the following comments that Muhammad makes) is key. I’ve seen numerous bloggers go to the Dark Digg Side – lured by the temptation of tens of thousands of visitors in short spaces of time and writing posts that really don’t fit with their topic or help their current readers in an attempt to make the front page. My approach is that the vast majority of your posts should be written with your current reader in mind. Look after them – provide a community for them – give them useful content. While doing this there will be opportunities to write content with a broader appeal – but even then you will need to keep it on topic and appealing to your readership.

“Writing for Digg is actually less about substance and more about how you present the content – in other words, copywriting.”

This doesn’t mean you can’t have a post with substance that is diggable – but it does mean you need to pay particular attention to the form that you write in, your title and even the layout of the post.

I think some of Muhammad’s other points about a core and peripheral audience are great – use social media sites like Digg to expand your horizons and grow your audience – but keep your core readers right in your focus.

As with any other aspect of a blog – become obsessed with Digg and you’ll get things out of balance (read more on holistic blogging).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Bloggeroo says:

    Digg users, like Reddit users, are a hard bunch. It’s difficult to figure out what kinds of stories will be popular on social bookmark sites like Digg and Reddit.

  2. Bill Nad says:

    Writing for Digg? I don’t think that I would try to write for Digg but have in the past looked at what I had written already and submitted to Digg. The trouble with Digg is that the users do not click on any ads, banners or even sign up for newsletters but later on the digg effect can be good for search engine rankings as Google does seem to recognize that 1,000s of people coming to your site seems to show broad interest in your content.

  3. As a new blogger, I would probably love to be dugg. Prolem is, I’m very worried about quality right now, and am trying to create a lot of good posts which readers will want to check out.
    Once I have a number of quality issues sorted out, I might try to get dugg: I’d just take a topic I would normally write about, and format it a bit. I have to check what Digg users like, but it seems to be numbered lists that you can argue about… right?

  4. Jon says:

    Shouldn’t this post be titled:
    “Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Link Bait”
    :)

  5. narcolept says:

    Wow. Scary. I just wrote a post not 15 minutes ago about why you shouldn’t write for digg, and linked to your site in it for examples of the sites you should be reading about blogging, rather than the “how to write for digg” posts. Then I come here and see a post on digg bait. Freaky.

  6. John Wesley says:

    Copy and content are really important, but from my experience the biggest factor with Digg is who submits the article. Nearly all posts submitted by average users never go anywhere.

  7. “wrotes a post” might need a fix ;)

  8. Mginger fan says:

    Digg traffic wont drive those webmasters who love the content and link to us naturally .

    For one of my sites I have seen as many as 100 MFA sites linking to it.
    I witnessed almost 5 times growth in number of these MFA sites copying my content after i started to play regularly with digg.

    You are right Copycats get enough time to present our content with “diggnity” .,

  9. Steve Olson says:

    I’m with John…
    Average user submits go nowhere…
    An elite user needs to notice you post.
    On Reddit an average user has much better chances, but the traffic is only half. Digg or Reddit readers rarely stick but the back links produced are priceless!

  10. Ryan Benson says:

    About two years ago, a buddy, whom no longer talks to me, would ask me to digg almost every story that he wrote. Well after a week or so of doing this, I went to see if he digg’ed my stuff, like he said he would. I didn’t get a single story digged. Yet, he said how he got a decent number of hits. After I stopped digg-ing for him, he stopped talking to me.

  11. justinf says:

    my biggest ever dig was a blogspot that had the HD-DVD encryption key in
    the title. it was a bit of digg baiting and sure enough, it happened.

    but despite my 15,000 diggs (well it was 15,000 before it was pulled), very little traffic stayed on afterwards. sure , i got a bit of bump to normal numbers, but it wasnt huge. Digg has the attention span of a fly – so dont expect to build long term and steady traffic from it.
    and *definitely* dont orient your blog around trying to get Digg traffic.

    look on digg as a kind of word-of-mouth opportunity. if you get Dugg then great, but dont build your long term blogging career on it. it wont work.

  12. I just had my first big digg, and it was really exciting. Of course, a lot of people disagreed with my post, which only gives me ideas for new posts! I can see how Digg can be addicting. My niche is probably more suited for the Reddit/Netscape crowd though.

  13. narcolept says:

    Digg users are fickle, and you are all right about a normal user digging. However, even if a normal user diggs the post you’ll still get decent traffic because of the amount of users. If something gets put on reddit, it has a chance no matter who posts it, but if it doesn’t head upwards immediately, you get negligible traffic from it. I think if you’re look for pure hits, you’d rather be dugg even if you only get 1 or 2 diggs than be mildly popular on reddit (i.e. 3 or 4 pages deep) because the raw traffic from digg will outclip that from reddit. I’m a social media/bookmarking junkie though, I probably put way too much thought into this.

  14. This is interesting: I was wondering about how to linkbait, and I got Stumbled Upon for an older post! Quite a nice thing to happen for a new blog :)

  15. There is a win-win solution – write good content as you normally do and pay Subvert and Profit (see my link) to get you on the front page of Digg.

  16. Ask Rea Maor says:

    Digg and other Social networks are very good solution to a beginner blogger,
    it can take ages until your blog will establish a fairly well position in Search Engines and
    gets enough Organic traffic on its own, so users something think that Digg is the perfect solution, but sadly Diggers don’t click ads and usually will convert MUCH less then organic traffic, with my experience, only 1 out of 30 – 40 diggers will stay around and maybe even
    Subscribe himself to RSS… maybe…

  17. raja says:

    diggs is a really good for blogger but i never use any other for my sites, and i donnt think thay works. digg rocks, i get a big traffic junk when i submit to digg

  18. Sadie says:

    The few times I did go to Digg, I felt the hostility, superior attitudes, and general snobbiness – everywhere. Like a giant pool of very territorial sharks, all circling, and waiting to devour anything that hit the water. I was not willing to spend my time to learn what would pass through their scrutiny, and what would be tossed back to shore. Maybe in the future? Maybe.

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