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More on Advertising on StumbleUpon

StumbleuponA number of readers have questioned whether running a StumbleUpon advertising campaign is the best use of a marketing budget for a blogger. The main point of contention was that 0.05 cents per impression ($50 CPM – or per 1000 impressions) is too much to pay.

I wanted to write a brief response to this on two levels:

1. I wouldn’t claim that any form of advertising is ‘the best’ – however I know of a number of bloggers who have launched successful blogs off the back of StumbleUpon campaigns. I’ll share one below.

2. $50 CPM isn’t ‘cheap’ if all you get for it are 1000 visitors per $50 spend. However the whole point of SU advertising is that it has the capacity to go viral and set off an organic traffic storm. Your CPM for the actual traffic that SU sends will always be $50 – however in effect it becomes a lot less if you manage to do the two things that I mentioned in the last post:

  • Trigger an Organic StumbleUpon Experience
  • Convert SU visitors into loyal readers who come back time and time again

Keep in mind that StumbleUpon can potentially send tens of thousands of visitors to your blog. I wrote a post recently on how it sent me 21,000+ visitors over a 5 week period to one particular post. If you manage to trigger that kind of traffic your effective CPM is alot less than $50. The other thing that many using SU advertising find is that it can trigger traffic from other sources also (like Digg, Delicious and other sites/blogs).

An Example from a Reader

I’m not at liberty to share others stories without their permission – but let me share one that has already been told here in the comments of ProBlogger:

Max Pool from Code Squeeze has commented in the last two StumbleUpon posts by writing:

“On my blog, I wrote a list post titled 101 Ways To Know Your Software Project Is Doomed on the highest traffic day of the week – Monday.

Then I took out $25 of SU ads, which brought me 500 hits. That traffic let to it getting getting on Digg. Getting on Digg, lead it to going viral. 100,000 unique visitors later I was able to capture about 500 subscribed users.

SU is a great ad tool, but be sure that you have great content to back it as Darren implies.”

Thanks for sharing Max. Feel free to share your own positive and negative experiences of SU advertising. I’d also love to know what you’ve found works and doesn’t work in terms of the content on your pages.

Run a StumbleUpon Advertising Campaign For Your Blog

Today’s task in the 31 Day Project is aimed at driving new visitors to your blog by running a mini advertising campaign for your blog using StumbleUpon.

Note – This task will take a small budget (unless you get creative and find another website willing to give you some free advertising – which isn’t just a bad idea, perhaps you could do an ad swap with another blogger) but it need not be much. One of the methods below could drive at least 100 new visitors to your blog with just $5.

One of the things that I do from time to time is set myself a small budget for advertising my blog. I do it as a little bit of a challenge – to see what ad systems work best and more importantly to see what I can learn about branding and promotion. The bonus is that it also drives some new visitors to your blog.

Where can you advertise?

If you’re just starting out with advertising your blog I’d suggest experimenting with different types of advertising to see what works best for your blog – but today I want to suggest an easy and relatively cheap way to get started.

StumbleuponStumbleUpon – StumbleUpon is a growing social bookmarking service that is used by many people around the globe. It is a service that many bloggers target to drive organic traffic to their blog – but one that also offers a means to advertise a website upon it. StumbleUponAds allows you to submit a page on your blog to be shown to StumbleUpon users as they go Stumbling. The cost is 5 cents per impression so for as little as $5 you can have 100 SU users see your page.

The beauty of StumbleUpon is that it is relatively cheap, you don’t actually need to create an ad (just a page to send people to), that you can target your page to be shown to different categories as well as specific demographics (age, location and gender) and that you have the chance of your page being Stumbled up the rankings in SU naturally.

SU lets you set daily budgets and limits to how many impressions you want on any given campaign. The payment is via PayPal or Credit Card.

If you pick the right page to submit in this way and throw a few dollars at the campaign it is not uncommon for organic stumbling to happen and to end up with many more impressions than you paid for. The key is to pick a page that SU users will like and vote for (more on this below).

The StumbleUponAds interface gives you a report on how many people saw your site, how many voted your page up and how many voted it down. This enables you to test different pages that you want to advertise and to adapt those pages to see what different versions of it work best.

Stumbleupon-Advertising

How to Make StumbleUpon Advertising Work Best

The key to making a StumbleUpon advertising campaign work for your blog is to do two main things:

1. Make Your Content Appealing to SU users to get Organic Stumbles – While 5 cents per impression isn’t that expensive (it’s a lot cheaper than some other forms of advertising) it’s more expensive than natural traffic from SU. Your goal should be to start the campaign off with paid visitors and then let the natural voting up of content take over. To do this you need to create content that is appealing to SU users. A couple of days ago I published a guest post here at ProBlogger that talked about some of the principles that draw StumbleUpon users into a site. This would be a useful starting point for designing the page that you want to advertise.

2. Make Your Page Sticky – The other way to get extra value from a StumbleUpon advertising campaign is to get the visitors who come to your blog to come back again and become loyal readers. This is one of the biggest challenges that you’ll face with advertising using any means – but particularly on a service like StumbleUpon where users have their cursor hovering over the Stumble Button ready to surf on to the next site. Of course the best way to hook someone onto your blog is to create compelling content that they can’t live without – but also consider other ways of making them loyal readers by prominently offering subscription methods, driving people deeper into a blog. Most of what I cover in my latest video post on Stickifiying Your Blog applies here.

3. Test and Tweak - The key with StumbleUpon is not to throw big money at a campaign straight away. Get your landing page/post ready and then set a small budget (a few dollars) to see what results you get. Once this is spent – do some analysis of how many people voted the post up and down. If there were more downs than ups you might want to change something about the post (title, add a picture/video, change your opening paragraph etc). Then run another small campaign to see what impact the changes have. Do this until you have a page that is consistently getting voted up and then turn up your budget a little. Keep in mind that you might only need to get a relatively small number of up votes before SU will start sending you organic traffic so be ready to pause your campaign once this starts to happen or you could waste your money.

What NOT to do

While you might think that the front page of your blog is the best page to send traffic from an Advertising campaign to – I would highly recommend that you don’t. Instead – use a single post as the landing page for your campaign. Pick a post that relates closely to the category and demographic of StumbleUpon users that you are targeting and pick a post that you could see becoming viral (whether as a result of it being entertaining, useful, controversial etc).

Give it a Go

So set yourself a budget and give StumbleUpon advertising a go. It’s actually quite fun and if you keep your budget to a reasonable level it’s not that expensive to do. You’ll drive a little traffic and hopefully learn something about the way people interact with your content through the process.

Other places to Advertise Your Blog

There are many places that will sell you advertising space for your blog. Other blogs and sites in your niche can be a good place to start but so can ad networks. Two that I’ve had some success with are BlogAds and Google AdWords. Both are worth experimenting with – but both take the same sort of ‘tweak and test’ approach as outlined above.

– (aff)

Have you tried advertising your blog? Let use know what you’ve learned about it in comments below.

Update – read my follow up to this post at More on Advertising on StumbleUpon.

Stickify Your Blog

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How to Draw StumbleUpon Users Into Your Blog

StumbleuponThis is a guest post on How to Draw StumbleUpon Users Into Your Blog is by Skellie who writes tips and tutorials on creating better content at her blog, Skelliewag.org.

The potential for StumbleUpon to send traffic is often under-estimated, particularly by new bloggers. Unlike digg and del.icio.us, an item doesn’t need to become popular before you see immediate results. One or two votes can bring a hundred or more readers — more than a new blog might see in a day.

StumbleUpon users are, however, notoriously fickle. The service describes itself as allowing you to ‘channel-surf the internet’ and I think it’s a very appropriate description. Users flick through websites like you might flick through channels, often making a decision on whether to stay or leave your site before it has even had time to finish loading.

In this post, I want to suggest some quick tips you can use to draw StumbleUpon users into your site before they stumble away.

Channel-surfing the internet

We’ve all flicked through TV channels back and forth, waiting for something to hold our attention. The decision to stay on a channel or surf elsewhere is usually made in a second or two, and the principle is the same for StumbleUpon users.

With so many other potentially great sites available to them at the click of a mouse, you need to make it immediately clear why your site is worth their time. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

1. Make your blog’s core mission-statement unmissable

A core mission-statement as I define it is a one or two sentence description encapsulating what your blog has to offer. A good core mission-statement describes the kind of content you provide and broadly what your blog is about. It should communicate a lot of information in only a few words.

If a stumbler can see straight away your blog is about something they’re interested in then they’re likely to stick around.

2. Insert powerful visual cues

When channel-surfing the decision to stick with a channel or move on is often largely determined by visual cues. Even with the sound off you can tell a drama from a news program, a travel show from a cartoon, because visual elements provide clues as to what kind of show you’re watching.

The same principle applies to blogs. If your blog’s header contains an image of a pile of cash, we can reasonably assume the blog is about money (or making it). That’s a lot of information communicated instantly by a single image.

3. Push your content above the fold

StumbleUpon users often judge a site by what is offered in the above the fold area — the area of your site which appears on screen before any scrolling occurs.

I think this blog is an example of how to do that well. Not only do headlines and the first few paragraphs of a post appear above the fold, but other content of interest is showcased in the header area. StumbleUpon users immediately see a site packed with value.

You can use the top part of your blog’s sidebar, its header area and the post area to showcase your content. In doing so, you’ll straight away show StumbleUpon visitors why they should stick around.

4. Be unique, be pretty

While it’s difficult to judge the quality of a blog’s content in just a few seconds, people are much more hasty with aesthetic judgments. A gorgeous or interesting blog design encourages a stumbler to stick around and see whether the content is great too.

Of course, a great design is a lot of work (or quite a bit of money). The next-best thing is a unique logo or header image, an interesting color scheme, and so on. There are a number of small changes you can make to create a blog that looks unique and sets you apart from the crowd.

What we’ve done

The emphasis in all the above tips is on instantly showing visitors who’ve stumbled across your blog what it has to offer. This should help you make the most of StumbleUpon traffic and turn more stumblers into readers.

Comment on a Blog that you’ve never Commented on Before

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Today your task in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project is as simple as they come. In fact it’s a tip that gets included in almost every post ever written on how to grow a blog’s traffic – comment on a blog that you’ve never commented on before.

Sometimes as bloggers it is easy to get in a rut both in your writing and in your reading of others blogs.

Go on a blog hunt today to see how many new blogs you can find in your niche. Add to the conversations on these blogs as you surf by adding useful comments and add to your feed reader with their RSS feeds so you can keep following them.

While this tip is another of those tips that we might classify as pretty basic and not that spectacular – many many successful blogs have been built on the back of it.

How to Use MySpace to Build a Blogging Audience

Myspace
This Guest post on the topic of Using MySpace to Build a Blogging Audience was submitted by Kevin Palmer from Buzz Networker.

The preconceived notions that the blogging community has about MySpace and other social networking sites couldn’t be any more wrong. These social networking sites are valuable resources that allow you to target market to your specific niche. When I talk about MySpace with bloggers, most of them look down on the site with disdain. They feel that MySpace is a site designed for teens, sexual predators and that spending any time on there would be a waste to them.

If you look at MySpace’s demographics , you’ll see that the user base isn’t just a bunch of teenagers, with 36% of users being between the ages of 35-54. Each day there are about 500,000 blog posts published on the site covering diverse topic including politics, entertainment, technology, and a plethora of other topics. There is an audience reading these blogs that you can obtain. With a little effort and an understanding of how to target a market on MySpace, you can create word of mouth about your current blog or build a strong audience that you can transition off of MySpace when you are ready to launch a new blog.

Use Original Content to Build an Audience

I have seen a lot of bloggers post a static page on MySpace that acts as giant link to their blog. After having their page up for a few weeks they will complain that they aren’t generating any traffic from it. There are a couple of reasons for that; users are typically reluctant to leave MySpace when they first encounter profiles with all outbound links. To a lot of users, MySpace is a one stop shop. They don’t even realize (or perhaps equally like, care) that there is a blogging community outside of MySpace. You need to take the time to write original content at least once a week and engage your MySpace readers. By doing this you will create a loyal reader base that will follow you to your blog away from MySpace, creating a quality and consistent source of traffic.

Take Advantage of MySpace’s Powerful Search Features

The other reason why bloggers don’t see a return from their MySpace page is that they don’t take the time to target market. MySpace has search features that allow you to target people based on their location, age, gender, keywords, interests, and numerous other demographic information. These powerful search features aren’t limited to individual profiles – you can also scour the site for groups based on various keywords.

Take the keyword “Photography” for example. When searching for Photography groups, the first three groups have a collective 117,000 members. That is the huge audience that MySpace gives you access to! Right there is a large starting group to which you can offer blog invites and friend invites to, as well as posting within the bulletin board of that group.

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Your Audience Doesn’t Know About You So Go and Find Them!

A quick quote from Chris Pirillo:

“Your audience is still trying to discover you, but you have to go to where THEY are and not expect them to come to you in any other way.”

Chris is talking here about video blogging and podcasting more than blogging but the same thing applies to blogging.

‘Build it and they will come’ doesn’t apply to blogging – you need to think about where your potential readers are already gathering and go interact with them there. Read more about this process of growing your blog’s readership by targeting readers.

Email a New Reader of Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Your task for this first day of the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge is to email a new reader of your blog.

Create a great impression upon a brand new readers to your blog by choosing a commenter that is new and emailing them to thank them for their comment.

It might not sound like the most profound tip but I’ll let you in on a secret – this is one of the main strategies I used to build up ProBlogger’s audience a couple of years ago.

What I found is that when you do it the chances of the readers that you email coming back to your blog again increases significantly. Get them to come back to your blog once and you increase the chances of them coming back again… and again….

So email a reader now, thank them for commenting and tell them that you’re looking forward to further interactions.

Make sure you include a link back to your blog so they know who you are and make the email relevant to their comment (ie answer a question they asked or add to their comment in some way). While there are some tools out there that do this automatically for you – the more personal you can make it the better.

This simple tip takes just a moment to do but can create a loyal long time reader. Do it at least once a day (or set yourself a higher target) and you’ll build your blog consistently over time.

Is this Tip Not SPECTACULAR Enough For You?

Last time I shared this tip with a fellow blogger they rolled their eyes at me and told me that they didn’t want to find just one more reader for their blog – they wanted hundreds or thousands.

This blogger failed to realize two things: [Read more...]

Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for Your Blog

Aaron Brazell has put together a post Guerrilla Marketing Techniques that Anyone Can Do which have some less common tactics to get word out about your blog.

I doubt any of them will bring in a deluge of traffic – however sometimes it’s the small ways of building traffic that add up to make a blog popular.

What small and less common techniques do you use to build traffic to your blog?

An Example of a Guerrilla Marketing Tactic

I met a blogger recently who had a blog with a very local focus. His Guerrilla Marketing Tactic was to do a deal with three internet cafes in his area to make his blog the home page on all of the computers. In return for this he gave them some free advertising on his blog. The same blogger made a similar deal with the local library who also made his blog the home page of their public internet computers. This worked particularly well for him as his blog was on his local area.