Archive for March, 2010

SEO or SNO

March 24, 2010

A few days ago I was part of an interesting discussion (while I was at work it was not directly about what I do) about the value and importance of SEO (search engine optimization for the uninitiated) and emerging value of SNO (social network optimization-could I be coining that one?).

Contextually, if you have a website, blog or some other kind of online presence-the traffic you derive from people either hitting a bookmark or typing your URL into a browser is not all that valuable.  The reason being that you have a core audience, and that is really not going anywhere.  The traffic your derive from someone finding your content from a search engine though is new to you, and a chance to grow your audience–and increase your reach.

There are very specific strategies you can take to optimized your content to index better on search engines–this is a science after all.  If you are able to get into the 70% range of traffic from search engine referrals, you are in pretty good shape–this means when someone opens Google, Yahoo, Bing etc and enters a search term you get a click.  If your content is good, perhaps three or four clicks.

And the analytics for referral traffic is pretty mature.  You know which search engines work for you, which pieces of content index best and which terms are driving into your site.

Social networks though are a little tougher to predict.  The analytics side on referrals is solid, but the variables are in the way URLs are crafted for social networks and the way they are shared.

I read recently (in an email from a friend) that one of the networks drives eight click throughs for every piece of content that is posted on Facebook.  Think about that math for a moment. One million people see a specific piece of content and 10% share it with their Facebook wall.  So 100,000 Facebook posts are generated from a piece of content.  Eight people click on each of those 100k postings-generating 800,000 new visitors to your site.  You have almost doubled your audience by doing nothing more than having a piece of content that your customers want to share. (This math does not include any clicks generated from your Facebook Fan Page).

So, now the subjective question, how do you optimize for social networks–and should you optimize for every social network or focus on one or two?

Since people who write blogs like these like to create lists of best practices here’s mine on this question:

  1. Understand your audience.  Know the demographic and make up of your audience.  This will help you make the right choice on which social networks you should focus on.
  2. Automating links and sharing them to Twitter and Facebook is simply social network clutter.  Get real people to engage with your content and share it.  Those real people can be you and your team-but this is social networks and people who use them don’t want to “bott’d” to.
  3. Be active–on Twitter RT someone’s posting of your content, on Facebook comment (don’t just like) someone’s posting.  Help foster your community.
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A Look at the Future

March 11, 2010

This post is a week or so late, but I think it’s a case of better late than never-and its my blog so I can make the rules.

I spent a day last week doing my best not to lecture three journalism classes at my alma-mater Hofstra University.  The subject matter was social media and how it fits into the day-to-day of a modern journalist.

I was also able to get up onto one of my favorite soap boxes and tell students that it’s not enough to know the news and how to report or tell it–but they have to know the industry they are going to work in.

I think its a great time to be in media-because the industry is changing so quickly.  To be a leader though you need to understand the playing field, know who the decision makers are and not just be on the wave, but be ahead of the wave.

The good news for the future is-I think most of the kids in the three sections I spoke in front of got the message.

So when these kids graduate into the industry they’ll know why retrans is such an important issue, they’ll know who to reach out to and perhaps more importantly they’ll know how to use the tools available now and the ones that are emerging to their advantage; both as story tellers and professionals.

Tweet, Tweet the NHL Trading Deadline

March 4, 2010

I would not call it a defining moment for the distribution of news and information–that Twitter is great way to find out about events and get some instant thoughts.  Instead I would call yesterday’s run up to the NHL trade deadline as a very insightful way that the paradigm has changed.

NHL reporters and commentators were hugely active on Twitter–updating all the trades and rumors.  I follow a bunch on this list (along with other sports folks).  This was updated before sites, before blogs, before TSN radio–and as each trade occurred, they became trending topics in Canada and in some cases the US.

I live in a hockey market with three teams, and limited coverage (not to mention the spat my team is having with a one-time team exec and now NHL blogger)-so any hockey news is helpful.  The wealth of information and insight from the Twitter-crowd was (and is) great.

Its how I found out Andy Sutton is worth a second round draft choice.  Its how I found out my team will keep 2.5 goalies for the rest of the season.  Its how I found out that at the NHL trade deadline, it was all about role players–nary a blockbuster in the bunch.

As always, its important to know your sources and dig a little deeper–but still for that top line/headline it’s very effective.


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