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Posts Tagged ‘Blog Promotion’

NWHog Stats

Good morning.  This little hobby of a motorcycle blog logged its 1 millionth viewer today. Woo hoo!

Unfortunately there will be no falling balloons, bells and whistles or motorcycle give away as it’s a low budget operation.

There once was a time where I thought a million was a massive amount of views.  At one point I had “Content-Creation Madness”… thinking that all I had to do was post new content every day and then sit back and watch the hordes of new readers and the corporate decision makers find me.  I watched and waited for my clout score to skyrocket.

It didn’t.

And in today’s social media over hyped up marketing world with the aggregators, intermediaries and pyramid viral tricks,  I’m now thinking that I should be asking why is it only a million?!  If you were to benchmark entertainment or compare this blog to other viral legends like Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga, Old Spice Guy and Rebecca Black it’s really nothing but a dismal failure.

Number of Days To 100 Million Views

For example, let’s look at the number of days it took each of them to reach 100 million views:  Susan Boyle did it in nine. Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, which currently has over 900 million views, took 18 days. Rebecca Black’s Friday, currently at 430+ million views, took 45 days. Even Justin Bieber’s Baby, which has topped 1.1 billion views, took 56 days, one day faster than Miley Cyrus’ Party in the U.S.  Even Modern Warfare 2, one of the biggest entertainment gaming launches ever, hit 100 million views after 77 days.  I won’t go through all of them, but you can see how long it took some of the biggest viral names ever to reach 100 million views in the chart above.

This blog is about one-tenth that amount.  Yeah, I know it’s not an A-to-A comparison, but a million views is hardly a blip on the score board these days when you contrast it with entertainment.

In the beginning, the plethora of content distribution “paths” once exited me.  I developed a Twitter feed.  I started a Facebook feed then stopped it due to privacy concerns.  Early on I caught the eye of some savvy social media folks at Harley-Davidson who were convinced that product reviews (HERE) were the wave of the blog future.  It wasn’t.  I developed an iPhone app for mobile users.  There was even a shout out from the reality series man himself… Kurt Sutter (FX – Sons of Anarchy) HERE.  Then there was the Daily Newspaper (HERE).  Most of these were all attempts to help scale out the blog or content reach.

NWHog Geo Stats

Now, I realize that much of the blog content is landing in the “cloud dumpster” and I no longer think “view statistics” are a good gauge of a blog.  This blog has never been about attracting leads and transforming them into customers.  Customers of what?  I don’t sell anything so creating content for each stage of the buying process (awareness, consideration, and decision) is silly.  The characteristics that make for a great blog are typically never tracked.

Characteristics like:

Clarity – Is the blog/author clear about details such as the time period and subject.  Who or what does it apply to and are there updates to the information as new data unfolds over the days/weeks ahead.  Content should appear or link to many forms, ranging from videos, infographics and/or links to legal or report summaries.

Credibility – Is the information the author posted derived from sound research and is the methodology related to the facts.  Is the article sharing an opinion or is just biased?  Is the blog nothing but a repost-er of previously reported news articles or does it provide commentary and analysis of the potential impact to the motorcycle community?

Attribution – Is there clear attribution to the original source and an accurate/valid link to that source provided when possible.  Does the author/article provide links to the study or legal filing/report or just refer to it as “information found on the web.”

Though I generally don’t hold to a “hits mean much” worldview, I’m intrigued by the search results that send readers to the site and that readers are coming to this blog from all continents including places that I wouldn’t have thought — for example: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Guam.

The point of this post today is to say that I appreciate all the readers who’ve joined in the discussion on this blog.  More importantly I’ve realized that some readers had better ideas than I or had important insights that I wanted to share.  The blog has evolved a bit from my original intention and is far better.

I learn every day and for that I thank you.

Photo courtesy of Visible Measures and WordPress.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of Twitter.

Several of the major news organizations like CNN, ABC etc., are using social media tools and if you’ve followed updates over the last week on the Iran election, Twitter has been singled out as a major cyber-sympathizer source to help dodge government censorship.

I’ve had a number of people ask me about Twitter, why it matters and why use it.  To be candid I was slow in adopting the technology for the blog, because I wasn’t sure of the time commitment and the whole “life casting” gig wasn’t all that interesting to me.  However, over the last 6 months I have put some energy into understanding the technology and have been somewhat consistent in updating.  I find it curious that for all of its social media self-promotion and skills, Harley-Davidson corporate doesn’t effectively use the Twitter tool.   A few dealers are trying it and I’ve provided a few thoughts/suggestions below on how bloggers or H-D can leverage and improve relationships with their core audience.

First the what:  Twitter is a “microblogging” tool (it’s technical infrastructure is sometimes referred to as a “platform”) that lets people post short (140 character) messages, called “tweets” to the Web. Twitter exists somewhere in the space between RSS, chat, e-mail (publically viewable), blogs, and forums.

Next is to make sure you’re current on the vernacular of the technology or Twitter “language” — a “tweet” is a Twitter post.  Once you post your “tweet” onto the Twittersphere, users who elect to “follow” you will be updated with your new pearl of wisdom that you just posted.  The best way to really understand Twitter is to sign up for it and just start playing with it. Go to Twitter and create a twitter account.  If you run a blog my suggestion is to make sure and take the time to create a customized or branded profile. Include links to your site or let’s say if you’re a motorcycle dealer include links to your e-commerce or dealership website. Twitter’s help site, will provide an understanding of all that you can do with it.

For example one AZ-based motorcycle dealer has tasked the community relationship manager with the job of posting and managing followers.  Next is to publicize your Twitter ID (mine is macrant) and encourage people who visit your blog or your motorcycle shop/web site to sign up for Twitter and follow you.   I’ve seen folks put Twitter ID on printed receipts and business cards as well as have a “Follow Us” link to their website or in e-mail marketing.  The point is that Twitter is a tool through which subscribers can further reach their audiences, real-time.  Your followers can hear and express thought leadership, broadcast their messages, connect to influencers in the industry both on their desktop and via mobile devices.

As you surf Twitter you’ll note the @ symbol in tweets. This is a method for referencing or replying to another Twitter user.  Mine is @macrant.  Another symbol you will see is #.   This is a trick that folks use to tag or categorize post content. Example: #harley, #motorcycle or #harley-davidson.   Another convention you’ll see is RT or ReTweet. If you’ve read something interesting and want others to view it, you RT it.  For example this would look like: RT @macrant “Posted a great article for #harley fans on how to leverage #twitter.”

Is Twitter for everyone?  No.  There’s a lot of crap people need to wade through on the internet.  But, as an emerging platform with a lot of technical infrastructure it’s another opportunity to build relationships and build a media-savvy blog or brand. To get more out of it I suggest you use some of the Twitter clients. I use Nambu, but two other widely used Twitter clients are Twhirl and Tweetdeck.  These apps allow you to view or analyze what is called real-time twit-streams.  These are the Twitter posts in real time.  A couple other apps you may want to investigate is Twist to track trends or keywords and Twitscoop to see which terms are getting more views or being reference in the Twittersphere.  In addition there is an easy-to-use image tool: Twitpic that lets you post pictures through Twitter.

Because you are limited to 140 characters in a post, it’s hard to enter long urls when you want to direct people to a certain site or page. The solution is to use a URL-shortening service. One service is TinyURL which is popular, but there are many more which you can view at: http://tinyurl.com/yp8cba/ There’s even a user-generated directory at WeFollow where you simply tweet to @wefollow with 3 different categories to get listed.

Now the question is how can I use this to promote my blog or make more $$$ in my motorcycle shop? You can post tweets to your blog or other relevant information which may help drive traffic.  On the dealer e-commerce side, you can tweet to your followers when you add new, cool products to your website which will help drive traffic and potentially sales.   As a motorcycle dealer you could run RT-based contests. Tell people that if they re-tweet a product detail page or blog post they have a chance to win a prize.  You can follow this link http://tinyurl.com/cg8euq/ for a Google search on “re-tweet contests” to get some ideas. You can publicize Web discounts or in-store specials that are good with a code that you tweet. This gives people motivation to follow you.

As a blogger you’ll want to build a social media ecosystem with Twitter that points people to your blog posts, and a blog link pointing people to your Twitter ID.  When people follow or RT you, it’s protocol to thank them via a direct message or publicly via an @reply. If relevant, don’t forget to follow them back.  It’s important to do frequent searches on Twitter for your blog or company name to keep track of what people are saying about you or the company.  Here are 10 key points to help get you started:

  1. Pushy sales can make people avoid you. You’re using Twitter to build relationships with an audience, so be personal and genuine.
  2. Try a personal account and get familiar with it before jumping in on your blog or for a business.
  3. Select a Twitter username/ID that is catchy and matches your blog “brand” or company.
  4. Twitter needs to be used regularly to maintain interest across the community.
  5. Profile customization will support your blog brand or company.
  6. Note to H-D Dealer’s  — try enticing people to follow you with Twitter-only deals.
  7. Stay up-to-date with blog/website analytics to measure traffic from Twitter and gauge its effectiveness.
  8. Publicize your Twitter ID everywhere: On posters, flyers, business cards, e-mails, forum signatures, etc.
  9. Make sure you follow the manufactures, motorcycle racers and other personalities that matter to your blog/business and your audience.
  10. Post tweets to products and categories to help build traffic.

There you have it.  I hope the information was helpful.

If you’re the type of person who feel great “tweets” only come from birds after motorcycle riding and camping in the great outdoors then you’re an unlikely candidate for Twitter.  However, if you’re curious about driving blog or dealer traffic then I invite you to follow me on twitter @macrant and/or try it.

Finally it’s memo to H-D time:  step up the Twitter activity to reach out to your core audience and engage people in a deeper conversation.

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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I dreamt about blog comments last night.  Indeed I need a good night’s sleep.  The bad dream went something like this…

Fulfilling Dreams:  Mac, you are an amateur, arrogant, vindictive little brat who has irreparably damaged the Harley-Davidson brand and soiled the reputation of motorcycle journalism as a whole. Not only are you as inarticulate as a child raised by wolves, but you know virtually nothing about the biker industry that you attempt to cover–a few weeks back, while you were sleeping off yet another of your many benders, your helper monkey ghost-wrote the blog in your place, and several readers remarked that it was the most coherent and insightful posts of the Northwest Harley Blog in months. It’s a shame your helper monkey didn’t return to write more columns.  Signed: Jim Ziemer (H-D CEO)

Whew, glad it was a dream.  Yep, I’m an amateur blogger.  Amateur being defined as ZERO income generated from the site. Zero revenue is by design.  This blog is a hobby centered around motorcycle passions and a dislike of advertisements.  I truly despise sites that have rolling ads prior to content, or flashy-blinky-things detracting me or a link feast of ads.   In my mind having a focus on generating revenue changes behavior.  Aspirations of a “dollar-per-word” gig…would drive a vicious cycle of attracting eye-balls and the lure of becoming “rich-n-famous”.  Sure there comes a time when the enticement of publishing AdSense links or using a lot of affiliate programs makes a person stop and take pause…one Mississippi, two Mississippi…then you realize it’s less about Google pennies and more about blog visibility. 

Speaking of visibility, web syndication is basically a form of print syndication or duplicating website material and making it available to multiple other sites. Blog syndication is the use of your blog’s RSS feed to deliver your blog’s content to other blogs, feed readers and aggregators.  There are many “no-goodnics” or hackers with questionable aggregation sites that have created syndication services explicitly to drive AdSense revenue.  However there are only a few reputable sites who service the mainstream media.  BlogBurst is one of those companies who give publishers access to the best of the blogosphere.

Recently the Northwest Harley blog received approval for syndication which means that content will be place on top-tier online media destinations like Reuters, USA Today, Gannett, McGraw-Hill and Fox News.  In fact, here is a post that received broader distribution on the Reuters site.  The original post is HERE.

Who knows, but maybe this will even change Mr. Ziemer’s viewpoint …in my dreams?

Screen scrap courtesy of Reuters.

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