Extra! Extra! The Social News Sites

Oct 16, 2007 - 2:10 pm 1 by
Filed Under SMX East 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 SMX Social Media, NYC 1:15pm-2:40pm Digg, Netscape, Reddit, Newsvine and others allow community members to share and rate news stories. They are primary news sources and influential outlets that must be considered by marketers. But don't expect to post your old-school press release and get a good response! Learn how these sites work and how to best tailor your message for maximum visibility on them.

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Speakers: Neil Patel, CTO, Advantage Consulting Services Chris Winfield, President & Co-founder, 10e20 Tamar Weinberg, Search Marketing Strategist, Rusty Brick, Inc.

More coverage at Search Engine Journal and aimClear Blog and Search Engine Land.

Lunch was one floor down, and was free. I joined a group and we grabbed lunch, buffet style. Still trying to get my laptop charged, I brought it with me and we grabbed a table by a group of wall outlets. Now, back upstairs and preparing for the next session, I've relocated to a new "Blogging Pool", which is closer to the speaker podium, and by a great set of outlets close by. Matt McGee, seeing the logic in this new choice, has joined me. Barry Schwartz, Liana Evans, Eric Enge and Debra Masteler are also next to me. Matt, Barry and I have our exit routes mapped out, so we can duck out during the Q&A session and post to our blog commitments.

This is Tamar Weinberg's debut speaking engagement. As she tells the story, "This is Danny's fault." We have a small cheering session gathered here for her, as the ambulance is parked outside the building. (Just in case she passes out or something.) Meanwhile, Liana Evans has been posting pictures. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/storyspinn/ - Look for set. We're now waiting and listening to music. "She blinded me with Science" was just on. Twice, today, we rocked out to Eminence Front by Pete Townshend of The Who (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminence_Front).

Danny is now up to the podium and I must officially start sounding official. SM is not just about Digg. First up, Neil.


I love Digg. I'm a young kid. Most kids look at porn, I look at Digg. What is it? Why should you care? Who uses them? Shows homepage. You submit, people vote. If good, it lives, if not, it dies. There's a bury button. If tons of buries, it's no longer on homepage. Average story gets 129 links. On Digg homepage, some sites can get 10,000 in an hour. If you pay for links, per link, that adds up. As long as the site/page stays up, the link is live. Great source of branding. Neil did so well on Digg that the NY Times wrote about him. There's roughly 20% more males on Digg. You need a website. You need images and content. Or video or audio. Podcasts don't bring traffic from Digg but video does. It's a voting system. 100 votes, likely an important story. 100 votes in a 100 days is not as good as 100 votes in an hour. Some SEO's created a lot of accounts and tried to vote their own sites but Digg figured it out. No self promotion. Don't pay for votes. No spamming. No SEO's are allowed in Digg. There are sites like usersubmitter.com (www.usersubmitter.com/) that submit for pay. Doesn't recommend doing it for sites that are valuable. If someone discovered you're an seo, not a good thing. Don't be discovered.

Top 100 users control 56% of what gets on the homepage. You can pay them to get there. You can't control what people say. Not all pages get to the homepage. "Embrace the community and call it a day."


Digg Tips and Tricks is her topic. She's nervous and Danny is trying to put her at ease.

Overview: advice for winning content, advice for promotion as a digg user, networking, tools and lesser known tricks.

Content - viral content works well. Lists work very well. Games, quizzes, controversy, tools, breaking news, videos, pictures, technology/science are other topics. She describes an example of a controversy topic. Tools are things you can describe that help people do things. Track latest news. Describes ipod as a popular story which was Dugg by tons of people. Be on top of breaking news. Videos, try funny ones. Creative ones. Pictures.Everybody likes eye candy. Digpicz.com (http://www.digpicz.com/) is a site to try. If you label your title with pictures and people will find it there. Digg is built on a science and tech foundation. Focus on those stories to build a strong account.

Title and desc. are important. Be careful when marketing your content. The smallest mistake you make, people will call you on it. Make yourself easy to identify. Get an avatar. Don't blend in with everyone. Stand out. Provide your email IM, blog, etc. and ways for people to contact you. Befriend users and Digg their stories early. People notice who submits their stories early. Comment on stories early. You want to be funny. People will find you early. Comment early to be noticed. Digg shouts exist but use sparingly. Equates to spam and you'll be buried. Shouts are fine for promoting friends and networking. Do it privately. Get to know people off-site. Take advantage of Digg social elements to help people Digg your site. You want to use Smart Digg Button, works only for Firefox. (Digg This, for ex.) Digg Alerter. Search for "social media for Firefox". (www.techipedia.com/2007/digg-api-tools) for other tools to check out. (Her blog.)

Everybody wants to do well in Digg but its not the only site. Things to note. Be careful. Don't put SEO or search marketing ID's in title. Don't email everybody and say "Digg my story". Get a diverse amount of people to submit your story. It's hard to bring an old story back to the homepage. 20 diggs in a few hours. This is considered "natural". Anything more, dangerous. You can push up stories to give your story visibility. Check Digg/news/upcoming to check. You can't get "unburied". If you promote to Digg, also promote elsewhere. Stumbleupon is good. Digg archives show what are considered good content. Digg doesn't really have a sports readership. Top Digg submitter, requires at least 50 Diggs. The algorithm is sensitive. You can just submit content, with no intent on being a top submitter. This is fine too.


How many people want links and traffic to their sites? He'll focus on Digg. Why business on homepage of Digg? Traffic and exposure. You can get between 10-20,000 people to your site quickly. People look to Digg for content. Digg is free links. Homepage on Digg, they'll bookmark your site to Stumbleupon, and elsewhere. Sales? Do they convert? It brings brand awareness. Know the languae. FTW is "For the Win". RTFA "Read the f...article" is another. Understand the lingo. Diggers love the iphone, Apple, shows like Heros, Ron Paul. They don't like things like "I love this or that" President Bush, don't say you like him. Press releases don't work in Digg. "Boring". Overtly selling, even if free, is a no-no. Faking it doesn't work. Sony tried this and failed. Know your audience. Blendtech knows people love Chuck Norris, things being destroyed. They used it in a video. Dove video is another example. Get featured on a popular blog. Get that submitted. This is a trusted source. You get traffic from blog and Digg homepage. Sometimes all it takes is a creative idea.

Example: Leading vacations site. They wanted brand exposure, natural links, start a conversation. It's a commercial site that sells vacation packages. Not a place for Digg. 10 Tips to a Better Disney Vacation wouldn't work there. They want something that relates to vacations and Digg audience. They did a list. They wanted to appeal to everyone. People love their cities. They played on this. Stripped out sidebar navigation, and ads. Left top navbar, so when people come they'll visit the whole site. Use "11" rather "Eleven" in list titles. Use brackets. Caps. Add opinions. Choose the right topic and submit there. They tried a lot of these and make the homepage very fast. People left comments. 20,000 unique visitors in 24 hours. It spreads to other social networks. These are where buzz is created. Links still come in. Their example was featured on popular blogs, who had never heard of them before, due to the Digg story. 1000 natural links built. 200 new email signups. 12 new bookings, and this wasn't even an initial goal. If you want to play with Digg, make sure you have good hosting.


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