It’s been awfully serious around here lately. Let’s take a break and talk about ways to find an audience. Then I have a fun new site for you guys to spend some time on. Women are welcome, too, but this is a testosterone-sloshing man cave. Step carefully.
I’ve been reading about blog marketing. Once you put together a blog and develop the self-discipline to write regular content, the next step is helping readers find your site. You can build it and they will come, but unless you make it easy to find then you will wait a very long time. After a solid year of marketing, this blog is starting to gain a little traction… maybe going from first gear to second.
A few marketing techniques are pretty straightforward: a Facebook fan page. A Twitter account. WordPress even integrates those two so that you can schedule a blog post to automatically link to it from your wall and tweet about it. Gotta add in LinkedIn, too. Depending on your dedication & effort you can do the same on Google+, but now you’re managing four social networks and you’re probably not too excited about adding a MySpace account. Pretty soon you’re spending more time maintaining your social networks than you are socializing.
It’s the same thing with sharing sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit. There are literally hundreds of them– can you name more than these three? Do you use any of them regularly? OK, Delicious. Any more? Yeah, I thought so. They’re all competing for a limited market, and I wonder when we’re going to see their founders get bought by a big media company or go IPO.
A rock star of personal finance blogging, Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income, brings in a substantial amount of his traffic from videos and podcasts on… YouTube. YouTube?!? Yep, people search for subjects and topics there, and if you’re looking for ways to make money on the Web then it doesn’t take much effort to find one of Pat’s “How to” videos or podcasts. Right now those two outlets for this blog are in my personal “Later” file. It’s cheap, I’m comfortable with public speaking, it’s not much more effort than writing a post. I’m a little skeptical that you guys want to see my smiling face on video or listen to a book-review podcast while you’re commuting. But, hey, correct me if I’m wrong and post a comment.
As I read about blog marketing, I was surprised to learn about Pinterest. Being a guy, I had no idea that this site even existed– until it started attracting traffic. Between December and January, Pinterest popped up from 2.5% of website referrals to 3.6%. That doesn’t sound like much (1.1%, to be precise) but it means they grew over 40% in a month. They’re also up over 20x from July 2011. Pinterest now drives more referrals than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. Combined.
I follow tech startups and angel investing and accelerators like Y Combinator, and I never saw this one coming. Pinterest has achieved the holy grail of startups: it scales like crazy, as long as they have the cash to rent more cloud servers. They’ve already taken $37M of investments, so they’re probably not going to be offering us a chance to jump in to this one. But it made me wonder what else is out there.
It turns out that another guy has wondered the same thing, but he had the idea last September. With some help, he went alpha last November. They went beta a couple of weeks ago: MANteresting. Go ahead and click that link– it’s safe for work.
He’s already a well-known personal-finance blogger, but this is his first social-media startup. MANteresting.com galactic headquarters is one founder (who still has his day job and a blog), one coding partner, two contractors, under $10K, and now a launch. I bet they’re still getting around to drafting up the LLC. He knows how to do blogger income but I don’t know what their revenue model is on this site. I’m not sure that he knows what it is either.
Do you enjoy watching sausage being made? In true startup fashion, he says:
… there are still a lot of features that are either a little buggy, not implemented yet, or may not be the most intuitive. Over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out extensive social networking features, additional categories and ways to search for images, and literally 59 other features we have on our to-do list.
I’m enjoying his Twitter updates almost as much as I enjoy the images. (I had no idea that so many cool guy home products were out there.) They’re dealing with server crashes and bandwidth and user-interface problems and generally scrambling to keep things going while they figure out how we guys are really beating on using the site. He says he’s already getting seed-money spam. I don’t think he’s taking capital. Yet.
Will this work? 50,000 hits in its first seven days. There are probably only about a dozen competitors, and clearly the barrier to entry is even lower than I thought. How many of the other sites are targeting guys? I don’t know the answer to that either. If you know of a competing “nailgun” site then post a comment for further research…
I have accounts with MANteresting and, of course, Pinterest. All I have to do now is put some time into them. You readers are probably in two distinct camps, and I’ll pander appeal to both genders with my material. Let me know what you’d like to see me pin to my board nail to my workbench!
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