Social content sites like Digg are the catalyst of viral marketing. If you write a blog or operate a website and your content makes the front page of Digg, you can expect lots of good things to happen: about 60,000 unique visitors in the first 24 hours, a hefty amount of referral traffic from secondary websites, and a large number of high quality editorial links that will boost your search rankings.
In a perfect world, interesting content would be all that it takes to become popular on Digg. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Unless you operate a large site with tons of traffic or your blog already has a loyal base of readers, you need to understand how to give your submission the right kind of nudge. You have to become familiar with the unwritten protocols and practices of Digg.
Since CreateDebate launched into public beta, we have been doing our best to execute a viral marketing plan. Our goal is to introduce new people to our site via relevant & interesting content. In the last 30 days, various content from our blog has landed on the front page of of Digg, reddit, delicious, Mixx, ShoutWire and StumbleUpon.
One of the things that we have learned is that when it comes to generating explosive traffic, Digg reigns king (at least until Yahoo!Buzz begins accepting content from new, smaller publishers). If your content becomes popular on Digg, it will almost assuredly become popular on several other social content sites. It doesn’t always work the other way around.
Digg is an ecosystem and in order to get something from it (traffic), you’ll need give something to it (interesting content, not advertisements). For all of the Digg noobs and budding social marketers out there, we thought it was time to share a few insights from our playbook. Here you go, the top 10 Digg tactics:
10. Join Digg – Yes, you should sign up for an account. To really join Digg, though, you need to read and participate on a daily basis. You should begin to track the popular content, especially in the topics where your content will compete. You may find the Digg RSS feeds to be helpful.
9. Monitor the Comments – Understanding the Digg culture is paramount. You should make it a habit to always read the first few comments every article that you check out. A well-planted, snarky comment can go a long way when you are trying to solicit diggs.
8. Learn How a Story Becomes Popular - The Digg upcoming section may seem daunting but understanding how it works is essential. In the base case, it takes about 24 hours for a submission to become popular. During that period, the submission will have the opportunity to achieve a number of milestones (i.e. becoming Hot in Topic). Each milestone will put the link in front of more people, thereby increasing its chance to be dugg.
7. Track Power Users – The power users, the people who use Digg the most, are the influencers. They aren’t hard to find, go to the front page and start checking out some profiles. On the bottom-right, you can see their stats. Find people have made at least 50 stories popular. Bookmark their profiles and check back frequently. Do your best to befriend them.
6. Become a Fan – Add friends, hundreds of them. Don’t do it all in one sitting, remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day. You should get in the habit of adding at least 20 new friends per week. Start by adding some power users, then add their friends and so on.
5. Build Your Buddy List – A lot of digg soliciting goes on behind the scenes, especially via IM. Coincidentally enough, many diggers list their IM information in the About blurb on their profile. Parse through a bunch of profiles and compile a list of screen names. Don’t just bombard these folks with digg requests though. Take the time to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships.
4. Build Your Profile – If you want to become a Digg power user, you need to look like one. Your profile should show lots of fans, friends & diggs. When people ask you to digg one of their submissions and it turns out to be interesting, take it a step further and make that story one of your favorites.
3. Submit Smart – Choose the topic that you will submit to wisely. Some topics are much more competitive than others. Of course, you need to make sure that you are submitting to an appropriate topic or casual web surfers may not have a chance to find your submission on their own. Analysis has also shown that when you submit also plays a key role.
2. Send Shouts – Digg shouts are the single best way to solicit diggs. Of course, you can’t just send shouts to anybody, that’s why you need to add friends to bolster your network. When you send shouts, remember, its a two-way street. If you expect others to digg your content, you’ll need to regularly check your shouts and digg the stories that you find interesting. Don’t be afraid to remind others that you have dugg their stories. Most importantly, don’t keep sending repetitive shouts. Nobody likes a pest.
1. Submit Interesting Content – All of the Digg tactics in the world won’t help you unless you have some worthwhile content to submit. At the end of the day, every digg that your submission receives will be from a intelligent, free-thinking individual. Nobody like to see crap hit the front page.
On a final, unrelated note, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to sarahintampa who maintains an interesting tech blog and wrote a great review of CreateDebate 2 weeks ago. If you haven’t already checked out CreateDebate, please do so. We are a new site, built from scratch on the ideals of collaboration and democracy, and our community is growing quickly!