As some of you know, political blogging is a hobby of mine. I run a blog called Blue Hampshire, which is kind of odd because I'm not that political a person, really. I was angry about how some stuff was going in Iraq, so I started local blogging with a few others. And no one else was doing it, and people seemed to like it, so we kept doing it.
We get a lot of coverage from multiple places. We get coverage from other websites, and coverage from the traditional media.
Here's the interesting thing to me: when we get covered by something like the Daily Kos blog, which puts a link in their text to us, we get a huge increase in traffic. Thousands of new visitors.
But when we get covered by the AP feed, in something like 176 papers across America, we get barely any people coming to the site. Why? Because the AP does not traditionally provide web links in their stories.
Last night this happened on a massive scale. After the debates, CNN covered our blog. They said the name, they showed the big logo with the name, they apparently talked about a couple of comments on it. It was portrayed as a major progressive blog.
Millions of people were watching that. All these people had been watching the debates, the Democratic debates, so this would be our ideal audience: left-leaning political junkies. Millions of them.
How many hits do you think we got off of that?
About 40 hits.
That's right -- an audience of millions and we got less hits than if we were mentioned in some random person's blog.
This is the concept of friction -- how many steps seperate impulse from action. The Average Viewer of CNN is not in front of their computer while they watch. They see the blog, they are interested; but to check it out they have to turn on their computer, fire up the browser and google "Blue Hampshire".
It seems so small a set of steps. But it's huge. The friction in that process takes millions of viewers and instantly funnels them down to forty visitors.
So, if you think that a newspaper article is going to provide a flood of visitors to your site, think again. A well placed comment on a forum can get more people to your site than a mention in the Boston Globe. A well written blog entry can get you more hits than CNN.
So here's a couple questions: why aren't you out conversing with people that can link to you? Why aren't you blogging? Why are you hoping for that Boston Globe article when you can be just as effective without them?
Find where your audience is surfing. Offer them something they want. Provide a link. And watch what happens.