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Getting Started With Digg


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#1 skore

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 01:19 PM

Let’s start at the top. To me, Digg is the most powerful website in the social media marketing arsenal. Successfully leveraging Digg can lead to thousands upon thousands of visitors to your website, hundreds (sometimes thousands) of natural links, increased brand awareness and yes – even sales. This thread is aimed at people who aren't currently using Digg and would like to get involved.

Background

Digg is a user driven social content website. I like to think of it as a social news aggregator. People from all over the world find stories that they think are interesting (or think others will find interesting) and then submit them to the community to basically judge. The concept behind Digg is simple – when a story is submitted people are allowed to “vote” on it in the form of “Diggs”. The more Diggs a story gets – the better its chances of making it to the homepage or becoming “popular”. Once a story hits the homepage it will stay at the top of the page until one of two things happen: a new story becomes popular in which case it will move down one spot (think of it like adding a new blog post) or it gets buried. The same way that users can Digg a story – they can also bury it which effectively equals a “nay” vote (albeit a very powerful one unfortunately but we can get into that at another time). You can tell how many people "digg" your story but at this time - you can't tell how many "bury" your story.

Digg started out as a tech news site but has since expanded into many different categories with the current main ones being:
  • Technology (the bread & butter)
  • Science
  • World & Business
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Gaming
There is also a separate video and podcasting section.

Digging?

As a non-registered user all you can do on Digg is browse and view stories. In order to actually participate, you must first register. When choosing a username, some people (most people) want to remain anonymous while others will choose their online nick from forums or their real name or their company name. Choose a username that you feel comfortable with. Once you have registered your account – I recommend customizing your profile a bit. Digg lets you upload a small avatar and if you don’t there is just the default silhouette. Since your avatar will show up right next to your username – you want to choose something will stand out because many people will associate you with your avatar as well as your username. I recommend something colorful and unique (most people will see it as a 16 X 16 image).

OK – I’m a Digger now what?

You are now part of the Digg community! One of the first things you can do is start digging people’s stories that you like. You can focus your time on the main page (either digg.com or digg.com/news), a category page (such as digg.com/science) or even the Upcoming news section (digg.com/upcoming).

You can now submit stories. Try to find unique stories that others will find interesting. One common misconception about Digg is that all diggers care about is technology - this is simply not true. Some other very active areas are:
  • Politics
  • Environment
  • Movies & TV Shows
  • Business
  • Offbeat News
The way you submit your stories is very important. If you find an article from CNN - don't just submit it with their exact title and the first sentence from the article. Put a unique spin on it. Don't forget - a mainstream reporter has to conform to their paper's standards/culture and their editor - you don't. Be a bit outrageous but be sure to be accurate at the same time.

At the end of the day - the more powerful your account is, the easier it will be to get your stories to the homepage of Digg. This is something that takes a lot of time but it is achievable. Your goal is to get a lot of good Digg friends. The more friends - they more opportunity for them to Digg your stories.

Here are some of my for standing out and building a strong user account:
  • Be the first to submit breaking news (election results, Apple iPhone, etc - be the first to submit these)
  • Find unique sources (sometimes a cool picture will be more popular than a great story)
  • Know what Diggers like (Apple, Linux, 24, Google, Ron Paul)
  • Know what they don't (RIAA, Pres. Bush, Bill O'Reilly)
  • Leave good comments (but don't leave a comment that says 'Good story')
  • Stay active
These are some of the basics for getting started with Digg. Who here is an active participant? Who here has enjoyed marketing success with Digg?

#2 iamlost

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 02:34 PM

Very nice summary. Please repeat for other SM venues. :applause:

I am already on record as being willing to bury Digg. :)
Of course my opinion is based on my site, niche, and marketing circumstances.

What I would be extremely interested in reading are your thoughts on:
* the mean amount of time that needs to be invested for optimum return.

* is this time something that outside marketers, i.e. 10e20, can better leverage for multiple clients as opposed to individual webmasters on an individual site basis?

* best practices for converting (beyond brand awareness and linkages) the mass rush of lookie-loos.

* what relative amount of resultant backlinks do you see being from blog and non-blog sites and what value differences in the short, medium, and long-term?

#3 eKstreme

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 02:44 PM

Wow. Great post Chris.

The three most important things in a good submission are:

1. The submitter, or his/her friends
2. The title of the submission (Copyblogger is your best friend)
3. The description

Getting a good network is easy enough but you do have to work at it - it's a social site after all! Be nice, and digg your friends' submissions if you agree with them and they'll digg yours.

My gut feeling tells me that people skim through the digg pages, and so the title is critical. Make sure it hits the right tone and the right notes from the first word. Also, a lot of people would have read the story elsewhere before it got popular on digg, and so would digg simply in agreement without reading. This means the title has to be accurate and descriptive.

Finally the description. This is where you go all out to get that click. Anyone reading the description is probably undecided about clicking through. Push them over the edge with your amazing soundbite.

I'd add two more things to your likes/dislikes:

1. Dislike SEO. To the teenage diggers, SEO = SPAM.
2. Like CSS and generally web design.

Having said that, a lot of SEOs (ahem) frequent digg, and so a well targeted SEO post can succeed :)

Pierre

#4 Jozian

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 02:50 PM

Thank you, Score!

#5 skore

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 03:04 PM

Very nice summary. Please repeat for other SM venues.


Thanks iamlost - I will certainly try when time allows.

I am already on record as being willing to bury Digg.
Of course my opinion is based on my site, niche, and marketing circumstances.


Can you elaborate a bit on your experiences so far and what went wrong?

* the mean amount of time that needs to be invested for optimum return.


To me the most important thing is to have a powerful account. Unfortunately this takes a lot of time to build up. There is no exact formula but in order to build up a strong account you are going to have to put in weeks of time. Once the account is established it is important to maintain it and stay active - luckily this can be done with less than 30 mins per day.

* is this time something that outside marketers, i.e. 10e20, can better leverage for multiple clients as opposed to individual webmasters on an individual site basis?


I think this is the same kind of question that you could ask when it comes to SEO. If a company that knows what they are doing handles it you are going to have to pay but you also don't have to put all of the work in. You also have a lot of the same risk/rewards as with the search engines (banning if abused or done wrong/traffic, links, etc when done right).

An outside marketer will usually have strong accounts and know what diggers like but you are going to pay for this expertise. Doing it yourself - its a question of your time & how much that is worth to you.

* best practices for converting (beyond brand awareness and linkages) the mass rush of lookie-loos.


Depends on what your site is. If you are an ad-driven site - I always take ads off the page (when possible) and replace with either RSS buttons (blog) or newsletter signup buttons (ecommerce site). Many times we will also strip out a lot of the navigation (for a very salesy site) and just leave the header and topbar with a few links or calls to action at the end. Once the page has hit critical mass - you can then replace whatever you changed so that it is much for sales orientated.

* what relative amount of resultant backlinks do you see being from blog and non-blog sites and what value differences in the short, medium, and long-term?

Very good question. The majority of early links (first hours, days, etc) are usually from blogs of varying authority (Technorati is great for tracking this) but they then spread out to regular sites, mainstream media, etc. It also depends on what the piece is. Is it an excellent resource or just something cool? The excellent resource is going to have the better chance of making it on to a .edu's resource site then "something cool".

Jozian - my pleasure (except it's skore with a "k" :)

Pierre - you are spot on here with your list of the 3 most important factors:

1. The submitter, or his/her friends
2. The title of the submission (Copyblogger is your best friend)
3. The description


Thanks a lot for your additions to this thread. I think it would be great if everyone who uses Digg listed there helpful hints and tricks here. And if the people who don't list their questions and then anyone can jump in and answer them. Then once we have exhausted everything - we can add a few links to good resources about learning more (I have a few on my blog but I hate link dropping) and make this into an excellent resource for cre8asite.



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