Monday, February 1, 2010


My last minute entry by SharkeyinColo.
Think Small:
Grow Big

Your Site May Appear on Digg
But So What If No One Diggs You Except Your Mom? Hi, Mom! I'm on the WEB!"

photo courtesy sharkyinColo 
Print media – newspaper, magazines, catalogs and such – are losing relevance in the digital world in which news is up to the minute – with videos. You can read all about it in tomorrow’s newspaper – minus the video, of course.

With the proliferation of social search engines like Digg and Reddit, the future of dailies, weeklies and monthlies seems pretty bleak, unless…

…with the advent of more and more sophisticated RSS aggregators and bigger pipes, many print outlets are turning to the web to stay afloat – but just barely at the moment. The NewYork Times, the grand dame of national newspapers, is stuffing RSS feeds with content, changing their tag line from “All the News That’s Fit To Print” to “All the News That Fits We Click.” Time marches on.

But if the NYTs, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Herald and other information powerhouses are giving it away for free, what chance do you, owner of Fred’s Newsletter, against such formidable competition.

Think Small Web Communities
If you have something worthwhile to say, worthwhile people will listen if we can just hook up writer and reader. But if the humongous social search engines like Digg,, Stumbleupon, citulike, Reddit, Spurlnet and other social SE’s are growing bigger and accessing content from reliable sources like The LA Times, what chance have you got to have your daily news and views picked up and, yes, actually read.

Simple. Think niche.

The big, egalitarian search engines collect feeds from readers interested in everything from taxidermy to tax shelters. Not so with the smaller, more focused site comminutes with search engines powered by the people.

Getting Noticed Small Time
There are three steps involved in getting your news picked up by smaller socially-driven search engines – and they’re all free, which in itself makes the strategy appealing to the new site owner with a very limited marketing budget.

Step one: Identify your reader. What segments of the web community would actually be interested in your thoughts from Squirrel News Today? Well, you’d be surprised. People who feed the squirrels,  watch their antics in the park, companies that eliminate squirrels from the attack (you know, Squirrel Be Gone), nature lovers, hikers – just use your imagination.

Step Two: Give the reader something of value. A free subscription works great if the quality of your squirrel news isn’t pure nuts and berries. Squirrel aficionados want their rodent updates straight up, without a lot of editorial opinion.

Step Three: Add an open blog to your feed and let the readers post their own squirrelly thoughts. This builds a community, provides unusual perspectives (From squirrel lovers? Who’d a thunk it?) and expands your publication’s name and reputation, making Squirrel News Today the #1 online publication among the (growing?) ranks of squirrel lovers.

Popular Niche Communities
Squirrel lovers or not, these are the people you have to reach to be heard. So, let’s look at some of the more popular niche communities. Hmmm. Not a squirrel-loving bunch among them. caters to the artistic community with exhibitions and an outlet for would-be artists. Some of the posts are pretty good. Some look like they were done on black velvet, but there’s no accounting for taste. If your feed caters to the coffee house crowd, get hooked up and get noticed. is another arty site – avant garde to old guard, but if you’re a struggling artist or graphic designer, and you want some exposure within the art community, these subscribers and readers are the people you want to meet. is the site for business travelers. There’s information on cool restaurants, city sights, how to get around, the night life, spas – all there delivered to the subscribers’ RSS reader each morning. How sweet is that? It’s free marketing, people. FREE! employs the Digg “reader votes” model, only instead of covering all the news, this social search engine focuses on – you guessed it – real estate. So, if you’re an agent, a professional investor, a contractor, rehabber or flipper, you’ll want to get caught up on the land business over morning coffee. And your feed is right there to read with the java.

Personally, I like It’s a great feed for swapping recipes and, yes, the search engine is growing. There are more recipes for three bean salad on this one spot than in all of Mongolia, which either says something about three bean salad or Mongolia. Not sure. is a well known web brand, and, like many other large sites, they maintain a community zone where visitors can pick up the latest on what bug is making the rounds in schools and where. Good information when you kid comes down with the sniffles.

And speaking of kids, check out Think of it as MySpace for the younger crowd. Now, if this is part of your market, or their parents are, this is a great place to feed in to. It’s a teeny-tiny community of teeny-tiny readers.

Finally, for the serious news junkie, visit If you have something newsworthy, or happen to glance out the window and see a CAT 5 tornado heading your way, snap a picture, add it to your Helium feed and you’re a reporter. (P.S. After taking the twister shot, head for the basement. You’re about to lose the roof.)

No, you might not get the exposure you’re looking for on Digg. My best post has been dugg six times in six months so the chances of you finding it are about zero. But take heart.

Make your views, news and cookie recipes heard by feeding to smaller sites looking for information on niche topics. Who knows, you could become the next Lenny Slobotnik, publisher of Squirrel News Today and recognized authority on rabies vaccinations.

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