Social Proof: Herd it Through the Grapevine

Blog Triggers

No, that’s not a typo in the title above, as we’ll soon see. But first, some disturbing news.

It’s become fairly well-known that unfortunate events reported heavily in the media lead to other similar unfortunate events due to copycat behavior. Suicides, murders, and school shootings tend to occur in alarming clusters once the news about the initial event gets out.

What you may not know is that after a suicide is publicized, deaths by single-car accidents spike. When a murder/suicide is heavily reported, head-on car collisions and airplane crashes go up immediately afterward.

What’s going on here?

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What’s Wrong With Steve Rubel?

Steve Rubel had a rather nasty reaction to my free Viral Copy report. It’s obvious he hasn’t actually read it, because if he had, he wouldn’t be able to make the completely wrong-headed assertions that he does. But what I really don’t understand is his intra-day flip-flop on the subject of traffic.

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Free Link Bait Report

With all the recent buzz surrounding Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere, the Magic Middle, New York Magazine’s A-List love fest, the resulting A-List denial fest, and the latest Google page-rank shuffle, links are on everyone’s minds.

We’ve had it beaten into us – links matter. I suppose if you look closely enough, what’s being said is links are all that matters.

Of course, content is what really matters. Content that gets links, according to the gatekeepers.

So, I’ve written a free 30 page report containing some ideas on how you can satisfy the gatekeepers (or actually, your readers and blogging peers – the people who truly matter). It’s called Viral Copy: Trading Words for Traffic, and beyond being free, it’s also free of affiliate links and product pitches.

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Transparent Marketing

If you’re not reading Hugh MacLeod’s Gaping Void, you should be. Hugh is an extremely popular blogger who spends less time pontificating and more time actually growing businesses. Not that he’s a marketing drone — Hugh is where he is today by being extremely creative, in addition to being a grizzled ad man.

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Trading Words For Traffic

Many professional copywriters don’t think of blogs as a way to generate sales. Why? Because blogs are not a “direct-response” environment, and some of the very best copywriters are in the direct-response field.

Direct-response copywriting is a form of marketing designed to elicit an immediate action that is specific and quantifiable. Meaning, you’ve essentially got one shot at getting a certain percentage of readers to respond in the way you want them too. The response rate dictates your level of success.

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The Blog Network Killer?

The beta version of the Rojo FeedShare service has been released, and I think there are some interesting implications. At its essence, FeedShare harkens back to the old traffic-exchange programs of the early web, with a dash of the ezine co-registration programs mixed in. As Rojo explains it:

You give exposure by displaying “Feed Listings” (see examples) which display the name and description of blogs and other feed publishers. When visitors click on these listings they can then subscribe to the RSS or Atom feed for that blogger or publisher in any one of several feed readers.

You then create a listing for your OWN blog and for every impression you donate to the network on your blog, you will receive a listing on someone else’s blog or in The goal is to help build the feed subscriber base to your blog, increasing awareness and traffic to your site.

In essence, FeedShare provides some of the cross-promotional opportunities that attract traffic-starved writers to the growing crop of blog networks. While many blog networks offer much more than traffic, they also generally want content ownership, have posting guidelines, and in some cases can even be stifling due to political rivalry with other networks.

The thing to consider here is this: any properly-positioned blogging service provider can create a network that offers this type of promotional opportunity, and will be motivated to do so by the viral exposure (and blog real estate) it receives by facilitating the network. Rojo is smartly doing this, but it may not present a huge challenge to the young blog networks.

But what if Feedburner decided to do this? Or Technorati?

Or Google?

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