I have recently been working on building out Steemithelp.net and the various resources available to new users.
As part of the process I have been asking for suggestions as to what further resources I could provide to help new users.
Yesterday @sykochica suggested to me that it would be useful to have some sort of resource on how new users might go about getting attention for their posts and building up a following.
I agree that this may be something that new users may find hard to do particularly since they are likely to be unfamiliar with the resources at hand and they may simultaneously be being asked to deal with concepts and develop skills that they have not previously used to any significant degree.
Just to be clear I'm no expert on this subject. For all I know I have been extremely lucky and just been in the right place at the right time.
Any kind of success will almost inevitably involve some degree of luck and timing.
I will however try to share what I have learned in the last few months with the hope that it will help others. It is by no means comprehensive in any way and I would be grateful for the insights of others in relation to this.
This is by necessity a long post. I have provided lists and summaries where I can to make it easier to follow. I have also used sub-headings to make it easier to skip to the parts that you are interested in.
Attention vs Following
Getting attention for your posts and having a following are two aspects of the same issue and they both reinforce each other.
Looking at this as a problem that needs to be solved we can break it down into 2 parts:
- Post related factors - i.e. the content and presentation of the post.
- Promotional factors. - i.e. how you promote the post and your blog.
Part 1 - Post Related Factors
Most of this is fairly obvious. I am not a professional writer and there are many people in the community who are much better qualified on detailing what constitutes "good writing".
I will therefore only be dealing with the most basic points:
- Topic - is there an audience?
- Tags - are they appropriate and optimal?
- Content - is it any good?
- Formatting - can people read it easily?
- Images - is there visual interest beyond just text?
- Verification/References - is it your work, did you give credit?
- Timing - is your audience active when you post?
- Persistence - keep at it, few people get noticed right away.
If you post on topics that don't interest people or have low visibility on the site then it may make your post less likely to be noticed particularly if you don't have many followers.
You can get an idea of topics which are popular by going to the trending page and noticing the list of tags on the right hand side of the page - these are the popular topics.
Note this is a double edged sword - if you post purely in the popular topics then you will actually have a lot of competition so your post may be seen but it may actually be less likely to be read.
It could be argued that a better strategy might be to look for gaps that are not being covered and slowly build up your audience there.
My personal strategy is to just post on topics that interest me. I think if you post on something you aren't interested in or don't care about then the quality of your posts will suffer.
I talk about the subjects that I like and that I am interested in. Some topics are inevitably more popular than others and get different levels of activity. Personally I don't worry about that.
Further I think that as time goes on and more people join Steemit there will be a sufficient enough audience for every niche to make this less relevant.
Titles also seem to make a difference in my experience. If the title is not engaging then it is less likely to attract new people.
I've included tags here as that is essentially part of your "topic". Do not tag "spam" that will result in negative attention and could potentially kill your reputation.
Having said that you can use tags intelligently. For example if you are doing a car post, then you might find that "cars" is a more popular tag than "automotive" - in that case it would make more sense to prioritise "cars" as a tag and only use "automotive" if you have an unfilled tag.
When it comes to content I think it is a very subjective matter. Some people like shorter posts which are straight and to the point. Others like longer and more in depth posts.
There is no single correct way to do it.
Like I said I am not a professional writer and there are people who can advise you on this much better than I can.
If I like what I have written then my hope is always that there will be others who feel the same.
The internet is a very visual medium. Posts that are visually attractive and easy to read will do better than those that aren't.
A solid wall of text is about as easy to read as a pile of shredded paper.
That means using good formatting practices to break up the text. You could make a post that is an absolute masterpiece but if it is badly formatted people will move on to something that is less work for them to read.
Use paragraphs, headings, and spaces.
Also learn how to use Markdown - it will greatly speed up your composition and make formatting easier too.
It is very rare to see posts without images doing well on Steemit. Think of it like a race for attention. An image can grab your attention a lot more quickly than a paragraph of text.
Images are not only a means of grabbing attention though. They are another way of conveying meaning and increasing the power of your words - they enhance what is already there. They can also help to break up the text.
Personally I use a stock image site (Thinkstock) as it saves me a lot of time and the photos tend to be of a high quality - this is not cheap though and most people would not be able to justify the cost.
There is also the Steemit4free tag on Steemit itself where you can find images that I and others have posted which are for free use.
If you are confused about how to add images to your posts check out the "posting" section of my Quick Start Guide here.
Verification & References
Make sure you reference where you got your images from. This also applies to text or any other type of media you may have obtained from elsewhere.
Note that cutting and pasting entire articles or simply posting other people's images on their own is likely to get you flagged.
It is fine to post your own images although it is usually expected that posters provide some verifcation.
This could be as simple as a link to a previous verification post (either on Steemit, other social media or your website).
Steemit is still relatively small and if you want to get attention to your post then the timing does seem to make a difference.
For example if you are making a post in Chinese or about Chinese matters it makes sense to post during hours when most Chinese users are likely to be awake.
That is obviously an extreme circumstance but it does make sense that certain issues have more appeal to certain geographic locations and you want to post when those users are most active.
Again as the user base, distribution of SP and number of time zones involved increases this will become less of an issue but it is unlikely to disappear completely.
Further you may also be interested in the temporal activity distribution of accounts with higher SP who might be able to push you higher on the trending page.
This is really important. Few people will get noticed right away unless they have amazing luck or have good connections.
The more persistent you are the more likely it is your work will get seen. It is a matter of probability. That is not an excuse to put out high volumes of junk posts though. That will not help you at all.
If you keep putting out good work of a consistent quality AND on a regular basis you will eventually gather more and more followers.
Right now we are still in the early days of Steemit so any work you put in now will be a lot more effective than if you start when we have a million users or even a billion.
Part 2 - Promotional Factors
These can be broken down into 2 subtypes
- General Networking - talking, commenting, making friends.
- Post Sharing - on other media and websites.
This can include anything from commenting on posts to actually meeting people in real life or chatting in other venues.
I am not going to cover every possibility but the more you do to connect with people on a human level the more likely it is that they will follow you and be interested in your work.
It is simple human nature.
Some possible ways to do this are:
- Commenting on posts and answering your comments.
- Helping out other users/new users
- Sharing and promoting the work of other people.
- Getting involved in community initiatives.
Commenting is quite possibly one of the most effective ways of building relationships with other users as it happens on Steemit itself.
I often find one of the most rewarding parts of making posts is reading the great comments people make and I am sure I am not alone in this. I also make sure to put aside sufficient time in thanking people for their comments. It shows people that you do actually care and listen to what they are saying.
If I come across someone that never responds to their comments then I rarely go back to their posts no matter how good they are - it negates the point of a social platform like Steemit.
It should be noted that commenting counts as "activity" on your post and will raise it's profile within the "active" posts channel on Steemit. This is a deliberate measure to encourage social engagement on the site so don't neglect it.
Another equally important thing is to help out other users, particularly those who are new and are not necessarily in a position to be able to help themselves. Take a look at this fantastic post by @whatsup on the subject.
Promoting Other People's Work
This could also be considered as part of helping others. It also helps by giving more visibility to good content which benefits us all as a community and a platform. It also makes it more likely that others will copy your example and they just might do the same with your work too.
There are a number of community initiatives that are designed to reward good quality content.
The most famous of these is Project Curie - which you can read about here. You can help out these groups by notifying them of good content that you find (make sure it follows their criteria).
Some examples of places where you can share your posts are:
- Other Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc
- Rocket Chat
- Other websites (e.g. your own)
Facebook and Twitter
You can share to Facebook and Twitter directly from the footer of any post. There has been recent talk of "shadow blocking" a process by which Facebook in particular may be reducing the visibility of posts from Steemit.
One proposed workaround to this is to use a URL- shortener such as Bitly. As to whether this actually works it is hard to know without actually knowing exactly how Facebook reduce the visibility of Steemit related posts. It is quite easy to do though and takes very little time so there is not really any disadvantage.
Indeed one added advantage of using Bitly is that it can track some of the basic metrics of people clicking on your links.
This is useful for tracking engagement and the potential effectiveness of your sharing policies.
There are various Facebook groups where you can share posts. Here are the ones I know of:
Finally you can also share posts on the official Steemit page.
Rocket Chat - link here
This is the original place for sharing links from Steemit. There was originally only one channel for sharing posts but this has multiplied into a vast array which is constantly changing.
Rather than listing every potential channel here I would suggest you take a look for yourself by using the search function.
Remember to always read the group rules before posting or you will likely get muted.
Discord - (get the app here)
This is relatively new for me and seems to be popular with certain users.
Discord allows discussion and sharing of content much like Rocket Chat but it also allows voice chat.
There are a number of channels that I am aware of that you can use:
- The Steem Pub - here is a link to a post @beanz that discusses this.
- The Steem Venue - same link as above discusses this too.
- The Digital Lair Network - link to a post on it by @noganoo.
- SteemSpeak - here is a link to a post by @steemspeak discussing it.
I can't possibly list all the websites you could share your content on. Let me know which places you have found most effective.
As I stated this is by no means an exhaustive list.
I am just sharing my thoughts and I really need the help of all of you as the community to fill in the gaps.
What methods have you found useful for getting noticed and increasing engagement with your posts?
Please let me know in the comments.
Once I have a final list of everyone's suggestions I will create an ammended version of this post to put up on the Steemithelp.net website.
Your Reward for Reading:)
If you like my work and aren't already, please follow me and check out my blog (I mainly discuss photography but I do other topics too) - @thecryptofiend
Photo Credits: All photos are personal screenshots or taken from my personal Thinkstock Photography account. More information can be provided on request.
(Verification for me here: http://www.aapicture.com/about-me)
Some of my other recent posts
- The Other Side of the Coin - Dealing with the Onboarding Issue and Some Ways of Helping
- Get Paid Not Pwned - the Power of Slogans.
- Steemit X Prize Results
- Steemit Quick Start Guide: Step by Step from Registration to First Post