Promoting Older Posts With Social Media

For any blogger or website owner, traffic is at least somewhat inconsistent, and ups and downs are a natural occurrence. However, during those slow times most of us would like to be able to turn the tables and get some new traffic flowing to the site. The common thought for bloggers is that new content should be created and promoted to get things moving. This isn’t always necessary.

As I mentioned in a post last week, StumbleUpon has been by far the number one source of traffic for this blog since it launched. It can literally send hundreds or thousands of visitors as a result of just a few users giving a thumbs up or a review to a particular page. There are plenty of articles about drawing traffic from StumbleUpon, but I don’t remember reading anything about using SU as a source of traffic for older posts.

Most blogs have a number of older posts that are of high quality but just didn’t get a lot of exposure for one reason or another. It may be possible to promote these older articles rather than just always relying on new content for generating traffic.

Not too long ago I was wondering what type of results I could create by sending an older blog post to a bunch of friends on SU. I had a feeling that during a period of slow traffic, this would be an easy way to get a boost. As I was surfing one day I noticed a post on Blah, Blah! Technology that I really enjoyed, and I saw that it had not yet been submitted to StumbleUpon. At this point I thought it would be worthwhile to test this experiment by sharing a page from my own blog and by sharing a post from someone else’s blog and comparing the results of both. Well, I’m half way through the experiment so I thought I would share the results so far.

I contacted Wayne Smallman of Blah, Blah! Technology to ask if he minded me promoting one of his articles and if he would be willing to share some stats with me after the fact. Wayne was willing to work with me on this, so I submitted a review on StumbleUpon for Google FeedBurner, Analytics and Webmaster Tools Should Be Combined. The article was published on 12/11/07 and I submitted it to SU on 1/7/08. I then shared the page with 30 friends through the SU toolbar (which is way more people than I have ever shared a story with before, but I was curious to see what would happen) and one of those friends shared it with another 5 people.

Within about 1 day the post had ten reviews and over 50 thumbs up (the most that SU will display). Over the next 3 days the post received 3,962 visitors (3,749 were from SU), with 2,589 coming on 1/7/08. I also submitted the post to Mixx, which only sent about 35 visitors even though it received over 60 up votes. Wayne also mentioned to me that he got a bit of a boost in subscribers during that time as well.

This experiment clearly shows to me that StumbleUpon, and other social media sites for that matter, present an outstanding opportunity to generate traffic from older posts. In this case all I did was spend a few minutes sending the page to some friends.


One of the reasons that I used Wayne’s post was that I wanted to see if the results showed a difference in sharing someone else’s content as opposed to sharing your own. This is why I said I am half way through the experiment. I plan on testing in similar scenario with one of my own older posts and sharing the results.

Have any of you had significant results promoting older posts with social media?

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19 Responses

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  • pablopabla, January 20, 2008

    I have never tried this before but I think it would work especially if you think that the older post is actually worthy of thumbs up but it has been overlooked all these while.

  • Goal Setting College, January 21, 2008

    I absolutely agree. I recall doing such an experiment with another blogger friend and our conclusion is, the number of visitors you get is very much dependent on how many additional organic thumbs up you get in the process. It can vary very much. For example, I got only an additional 100+ visitors when he stumbled an old article of mine. Versus 1000+ for another article that he stumbled for another friend of ours. Content is still fundamentally the essence.

    Stumbleupon has by far, been one of the greatest flow of traffic to my site. There was an viral article that got 55,000 unique visitors just from SU alone. Amazing.

    Cheers,
    Ellesse

  • Patrick Altoft, January 21, 2008

    When blogstorm moved to WordPress a couple of weeks ago I changed the url structure meaning all my 300 previous posts could be submitted to Stumbleupon again. Loads of people have done this and it has sent a lot of traffic.

  • Wayne Smallman, January 21, 2008

    I’ve been told the hair loss is only a temporary side-effect of you running your experiment on me, so thanks!

    BTW, not sure if you know this, but we both ended up on a Podcast over on the Mixxing Bowl last week, which Brian of NowSourcing told me about…

  • Ruchir, January 21, 2008

    I actually submit all my good posts to SU as soon as I post them. I only have a couple of posts that haven’t been submitted to StumbleUpon, I might try on them…

  • Wayne Liew, January 21, 2008

    This is definitely a good experiment to do. As far as I know, stumbling old posts will also give some effects on SEO as well if some stumbledupon users decided to leave a comment on the post, pinging search engine bots to recrawl the page.

  • Rob, January 21, 2008

    This is a really interesting idea. I may try this out for a friend’s site. I think Stumble Upon is a great way to bring in traffic.

    As you point out, the article needs to be of a high qaulity, rather than a run-of-the-mill daily post.

    However, most decent blogs will have several useful articles dotted around, that could be promoted in this way. Nice article, cheers!

  • Erica DeWolf, January 21, 2008

    Wow, this is a great suggestion and wonderful experiment. Thanks so much for sharing! I look forward to hearing the results of the other half of your experiment…

  • Jeff Quipp, January 21, 2008

    Great post! It can also help people build their Stumble profiles, by looking for and submitting quality older content!

  • Marios Alexandrou, January 21, 2008

    I’ve done something similar although not by design. My blog had acquired new readers so I decided to update and republish a few posts that I thought were particularly good. One of them struck a chord and ended up turning into one of my best performers to date.

  • Anthony a.k.a. OldSchool, January 21, 2008

    As far as success stories, I found an older article recently that was referenced in a blog post and I submitted it to Sphinn. The author of the blog commented that he was curious why he started to get lots of comments on an old posting. I imagine this will happen more and more as many quality articles were written prior to Social Media sites being as popular as they are today.

  • MarketingDeviant, January 21, 2008

    Can’t wait for you to post the results! You might be able to decipher stumble upon’s algorithm.

  • Working at Home Mom, January 21, 2008

    A lot of my traffic to my blog comes in through older post. I have noticed a huge climb in traffic from people searching on google. Your post was very insightful and I loved reading it.

  • Vandelay Design, January 21, 2008

    Ellesse,
    I agree, getting additional stumbles is most likely what will determine the amount of traffic.

    Patrick,
    I’ve wondered how that would work. That’s cool that the change has benefited you in that way.

    Wayne,
    I take no responsibility for hair loss.

    Rob,
    If you do try this with another site, come back here and let us know your results.

    Marios,
    That’s another good idea.

  • Caroline Middlebrook, January 22, 2008

    Yes I’ve had experience with this but I didn’t do the promotion myself. What I find is that suddenly an old post starts to draw a load of traffic and what has usually happened is that sombebody else added a thumbs up which has then started off the stumble train again. It’s nice when that happens.

  • Cliff Posey, April 10, 2008

    hen it comes to social boo marketing or any other way of promoting content I do not think the age of the content is near as important as the quality of the content and making sure it is reverent.