In my last post, I offered some insights into how Triad Strategies has used news aggregation as a way to expand our social network. As a tactic in a comprehensive social media strategy it has certainly been successful in growing our following on Twitter (we are now at 1,720 followers – an increase of 23 in the last week). On the other hand, it has not been an integral strategy in driving traffic to our website.
Our daily headlines strategy on Twitter is simply providing our audience with a headline and a link back to the newspaper, radio, or television website. Our daily headlines email is a list of all the articles with a link back as well. Neither of these two strategies drives any traffic back to our website. We certainly could have driven all of the links back to our daily headlines page on our website, which would have added to our search engine optimization (SEO). But would have our followers and email subscribers been happy with the added step of being directed to our website before seeing the headlines? Probably not.
In our opinion, it was more valuable to make it easy for our followers and subscribers to access the news, than it was to use this tactic for the purpose of driving traffic to our website. Though one of our goals is to drive traffic to our website, you have to build brand awareness and a value proposition in the early stages of a relationship in order to successfully achieve that goal. By measuring the number of times our audience was clicking on our headlines links, we knew that this was a successful tactic. Again, we felt it was important to build that audience so that it would be there when we would have a need to reach it.
Since one of our strategic goals is to drive traffic to the website, we have developed other tactics leveraging our news aggregation to achieve that purpose. As an example, the day that Pennsylvania Governor Corbett proposed his 2012-13 state budget, we unveiled our 2012-13 budget information page. Not only did we aggregate budget news, but we provided a one stop shop for our clients and any one else who has an interest in the state budget to access important information. On the Triad website you can download press releases from the Governor’s Office, the 2012-13 budget spreadsheet (before it was publicly released), analysis from legislative committees, as well as interviews with legislative leaders. We used our traditional social media channels and our subscriber list to create awareness of this resource, and saw our average website traffic increase by 400% in week one, and has doubled over the past five weeks. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette even linked back to our website, adding to the volume of traffic.
We added some additional tweets using the hashtag #PABudget, added a link to our daily headlines email, as well as occasionally adding status updates to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. In this instance because of the sheer volume of what we were aggregating, posting it on our website, and providing an archive of the over 500 articles, seemed to provide more value to anyone who would want to access it.
We continue to look for ways to provide value to our clients and the political community in general. Social media channels have provided the opportunity for building brand awareness and increasing the volume of traffic on our websites.