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Adding a YouTube Vid as a Blog Commercial

I am trying something new using something old to attract some additional traffic to my new political blog.

I have an existing subscriber base on a YouTube channel, where I have not been active recently.  So this morning, I created a 60 second video commercial for my political blog to upload to that existing YouTube channel.

The ad has three purposes:

  1. Try to convert some of those YouTube subscribers to the blog,
  2. Serve as a no additional cost commercial on YouTube for the blog by leveraging YouTube’s internal search and related videos traffic to attract new eyes, and
  3. Become a video element on the blog’s sidebar to increase conversions from referral and search traffic into subscribers.

From Mixergy, an interview podcast featuring lessons learned from successful entrepreneurs, I understand that YouTube videos are one of the most successful methods for attracting traffic that will convert.  In addition, one of the ads often running at the beginning of Mixergy interviews touts the A/B tested benefit of video embedded on a site for increasing conversions.

I created it as a draft quality piece because something is better than nothing and I can polish after testing with the draft.  For the script, I just took the content from my blog’s About page and abbreviated it down to identifying the problem and the solution plus a call to action.

While I would have liked to get the video down to 30 seconds, I am pleased enough with the 60 seconds run time given the length of my typical You Tube videos.  For my narrated part, I had to speak at about twice my normal (aka slow) rate to get the commercial down to a minute.

Given that selfishness is part of the branding for the blog, the commercial starts with a short video of Obama saying “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

If you have tried something like this, what lessons learned do you have?



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Writing Better Headlines?

Search traffic to my new blog has NOT been happening.  Yesterday, I was surprised when I started getting search hits from Bing and Yahoo on the term “FY 2013 Continuing Resolution”.  This was exciting because: (1) I was seeing search referrals, (2) I had just posted the piece in the morning, and (3) I found that it had the #1 position for those terms on those search engines.  Meanwhile, I was nowhere for those terms on Google.

While I think about search engine optimization (SEO) as something that I ought to think to do, I don’t really try to study the best practices and apply them when I edit, if I edit a post.  But this difference in search position in Bing, Yahoo, and Google raised my curiosity, are headlines really much more important to Bing and Yahoo for search results?  While Google is bigger, what if I did something small as a test to target these other search engines?  I might actually get more search referrals just by putting a little more thought into my post titles; just as I had been testing with my posts to Reddit.

According to Adam Bauthues, I am actually seeing Bing credit the keywords in my post’s URL, which is auto generated by WordPress to match my headline.

Included in a post full of blog writing tips,  Annabel Candy shared some specific ways to write better headlines, which really focus on the theme of making headlines more useful and informative for potential readers considering your post from a long list of other options…be explicit about your post’s value to them.

She also recommends breaking up a long post with subheading to make the post easier for readers to scan quickly and highlight the value available by reading all that text.  I do recall a solicitation for SEO consulting services that shared the tip that such subheadings, using header tags in HTML, increase the visibility of our writing on search engines.

I have noticed that successful channels on YouTube often change the headline for their videos, which I assume is to increase visibility and attractiveness.  Have you tried changing your headline on posts with disappointment traffic?  If so, what did you find from your effort?

In doing an autopsy on my least successful posts in attracting traffic, I have tested them by gauging general interest for the topic using simple Google searches, or getting metrics for those ideas using Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool.  In addition to identifying alternative terms with better metrics, I have sometimes found that there was not much interest in those ideas.  Do you perform any such testing either before or after you post?  If so, what did you learn?

Personally, I am going to give a bit more thought to my post headlines and test the results.  It is a small first step that is not too difficult to implement.

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Nine Lessons Learned from Using Reddit

Starting a new blog focused on politics, I decided to try reddit as a source to kickstart some traffic.  As reddit referrals are now 50% of my traffic, I think that the experiment has had a successful start, so let me share some of my lessons learned.

  1. Self-promoting blog content on reddit is easy and without significant friction.
  2. The reddit post title attracts the interest as that is what the users primarily will see, so experiment and test.
  3. Reddit’s system for voting and comments are used actively and provide insightful metrics when feedback is not being left on a new blog.
  4. Older evergreen blog posts that are not attracting traffic can be resurrected with a reddit post.
  5. Subreddits are great for doing segmentation testing as you can target specific communities and tailor titles to that community.
  6. Posting the same post to different subreddits on different days can keep posts active overtime and allow for easy differentiation of traffic from different subreddits for results tracking.
  7. Subreddits have their own personalities and can sometimes respond differently than their name would suggest.
  8. Controversy resulting from matching a post with a subreddit can help traffic to your site even if it is not helping your link karma.  Highly recommended.
  9. Reddit offers a good opportunity to reach new potential readers from outside your usual circles of communication.

If you have not been using Reddit to promote your own blog content, using the above lessons learned, I have a suggestion for how to start with a test using the traffic stats already tracked for your blog.

  1. Start by picking seven of your posts that you think deserve more eyes.  In doing so, do not ignore older posts that still have timely information.
  2. Brainstorm types of people that you think would be interested in each specific post.
  3. Use the search feature on reddit to find subreddits that are a community for those types of people.
  4. Throughout the week, submit links for your posts to various subreddits and track the results using your own blog’s traffic stats.
  5. At the end of the week, review your own lessons learned and plan how you could use reddit to promote your blog content.

You can check out reddit’s FAQ for how-to details.

If you try this experiment, please share your own lessons learned.

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Who am I?

I was participating on a discussion podcast for the Objectivist Seminar and I was asked if I was the Jim Woods of “Word by Woods”.

Let me just say that I was both shocked that my identity online was my posts here and that I have neglected to support that “brand”.

Ironically, my to-do-list for today included engaging with the Objectivist Seminar, which reminded me that my prior efforts on this blog have been effective and should be extended.

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Spring Cleaning

You may have noticed that Words by Woods is undergoing a spring sprucing.

Taking advantage of new themes created by PRODOS, we are now brought to you in the very sharp looking “Gather Your Thoughts 05” and feature 10 widgets along the right of the page.

Further, I have activated some plug-ins to:

  • enrich your commenting experience with better editing options,
  • add the capacity for you to respond to other commentators within the comments, and
  • enable you to subscribe to track comments on a particular post.

On the side bar, I have added:

  • a text box for quotes that I fancy at that time,
  • a search box to content on the blog,
  • a feed of recent comments made by you all,
  • a feed of Top Stories that I flagged from my Google Reader subscriptions (see #2 below),
  • a feed of recent posts from the Objectivist Blogger group (see #2 below), and
  • lots of new links that I track through my Google Reader subscriptions.

As the spruce continues there are a couple of issues that I am aware of, which will be fixed as soon as possible:

  1. I have not yet moved six links in the general Links group to either the Activism or Objectivist Bloggers group as appropriate, and
  2. The RSS widget is not correctly parsing the link location for the “Top Stories” and “Obloggers” feeds, as a temp work around removing the trailing URL for the website that was appended to the item location.

For example, instead of:

edit the URL to become

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Bloodstomper Threatened Me! What to do?

In response to my Geneva-Man post, I received a threatening comment from someone named Bloodstomper who has many, many, many comments around the internet. His or herÂcomments do not appear here because I did not approve them. However, omitting some portions such as libelous accusations of my committing crimes,Âthe comment was essentially:

“I wish I could personally torture you and all of your friends–and your mom! Yes, I know you did it, and I would love to torture you until you confessed. Then I could torture you some more! I need to torture you really, really bad. You might even die, so I really need to torture you until you confess!

I’m not sure what to do at this point as this guy or gal seems absolutely insane based on‚ the comment. Do I contact Yahoo about a TOS violation and find out how to obtain his information in order to forward it to the police? Could his ISP help me track him down through the IP address? Should I call my attorney for some advice?

UPDATE 9/17/2006: From research on other posts, it seems possible that Bloodstomper is either a woman or a frustrated transvestite that calls himself Barbie instead of Bill.

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Blog Consolidation

In an effort to blog better, I am discontinuing several of my other blogs and consolidating those efforts here. The discontinued blogs are:

* Do Not Let It Go
* The Washington Re-Post
* Woods Workbench

I will move those types of posts here as I find Prodos’ ThinkerToThinker platform to be superior to AOL’s Journals platform.

However, I will still continue the Frank Wolf WatchÂÂon AOL, which is appropriate because AOL HQ is in the district. I have a new entry there from an LTE to the Loundoun Independent regarding Congressman Wolf’s opposition to Capitalism.

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Meredith College, Redux

A self-reported faculty member at Meredith College has commented on my post regarding that college’s rejection of a donation from the BB&T Charitable Foundation to fund a program in business ethics.

His point was that conditions made on the donation were a threat to academic freedom.

In part, I responded about the freedom the college sought:

For brevity, let me suggest that Meredith College was seeking freedom from reality, more specifically that the producer of value has a right to set the terms by which it is used. The college’s objection was not over BB&T Charitable Foundation giving money, but that it as the producer of the value should set the terms for how that money would be used.

While Meredith College is free to insist on this condition, BB&T Charitable Foundation was correct to refuse, and it is my hope that they will find a partner who would with deal with them on their terms.

For the full thread, go here

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