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Sharing Deep, Sharing Wide

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One of my clients called last week to say,  “I love your newsletter but I want your blog delivered to my email too.”

No need. Every blog post for the preceding month is referenced in my monthly newsletter (along with some original content). Why do I do this?  My readers have lives of their own and I need to make it easy for them to access my information (duh).

The good people at ShareThis have a little application that can be inserted into blogs and websites. It enables readers to share what they’re reading via email and social media platforms in a couple of clicks/keystrokes. This gives ShareThis a unique vantage point from which to watch sharing behavior.

And what do they know? 46% of shared information reaches its new destination via email, in spite of social networking sites in the aggregate edging email out.

Tweets and Retweets

I owe a great deal of my traffic flow to Twitter, where I actively participate in financial, economic and marketing conversations and share what I’ve written as it’s appropriate.  At least a third of my blog traffic is Twitter generated, so I was surprised to read ShareThis stats on this beloved service:

We found that Twitter is the least engaging share platform with users visiting an average of 1.66 pages when they click through to a site, while users coming in off e-mail were the most engaged, visiting 2.95 pages (emphasis mine),  and Facebook trailing closely behind 2.76 page views. Of course this varies by vertical and site, but if you think about your own habits, it makes sense. Getting an emailed link from a friend may cause you to pay more attention than the more random discovery that you get on Twitter as you consume quick opinions. We think there is tremendous potential for Twitter to increase its engagement when and if better filters are applied – the type of filters that Facebook has built in from the start.

My best recommendation, even if you devote time to build your presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites, re-distribute your messages with a regular e-newsletter. A belt & suspenders approach to being heard.

About Tamela M. Rich

From Charlotte, NC, Tamela writes books, articles, speeches and presentations for business professionals. From "the road" she writes about the people, places and experiences she discovers and the life lessons she learns from them. Invite her to share some of her lessons from the road at your next event!

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  • Tamela,
    The results don’t surprise me — and your experience on Twitter doesn’t surprise me either. It’s fantastic that you get one-third of your readership through Twitter. But you work really hard at it and you are a reliable presence on Twitter. For those of us who “drop in” on Twitter ona more irregular basis (mainly because our lives are more irregular) the survey conveys more realistic expectations.

    But the email part is interesting for other reasons. My experience is that Gen Y doesn’t really use email all that much. So I suspect if the survey took into account age, the results would be differ dramatically by age group.

  • Tamela,

    I also get most of my blog readers through my e-newsletter.

    Most of my readers are too busy to sort through all of the online information. Like your readers, they prefer to receive information through their email inbox.

  • Tamela,

    In some ways, the survey is surprising to me, in other ways it isn’t.

    I think as Nancy pointed out, there’s a generational difference between older web users and younger ones. E-mail is the domain of boomers & Gen Xers because that’s the medium they’re conditioned to using. Gen Y & younger have no such conditioning.

    To them everything is a web-based service. Free, open source, and ubiquitous. So to them, messaging platforms are just that: platforms that just sit on top of the web. All you need is a good browser.

    Email is proprietary with client software on your machine, an email server that sits on a box somewhere else, and the network that email sits on isn’t instantly accessible in most cases. But a lot of us are tethered to that construct, so it’s easier for us to interact with. Plus, since it’s a little more closed off than something like Twitter, trusting the content provider may be a bit easier to do.

  • Welcome back, Professor.

    Your “tethered to the construct” observation resonates with me. I’ve been watching my own behavior since reading this study and what seems to happen for me is if I really, REALLY want someone to get something I email it. If I want to be reasonably sure they get it I tweet or digg or whatever. Yes, I guess I’m tethered by the expectation that email will deliver.

    There’s probably a PhD in this question for someone somewhere.