Thursday, February 11, 2010

Social Media For Economists: Part 2 – Publishing and Promoting

In the previous article of this two-part series we talked about how to tap into social media sites for research purposes and connecting with interesting people that have interesting things to say. This time the emphasis is on the other side; publishing and promoting. This is about how to publish your articles and then distribute them to the widest audience possible, and to ultimately build your personal brand. Just remember though, promotion doesn’t beat good content; while it’s good to spread the word, make sure it’s worth spreading.

We’ll look at it in two parts: first we’ll look at where to publish your articles. This will include various blogs and media sites that allow you to contribute articles. Then we’ll look at how to tell people about your articles and how to get links up. It’s possibly a little overkill to use every single one of these, so it’s up to you to find the right mix. You don’t want to be seen as spamming, but at the same time you want the maximum amount of people to see your stuff and find out how smart you are and hopefully start following you.

I guess you need to quickly review your own goals. Is it to build maximum brand recognition? Is it to build maximum amount of links? Is it to go for credibility first? Is it simply to reach as many people as possible? You need to have your aims at least somewhere in your head so that you can best execute your article distribution and promotion plan.

Where To Publish Your Articles
Similar to part one of the series on social media for economists, I’ll review some key websites and assign a score out of 5 for effectiveness, and of course a paragraph on how to get the most out of it and a few tips and hints.

Your Own Blog/Website – 5/5
The first place to start is to build your own website, or blog. If you are not very tech savvy it may pay to go for a blog. Blogs are a dime a dozen these days, and many services offer them for free. Google has their own service called Blogger. It is relatively easy to use and fairly common too. Plus it has social features in that people can follow you, and comment on articles. Of course there’s also the ad sense bit so you could make a few cents here and there. I would say having your own blog is a must as it gives you a sort of home base.

Seeking Alpha – 5/5
Another must is Seeking Alpha, you have the option of just doing blog (“instablog”), or submitting the article for publishing. If your article gets selected it will be published and will feature on the daily emails (e.g. macroview), and possibly make it to the home page. If your article is really good – or popular it may get and “editors pick” which is a bit of a badge of honor. Basically this is one of the best avenues for publishing articles as you can build a up a following (people can follow you) which will say something about credibility. There’s also the interactivity of comments and messages. Also pays to get certified and add the badge to your blog.

Motley Fool CAPS – 4/5
The Motley Fool CAPS isn't too special, just another avenue for publishing your articles on your personal blog there (plus you can leverage off the established brand). The main benefit is the large audience of people who’re into the stock market. It has various other interesting features, but is definitely a distant second to Seeking Alpha. 3/5
Hedgehogs is similar (slightly superior) in function to the other two, this one lets you publish a blog on their site but also offers high touch interactivity and social features. A must if you’re aiming for maximum distribution or if you have a particular emphasis on hedge funds.

iStockAnalyst 2/5
iStockAnalyst has the benefit of publishing just about anything that you submit, and a reasonably large relevant audience. But it lacks social aspects that make sites like Seeking Alpha stick out. Use this and the other two for maximum readership and linkages, but not so much for credibility…

Daily Markets 2/5
Daily Markets will tend to automatically publish your articles if you prove to have worthy and relevant content. It’s similar to iStockAnalyst but I would say a little better in terms of quality and layout, but it lacks on the social features front.

GuruFocus 1/5
GuruFocus is another stock pickers website that allows you to submit articles for publication. Nothing special, but worthy of a look, and has a few social features, but not a huge following.

How to Promote Your Articles
Now that you’ve got some ideas on where to publish your articles, and you’ve probably published a few, it’s time to look at how to tell people about your articles. This is the promotion side of things – same deal with the descriptions. This side of things is just another aspect to the whole promotion and distribution mix – and it pays to have your goals in mind.

Business Exhange – 5/5
As mentioned in Part I business exchange is virtually a must. Join up and you can add your own articles to relevant topics. It pays to also occasionally add other articles so you attract a reasonable following on there.

Twitter – 4/5
Twitter is a must as well, you’ll want to join Twitter and also sign up with a url shortening site such as or, so that you can shorten those long blog urls to fit in your twits (it also helps on distribution as some apps pick up links from url shorteners). Also make sure you sign up with Stock Twits, and simply add $$ to your post of $ by relevant stock tickers and your tweets will show up there too. It’s also worth understanding things like hash tags i.e. you add a hash to key words e.g. see my #economic analysis.

Facebook – 3/5
Simple: create a Facebook fan page and share links to your articles. Or if you have a personal Facebook account simply share the links. I’d recommend going for the fan page as it works better for attracting/building a fan base.

Tip’d – 3/5
Tip'd is an article sharing service, kind of like Digg, but with a business focus. You can add articles under “economy” topics, etc. Well worth adding to your article promotion habits.

bizSugar – 2/5
Similar function to Tip’d, bizSugar is nothing too different, has a specific focus on small business - which is interesting... Just sign up and submit your articles with a witty summary.

fwisp – 2/5
fwisp is similar to bizSugar and Tip’d but has a slightly smaller user base, worthy of a look.

InvestorLinks – 2/5
Investor Links has an add your article feature, but it’s a little difficult to navigate – it’s ok to miss this one off your list, but include it for maximum punch if that’s your goal.

Others – 1/5
Then there’s a whole host of others from yahoo buzz, to digg, to reddit, in fact it’s worth integrating an “add this” button to your blog or website so that people can easily add your articles to those more generic social media sites. It’s probably a waste of time to go submitting your article to every service under the sun, but worth being aware of what’s out there.

So there you have it, a whole range of options for publishing and promoting your work on the Internet. To give you the bottom line; you need to have a blog, you need to be on Seeking Alpha, and you really should connect to business exchange and twitter. All the rest are nice to have and will augment the main ones, but will suit various strategies and goals. So get out there and start publishing and promoting.

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