Want To Drive Online Traffic? Then Tweet!

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

That’s the question that has surfaced with increasing regularity the past few months. In addition to the compelling data about Twitter’s growth, anecdotal indicators abound: in the last week, I’ve seen that my pastor and the National Basketball Association are on Twitter.

(I’m following Pastor James, but don’t feel the need to be an NBA disciple just yet.)

Having attracted about 90 followers since opening my Twitter account almost exactly one year ago (May 15, 2008 was my debut), my presence on the social-media service is modest, at best.

But I have seen upticks in traffic when I post links to this blog and other writings on my Twitter account (you can follow me by going to my page on Twitter, “InsideEdge”.

Then, late last night, I got a compelling glimpse of Twitter’s power.

Around 11 p.m, I took a few minutes to provide links to two recent news releases that I had posted previously on Triblocal, with specific introductory verbiage so people would know the gist of what they would see. I had shared the releases with a variety of media outlets, including posting them on Triblocal.com, the Chicago Tribune’s citizen-journalism site.

Here are some preliminary findings:

Link I: After nine days, a piece on an upcoming skin cancer fundraiser at Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook had generated a mere four hits. Within 10 minutes of Tweeting about it, the hit count jumped to 14.

As of 8 a.m. today, the tally was up to 23–more than five times the pre-Tweet tally. What will the hit count say when you click on the above link?

Link II: Intrigued to measure the Tweet-pact (Twitter impact) on another Triblocal story, I offered a link to a two-month-old Scheck & Siress news release on a family’s efforts to address their infant son’s plagiocephaly, or flattened head.

Within nine hours, the number of people who had viewed the story climbed from 28 to 41. After a protracted period of stagnation–less than one visit every two days–that’s more than one hit per hour.

Granted, these figures don’t measure what, if anything, anyone will do about having read these pieces.

As a result of my late-night Tweets, will Five Seasons see more visitors at its skin-care fundraiser on Tuesday night, or gain new members down the line?

Will a parent who hadn’t thought about contacting Scheck & Siress do so now that they learned about the company’s various services?

We will probably never know–though any organization ought to be continually asking clients how they found out about them, so they can measure what marketing efforts are working.

Although the extent to which those Tweets make a difference may never be clear, much more obvious is the answer to the alternative question: What if, after having already invested hours upon hours in developing those news releases, I had not taken a few moments make that extra awareness-raising nudge?

A Story About Unintended Consequences

I am in the midst of outreach with the media about a story looking at unintended consequences–how the “Back to Sleep” campaign to prevent SIDS-related deaths has contributed to an uptick in “flat head syndrome, or plagiocephaly.

A portion of the effort, which I’m undertaking with Plunkett & Associates on behalf of Scheck & Siress, is online at Triblocal.com.

Jilted By a Journalist? Get Over It!

Three weeks ago, I tipped off The Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, Ill. to what I feel is a compelling story: a 55-year-old woman named Joanne Schutt is enjoying greater mobility, thanks to a technological advance known as the WalkAide.

As an associate of Plunkett & Associates, I made the pitch on behalf of Scheck & Siress, an orthotic and prosthetic company that has been instrumental in helping Joanne by fitting her with the WalkAide and providing follow-up care, largely through the efforts of prosthetist Dan Hasso.

Joanne Schutt

I contacted The Daily Chronicle because Joanne resides in Sycamore, on the edge of their circulation area. An editor agreed that the story had merit, assigned a reporter to the story, and I connected her with Joanne. The result: this piece on Sunday, Aug. 3.

If you check it out, you’ll see that there’s nary a mention of Scheck & Siress, or Dan Hasso, in the story.

At this point, I can make one of two choices:

1. Get upset with the newspaper (aka The Short-Term, It’s All Personal Entitlement Attitude).

After all, I’m the one that passed along the idea in the first place, set up the interview with Joanne, and made my client’s connection to her progress abundantly clear. Where’s mine?

2. Get over it–and get another story suggestion to the paper, whether for the same client, another one or no client at all. In short, I can strive to be a helpful resource once again. (aka The Long-Term, It’s All Professional Attitude).

After all, the newspaper has 364 other editions annually, numerous other sections, with endless opportunities to pursue stories that I pitch.

My next move is simple: #2.

Besides, through its website and other communications, Scheck & Siress can still communicate its role in helping Joanne as it refers to The Daily Chronicle story.

And I suppose that’s partly what this blog post is about. Same with this video of Dan Hasso talking about the impact that WalkAide has had on Joanne:

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