An Important Lesson About Online Advertising

The vast majority of money spent on advertising is wasted, and that includes what you’re spending, dear reader. The key is to keep a watchful eye on all your advertising efforts and quickly reacting to fix what isn’t working while leaving alone that which is generating a return on interest.

Here’s one lesson I learned the hard way.

My page, 50 Tips to Make friends was perfect, or so I thought. It’s on something almost everyone is interested in, and almost everyone feels at least somewhat bad about their social skills. It’s just how people are. So if I just got the word out about this post, people would naturally want to share it and link to it. It was the perfect marketing opportunity.

To make sure it went as planned, I wrote a brief introduction on the page explaining that if people found it useful, showing their appreciation with a link would be great.

And so I set it off.

A week – and hundreds of paid visitors later – not one link or mention was picked up by my detection tools. What went wrong?

Simple. People don’t link or mention stuff that they’re embarrassed about. For instance, no one mentions their porn habits, something that I was recently reminded of. Looking at the 50 most popular websites, I saw two porn sites that I had never heard of, and almost certainly never will, despite their huge popularity.

The fact is people aren’t going to link to something they aren’t proud of reading or using, even if it is high quality. The “Content is King” doesn’t always apply, not even when combined with marketing, which is an essential part of success even on the internet.

There is an interesting addendum to this point. Another article, titled something like “50 Ways to Make Friends if you Have ADHD” actually did manage to get some good backlinks. I thought about it a little and realized that there was a key difference. That article had a rational for people to link to it. It fit in nicely to websites that were trying to provide resources for people with ADHD.

And because ADHD is recognized as a problem you can’t control, and ostensibly shouldn’t be shamed about, people were willing to link to it. Even if that article was basically the same as mine – ideas to make friends – one slight difference made it that more marketable.

Take home this message. When you want someone to link to your material, make sure that it’s high quality ,well written and interesting. But also make sure that it’s something that people are happy to have associated with them when they link to it.


Blog Post By: David Gurevich.

David has a deep appreciation for the subtleties of marketing. You should check out Health and Life, a Medical Blog if you’re interested in medicine or health-care.

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on September 11, 2009

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