Why We Are On Tumblr

We recently launched our Marketing Land and Search Engine Land accounts on Tumblr. We’ve been quietly developing them this month, familiarizing ourselves with the platform in terms of how to post, what to post, who to follow and ultimately defining why we should be there in the first place. If you’ve been thinking the same, perhaps our story will be of interest.

Why Tumblr?

Here’s a response to launching our accounts after we announced them on Facebook:

If we attract 12 year-olds to the world of search or internet marketing, that’s not a bad thing. But no, that’s not why.

So what is our social strategy in the move, as someone asked us today on Tumblr itself:

Our response:

That’s an excellent question, which we plan to address in a post on our Marketing Land site. The short story is to expand the audience. There are other tech and news resources that publish here that share content that is either on their site, or discovered by other sources. We’d like to be part of that collaboration.

The other advantage is that this is an excellent, non-formal way to engage with other people –  with readers and non-readers alike  - about topics we care about.

To be frank, we haven’t seen a huge advantage of traffic being driven back to either of our sites, not yet anyway. But what we have seen is a tight community and passionate sharing. We are new on this platform, so any feedback on what you’d like to see more of here is absolutely welcome.

Brands Should Be Where The People Are

In other words, as responsible tech news brands, we really should be on there. The same goes for Pinterest. In fact, according to Alexa, the reach between Tumblr and Pinterest is about the same:

Don’t trust Alexa rankings? Sure, they can be dubious. But Google Trends also shows the same:

Getting To Know Tumblr

When we decided to claim the Marketing Land brand, we initially had a hard time. Someone had squatted the name, but because the blog wasn’t being used, Tumblr quickly responded and released it for us.

The platform itself is not difficult, but getting a full grasp of how to post, how to provide attribution to other posters, how to attract the power users (editors) in different sectors and how to track our activity from the site took a bit more time.

Being Seen

The biggest opportunity for visibility is really the dashboard stream that appears when you are logged in, which aggregates the Tumblr blogs you follow. Here’s an example of how this one post was featured as a top tech item, simple because we attracted the right audience to highlight it as newsworthy:

Tumblr allows tagging of posts; making sure you select relevant tags seems key to helping your content spread.

I Can Haz Logo?

Like any other platform, there’s a lot of testing to be had. One feature we discovered that is only available to some hand-picked sites is to have posts branded with logos. For example, here is a Wall Street Journal Story shared by Danny Sullivan:

You’ll notice the Wall Street Journal has a branded post. Of course, they are the Wall Street Journal. Other big brand news sites have it as well, such as CNET and The New York Times. But most sites don’t.

According to Tumblr, this treatment is only available  ”some of our most popular sources,” likely because they manage it manually and don’t have the infrastructure to support it for everyone. But, perhaps they could make it possible for a site to provide its own source image through a meta tag. Put a Tumblr tag on the site you represent, and have it call that?

With Twitter’s recent acquisition of Posterous, Tumblr’s biggest competitor, and the list of media organizations actively working on there now, Tumblr is not a platform we can easily dismiss, nor likely can anyone. We’re already managing a little differently than Google+ and Facebook, so if you have ideas on what you’d like to see more of on Tumblr, definitely pass them along.

Related Topics: Blogging | Channel: Content Marketing | Features & Analysis | Pinterest | Social Media Marketing | Top News | Tumblr


About The Author: Monica Wright has over 15 years of media, content marketing and project management experience, with a strong focus on driving online audiences for media companies. She serves as the the Director of Community for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land, always on the quest to understand how people interact and participate online. She started out her media career back in the grunge days interning at The Boston Phoenix and WFNX talking to listeners, writing artist bios and editing show listings, connecting people with the information they wanted. She still believes that listening and going "where the people are" builds the best audiences, only today, it's mostly online. Based near Portland, Maine, she occasionally blogs about media marketing at monicawright.com, and spends quality time at the dojo. You can find Monica on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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  • http://twitter.com/schachin Kristine Schachinger

    I will be interested to see if your stats actually back up the time on Tumblr because the site I know that did it for the same reasons certainly don’t. Also the demographics for those sites – neither back up the reasons for putting sel or ml on it in my view, but that is just me I am sure you know your audience better than me.

  • http://www.monicawright.com Monica Wright

    Hi Kristine, it’s still to be seen. It does take quite a bit of time, I can attest to that. But it’s one of those opportunities that you just don’t know until you try. I like the way many publishers in this seem to share each others’ content, so it’s an opportunity to broaden the audience, and the brands.

  • http://twitter.com/slueck slueck

    In my experience, tagging is the key to tumblr traffic.

  • http://www.monicawright.com Monica Wright

    Yes, we have definitely discovered that you can’t tag too much on Tumblr.

  • Jelly Jim

    A simplistic question from someone at the ‘fresher’ end of digital marketing, but how do you know that your audience is differentiated enough from other social platforms that you know you’re not just talking to the same people? For example (and it’s only an example!), Pinterest has a similar reach to Tumblr, but how do you know that you’re reaching a viable new audience and not just a margin of, say, 0.5% different people?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Jelly, it’s too early for us to say. But what we’ve learned is that people do seem to have their favorite platforms. Even if they’re on both Facebook and Twitter, and thus might see a post twice, not being in both places might make it harder for them to share in their favorite place. Monica can say more, but I don’t think we’ve had any complaints that something might be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, for example. I know personally, I never hear that, and I’m active on multiple platforms. It is, however, not always exactly the same content. There’s some attempt to make sure you’re sharing in the right flavor, if you will, for each place.

  • http://www.luxuryaccommodationsblog.com Luxury Accommodations Blog

    Why Tumblr? Because it is a great blogging platform! We hosted our blog on Tumblr and we don’t regret it, so far we made a lots of friends on Tumblr and it seems that Google indexes all our posts very well.

  • jack hywak

    hi this is nice post

  • http://www.monicawright.com Monica Wright

    Hi Jelly Jim, it’s really too soon to tell. But as Danny mentioned, we haven’t had any complaints or feedback about cross-posting the same stories. People are on different networks at different times, so it provides an opportunity to reach audience where they are at that time. 

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