Beer Bloggin’ on WordPress – Publicize

BBwWPRecently while I was trying to figure out why my page was getting ravaged by something looking for the movie poster for The Shawshank Redemption, I came across a couple of posts on how to increases the number of visitors to your WordPress blog.  I’ve read these types of posts on several occasions in the past, after all I’m always interested in how to get new people to discover my blog, and I have used a few tips that I’ve found contained in them.

However, I found it interesting that many of them cite “Use Publicize” as the number one recommendation, but that most of them (if not all) really don’t go into to much detail about how to use it.  If fact, most articles pretty much cover the use of Publicize with a “turn it on and let it rip” nonchalance that I don’t really think covers the subject well.

So, with a subject that I feel could use a little more fleshing out, and me looking for something different to write about than beer (I know, I hear you, “why?”) let’s take a look at this feature.  But first, a caveat, I’m supplying this info as a kind of “thinking out loud exercise”, so if you have a different way of doing it PLEASE comment and add to the discussion.  I’m certainly not putting this out there as “THE” way to do it, I don’t have the followers or the page hits to have that kind of clout or arrogance when it comes to knowing how to get more people to read your blog.  This is what seems to work for me (to whatever degree it “works”).  So let’s start.

First, if you’re not using Publicize, shame on you (to a degree), this feature allows you to auto share your posts with other social media applications as soon as you publish it.  It’s fairly simple to set up.  On your blog’s dashboard got to:

SETTINGS -> SHARING

At the top of the page you’ll find the section for Publicize.  At the moment you can connect to four different social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and tumblr, and if you wish, connect to multiple accounts in each platform.  Simply click on the “Add New <Platform Name> connection”  link next to the platform you wish to add and follow the directions.

Once you’re finished , a Publicize field should appear at the bottom of the PUBLISH box in the upper right hand side of the EDIT POST screen.  The box should contain three pieces of information; a list of accounts that your post will be auto shared with when published, an EDIT link that can be used to edit these options, and a SETTINGS link that will take you back to the SHARING page where you can add or delete accounts from Publicize.

So now that we’re set up, let’s talk about the two platforms I started using when I first began using Publicize and see how I’ve come to use them now.

Twitter is probably the most versatile of the Publicize options because when you click the EDIT link,  you’ll see that under the Twitter option there is a box that allows you to customize your tweet.  Just above it to the right is a character counter so that you know you’re staying within Twitter’s character limit.

This is a pretty powerful tool, and yet I see a lot of people out in the Twittersphere not taking advantage of it.  Before publishing your post, take a few minutes to think about who you’d really like to target with this post.  WordPress Publicize with start you off with something like this:

Twitter1

But why not take a few minutes extra and get some people’s attention:

Twtter2

The first thing I did was add the words “Blog Post:” so that all my Twitter followers know what to expect on the other side of the short link.  I also took the time to add Evolution Brewing’s and Megan Moore’s (Evolution rep for PA and DE) Twitter handles so that they’d get a “MENTION” alert from Twitter.  This serves two purposes for me.  First, if I’m gone to talk about someone’s beer (good or bad) I feel I should have the balls to do so to their faces.  Second, if they like the review, perhaps they’ll retweet it to their followers and drive more traffic to my blog.  I get a good chunk of my followers and traffic from posts that have been retweeted or shared, so I’m always looking to take advantage of this kind of social sharing.

Lastly, let’s talk about Facebook.  I can sum up how to take advantage of Publicize for Facebook in one contraction – don’t.  Yeah, just don’t.  This is a case where the “check the box and let her rip” mentality really fails you in my opinion and it all boils down to the fact that for the Facebook option, you don’t have a chance to add a custom message and even if it did it probably wouldn’t work to its full potential anyway.

If you connect your account to Facebook and use Publicize, this is what you get on your page feed:

Facebook1

Wow, exciting huh?  The thing is that you don’t have a character limit on Facebook, so the sky’s the limit on how much information you want to give about your post to engage your followers.  Also, like Twitter, Facebook allows you to tag people in your post to draw attention from people you may really wish to reach out to.  Why wouldn’t someone want to take advantage of that?

What I recommend here is simply not to connect to your Facebook account or, if you’ve already done so then when you’re about to publish your post click on the EDIT link in the Publicize box and uncheck the box next to Facebook.  Then publish.  Once published, click the CLOSE X on that little side panel that comes up on the left hand side of the screen that tells you what a great job you did.  The link in the address field of your browser is now the URL for your post (and only the post).  Copy and paste it into your STATUS field in Facebook.  Once Facebook loads it, select the thumbnail you wish to use, and add some words and tags to make your post more enticing.  Something like this:

Facebook2

Here I’ve pasted the URL of the post into my Status and selected a thumbnail that I thought looked good.  I then added a little description, tagging both Two Stones Pub and Brewery Ommegang, and used the opportunity to share some information on up coming beer dinners at Two Stones.  More engaging, and much more informative than the above example.

Facebook3

And here’s another example where I tagged the event and added some personal stuff.  If I really wanted to go all out, I could have also tagged all the breweries that I mention in the post.  It’s really up to you how far you want to take it.

So there you have it.  Some of my thoughts around how I use (and not to use) the Publicize option in WordPress.  What are yours?

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Author: Ed (The Dogs of Beer)

Beer Blog focused on Delaware & surrounding area. Drinker of beer. Writer of stuff. Over user of commas. Dangler of prepositions.

23 thoughts on “Beer Bloggin’ on WordPress – Publicize”

  1. I need to get better about adding descriptions to my tweets and Facebook auto-posts. Thanks for the reminder Ed!

    I’ll add that tags are uber powerful and can draw a lot of people to your blog. The more generic and abstract the tag, the bigger a category it falls into, which is both good and bad. Good because it is seen by more people, bad because your post may drown in a much bigger ocean of content.

    I suggest using a combination of highly specific tags (which will attract people looking for exact information) and general tags (to attract people who may just be trolling a tag, like humor or beer).

  2. I currently don’t use the publicize feature. I do all my work individually. I’ll often send multiple tweets including the brewery, the importer and/or other interested parties. I’ll then do do the same on facebook, posting to my blog’s page, the breweries, or other pages that would care about the subject matter. It takes more time, probably, but I like the hands on approach.

    1. True. And Publicize will only take a small about of that work away from you anyway.

      One thing I should do more is multiple tweets. The gentleman who Tweets “Drunk Hulk” referred to a study that suggested the life usefulness of a tweet was 20 minutes. That’s not long, so I probably should get in the habit of sending out a couple of tweets for each post.

      I don’t post on breweries/other pages on FB as much as I should. I’m discouraged with my post ending up in that small little box with all the “other” posts. I know I rarely look at it when I visit someone’s page. Maybe I should get over it and do it for a while and see what happens.

      1. Most of the time, I don’t get a lot of response from the larger breweries when I post to their facebook. The smaller ones tend to be very responsive. If one of the big boys DOES pick up your tweet or facebook post, your stats are going to get blown up for a few days.

  3. Great post Ed! We do the same with our Facebook account. We hadn’t added the Twitter feature before though, but it is implemented so much better than FB! We have added it and are going to use it moving forward- cheers!

  4. You got it right Ed, although with the Facebook settings, it’s a matter of if WP and FB are playing nice that week. Most times when I publish, whatever I’ve put in the Publicize settings will get posted to FB with no problem. But sporadically I’ll get just what you mentioned: no description and a boring little blurb with no explanation. It’s hit or miss, so I’d encourage everyone to give it a try and see what their results are.

    One undocumented benefit to using Publicize is that your number of followers from all your social media get updated every time you post; that is, the section you see on the stats page, and any widgets that show the world how many followers you have. It’s because of this feature that I will use Publicize to post to FB every so often. My only problem is that I have my FB and Twitter feed linked, so sometimes I’ll have two tweets go out with the same message, just different short URLs.

    I wish that Google would get with the program and release their Google+ APIs to the world. From what I’ve heard, that is the only thing that is holding up WordPress from adding +pages to the Publicize feature.

    1. I forgot to add that you’re spot on about letting whomever you’re writing about know that you’ve posted about them. I usually will send an email to the breweries and any other establishment I mention if I can find an address to send to.

      Year end/beginning is always the busiest on my site from shared links to my Best Of posts from those breweries I mention and notify.

      1. THANK YOU WILL!! I’ve been wondering why my Facebook followers number has not increased in my Publicize box. That makes sense, and I never would have thought of it. Guess I’ll have to break down a use it on occasion.

        I to am waiting for G+ to stop being such so shy. Although when I set up my G+ account, I made a page for tDoB (much like a Facebook page). I recently starting moving everything off that page onto my main page, because like with Facebook, I don’t have any hopes that a lot of apps or platforms will support posting to a page (I’m looking at you UNTAPPD!!)

        If you have share buttons enabled at the bottom of your posts, you can use the G+ button of share your blog post to your main G+ page (I suppose you can do that with Facebook as well), but I don’t know if the tagging works which to me is more important than the convenience of auto sharing.

        Thanks for the tip!

  5. I didn’t even know about this. I do it all manually. Can you set the time to publicize? I usually schedule to post around 6:30a. Tweet it before I go to work, then FB it at lunch. In my head, this makes perfect sense, so I would hate to deviate from a completely unfounded notion of how to maximize exposure on each social media platform.

    Thanks for the post, Ed.

    1. You’re welcome.

      It appears the only thing you can schedule is the time of your post as you’re doing. The tweet/facebook post would go out automatically at that time.

      If you want to do what you’re doing in a more automated fashion you might want to look into Tweetdeck (allows you to schedule tweets) or Hootsuite (allows you to schedule, well just about everything – Twitter, Facebook, G+). But that might have to be the subject of another post. And yes, I know, just what we need ANOTHER social media app.

    2. Follow up to my response below. Hootsuite does not have the ability to do tagging in its Facebook posts. I know a few pages that use it (or something similar) and their posts come out with @this and @that all in them with no real tags. Since I weight the tagging more than the automation, although I might check this app out (I currently use Tweetdeck for other things) I doubt I would seriously consider it as an option.

  6. Well done Ed! I am doing all that you mentioned and find it quite helpful (though I still can’t figure out the reason behind the significant blog traffic dropoff after 1/1/2013. Have I pissed off the interwebz in some way???). Regarding Twitter, it’s easily my favorite of the Social Media platforms. Easy to use and a great way to connect with people. All good fun!

    1. I did a search to see if WordPress changed the way they did their stats but couldn’t find anything. I think the fact that it happened on 1/1 is very interesting. Is it gradual, or do you see it drop in a matter of day(s)?

      I need to step my Twitter game up. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all that info flooding in (and I’m only following a little over 200 people). But I definitely should be using it more than I am now.

      1. It’s been a gradual, but significant drop. I don’t think we’re doing anything differently. Then again, since we have three years worth of stats, I do notice that the second half of the year is usually busier than the first half of the year. Weird.

        Twitter is a true time suck when you get into a “conversation”, but it’s also quite hilarious and for the most part, very positive. Keep in mind that I’m talking with whisky AND beer loving people, so it can get a bit overwhelming at times for sure.

    1. Well, here are some reddit results after a little over 2 days. I post one review that garnered modest results of maybe 20 extra views. I then posted my most popular piece, how to make a beer travel case, and I got blown up. By the end of yesterday, I had over 3,600 views. I’m rapidly approaching 800 so far today. This means, by day 3 of May, I’d already doubled my best month to date.

    2. Nice! Now I just have to write something as good as your Beer Case post, LOL. Did you pick up any followers from all those views? I love finding new ways to drive traffic to my blog, but in the end it’s always good to pick up a few steady followers.

      1. I have picked up a few followers. I’ve also started using feedburner to put in a better “rss feed follow” onto my blog and have picked up a few on that as well. It tracks what your RSS Reader subscribers get and read as well.

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