Do TV, radio and newspaper drive internet traffic?
March 29, 2010 7:12 AM   Subscribe

A blog I run stands to get some exposure on television, on radio, and in the newspaper. It's all likely to happen in the next month or so. I'm a little skeptical about conventional media's ability to drive traffic to a web site, and I'd like to know if anyone has experience with what to expect.

It's all free exposure and I feel very fortunate to get it. I just don't know what I'll be getting.

When the blog gets a mention online, I can track incoming traffic with Google Analytics. That's not going to work with TV, radio and newspaper. (Although, of course I'll still be able to detect any general rise in traffic. And, yes, the stations and the paper will have web sites to link to me.)

I'm asking out of curiosity, but also because I'd like to plan certain posts around the highest-traffic times.

For the record, the television exposure would be on a local Chicago broadcast station on Sunday evening (with reruns 10 times that week on a local cable sister station.) The newspaper exposure would also be in Chicago (the larger of the two dailies). The radio would be on a NPR station in Los Angeles.

Thanks for any insight you might be able to provide.
posted by veggieboy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've had my blog mentioned on TV, radio & the newspaper a few times, and worked a lot with blogs that have gotten mentions all the time. If you're talking about a feature story ("In local news, an area blogger...") in any of these media, you probably won't get much traffic at all. Radio, same thing.

Newspapers can depend on 1. whether they actually link to you (just spelling out the URL won't drive traffic) and 2. wether they feature the story on their own site, or buried in a tech or local headlines section.

In short, I'd focus on these items as profile-raisers for your site, but don't count on it driving significant traffic. Oddly, I think the only sites that regularly spike from even mainstream TV mentions are the TMZs and Huffington Posts of the world, where people already have an established pattern of visiting the site.

To maximize the benefit, be sure to aggressively mention and link to their pieces on you -- find the page with their stories, embed the audio/video of the mention if you can, use the full name of their media outlet on your blog and/or on Twitter. Their webmasters likely do searches for inbound links or mentions, and being generous in linking to them increases the chance they'll feature you on their site, add a link, or retweet your mention.

Good luck! And enjoy the discovery that a lot of these emperors are naked, at least when it comes to driving traffic online.
posted by anildash at 9:14 AM on March 29, 2010

ms scruss has had interviews regarding her library blog with the Toronto Star and CBC Radio. Both resulted in upticks in readership, but certainly not something we needed to take slashdot-like precautions against.
posted by scruss at 9:17 AM on March 29, 2010

I'd say Anil's post hit it on the money (and given who he is you can be assured he knows what he's talking about).

I'd say at the end of the day the most important thing you should try to push for if you feel comfortable is a keyword-targeted inbound link from all of their websites (including TV stations). Getting links from newspapers and major media outlets is pure SEO gold and will have a much longer term benefit than any immediate and temporary spike in traffic you may see.

Also, if you have an email list, you may wish to consider posting a special header message across all pages for a few days while the media traffic comes in and give them a special welcome and invite them to sign-up for your email list. But don't be too in-your-face about it, nobody likes that.

And lastly, depending on how prominently your site will be featured and the expected reach of these outlets, you may want to just double-check that your server can handle the increased load. You probably won't get to levels where that will be an issue, but the worst thing in the world would be to have your site crash.
posted by Elminster24 at 9:51 AM on March 29, 2010

Also, fwiw, I've had my sites listed in a couple print papers and only got a handful of visitors out of it. And one good way of getting a closer look at how big the spikes are is to look under the visitor detail in Google Analytics at the Chicago area where your stuff will hit and then looking at the specific traffic types for that as Direct and Referral is probably where you will see the spike.
posted by Elminster24 at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2010

Getting linked on CNN/Money in a feature article about my open source project drove around 300k uniques over a long period of time. The numbers were big(ish), but it drove traffic very evenly over about a month. OTOH, getting Slashdotted drove nearly a million uniques in a day. I was also interviewed on the BBC (radio) and Fox Business News, and they didn't really deliver a noticeable bump in traffic.
posted by signalnine at 2:45 PM on March 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all very much for the great information and advice.

Really, it confirms what I suspected. I'll go into it with very modest expectations.
posted by veggieboy at 7:15 AM on March 30, 2010

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