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David Lee King



Awhile back, Ned Potter, who writes the fabulous blog at ned-potter.com (you ARE reading his blog, right?) posted What does an online identity REALLY need? (Or, Growing Up Online). I left a comment, because I could relate.

Then Ned commented back and asked me a couple of questions. Here’s my answer!

But first, here’s Ned’s comment (swiped from his post):

David what a great comment!

The thing that strikes me with you is the consistency – I don’t know how many subscribers your blog has now but last time I heard a figure it was huge, thousands, and dwarfed mine… And the main reason (if you don’t mind my analyzing your blog!) to my mind is that you consistently post really helpful things that we can all act on (plus other reasons too, to do with your reputation and books etc). There were a lot of bloggers when I hit my blogging stride who would write 1 or 2 posts per week every week, myself included, but we’ve almost all gradually fallen away to fewer than that…

But you manage to keep it up, and it doesn’t feel like you’re casting around for things to blog about – all the posts have a reason for being. So how do you keep that up? I’m interested, also, in whether it ever feels like a burden – essentially keeping up with the standard you’ve set yourself?

First of all – aww, shucks. Thanks! I’m glad people like reading my blog!

And now, on to the questions:

Question #1: How many blog subscribers? (Ned didn’t really ask this, but did mention it in passing, so I thought I’d answer):

That’s a hard one to figure out these days, since Feedburner stats have gone a bit wonky. For Feedburner, I have anywhere between 1800-5800 RSS subscribers, depending on the day (so I’d guess the actual number is a bit higher than the larger number). And a pretty consistent 2000 or so email subscribers. Last month, Google Analytics says I had 5600 sessions/4600 Users at the site.

Plus, there are a lot of people who don’t subscribe, but might watch my blog via Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin. Either way, that’s a lot of people! You guys – thanks for reading! Tell everyone you know to read :-)

Question #2: So how do you keep that up?

A few years ago, I slowly transitioned how I thought about my blog. Before then, it was simply a place I posted to whenever I felt like it. But I eventually realized that instead of a personal blog, I was running:

  1. a publication with more subscribers than some rural newspapers and academic journals (ok, the really boring ones, but you get my point).
  2. my blog was the “hub” for my fledgling part-time consulting/speaking/writing business.

And if it’s a business … well then, I need to treat it like one. So I do three things to help me focus on my “business:”

  1. I schedule blog posts. My goal is to post every Tuesday and Thursday. Do I always hit that? Nope. But it’s a goal.
  2. I created a tagline – “social web, emerging trends, and libraries.” It’s on my blog, and helps me stay focused. If you read something I wrote or if you hear me speak, the content will most likely fall somewhere within that tagline.
  3. I try to write and speak about things in a very practical way. My goal after you read one of my blog posts or hear me speak is for you to be able to say “hey – I can use that next week at work!” When I achieve that, I think it’s pretty darn awesome.

I also get a lot of ideas from work. Part of my job is scanning the library/techie horizon, and bringing new cool things to the library. Guess what? That often serves double-duty on my blog (and vice versa). More often than not, when I write about something, it’s because I was thinking about it at work.

For example, my recent social media measurement series of blog posts originated from me trying to eek some meaning out of my library’s social media stats. At some point, I thought “hey! I should share this stuff!” And voila! A series of blog posts.

Question #3: I’m interested, also, in whether it ever feels like a burden – essentially keeping up with the standard you’ve set yourself?

Yep. Sometimes it does! Burnout happens. I get busy at my “real job,” I get busy at home (three teenagers – how the heck did that happen?). Instead of writing about library stuff, I want to write music (which I’m working on!). Or I just procrastinate – I’m a pro at that.

But honestly? I really like to write. I like sharing, and it helps me think. My goal of two posts a week? That was actually a way to limit myself, so I wasn’t posting 4-5 times a week. My reasoning was that too much davidleeking can be a bad thing :-)

So there you go – three questions, three answers. How do you keep up something you enjoy doing when it gains some attention? Anyone else have some good tips to share?

Pic of Ned – from Ned’s Twitter account!

 

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In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks.

Here’s what I covered:

What’s missing? What do you track that we don’t? I’d love to know – please share in the comments!

Pic by Scott Akerman

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In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics, Engagement Metrics, and Referral Metrics. Today we’ll cover ROI.

This is the best one (and the last, for now). People often ask for the ROI of social media. And true ROI for social media is often hard to show. Sometimes social media managers create a weird, complex “weekly engagement” metric that … well … doesn’t really do much. Why? Their metric tends to only show activity within that single social media tool.

Showing activity within a social media channel is ok. But is that getting more books checked out? Getting people to your programs? Getting people to your website? Nope.

I’ve been trying to get some useful ROI type stats out of all this social media I’ve been tracking. Here’s what I’ve discovered. If you have a better thing to count, please share!

I count two ROI trends:

1. Number of visits to the website per post created. For this number, I divide the total referrals for the month into the number of posts we create, to get the final number. For example, in May we had 865 total referrals and 204 total social media posts. So divide that (and round up), and you get 4. Which means for every social media post we created in May, we achieved four visits to the website.

Again, we’re talking trends here – it’s not an exact science. But still, this stat does show that when staff create social media posts, they drive traffic to our website. Bingo – ROI.

2. Number of interactions per post created. This is similar, but a bit more lightweight. Divide the monthly engagement metric total by the number of posts created for the month. For May, we ended up with 94 interactions per post created.

Lightweight, but tells a nice story. For every post we did in May, we got people to do something – click like, share, comment, favorite, retweet, or watch – 94 times.

Why’s this good? It means they’re interested enough in our content, and therefore the library, to remember it, to share it, to add their thoughts to it. To respond in some way to it. Not a bad thing at all – interest in the library is a good thing!

So – that’s what we’re doing at the moment. What are you tracking? Is it similar? Please share!

Pic from Simon Cunningham

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In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics, Audience Metrics and Engagement Metrics. Today we’ll cover Referral Metrics.

Time for referral metrics. What’s that? A referral is simply getting someone from one thing to another (i.e., you’ve “referred them”). For example, from Facebook to your website. Thankfully, Google Analytics now counts referrals.

To get there, open up Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition, then click Social, then Network Referrals.

There, you’ll find a handy-dandy report of website visitors that started off in a social media page, and ended up on your website. I count the Sessions number for each of the four social media channels that I’m tracking, and then add those together. For May, we had 865 referrals to our website from social media.

This is a pretty useful number, because it shows interest. Someone was interested enough in something you mentioned on one of your social media channels to actually click through to your website. Nice!

Pic by Stuart Pilbrow

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In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics and Audience Metrics. Today we’ll cover Engagement Metrics.

Now for the geekier metrics… Engagement metrics! What’s engagement? I’m counting it as stuff people actually DO on your social media channel. That includes activities like: Liking, Sharing, clicking a link, repinning, watching the video, leaving a comment, replying, ReTweeting, etc.

Here’s what we track:

Facebook: Facebook, with their HUGE amounts of analytics, makes it difficult to count an accurate “here’s what people did” number. Their stats are more geared towards weekly trend reports, and not so much for reporting monthly numbers. But never fear – it can be done!

Here’s what I do (if there’s a better way to do it, please let me know!) – download the Excel version of Facebook Insights for the month. (As an aside, do this anyway and check out all the data Facebook provides. There is a TON of it). I use the stat for Daily Page Engaged Users, and just add up the daily numbers for the month. Daily Page Engaged Users reports “The number of people who engaged with your Page. Engagement includes any click or story created. (Unique Users)”. For May, we had 5478 people who engaged in some way with our Facebook Page.

Twitter: For Twitter, I get my number by downloading the monthly excel version of stats for Twitter, and then counting a bunch of activity and engagement columns, including:

  • retweets
  • replies
  • favorites
  • user profile clicks
  • URL clicks
  • hashtag clicks
  • detail expands
  • permalink clicks
  • embedded media clicks
  • app opens
  • app install attempts
  • follows
  • email tweet

831 for May total.

Youtube: No spreadsheet needed here (though you could download one if you wanted to!). Youtube’s analytics provides a handy month filter, and an engagement section on the main page of analytics. So I add up the Likes, Comments, Shares, and Favorites for the month. I also include the number of views. Pretty important for a video service!

So for May, we had 67 total engagement (favorites, comments, likes, and shares) and 12,565 views.

Pinterest: Excel spreadsheet time again. We count Repins and Clicks. So for May, we had 212 repins and clicks in Pinterest.

Then, like all the other stats, I schmush those number together to come up with Total Engagement for the month. For May, our total engagement was 19,153. That’s a lot of people doing a lot of stuff!

Button pic by Quinn Dombrowski

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