I remember my first StumbleUpon experience like it was yesterday. It was 2007. I was procrastinating whatever it was that I should have been doing for grad school one Saturday afternoon, staring blankly at the computer screen as I scrolled through Firefox Add-ons.
And that’s when I stumbled upon StumbleUpon.
After reading a little bit about it, I thought it sounded neat, so I installed it, entered my interests, and away we went.
Holy cow, did I ever get addicted to StumbleUpon, too. With my head propped on my hand, eyes glazed over, drool possibly dripping onto my desk, I would just sit and click the little ‘Stumble’ button over and over again, waiting to see what hidden gem of the Web it would serve up next.
StumbleUpon is strangely hypnotic like that.
At some point it occurred to me that I could use this tool to my advantage for my career. Though I was a graduate student by night, I was a 9th grade English teacher by day, and there were so many interesting literature-related sites coming back to me that I thought it a shame to not share them with my students. So I got started building a resource bank for my classes, compiled entirely with content I found on StumbleUpon and would have probably never found otherwise.
What’s the point of this, you ask? Well, simply put: you never know who is looking for your content and doesn’t even know it. Maybe you’re still getting a handle on SEO and your content isn’t ranking very high in the SERPs yet. Maybe you’re still building a social media following and not many people are sharing your content yet, either.
Know how you can start getting that content out there? StumbleUpon! (Duh. Wouldn’t it have been weird if I’d said something else?)
I want to address something right up front, though. There’s a lot of talk about how Pinterest is going to render StumbleUpon useless, but I’m not sure I buy that. For one thing, Pinterest is very visual, and while you can certainly Stumble (or add) an image or video, an image isn’t required in order to add something to your StumbleUpon page. On the other hand, if you’ve got a really great page full of content with no image, it’s a bit more difficult to share that on Pinterest.
Something else? Way too many people pin images on Pinterest with no regard for the content behind them. Then again, maybe that’s more the point of Pinterest. With StumbleUpon, it’s more about the content.
Pinterest’s crowd is on the rise from just crafters, cooks, and those who enjoy a good DIY project, but StumbleUpon’s already got a pretty mixed crowd.
The point is that you have no reason to ignore StumbleUpon; especially when it comes to using it for content marketing. While the site has gone through changes over the years and it may not provide the kind of referral traffic to your site that it once did, many site owners will tell you that it’s still a significant enough source of traffic to keep it in your mix.
So how, then, do you go about using StumbleUpon for your content marketing efforts?
Some basic social media rules apply, of course. While it’s tempting to just add every one of your blog posts and nothing else to StumbleUpon, you should try to avoid doing that. Just like on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else, that’s not the best method of marketing your content.
Instead, abide by the “share others’ work as well as your own” rule. If it helps, think of StumbleUpon as a branding tool. Sure, you can help to make sure your own work is being passed around, but imagine the brand image someone would create for you if they looked at the kinds of things you’re reading and discovered it’s all your own work.
Kind of self-absorbed, right? So go ahead and add more content in order to avoid being that person.
Another benefit of adding content from a variety of sources is that, unlike Pinterest, part of StumbleUpon’s magic is that it starts to recognize the content that you like and give you similar pages and sites to view.
For your content marketing, this means that you’re receiving tailored content that could spark an idea for a fantastic blog series, interview, or some other kind of content. If you’re moved to comment, you stand to build new relationships and even drive traffic back to your site through those comments.
StumbleUpon is far from dead. If you’re not already using the site, there’s no time like the present to get signed up and start adding pages. Not only will it help to shape your brand image (what you read, after all, says a lot about you), but it will also help you to get the word out about your own content. The ability to find new blogs is invaluable, and you could end up building business relationships that way, too.
How does you use StumbleUpon for business? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!