Ok, I have my Digg account, now what do I do? Get an Avatar! It is so lame when people don’t take the time to put avatars on social media sites. That would be step number 1. Then, hunt down a few diggers that you like because of the content they submit and digg and comment on their submissions. RSSfeed their submissions and stick on them like a pig on shit. The whole point to Digg, is digging so you need to build a network of people that Digg. Typically, active submitters are also active diggers. If you plan on becoming an active submitter then you will need the help of other active submitters.
So, you have picked out 15-20 people to start with. I am sure you probably think “damn I just need to add MrBabyman and all his mutual friends.” They must be active.” Well, this is the typical noobie way to go and if you post up on MrBabyman and all his friends with no avatar and you have dugg 25 stories and made 2 comments nobody is going to take you seriously. Remember, a lot of the active submitters have been doing this for years and have promoted stories to the front page hundreds or even thousands of times. They have also spent hours per day (like 4 on average) communicating with each other, looking for good content, and, of course digging. The average active Digg submitter probably diggs 100 – 150 stories per day so keep that in mind when you start your charge to make mutual friends. If the person you are trying to snuggle up with has dugg 40,000 stories they probably aren’t going to take you seriously unless you have at least 1000 diggs under your belt.
Now you know what diggers are looking for. Who do i target if it’s not MrBabyman. Well, that is easy. Go here and work your way from the bottom of the list up. These are a list of the most active diggers in the past 30 days.
Does this list change? Yes. Is this the golden rule? No. This is how I would suggest a new Digg user / submitter to start off.
Ok, so now I have been at it for a few months. I have dugg a few thousand stories, made some comments, DID NOT SUBMIT ONE STORY YET!!!! and I have a decent mutual friends network built up of about 80 people, and now I want to go for the front page with my blog. Am I ready? Nope, not even close.
The general rule of thumb is that you can submit about 5 to 10% of your own stuff, and 90% is finding things that are interesting that are not tied to you in any way. Read this again. This is the most important part and where people have constant problems. DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR SITE OVER AND OVER AGAIN!! It won’t hit the front page and you will just start bashing your head up against a wall. You need to submit from one of Diggs most popular sources which can be found here. http://di66.net/top-sites-30d-by-posts.html
If you are not willing to submit from this list of websites then you might want to go try something else. It just isn’t going to happen. I would suggest subscribing from some of these sites by RSS feed and watch how other users submit from them. Some sites have shitty titles and need to be changed. Some sites like cracked.com and xkcd.com have people sitting around waiting for them so you better be quick with the submission button or you have a dupe, and dupes just piss people off and most likely don’t hit the front page anymore because Digg has apparently fixed the dupe problem.
Ok, cool, so you have picked the NY Times or something, found an interesting article, and you submit it. Is there a time that is the best time to submit stuff? Yes that would be around 9am PST. Digg is most active then. If you have dugg your mutual friends up enough and have their attention they will notice your submission and make sure they digg it, because that’s what mutual friends do for new submitters. Not all of them will Digg your article because they might not like it, but most of them will. Once you start collecting diggs from your mutual friends your story will start getting into the recommendation engine where people that have never dugg you before will digg your story. Organic diggs is what it is all about. Without them this is not going to work.
Other ways of promoting your story.
IM Lists – Most users have their gmail or other IM account pasted on their profile. This is so you can contact them. Don’t be a douche and try and get somebody’s attention by leaving a comment in their submission. Send them an email, or add them to your IM list. That is what it is there for. Ok, so on the IM list you can promote stories through that, and now Digg has come out with the Digg bar so using twitter as a promotion tool is another good way. Just remember, you are working with an algorythm. In reality you are going to have say 20 IM friends online and you are going to want to hit them up so they can digg your story because you are excited. This is all fine and dandy but once you’ve exhausted that method what are you going to do about the other 23 hours? So, its up to you if you want to use it as a promotion tool but it needs to be natural. There is an exception to this rule and that is Kevin Rose. It seems that when he tweets something to his 300,000 followers it gets dugg very quickly and unnaturally but it works for him so he can get away with it and it’s his site.
Another thing to mention about IM lists is how you approach people. If English is not your native toungue you might as well tell that person that you are not a native speaking person so its up front. I see a lot of people approach me with Dear Sir, Dear Mate, Kind Sir, Dear Friend all of which are totally lame and not the way English speaking people communicate. Its actually lame. Just be yourself. I cuss a lot and say dude and shit like that, and others don’t, but I don’t try to act like I am somebody from another country. I don’t really understand why people do this but as you are building an IM list for networking purposes you will see what I am talking about.
Now you have finally successfully got your first story to the frontbpage after working on Digg for at least 2 hours per day digging, reading, and commenting. This will be a bitchen day for you as you are no longer a virgin. Pick another story, or maybe a few stories, spread them out a little bit and keep going. Networking, talking to people on the phone ,or skype, or however you can. This is called social media for a reason. Be social. A username like basementjumper27 is cool and mysterious and all and some people don’t like to tell people their real identity for whatever reason, but I say make your username and your avatar unique to yourself using your real name if possible. Then people know who you are and recognize you.
Bla Bla Bla I am just rambling on here now. Build a network, don’t be a douche, troll or whiner, and digg in and get active. After you have put in a few months then you can worry about promoting your own site. You might even ask one of your new friends to help you out with it. Usually people are totally down to help out with a submission of a blog. Again don’t be a douche. Ask once, but don’t beg. It is lame when you get pestered about submitting. Don’t take it personally. A lot of submitters might want to get to know you better, or don’t like your content, or have a whole other agenda going on. Just pass on that person and move on. That’s the best thing to do.
I cant wait to see the response from my fellow diggers on this blog post. My intention is to educate and give people the advice and head start that I never received. I spun my wheels for a month before I figured out what was up.
Louie Baur is a social media enthusiast and a hard core skater. Follow him at will on Twitter and Hook up with him on Digg