Using Gather to promote your other content
How to Gather
I'm not going to even start to fathom the depths of how Gather works or ways it can be used all on its own, but strictly from a Squidoo Lensmasters point of view I found it an excellent way to reach a large untapped audience and also increase ones own backlinks and exposure to search engines.
The Squidoo Strategy
Now I'm not saying republish your lenses en masse over at Gather. Far from it.
My strategy is to reread my own lenses, and gather my thoughts, summarise, and then write them down.
This is particularly useful and effective if your lenses are original articles (written by you) to start with. About topics you are passionate about. Because you'll never be short of an extra idea or something more you can add.
We've all got opinions and viewpoints, think of Gather as a side glance. If you have a comment and it doesn't quite fit in your lens, make it at Gather.
If you have a tip, or a suggestion, or a point, that you haven't yet mentioned in your lens, use it at Gather.
Write a mini article. I'm talking something very short, yet informative. And then link back to your lens.
Make it straight to the point. You don't actually have to leave people hanging for more. Don't always hold back and reveal the big secret after they've clicked through. Give them something that's tasty that they can enjoy and can use, with an option to learn more.
You may have cut a bit here and there from your original lens draft in trying to create a hard hitting and tightly packed article. What did you do with the scraps? i often leave it at the bottom of the document which is used as a back-up and give it a sub-heading "Not Used" (that's in my draft document, not on the actual lens okay). These scraps are leftovers. What do you usually do with leftovers? Throw them in the bin?
Some feed it to the dogs. But if they're quality I often reheat them the next day.
With my quality article scraps I cook them up and serve them up at Gather.
A picture tells a thousand words...
And may even attract a thousand clicks
To help make your article stand out at Gather take a few minutes to choose and upload an image to accompany your submission.
You have the option and ability to click, drag, drop, place and resize the uploaded image into your article. I recommend that unless it a long article that requires numerous illustrations/photos placed next to corresponding text then you should just rely on the one image, and not even place it in your article. As it will sit up the top right hand side anyway.
Even just leaving there it will still show up next to your article in a search or in the newest articles list straight after you've published.
Go have a look at the most recent articles published and you may be lucky to see 2, 3 or maybe even 4 articles with a thumbnail image next to it. In fact when I went just now to Gather to grab that link there were NO IMAGES ACCOMPANYING ARTICLES.
The inclusion of an image will give extra incentive for a person to click on your article. And that's not just because they are making a conscious decision to reward you for making the effort, the image acts like a magnet.
If you provide an image and back it up with a provocative headline, you've got a better chance than most in getting surfers who are cruising for a good time.
I've estimated that about 1 in 10 articles use an image. That means if you do, you'll stand out from the crowd and thus increase your odds of picking up extra visitors.
Use an appropriate image from your own digital pic collection, or go out and snap one right now. Alternatively you can stop by my Royalty-free photos for your Gather Articles (and Squidoo Lenses by the way. I'm adding from my collection as I find the time. There's 200+ there at the moment, and I've got about another 2,800 to go).
Once you've taken, found, obtained, borrowed or bought a suitable image make sure it is square before you upload it. If it isn't then either crop it square or if cropping is not suitable then expand the canvas either in the horizontal or vertical and add some white space to it to square it up. Otherwise it'll squish vertically or horizontally (depending which side is longer) to make it square when it previews it.
You've done all that? Good. Now publish your article!
Promoting your articles
At the moment the only tactic I've employed is doing a search for specific keywords for articles similar to what I've written, by other Gatherers.
If the opportunity is there, and that is to say the invitation is clear, then posting a link to one of your Gather articles may be appropriate. Otherwise don't. Just post thought provoking feedback or constructive comments on other peoples articles and leave it at that.
Don't overstep your welcome. If what you said was intelligent enough then the author, and even the readers, may click through on your avatar and see what else you've had to say or publish. And if they see an article you've written on a similar topic guess what they they're going to do... check it out.
From your comment to one of your articles the distance is only two clicks away. Between those two clicks you've given them a choice, of picking out an article that interests them. It acts as a filter. The next click is quality traffic.
And that's what you want, refined quality, not unfiltered quantity.
Helpful? Insightful? Five minutes of your life that you're never going to get back?