Attracting attention of potential customers with the help of articles
Many of those who have read my previous post "Receiving feedback from potential users" think that whatever we do to attract attention of potential customers, there is no result. But it is not so. There is some attention. We have already found one good way of attracting attention of potential users. It is our articles and blogs. But this source remains the only one, and it is this fact that worries us. So we are searching for new ways.
This time I am going to tell you about my successful experience of promoting our startup based on writing and publishing articles. I hope that our experience in this sphere will be useful for our readers.
First of all, you must write the text of an article. I cannot give you concrete recommendations on how to write good articles. This is a creative process, so I will discuss only one important technical component of it.
We try to write articles so that a person would learn about our product PVS-Studio no matter on what sites we publish them. Many seek after unique content. But we act vice versa. The more of our articles are published on third-party sites, the better. We are even glad when somebody steals our content. It does not matter where a person reads our article - the main thing is that the article is read.
Let me explain this viewpoint. Of course, if someone runs across an article on our site by a search inquiry, it is better than if this person runs across the same article on some third-party site. But we cannot dream of vying with such popular sites as Intel and CodeProject. A person might well be directed on his or her inquiry to one of these sites even though our site is more relevant to the inquiry. So, let this person read our articles on some other site rather than not to read them at all.
There is one more advantage of publishing papers on good third-party sites. This is an increase of our site's ranking due to good links given in the articles. Of course, we cannot gather a lot of links this way but they are free, eternal, they are viewed by live people and they lead to our site from sites with the Page Rank up to 8. We have never bought links or otherwise paid for promotion, but now our site has Page Rank 5. We believe that we have achieved this result thanks to the policy we have chosen - publishing articles containing links on decent third-party sites.
However, Page Rank 5 is only a pleasant bonus. If the Page Rank of our site gets 0, it will not change ANYTHING. People will still find and read our articles on various third-party sites and come to us finally.
And now the most interesting thing. I will tell you about my experience of publishing technical papers on programming on various sites. Surely, the papers are related to the product we are promoting. I am sure that many readers engaged in promoting developer tools will find this experience interesting and useful.
This is the best site to publish programmer articles. I will not arrange sites in the order of their usefulness further, but I deliberately put CodeProject in the beginning. Say, I put this site on the first place while all the rest that will be considered below share the second and the third places.
The Page Rank is 7. It has a huge number of readers and the most convenient system of paper publishing and maintenance. You may conduct your blog and we also do that.
Articles undergo moderation but it is rather mild. A stricter control is performed by the readers. If they do not like an article, the moderator deletes it. We had such an experience. Two more articles I deleted myself without waiting for the moderator to do that.
Deletion was an absolutely justified act. To be quite frank, these were poor articles. And it is even good that they were deleted - it inspired me to write more quality texts. We have achieved this gradually.
Two our articles won in the nomination "best articles of the month" and thus made me the owner of the "golden author" status that allows me to publish articles without additional moderation at all. So we are good friends with this site.
Oh yes, there is also a catalogue of programs for developers on the site where you may lay out information about your solution - for free as well. For example, here is a page of our product.
So, it is a cool site! Come there - you will find a lot of materials to read. You may also tell everybody about yourself - the audience there is large and sane.
The Page Rank is 7. It is a good site for programmers, although a bit overloaded with ads what makes reading articles published there not so pleasant.
Moderation is stricter than on CodeProject and you usually have to wait for it for several days. We were rejected several times to publish articles that were not very good. It is a good, decent site that tries to keep quality materials.
The Page Rank is 5.
This is a decent site intended for communication among developers. Moderation of articles is not very strict. I managed to publish almost all the articles I offered. By the way, it is a good place to lay out a Tutorial since there is a corresponding section.
This is the most easy to use Russian site on programming. I simply write a letter to the site administrator with an offer to publish a new article and he does it by himself. It is so great! :)
And in general, the site's administration is very friendly. I highly recommend it. The Page Rank is 4.
The largest site devoted to game development. Its Page Rank is 7. It requires that your material should be unique. After publishing an article, you cannot publish it somewhere else in several months. It is a rather severe restriction. We published only one article on these terms - "Development of resource-intensive applications in Visual C++" that was written specially for this site.
However, everything is relative. They themselves suggested to publish the article " 20 issues of porting C++ code on the 64-bit platform" despite that it had been published on some other sites by that moment. They also willingly lay out links to third-party articles on their site.
As an additional benefit, your articles might get included into a printed collection of articles they regularly publish.
This is a site for developers to communicate. The Page Rank is 6. Moderation is weak. There is a section where you may lay out Products Review and it might be very useful.
Note. Internet Explorer behaves not very well in the article publishing system here and sometimes hangs. So I recommend you to use Opera or any other browser.
This site is easy to use. I recommend it along with all the other ones.
This is a Russian site of game developers. It is a semi-closed community. To get inside, you must make some effort. The Page Rank is 5.
The administration treated our articles well unlike the community, so we managed to publish only 5 articles there. I think the reason is that we appeared ahead of time by writing about 64 bits which were not asked for on this site yet. Almost all the games are still 32-bit and I can see no end of this tendency. Yesterday I got added evidence about it while talking to game developers at GDC2010.
It is a large forum of Russian developers. There is an article section. The site is rather active. The Page Rank is 4.
I cannot recall any specifics of this site but still recommend it.
This site has a large catalogue of articles on programming in Russian. You may lay out links to your articles there. The Page Rank is 4. The site looks overloaded but contains a lot of useful information.
Note. Do not use Opera - it goes insane on this site.
This is a good Russian site for developers. Its Page Rank is 6 what is rather rare for Russian sites. I published my articles through the site administration. As you understand, it helps save much effort.
To be precise, this is not the Intel site itself I am going to talk about, but ISN (Intel software Network). ISN is a community of software developers that provides direct connection with Intel engineers.
Its Page Rank is 8. This is a giant among programmer sites. There are huge amounts of information, articles, blogs and forums. But there is one drawback - poor structuring that complicates search for necessary information. Unfortunately, the search itself is sometimes also not very useful. There are too many reviews of products and technologies. But anyway, it is a very powerful site.
It is hard to work with the site but it is worth doing. You may easily become an ISN member and write posts in forums. However, it is a bit more difficult with papers and blogs. To be more exact, it is not so difficult to write an article there but most likely you will have to contact the moderator to "push" your article "forward". At first, I found it very difficult to work with the site but then, as I got some authority there, I became a full-fledged author and now can lay out my articles like on CodeProject without preliminary moderation. So it becomes easier.
What is adequacy? It means, for instance, not to write about AMD products on the Intel site. ;)
The process of article publishing is of average difficulty. But what is good, the engine easily handles even huge articles. Sometimes it is useful.
There are also some other benefits of publishing articles on the Intel site. They are not so evident yet useful. It you want to know - I will tell you about them in detail.
This is a Russian ISN. This programmer resource is not so popular yet. But should be so! Please come everybody! The administration represented by Dmitry Oganezov makes great efforts to attract qualified specialists in programming to ISN. So, you see, there are people worth communicating here. The audience is serious yet friendly.
Besides, you can easily contact Dmitry Oganezov - it is very important for such communities. You may discuss and solve a lot of questions with his help. For example, he helped us design and create a russian forum devoted to the issues of 64 bits. On the other hand, the audience is rather small yet. But you do come, and it will grow! :)
It is easier to publish articles here than in the English section - again thanks to the administration. So, I highly recommend the Russian ISN!
A Grandpa among programmer sites. The Page Rank is 8. It is extremely difficult to work on this site. I did not manage to directly publish articles there, but they took some of our articles on parallelism from the Intel site. Now we have only four our articles published on this site.
Moderation here is stern. It even cannot be called moderation - they simply rewrite some parts of an article.
I cannot say that I would recommend this site. Well, the site itself is good but might fail to justify efforts you will spend on it. So, it is up to you to decide if you should use it or not.
Here I lay out descriptions of our articles on parallelism. The Page Rank is 3. The site is not very popular. But DDJ might take some news from here. We had such an experience: we laid out a press release on VivaMP, and some time later it appeared on DDJ.
This is a site of blogs devoted to parallel programming. So, I publish some posts on this topic there. The Page Rank is 3. The site is not very remarkable. I mention it only because there are not very many sites on parallel programming.
On my request, the administrator published several articles on this site. I spent very little time there but I think I will study it more seriously in future.
And now some words about sites we did not manage to establish good communication with. It does not mean that these sites are bad. Perhaps, we just were unsuccessful while you might get better results. The information below is written for those people who might fail to go well with the sites right away so that they do not waste much effort. So to say, I want to warn you that you may face difficulties.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/ - Perhaps we have not grown up to this level yet (the Page Rank is 9). We did not manage to establish a conversation with the administration.
http://gp.embarcadero.com - It looks like a good site to publish articles on. I would recommend you to consider it, but for us personally it is simply too early since C++Builder has no 64 bits neither OpenMP yet :)
http://www.devx.com - failed.
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org - failed.
http://www.sdtimes.com - failed.
http://visualstudiomagazine.com - failed.
http://code-magazine.com - failed.
http://www.informit.com - failed.
http://www.cplusplus.com - The maximum size of an article is 8 Kbytes. :) Articles cannot be laid out. Nobody answers your questions. I.e. the site is dead although it exists. I will call such sites zombies further.
http://www.topcoder.com - zombie.
http://www.cprogramming.com - zombie.
http://www.secureprogramming.com - zombie.
http://windowshpc.net - zombie.
http://www.devarticles.com - failed. A semi-zombie. :)
http://www.developerfusion.co.uk - zombie. But it seems to be resurrecting. Worth checking.
http://www.programmers-corner.com - failed.
http://www.programmingforums.org - failed.
http://bytes.com - they deleted all my articles seemingly treating them as spam. Well, never mind.
http://www.winhpc.ru - zombie (the grant is over and the site as well :).
P.S. I already anticipate your comments that I forgot the sites xxx, yyy, etc. Well, write about them. Perhaps we really missed some valuable sites. In this post, I just wanted to explain that we had successes and failures with other sites as well. But it is too much - to describe them all. :)