Jul 13

Hacker News vs Mass Media - Who generates the most web traffic?

I need to get this idea featured by the national media…
It'll take off from there…

We've all been guilty of entertaining similar thoughts. I certainly used to think that way long ago; before I actually put my plans into action.

I've had previous success in marketing growth hacking, but until recently I'd never made the media circuit to promote an idea.

This all changed over the past week or so, when I was interviewed for multiple segments on national TV and radio, all to discuss my latest project — GunShopWatchList.

It was great being able to discuss a project and get that idea out to a wide audience, but I kept wondering; how would that exposure convert to web traffic?

National Talk Radio and TV News

Over the course of about 9 days I was interviewed 6 times. The first two were for national talk radio audiences, broadcast over AM radio and podcasted. The final interview was with WGN TV, during a 3 minute segment that aired on their 10pm news.

The numbers were…underwhelming to say the least. The biggest pop I saw was 300 unique sessions in a day from the combination of two radio interviews, and a link on MyNorthwest.com.

Being featured on TV by far converted the worst, only providing the site with roughly 100 uniques over the course of two days.

Hacker News

Let's compare those numbers with a top link I had on Hacker News in 2013, way back before I got banned for "self promotion", and no doubt for trashing the VC scene at the time.

Quite a difference…

Lessons to be learned

  1. Regardless of where you get the initial "pop" from, all traffic eventually tapers back to normal levels.
  2. Never think that getting featured once on a popular website or national media platform will carry your idea.
  3. You still have to put in the day to day hard work of grinding and making success happen.
Written by Seth Banks

Seth spends most of his days leading the design team at Green Bits and improving Cashboard. Occasionally he finds time to write about music, design, startups, and technology.

Tagged: business, growth hacking, case study