“AddThis” is the name of a plugin (website add-on) that’s pretty hard to miss on the Internet these days. To be precise, it’s currently used on over 9 million websites, meaning that if your website doesn’t already use it, the chances are high that a blog you publish on, or that you’d like to see shared with your customer-base, probably already does. Visually, it’s that little ‘more’ or ‘share’ drop-down button that typically appears at the top of a blog post next to the larger and more familiar Facebook and Twitter share icons, which are sometimes (now, usually) accompanied by counters showing how many times the article or blog has been promoted on those services, and when clicked on, displays a list of various extra services you can share the content via. I’ve added a photo of the ‘more’ counter for those unfamiliar with its appearance on the left. Clicking on ‘settings’ (in small writing at the bottom left of the window) calls up an option box allowing the user choose what services to show most prominently in future openings, and for that reason knowing how to use it can be a useful tool for small businesses and blog authors alike who want to promote their own content after posting (which itself is a must; see Sarah Ryan’s recent article on some basic steps to take in that respect, here). The purpose of this multi-part post is to advise you which services, in my experience, are the ones to go for to get the best result from your time, registering, and clicking, and leave you with the best possible exposure and traffic for your post. There are literally hundreds of services available to use via the counter, so unless you’re employing a factory’s worth of minimum wage Internet workers, you’re going to have to whittle down the possible selection to a few reliable and consistently worthwhile options. StumbleUpon StumbleUpon is a community-driven website that allows users to ‘thumb-up’ content they like that’s then assigned into categories and shown to users browsing randomly through that category. As a self-promotion tool for business, its usefulness lies in the fact that it’s categorization system allows users to whittle down what type of content they want to see when they randomly click (or ‘stumble-upon’) internet content, while it conversely allowing publishers specify into what category their content best fits (this process is helped by the fact that the website automagically populates a list of suggested categories after you click submit). The end result is that there’s a good chance that your content will show up on somebody’s StumbleUpon who’s interested in the content that your producing and for that reason it’s worth using whenever you’re sharing content that’s targeting a particular theme or subject-matter. LinkedIn Share If you don’t already have your Twitter or Facebook synced up with LinkedIn, and your blog or RSS feed in turn synced up to those services (subject of a future post, but well worth doing), then you’re probably not getting your blogged content to show up on your LinkedIn activity feed automatically. LinkedIn affords you the opportunity to communicate your content and notifications to a primarily business-orientated audience, but it’s not always possible to ensure that this automatic posting process takes place for each and every content producing source or blog that you post or write for. You may also want to share colleagues’ content that you wouldn’t necessarily be automatically duplicating on your own LinkedIn feed, so for this reason, and more, ‘favouriting’ (in settings) and using the LinkedIn Share option is always a good idea, especially for business marketers. Clicking the LinkedIn Share will share the post or article directly to your LinkedIn feed, allowing other users the chance to see it, much as they’d see a Facebook share. Just make sure that your LinkedIn activity feed is set to share to everybody (in settings), as it is by default, as otherwise it will not display, or share the post, if you’ve adapted it, only to yourself. Digg Digg: good general shares; traffic can spiral if used well. The other big-name service that typically appears on the very top line of the AddThis dialog is Digg. Digg allows users link their Facebook accounts, so if you’re already on Facebook this will be one less registration process to go through. It’s worth Digging each post once if you’ve the time, and occasionally, particularly if you’re a frequent or repeat user of the service, it will quickly get ‘dugg’ buy other users. If you’re extremely lucky, the one Digg can spiral into many, landing the content a coveted spot on the ‘Top News’ page, landing your site an avalanche of traffic, but don’t expect some great results without a lot of persistence! Google Buzz / ‘Plus One’ Buzz is a fairly mediocre content-sharing and instant messaging tool from Google, but perhaps trading on the illustrious name of its forbearer, tends to also feature prominently in the list of default sharing options in the standard, pre-modified, Add This configuration. Like everything from Google, it benefits from a certain amount of nepotism from its search-engine cousin, so for that reason alone, it’s still not a service that should be ignored, or disregarded as irrelevant. ‘Plus One’ is a very new kid on the block, and let’s Google-account holders quickly and easily ‘+1’ their favourite content on the web. Uptake seems to still be fairly slow as not all content-viewers will be registered with Google, and if not, are unlikely to do so solely for the purpose of ‘+1’ing content. But if you have a Google account, it would be worth giving this a click while you’re doing the Google Buzz. Newsvine Before dealing with some other conventional choices in my follow-on to this post, I thought I’d add a services that’s a little less conventional. Newsvine is a slightly more holistic looking, community-powered, collaborative journalism site, which has been named as one of the top 50 news sites by Times magazine, and was previously named as the best by Newsweek. Sharing content via Newsvine is a slightly more time-consuming process than any of the previous mentioned services, but it does expose your content to a more interested and engaged audience than some of the other more generic and well-known sharing options. It is, however, intended for journalism, so no press releases or other commercial spin, but if your content does genuinely qualify as news, or serious analysis, then this could also be an interesting service to go for. Recap AddThis is that little ‘more’ or ‘share’ box that appears on many websites, and can be used by content producers, as well as consumers, to share and boost traffic of, content. StumbleUpon allows for fairly exact categorization. Digg allows for general ‘digging’, but can lead to avalanche of traffic is used with enough consistency. ‘Buzz’ and ‘Plus One’: Google products are always worth clicking, and running a Google Account is practically a must. LinkedIn Share: Worth using to get your content to a professional audience. Newsvine: for variety, a slightly more boutique service, but really aimed at sharing serious news stories rather than commercially orientated content.