How I created a post with 20x normal traffic on my blog for just £7 a month using a Rise Power 100 leaderboard

Audience Development is rarely talked about by bloggers but many of us could benefit from spending an hour or two each week focusing on it. In this post, I explain how one Audience Development tactic – an influencer leaderboard – that worked really well for me on my personal blog GamificationOfWork.com.

When I set up GamificationOfWork.com my main objective was to document my thinking as I started to learn about gamification. Over time it became an editorial site with reviews of gamification books, guest posts and a hub for those thinking about the emerging field of Gamification.  It’s use of a power 100 leaderboard in the early days, as an audience development tool (not a phrase I knew then) is worth understanding in more detail.

Audience Development is the term publishers use to describe their own marketing efforts. One of the primary jobs of any news organisation is to build an audience of people who want to hear their news. And after all, no audience means no advertising.

When you pick up a usually paid-for newspaper for free when you jump on a flight, you have been targeted by the Audience Development team of that newspaper. By getting you to read one issue, they reason, you are more likely to be converted to becoming an avid reader in future.

Like any online marketer, the audience development team for a digital news publisher has plenty of marketing options – favourites including incentives and offers, advertising (on other similar publications if they let you and on social networks) and content marketing.

” a specific piece of content can be designed to attract a specific audience…”

In this post I want to focus on audience development using content. The idea is that a specific piece of content can be designed to attract a specific audience – the audience that you want to come to your blog and read your posts.

Top publications do this all the time. When Forbes publishes its annual list of the top billionaires it is seeking to develop an audience among two sets of people – the few, very wealthy people and the  vast majority, who would like to be very wealthy.

And it works very well for them – many of us do  have an interest in the peaks and troughs in fortune of  Messrs Gates, Buffet, Bezos and Zuckerberg.

This type of content works. We are innately interested in how others around us rank.

A few years ago, I tried the approach on my blog and created the “Gamification Gurus Top 10” and it immediately had an amazing effect!

My usual traffic was around 10 viewers a day – this top 10 post got 154 views! A 15x increase on normal.  I then repeated the tactic with a follow up post of the top 20 the following month and gained 268 views!  Over time I matured the leaderboard and now have over 300 gurus on my board, many of whom have signed up to be there themselves. As well as blog traffic, this provides me with an additional valuable monthly email channel directly to the top influencers in my community.

Audience Overview Google Analytics copy

Most importantly though it built a voice for me within the gamification community – suddenly everyone knew who I was – and it kickstarted a valuable audience for my blog that continues to this day. All through a simple list of influencers, updated on a monthly basis.

Since then I’ve converted the tools that I used to create the board into an application, Rise, and template, Power 100 Leaderboard, to allow others to do the same on their own blogs.

While I still see some monthly boards being created on Rise, the most popular ones tend to be weekly or fortnightly. Check out City AM’s Fintech powerlist (which has already been shared over 5000 times).

One question I often get is how should I rank the influencers – my answer is to start with Klout scores. Klout is a very sophisticated influence algorithm and it is difficult (though not impossible) to game. While of course it isn’t showing influence specific to your audience’s topic it is a great proxy to get going with. Over time you can gradually evolve the score algorithm to take into account metrics more in keeping with your audience. The Gamification Gurus Power 100 board now leans very much toward use of Slideshare (presenting and teaching) and Twitter (being retweeted as an expert) to derive the rankings each month.

If you’ve got a blog and you want to develop your existing audience, or perhaps market your content to a new audience, then I highly recommend a Power 100 leaderboard as a fast and effective way to do that.

Screenshot 2015-11-02 11.10.31

PS. As an added incentive, here’s a discount code to get 10% off your monthly board price if you create your power 100 board and subscribe anytime this November (NOVBLOG15)

Telfest 2015 conference uses Rise to enhance conference participation and crowd-source content on social media for non-attendees

This is a guest post by Farzana Latif, posted first on 29th Sept 2015 here

During September 2015’s TELFest (a week long festival consisting of workshops, discussions and drop-in sessions related to Technology Enhanced Learning) we introduced a leaderboard to enhance participation throughout the event, and to encourage the use social media to share experiences amongst colleagues that were unable to attend. Having experienced the leaderboard at the UCISA Spotlight on Capabilities Conference in June, I was interested in using it to introduce ideas related to Gamification, and bring an extra element of fun, to TELFest. The leaderboard is generated by a website called rise.global, which automatically calculates the scores for tweets that contain a specific hashtag, and, following some pointers from Fiona MacNeil who had set it up for the UCISA event, I set up a leaderboard for TELFest. Given the aims behind using the leaderboard, I decided that points should be primarily awarded for tweeting with the #TELFest hashtag and there were additional points for attending drop in sessions and tweeting TELfie’s (TELfest selfies). Below is a breakdown of the points that could be earned:

Tweets with the #TELFest hashtag 1 point
Being Mentioned by someone else 2 points
Having your  #TELFest Posts Retweeted 3 points
Tweeting a TELFie with the hashtag  #TELFest (TELFest, Selfie) 3 points
Attending a drop in session 5 points

Each day we saw the top tweeters changing positions and there was healthy competition amongst TELFest participants.

To keep tweeters motivated, automated tweets were sent out every evening, informing them of their position on the leaderboard.

Twitter activity increased significantly compared to September 2014, there was a tenfold increase in the overall number tweets, a tripling of the number of tweeters and, on the Friday, TELFest trended in the Sheffield area, meaning that it was promoted to local users on the main twitter interface.


An additional benefit of promoting the use of Twitter through the leaderboard was that it helped to capture the variety of views and opinions shared by participants during the event. We were then able to use the tweets to create daily blog posts summarising these discussions using Storify, allowing us to produce a record of the day’s events for participants to look back on and to give some insight into the discussions for those unable to attend.

While the leaderboard was highlighted during the Gamification session as an example of a method to encourage participation and motivate learners, it is hard to say whether, in this case, the leaderboard led to an objective increase in Twitter usage. Early feedback indicates that its’ introduction did motivate some people to tweet more than they might ordinarily, yet others stated that they were unaware of the board. Another reason why the increase in the use of Twitter at TELFest this year cannot be solely attributed to the leaderboard is that we integrated Twitter directly into some of the workshops. It is however clear that the leaderboard did not appear to influence the number of colleagues attending drop-in sessions.
We closed the board on Friday at 12pm and as a token gesture awarded chocolate medal to colleagues that were top of the board – congratulations to Gary, Nik and Maria.


Below is a screenshot of the final top 20 for the leaderboard:

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