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As most of you know, I've been working on promoting EL&U for the past couple of weeks, and I'd love to have some help brainstorming. Here's a list of some ideas and things I've been trying out so far:

  1. Sponsoring giveaways on blogs: I've been talking with the writers of blogs like Sentence First and Precise Edit. Are there other big English language/grammar bloggers I should reach out to?

  2. Ad space on specific sites: I'd love to get an ad on something like the AP English College Board site, but I'm not sure how feasible that is. Where else should I be looking to place an ad?

  3. Going to conferences - I've looked into being an exhibitor at conferences put on by the NJ Education Association and the National Council of Teachers in English. It's pretty expensive to do that, so I was wondering if there are smaller-scale events that cater to a similar audience. Are English teachers a good group to target?

  4. Sponsoring meetups and other events - book clubs, literary festivals, etc. Every time I try to find an English Language meetup it's always about ESL, so I figured book clubs might be the next best thing. Are book clubs and writers' groups related enough? What other events should I look into?

  5. Holding a top new users competition: Would it be effective to do a giveaway to the top new users of next month? What prizes would be good for that? Maybe a new Kindle? What else?

These are just some ideas we've been tossing around at the office. Does anyone have thoughts about anything else we should try? I know we discussed doing a pirate text filter on Talk Like a Pirate Day - a lot of us thought that was a great idea but unfortunately requires too much time and effort to actually pull off. However - we do think that posting some pirate-English related questions on that day would be great, so feel free to do that! I'd love to hear your thoughts on other things we could try, so feel free to ping me in the chat room or shoot me an email whenever you want!

[Edit] New idea: what do you think of sponsoring grad student organizations/study breaks/etc? If anyone is in grad school for English or Linguistics and/or is a member of a related student organization that might like a sponsorship for a study break (or something else) let me know! Recommendations for other people to contact are also welcome.

  • I'm pretty sure the College Board doesn't accept commercial sponsorship or advertising—besides that, my only worry is that #4 might be a little distant from site focus, but I'll let the community speak out as to that. – waiwai933 Aug 22 '11 at 18:05
  • Yeah I didn't think they did, which is why I'm looking for ideas on related sites that might accept ads. Too bad, because AP English Language students would probably be a great target audience. – Lauren Aug 22 '11 at 18:08
  • Ooh, Talk Like a Pirate Day!! :D – Marthaª Aug 22 '11 at 20:54
  • we are encouraging the formation of online reading groups on literature.stackexchange.com now that that's made it out of private beta. (Everyone agrees to read a certain book then ask questions about it to examine it in more detail, etc.) Could be some crossover there, too. – Jeff Atwood Aug 22 '11 at 21:34
  • @Jeff Atwood just saw the literature meta post about it. Seems like a cool idea. I'm going to a book club meetup next week and I'll definitely mention it to them. – Lauren Aug 24 '11 at 14:28
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Regarding grammar blogs: The ones that I know of are GrammarGirl, LanguageLog (more Linguistics-related, but mostly English), and Grammarist.

Regarding ad space: I think that places to reach out to would be the sources that are used most here. For example, my go-to etymology source is EtymOnline and I often use GrammarGirl as a source for providing examples for grammar rules. Perhaps by compiling a list of these sites, you could reach out to them on the basis of "we are exposing people who are interested in your page, thus building web traffic for you." (Note that GrammarGirl has ads but EtymOnline does not.)

Regarding new users competition: For giveaways in general, I think a solid dictionary or etymology source would be appropriate (a full collegiate one would be best) in addition to an eReader of some sort. The only thing that I would worry about with such a contest is that you could be rewarding the users who have time to devote to the site, more so than the users who have fewer but more thought-out answers. I would support the contest if there were categories like "Best Answer from a New User" rather than "Most Reputation Gained by a New User".

  • Language Hat is another linguistics blog; English is not its sole focus but it does link to many other resources that cover English. Linguist List might be one more place to look for conferences and to see if we could be linked on the list or site. – aedia λ Aug 23 '11 at 17:32
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EngVid.com might look like a good candidate http://www.engvid.com/

there is also the English Word Reference forum http://forum.wordreference.com/forumdisplay.php?f=6

There is also the Perdue Owl and Cornell Library (new so cant post more links).

I would probably reach out to community colleges and high schools and mention that this is a great resource as a reference when writing papers. Specifically I would target the teachers to include a link in there handouts at the start of a course.

Most English and writing courses I've taken included a handout from the instructor with resources such as Purdue Owl, APA.org, Cornell Library, Plagiarism checkers, etc.

As many teachers are on facebook, you can possibly start messaging them through there or get their contact info from the Academics section on most school websites. Word of mouth is supposed to be the best form of advertising.

Regarding the give aways, I think a good dictionary would be a good idea as simchona mentioned but I would add it should be something ike Oxford in Kindle or e-reader format.

You can also try placing ads on oedonline.com merriam-webster.com, dictionary.com, and even urbandictionary.com (it ranks high on searches for actual words sometimes).

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