So when I see a questions like the one you ask the first thing i do it go investigate the site/product. It helps me understand what your question is actually asking for. Secondly, I look at it as a consumer or in this case, a blogger/writer and ask the question in a different context.
1st item - your question is open ended and because of that is like the old networking adage, "If you network to someone, anyone, everyone you will get no one."
So think about it logically, what is your "Niche" your target market. Once you answer that question then becomes, "How do we extend our website to users/writes/authors to MAKE them WANT to publish their items on Penshake?
Easy, how easy is it to integrate with a current platform? Do you integrate with Blogspot/Tumblr?Blogsphere/Hootsuite/etc....?" No one wants to publish over and over again in different arenas but they do want it pick up in every arena! So do you integrate with import/export features or input/output to global markets?
2nd - Why do i want to use penshake over the competitors what are you doing differently then the other outlets? Is it free? Do you guarantee followers? Our you able to push out to category specific RSS feeds?
These are the questions you have to answer before you can grow. I always ask people who i market for what are your top 5 wants and needs? They don't always go hand in hand yet they rely heavily on each other to make the other work.
Your tagline is: "Join our community and become famous." how are you doing this? What does famous mean to you vs. the end user/writer/blogger?
The site I am sure answers many of these questions but unfortunately, you have all that "important" stuff in a sub navigation at the bottom of the page. Those are important navigation items, people want to know.
On a completely different note, the best way for you to get followers and such and interest in people using penshake over another forum is how you "Advertise" your people. What outlets are you advertising in and keep in mind advertising doesn't mean how much are you spending on google! :)
If you can define what makes your product stand out from other publishable works (along the lines of what Joseph said), you can go ahead and demonstrate value. And when you do that, you might think you could try to make it easier for others to access your site through other social media outlets (facebook, twitter, pintrest, linkedin,etc.), and maybe even use these sites for advertising.
We have a number of startups as part of the binkplus.pl incubator and I recomend them to join relevant groups on faceboook and post a short notice with a link to beta testing the site / application. If you would like more help or mentoring with your startup please feel free to email me ian at binkplus.pl
The question that you need to ask is: " *why* should any user come to my website?"
Once you answer that question, you'll find the answer to "how".
I recommend these two links:
Simon Sinek "Start with Why": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMLSrqYk0UE
and his book:
What i think what you should do is a referral program with a reward incentive. Create an avenue for your current users to invite friends on twitter, facebook, emails, blogs, etc.
Since, your niche is writers/plublishers etc, there's a good chance that your current users have friends in the same industry.
Encourage them to invite those friends to use Penshake, and for a certain number of users that signUp through them, they get rewarded. I don't know what that reward would be, but it should be something that has to do with Penshake.
Nice work so far.
If Penshake is your platform, it isn't clear what the value/benefit is to me as writer or whatever.
Your purpose must support the desires of your suppliers as well as your customers.
How have you currently been doing this? Have you been reaching out to publishers and writers already? Or have you just simply been promoting your platform? If you haven't been already I would reach out to writers themselves, or even bloggers and ask them to try the platform and let you know what they think. It is a good way for you to get feedback, and an indirect way for you to let people feel like they are getting to try something out before other people get the opportunity to. If you get bloggers who are interested in writing, publishing etc. they may offer to do a review, or you could even ask them to review your product on their blog.
Hope this helps!
Hi Bogdan, good work on the new site and good luck with your efforts.
Please take this feedback at honest and not an attack, it is from a user perspective, not business. Looking at it fresh, I was turned off from the homepage. With a list of blog articles showing, most in languages that were alien to me, I immediately didn't understand what was going on and if the site was relevant to me. Immediately you need a language or region filter.
I would also suggest you need to tell people what the site is and why they should be there. What do you want them to do? What benefit is there to me as a writer/author in showing my work there?
You do need to do a lot of outreach to get to the right people. For my music site www.musiceyz.co.uk I get my writers by trawling Twitter and various blogs, I don't care if they are influencers or not, just if they have a passion for the subject. My belief is great content will achieve great things.
Leverage LinkedIn! You can use "In Mail" to target writers/journalists/bloggers and invite them to publish on your platform, in return for feedback/Beta testing. Contact a LinkedIn rep to learn how. It will be the most cost effective solution.