MYTH: If I write it they will come; REALITY: No they won’t

I’ve been wandering round a few blogs recently because of various activities I’ve been involved in, I’ve also been social media spotting too and there seems to be a bit of theme developing. Perhaps I ought to explain further before I try and head into this post! Working as a social media strategist I often advise clients to work with the social networks, to write blog posts and to share on the social networks; I hope I take them through a process which involves them learning how to ‘have a conversation’ in whichever network they happen to find themselves.

But, and here’s the subject of the post, I’ve noticed that there seems to be quite a lot of expectation that writing the blog post or status update means that everyone will come flocking to their metaphorical door; when this doesn’t happen the would be ‘publisher’ dismisses social networking as something ineffective, that doesn’t work; they don’t realise that they have only taken the first step on a long journey.

How many blogs have you come across where there isn’t a single comment left on anything that has been added? How many Twitter accounts or Facebook pages have you seen where no-one ever says anything? It’s odd isn’t it and I guess it’s the myth coming out to bite people where it hurts.

Perhaps one of the problems is producing the right sort of content for both blogs and updates. You know the sort of content that people might actually want to read. In fact most blogs I come across have this as a core problem, no one leaves a comment because they can’t say anything, as the post doesn’t really take them into account. The same is true of status updates. Lot’s of them are all about ‘me’, rather than about ‘you’.

Then there is reaching out to others. It’s only this way that they can get the interaction and engagement that one of these accounts needs to make them vibrant, living entities in their own right. Now, I don’t know about you but if someone helps me out by sharing something, commenting or engaging, then I will try to repay that in some way – either by reciprocating or by some other action. It seems to me that the world turns on reciprocity, at least that’s my experience of it.

I’d love to find out if anyone has anything different that has worked for them or what their top hints and tips to get people coming are.

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16 thoughts on “MYTH: If I write it they will come; REALITY: No they won’t

  1. Books & Art - Spirit & Soul - Lesley Fletcher says:

    Recently, Linda I read an article that suggested that social media only works to sell your books once you have become a well known writer. It is often a catch-22 situation. I have engaged with so many people this last year and yet it has not impacted my sales significantly. One of my blogs which I don’t post on receives the same amount of traffic as my main blog in which I interact to the point of losing productive hours. It turns out I should have written a book or two based on tattoos because that is the key search word that draws an awful lot of traffic! There is often no rhyme nor reason in social media, but I DO know that if a writer has a big budget then big things can happen πŸ˜‰ and that you can take to the bank but only after spending it all !!

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    • Linda Parkinson-Hardman says:

      One of the key words that works for this blog is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I wrote a post in 2008 about considering it differently and it still gets loads of traffic πŸ˜‰ You do have a point Lesley, but I guess it’s a bit like being a movie star. It can often appear that the most famous come out of nowhere, they are in our face seemingly overnight; but we all know the stories, that rarely happens and what underpins their success is years of slog at the sharp end – rather like we are doing with our blogs now πŸ™‚

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  2. MishaBurnett says:

    I’m still making this up as I go, but I have noticed a couple of things.

    First, I try to make sure that I don’t let too much time go between blog entries–if more than two days go by and I can’t find the time and energy to write, I can find something to repost, or else dig into my old poetry archive. I want to have new content on my blog at least three times a week, and five times a week is better.

    Second, I try to make sure that I always end my entries on an up note. I want to be honest about my work and how it’s going, and sometimes that isn’t good, but I don’t want to come across as self-pitying or depressed. The internet is not my therapist. Yes, I do have struggles as an artist, and I think it’s important to share those, but I want to make sure that my readers know that these struggles are part of the business and something to move through, not a reason to give up.

    Third, I do try to reply to all comments within a day. Sometimes I miss some, particularly when I get a bunch of comments on a post, but I think I’m getting better about that.

    Fourth, I aim what I call “business conversational”. This is a writer’s blog, and while I drop in bits of my life, my cats, the trips I’ve taken, things like that, the primary purpose of the blog is to network with readers and writers. So the main topic of my blogs should be related to the business of writing, and any personal details should be tangential.

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    • Linda Parkinson-Hardman says:

      Actually, you have a great piece of advice there – keeping something ‘on track’ works well because you give people what they expect to get (most of the time). When we are rather random it can be disconcerting for visitors who may not come back again.

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  3. neenz87 says:

    First of all, the title is very catchy!. Loved reading the post. Can’t agree with you more, Linda. It’s tough to get people to respond and at times it’s annoying. Even I believe it’s all about give and take now.

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  4. Madison Woods says:

    Some of my blog posts invite more interaction than others, and often it’s not a conscious effort to make it so, but I wish I would remember to do it every time. And sometimes the posts I least suspect will bring comments, do.

    Also, as far as for bloggers who hope to use their platforms to sell books or products or themselves, I think it is important to blog in the circles that are likely to be interested in your products. This doesn’t come easy for me because it’s more comfortable to mingle in my peer group of writers when I think I *should* be mingling in peer-interest groups apart from other writers. Speaking of which, I need to go to FB and message a local friend of mine the link to my blog. She is not a writer but asked me about what I write and expressed a great interest in reading some of my work. She is representative of a non-peer group I’d like to attract more to my blog. I hope I can entertain her, and I hope she tells others. And that is also something based on reciprocity: I want to entertain her, and I hope she talks me up to friends…but it’ll only work if she is actually pleased with what she *gets* from me first. So as a blogger and author, that’s my priority… giving thought-provoking entertainment to readers. I’d be lying if I said I don’t hope to *get* something in exchange πŸ™‚

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    • Linda Parkinson-Hardman says:

      You’ve made an interesting couple of points there Madison, the first is that we have a group of readers who are not associated with us as ‘friends or peers’ but that are our target market. Secondly, I agree that it’s important to speak to our ‘working peers’ too – authors are readers and my own actions show me that I now buy books and other reading material from people I wouldn’t have considered before, simply because we have connected as authors. BTW, when you are planning to do a Thursday Throng with me?

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  5. silentlyheardonce says:

    I think you’re right on the key words that attract readers. A couple of months ago I posted a picture I found on FB it was a car crash and the driver was suppose to be texting and driving – hence the title on the post. Everyday that post gets a hit or two. It wasn’t true so I add a retraction.

    I also think reciprocity is good. I try to read and comment on as many blogs that interest me. I believe, if I want you to read what I have to say, I should at least try to read what you have to say.

    I read a post from a blogger who stated she doesn’t read any blogs other then those she calls her leaders and those who participate in writing challenges. Why should I waste my time if she thinks she is too good to read other people’s work? I was offended and stopped following her.

    There are times my post get lengthy like this response and I don’t expect people to read but I may get one or two that it interest and for me that is satisfying. In one of my hundreds of writing books, it suggested that I write for myself and that is what I do. Readers and followers is what I blog for but if I only have one reader and com-mentor that makes my day.

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    • Linda Parkinson-Hardman says:

      I think you’ve hit on something there. One of the big issues with social media is time and knowing what to focus on. As reciprocity is good, it seems to make sense then to focus on reciprocating with those who help you out. As you go through the process of developing a reputation your net spreads slowly wider, but there will come a point at which it’s not possible to keep up with everyone who helps you AND do the work you need to do to bring the income in, that’s the point at which you need to make a choice. Until then though … let’s rock and roll.

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I'm always interested in what people think and love having a debate so why don't we have a chat :-)

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