Saturday, June 22, 2013

Blogger Workshop Part 2!


We mentioned content during part one, but didn't really get into it.  Content is the element that brings viewers back to our sites.  They have to be interested in what we have to say.  This will vary depending on your focus, but everyone needs to pay attention to their content.
Every post you make… decide first if it even fits with the focus of your blog.  If not, and you feel strongly about wanting to post this information, consider setting up a separate blog for items along this theme.

Content is not just the idea of our posts though.  It is also in the way we present them.  When you go out to dinner, the way the food is presented is equally important as what the food is… even more important is the TASTE!

We must let our words grow out of what we see.  Let our words come to life and by extension allow a part of ourselves to show through.  Experiences are personal; the way we look at them are unique to us, but emotions are universal… to humans anyway.

I’m sure most, if not all of us, have heard that we need to “show not tell” – but what does that really mean?  It is the same idea as passive vs. active voice.

Telling (passive voice)

This is telling someone.  I am going to write my story and you are going to read it.  That is just how things are.  When it is cold outside, we are likely to bundle up.

Showing (active voice) –

When showing people your words, you involve them in the action.  They join your story and feel it with you.  You can’t help it.  When the sun blazes down on us, we find ways to cool off.

I don’t know if you noticed the difference in these two examples.  The main indicator of the passive voice happens to be forms of the verb “to be.”  There are times when it is necessary, but if you remove every: was, is, are, being, will be, been, etc. that you can, your “voice” will move from passive to active.  When you open up, your readers enjoy your words more.

How do I get more followers?

Even if your content is good, you may still be struggling with low page views.  There can be multiple reasons for this.

1.       Time
2.       Sharing
3.       Regularity
4.       Something new
5.       The real you vs. phony presentation
6.       Use your imagination

First:  We have to realize that, as much as we don’t like it, it does take time to build up a following.  Most of us rely on word-of-mouth as our main draw.  Word-of-mouth is AMAZING, but if people aren't talking, no one can listen.

Second:  How do we get the word-of-mouth to work for us?  We must do a LOT of work.  We need to network (meet others with common interests), but it is more than just meeting people.  We MUST build some sort of relationship or connection with them.  Why should they invest their time and effort in our work if we can’t show the interest ourselves?

Share your pages, do it more than once, and share in more than one place.  Ask a few friends to help share also.  When we have something that people like, they will automatically share to some extent.  Remember though, everyone has their own lives to stress over.  I’m not the most patient person in the world myself, but I do know that patience is needed.  How can we develop patience if we aren't faced with experiences that require its use?

You want to share, but also make sure that the places you share will have the people that you are trying to draw in.  For example:  If you write “adult content” in your blog, advertising in a room devoted to parenting small children is inappropriate!  There are countless groups set up to promote yourself and your writing.  Use these resources.  There are multiple sites that you can send out links to your blog.  Use the resources.  Don’t sit back and expect that people will just stumble across your page.  That generally doesn't happen.

Third:  Like other things in life, we must be regular.  This is not always easy.  Life likes to get in the way and mess around with our plans.  I’m a prime example of this!

However, you can make it work with PLANNING!  Yes, that is a dreaded word for me.  I’m not the world’s best planner by far.  But it does help.

Write multiple posts in advance.  They don’t have to be long.  You can save these posts as drafts on your blog site.  If you know there will be a time frame that you won’t be able to post as regularly as you’d like, schedule them to post for you.  These can fill in the blanks.

Another option you have is to have someone else (or several someone else’s) listed on your blog as contributors.  These should be people that you trust to maintain the focus of your blog.  With everyone on their own schedules in life, this can be amazingly helpful.

I, for one, do NOT have internet for my home computer.  I don’t even have reliable internet on my phone because I live in the middle of… nowhere.  I do have several people that I trust and work with.  These people have bailed me out of so many jams that I don’t even want to consider the number. (I am allergic to numbers by the way.)  This is a major obstacle for me.  I’m sure I’m not the only one either.

I can prepare short posts at home and upload them when I get a chance to be online in town.  The other contributors to my page(s) can also post for me if I forgot a certain event… or, if they just needed another place to post something.  I set the parameters of what I will allow on my site and can take action if needed.  Thankfully, I haven’t needed to.

Fourth:  This leads easily into the fourth point.  By regularly posting something new and sharing it, our readers will have something to come back for.  They will want to discover what will happen next.

You can do this by having a completely new topic or by having a series of topics to post.  Also, by posting teasers about upcoming events, you can call attention to your site and people will check in to find out more.  Do your best not to disappoint.  Don’t promise what you can’t keep.  Occasional mistakes can be swept under the rug, but continually… you will become the “boy who cried wolf,” and no one wants to be that person.

Fifth:  Be yourself.  This can be an extremely scary concept.  I am a wacky, quirky, corny, OCD, ADD, absent minded mess.  The thing is… I know it and accept it (mostly).  I at least own up to it.  I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to be what I thought I was supposed to -- trying to make other people happy while I became more and more miserable.

The point is that you must be yourself.  Have fun, enjoy what you post.  If you love what you are doing, and it isn't illegal, then why worry about what others think or say?  You will never be able to please everyone, but you don’t have to.  Take what information you can from negative comments (in all aspects of life), but keep ONLY what you can use to benefit yourself.

When you are passionate about what you are writing/saying other people can sense that.  It passes through the words and becomes infectious.  This is the infection you want.

I personally beg people to tell me what they do NOT like about my writing.  I’m not looking for reasons to be down on myself.  I’m looking for ways to improve.  I believe everyone has room to improve and we shouldn't be afraid to admit that about ourselves or help others grow.

Sixth:  Using your imagination has become a valuable skill that is often overlooked in our world today.  Schools cut back on more and more ways for young people to develop their imaginations.  Work places often demand that you fit in, do what you’re told, and don’t ask too many questions.
I say that we need to build our imaginations back up!  The greatest tool of the human mind is our capacity to see beyond what is right in front of us.  Look at the technological advancements.  Look at all the items we have and use daily.  At some point, someone used their imagination to develop it all.

Possibilities are endless in our imaginations.  How many times in history have people come up with some crazy idea that could only exist in the mind?  What about the doors that slide open on the bridge of the Enterprise in Star Trek?  Or the communicators?  Or video conferencing?  There are so many things that ARE and so many things the WILL BE that come from the imagination.

Please let your imaginations come back.  Give them a space in your life.  You will be amazed with how much more there is out there!

Assignment Time

What do you like to talk about?  What is it that you could do all day every day?  What is important to you?
Find what the answers are.  Then write, write about it and break it up into manageable bites.  These are your posts.  This is your link to building an audience.  Don’t be afraid to learn new words, techniques, skills, even new processes for things you've been doing.

If things are working… keep doing it.  If they aren't working, examine it and discover alternate ways to do what you love.  And don’t forget to SHOW us what it is like.  Even the journey to discovery can be fun.

 If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions... please drop me a note.
Or comment below... I know there is a spot for comments somewhere down there!!! (hehehe)

1 comment:

  1. Yup... comment space is available! See??? It's right here!! :D