There are a few things you could do this year to make things work for you, however. These include:
- Setting your blog’s tone;
- Drawing generational lines;
- Defining your blog’s following;
- Establishing a commenting policy;
- Choosing your economic fence;
- Putting a promo policy into place;
- Clearing your bookmarks;
- Establishing an author platform;
- Coloring your language;
- Throwing it all to the wind;
Alright, let’s just not waste time today and dive right into it, huh?
Setting Your Blog’s Tone
If you’re writing for snowboarders in Colorado that are spending most of their time playing video games and taking bong hits while waiting for the next unemployment check to come in then you should probably use colorful language and lots of cultural references that will surely get an easy laugh.
Setting the tone for your blog is important, but don’t be afraid to change it up. When I first started this site I had a pretty casual tone that was a lot more descriptive. One day I put up a post that kind of said ‘fuck it’ and ever since I’ve kind of melded the two together.
You have to find what you think works to get some traffic to your site and then hopefully some regular users, then maybe you’ve got to press the envelope a bit to get a few more, perhaps alienating those you’ve already obtained. Growing pains.
Drawing Generational Lines
I remember one commenting spree on Copyblogger where old and new viewpoints were clashing, especially over the use of the word ‘mo-fo,’ which older people found offensive. This was right around the time I was thinking of putting out Visit My Site, Bitch so I felt a little worried.
I guess it mainly comes down to whether you want to gear your site toward the past or the future, between the establishment of yesterday and the fringe of today – really whether you’re for the old and the policies they represented or the young and the policies they’ll implement.
It’s a tough call, but the sooner you figure out where you stand the easier it’ll be to make content for your site. And that’s what it really comes down to for anyone, regardless of age or income level – the ability to consistently put up relevant, unique, and entertaining content.
Defining Your Blog's Following
This site is a little different. I know I have a lot of writers reading it, some even leave comments from time to time. I also know I have a lot of strays coming in off Google, mainly through Search and something they typed in about 19th century history that directed them to my Montana blog.
Comments there are quite elusive, and that tells me there’s not much of a following for the site, and therefore that’s not an area I really want to focus too much time on. Does that mean people aren’t reading it? No, people are reading it big time, but I’m just not sure that’s where I want my following coming from, for now.
Establishing a Commenting Policy
Stifling debate is far more dangerous than ensuring your peace of mind. If it’s peace of mind you’re looking for don’t write.
Choosing Your Economic Fence
And remember that earlier point about tone? You can’t write for the rich and then ever go back and think you can write for the poor. Or can you? If you alienate all of your users enough they’ll eventually go away and you can start from scratch.
Putting a Promo Policy Into Place
And sometimes I promote what I’m working on on those blogs. Will this anger some people? Sure.
The best thing to do is promote in a way that doesn’t seem like promoting. When I put out my Amazon box-set a month or so ago I put an article up about it. But I also included easy steps on things authors can do to make their own boxed-sets, as well as some perils and pitfalls to avoid.
In other words, I gave my readers value while also promoting. This is just good copywriting. When I put out my 75 eBook cover design book I made a blog entry that listed the top 10 eBook cover design sites. Lots of traffic comes to that, although that so far hasn’t translated into sales.
I do a lot of promotion on my ESL website. What I’ll do for content marketing is choose one of the many ESL PowerPoints I haven’t written about yet and write up how to use it, what’s worked for me, and other good ideas for teachers struggling with their classes.
If you can do it in such a way that you’re providing value whether they buy the product or not you’re much more likely to get them to buy the product. Furthermore, they’ll remember you more.
David Ogilvy, a great copywriter, did an ad with 10 ways to eat oysters, something that advertised a beer or liquor. People pored over the ad and learned something, got value, even thought they may not have bought the product.
The chances of someone buying a product from someone that provided them value are much greater than those that provided no value before the sale.
Clearing Your Bookmarks
I wrote about taking back your internet bookmarks a couple of weeks ago, and honestly, I haven’t really missed any of those sites in that post except Copyblogger, which I usually get to through Google now. Hey, I’m stubborn and won’t add them back to my bookmark bar for another week.
The point is, think about what’s there that’s helping you and what’s there that is just rubbish. Act accordingly.
Establishing an Author Platform
I love it that I can post a comment on my local newspaper’s website, put one on someone’s ESL site in Europe, and then use another for my forum comments on writing sites. Each of them uses my author photo, which is just a really simple and affordable way to get your image and backlink out there to many sites.
I’ll tell you, there are several authors in my genres I know at a glance. Sometimes they leave comments on the same sites I do and they’re also using the same photo as they do everywhere else. This is a simple exercise in online coordination you can do now to really make your year better and to get your name and message across in a more effective and memorable way.
Coloring Your Language
So should you use colorful and possibly offensive language on your site? I do, mainly because I just don’t care if I offend anyone. They can hit ‘back’ and never come back again. Besides, I’ve never once had a comment or email about the language I use on this site. I don’t think people coming here really give a damn.
Now, do the people coming to your site care? If you were to put up an article with a few cuss words tomorrow, would it make waves? Sometimes a fire storm of comments because of your potty mouth isn’t such a bad thing. And it also culls out some of that dead wood that may have started to cling to your site.
Throwing it All to the Wind
Jeez, take some chances, will ya! This really offends me because my local newspaper, and many in the state of Montana, are owned by Lee Newspapers, a chain with serous financial worries. This means they’ll often not put out any stories that could rock the boat. It makes for some pretty bland reading.
Sometimes I think blogs must be getting a lot of affiliate money or something – why else would they publish shit that I don’t want to read, or worse, that I read on their site 3 months ago? I don’t know. I guess the point is you should just say screw it and throw all your hard work to the wind sometimes. There are just too many blogs to do otherwise.
Alright, that’s a little more than 1,800 words and I think we’ll just leave it there. What, no closing, no conclusion, no call to action? Alright – Buy My Shit!