Thursday, June 24, 2010

PLUG IN - A metaphor for blogging (and life) that keeps on working!

So this week, I challenge you to figure out how you can better "plug in" to your target audiences - to your blog readers and to your potential blog readers.

In my world of children's literature, there's a monthly event called "The Carnival Of Children's Literature." The idea is that every month there's a different host, and many bloggers share their favorite blog post of the month - and the "carnival" is a giant of a post, with links to 30 or more wonderful posts from all across the world of children's literature.

I've watched this event for years, and finally, I signed up to host.

The June 2010 Carnival of Children's Literature takes place tomorrow, and I've literally invested two whole days of what would have been writing time to make this happen in a way that's artful and organized and hopefully very professional.

And tomorrow, hundreds of new readers will come to my blog to find out about all the wonderful things going on in the kidlitosphere, and while they're there, they might check out the things I've been talking about on my blog.

It will be a lot of traffic and, more importantly, community coming by to visit - for me and for everyone who sent in a link and a blurb to participate.

It's a wonderful opportunity, and I'm grateful to have the chance to be the Carnival Ring Leader for this month.

So here's YOUR challenge - where is there an opportunity in YOUR world to plug into what's going on with your community?

Think about it, and feel free to share your ideas in comments! (Oh, and check out the carnival at 12:01 AM Pacific Coast Time, June 25, 2010!)


Thursday, June 17, 2010

How Can You "Contribute To The Conversation" When You're Overwhelmed? Finding Balance in Blog Commenting

Get it? Constant Comment?

So recently a consulting client shared with me their dilemma when it came to commenting on blogs. They felt that they wanted to truly add to the conversation, and not simply leave "Yes, I hear you" type comments.

The problem? Composing their in-depth comments, responding to the blog posts of others, felt overwhelming and extremely time consuming.

It is a common enough challenge that I thought I would share my strategy here with all of my readers:

I try to find a middle ground. Sometimes, when I read an awesome blog post, all I have time for is "Thanks for sharing this!"

Other times, for that same level of awesome, I can wish I had an hour to compose a full-on blog post of my own, responding to their post, to leave as a comment.

But most of the time, that hour already has too many claims on it - so I compromise. I try to find ONE point I can add to the conversation. ONE element of the blog post to which I can respond substantively - and having done that, I feel the job's done.

It's not ideal - but it's a practical strategy, and it works for me. You want to engage your blog readers in a conversation, and you want to be part of the conversation over on their blogs... But life is busy, and it's counter-productive to let blog commenting be an additional source of stress in your life.

Remember, this blogging thing is supposed to be fun. You're finding YOUR community, and sharing with people who are passionate about what you are passionate about. That kind of community-building is beyond cool.

So when you comment, Remember to keep it Zen.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quality or Quantity? Your blog readers, facebook friends & twitter followers

Okay, I think I need to make a point here about the competitive and somewhat demoralizing "game" I find myself and others playing with our statistics.


You will always find someone whose blog is bringing in more readers than yours.

You will always stumble upon a facebook "friend" whose "friends" out-number yours by the thousands.

I have seen tweeps with hundreds of thousands of followers, which can temporarily make me feel like a twitter failure.

But you know what? It doesn't really matter what anyone else has going on.

Here's the secret: While it's nice to be able to throw out a nice round number of how many people visit your blog, if none of them come back, or stay to read what you've written... you may have traffic, but you're not really building a following.

I think it's much better to have 100 loyal involved readers than 10,000 people who click in and click out and really couldn't care less about what you do or blog about.

Traffic without quality is, well, just traffic.

But over time, a loyal quality following will build from something small... into your platform.

And that's something to aim for.

Just something to think about the next time you find yourself hyperventilating about your blog visitor / facebook friend / twitter follower numbers not being higher...

Namaste, and remember to keep it Zen,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why Blog In The First Place?

So a friend of mine talked to me recently about wanting to start a blog. She had all these wide-ranging ideas for content, and I asked her:

What's your goal with blogging? What do you want the blog to do for you? Why do you want to start blogging?

And her answer surprised me.

She said she wasn't looking for new clients. Or even to build her audience. Or to establish her expertise. (All three are already well established.)

She explained that she thought a blog would be the perfect way for her to organize information for her existing clients in a way that streamlined her interactions with them...

One example being that she wouldn't have to answer the same question via email multiple times to different clients - she could simply write up a post that addressed that topic, and share the link to the blog post when asked the question in the future.

And I thought it was a really great use of this amazing new medium.

I hope she'll start blogging soon.

And our conversation inspired me to ask: Why are YOU blogging in the first place?

Is it to build an audience for what you do?

Is it to establish your expertise in your area?

Is it to make a difference in the world in some way?

Is it to provide a service?

Is it to organize information that you want to share?

Is it to have your voice heard?

I think these are all great reasons to blog - but each reason requires different approaches to HOW you blog.

Consider the reasons YOU blog, and please share them with us in comments!

Namaste, and remember to keep it Zen,