So I went to a blog seminar.
It was local, it was cheap, and it was mostly women. I’ll generalize and say everyone except me was blogging about parenting… either specifically, or as part of their platform. And crafts… Incase you didn’t know? People love crafts.
It seemed everyone already knew each other—I felt alone in a sea of enthusiastic, competent bloggers. Like I was trying to fit in at a new high school.
I wanted to leave immediately.
The anxiety I have at meeting new people is excruciating. Especially groups of people. Especially by myself. But it was only five miles from my house, and I’d made the mistake of telling Paul about it, so there was no backing out without looking like a dweeb.
This is what I learned:
- Social media is the new black.
- Social media is going to take over the world.
- Social media is more important than electricity, running water, and democracy.
- If you are not a social-media mogul, you might as well just pack up your blog and go home.
This is essentially bad news for me. (See social anxiety, above.)
More bad news: The time to capitalize on the blog zeitgeist was roughly a decade ago. If you failed to realize this, your only hope for salvation is social media.
Here, in no particular order… your salvation options:
- Google Plus—the next big thing. Or is already the big thing, I’m not sure. Either way, you need a Google+ account. And you need that little button at the bottom of your post. And, theoretically, you should be asking people to click that. **Google is changing the way they filter searches, deliver information, and determine what is valuable. And: the worth of your content will soon hinge on your social media following… No pressure.
- YouTube—The second-largest search engine. Behind only Google. Now that Google owns YouTube…I cannot imagine the world domination you could ensure if you mastered both.
- Pinterest— I assume I don’t need to explain this. Go use it. You will be mesmerized and not come out for hours. And when you do you will be hungry and cranky and irritated that you just wasted three hours of your life.
- Twitter—anyone not using Twitter is an idiot. Thus, I am an idiot. And? All the other bloggers were on Twitter the ENTIRE time. Even while speaking to you, they were looking at their phone/ipad/laptop and refreshing Twitter. I tell you this: Twitter is HUGE. I started to get the idea that what you put on Twitter is actually more important than what you put on your blog. Which, I tell you, is disconcerting.
- Facebook—Up until a week ago, I was only friends with my two brothers and my best-friend. This was great. I could use the F-word at will, and mock my father’s affinity for Plato.
More importantly, being on Facebook allowed for the possibility that Michael Macaluso would find me and tell me how his fourteen-year-old-self never got over my fourteen-year-old-self, and tell me how he still remembers my white denim skirt and my green espadrilles and my giant hoop earrings. And how he still remembers the mixtape he made me with “Lady In Red” on BOTH sides…
What? That’s not why you’re on Facebook?
Assuming you’re not like me—this social media thing might be easy for you. And it does sound important: Facebook is the largest online audience you’re ever going to have, and access to it is free. Only an idiot wouldn’t take advantage of it. Repeat with Twitter. Repeat with YouTube. Repeat with Pinterest. Repeat ad nauseam with whatever the next big thing is…
Make sure your Facebook page is linked to your blog in a highly visible manner. Make your Facebook page an interactive extension of your blog. Ask your readers to join you on Facebook. (Please?)
You don’t need to link to your personal Facebook page. You can create an independent page, specifically for your blog. (Not that I needed to because now that I have more than three friends, I wouldn’t ever post anything I wouldn’t be fine with both my Aunt and my Ex-Soulmate reading — An excellent governor for any topic you might consider.)
Things I learned that made me sad:
- Your readership turns over every three months. This is pretty exhausting if you think about it. All that goodwill you thought you were building with faceless readers around the world? Does not exist. They’re going to abandon you. Soon.
- Don’t have too much text. People don’t like to read long posts. (I’ll assume you all stopped reading a while ago.)
- Blog readers love printables. As in, things you can print out. This can be a recipe, a how-to guide, a stencil, a coupon…
- Blog readers love top ten lists.
I should say that the seminar, and most of the participants turned out to be geared towards profitable blogging. Which wasn’t the kind of basic tutorial I was hoping for, but it was still interesting. There was a lot of talk about brands, branding, how to connect with brands, how to appeal to brands, how to be a brand, how to make brands want you… I am not the target audience for that topic.
However, while I don’t care about making money, I do care about writing something that people want to read—and then finding those readers. I assume this is a common goal of all bloggers…
So here is my open-ended question for you: what’s your goal? What do you want to accomplish? Are you using social media to get there?