What if you threw a party and no-one came?
More to the point, what if you asked a question and no-one answered?
Last week I asked what readers wanted to see on this blog… and received precisely zero responses.
Here’s why I think that was the case.
- I’m not writing good headlines. Or at least my headlines could be stronger. We live in a stimulus-rich, attention-starved world. Headlines like “The ‘why’ of content marketing” get clicked on. They get read. They get shared. Headlines like “What should I write about?” frankly, do not.
- I’m not writing for the web at all, really. I write the way I speak. I like to go off on tangents. I pontificate. (Just like I’m doing now.) But readers don’t want tangents or screeds. They want sub-heads and bullet points — easy-to-read chunks, not 600-word essays. That’s not to say I need to pander to readers, but I could be doing a lot more to make these posts more readable.
- I’m not promoting the blog properly. I use a WordPress plug-in that automatically tweets new blog posts. I also… No, wait. That’s it. (Shameful, I know.) At minimum I should be tweeting links to posts multiple times a week to catch people who use Twitter at different times. And oddly, though I share a lot on LinkedIn, it’s never my own material. Plus don’t get me started on Google+… (I’ll get there some day.) The point is, even though I know what I should be doing to promote individual blog posts, I’m not doing any of it.
- To make matters worse, I don’t have enough to promote. I’m kind of stuck here — with the life I live, it’s a challenge sometimes writing even one post a week. But the fact is the more times a week you blog, the more readers you attract. It’s funny but it’s true.
- I’m not differentiated enough. This is one of the biggest issues, I think. There isn’t a hell of a lot that sets my blog apart from anyone else’s, other than the fact that I’m writing for web pros. (A distinction that, ironically, is lost on most people who share my content.) Sub “web pro” out for “small business owners” or “creatives” and you’ll find hundreds of writers doing the same thing I do… So what makes me special enough to deserve an audience?
Now, let’s put aside for a minute the reasons I’m not doing these things. (Self-sabotage? Overwhelm? Lack of passion?) Doesn’t matter. I know what I need to be doing and I’m just not doing it.
I also know we’ve all been there. You could probably give me a list of five places where you’re experiencing the same thing. So I’m not beating myself up too much — and you shouldn’t either.
But the point is, all of these things I’m not doing lead to a big “who cares?” for casual readers. Yes, I have dedicated readers, but they’re almost exclusively clients and colleagues. (Note: I love you, and I appreciate that you visit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t realize I’m talking to the same person every week.)
If I want to attract more readers, I need to up my game. My blog isn’t remarkable, that’s for sure. (If you’ll forgive a pun, sometimes I’m not sure it’s even “markable” in the first place.)
And remarkable is definitely something it needs to be to compete in the ridiculously, unbelievably, magnificently crowded blogosphere. (Maybe even beyond remarkable — maybe even truly awesome.)
The good news is I know what I need to do… So I’ll share that too — next week I’m going to tell you about what I’m calling The Big Pivot.
Until then, here’s to being remarkable.
Or at the very least markable.