Acquiescing To Inferiority

Since you’re reading this blog, you’re likely a pretty intelligent individual. How do I know that? Well, aside from pandering to your intellectual side, I know that most humans will tend to seek out individuals who are similar to them in some way. Since gender, ethnicity, nationality, and many other visible personality traits are often equalized by the facelessness of the internet, our non-visible traits come to light more easily, specifically intellect.

And might I say, what a big brain you have…right here…on the internet.

Kid tested, Foley approved. Image credit realmickfoley.com

A while back, I wrote a rather ranty post discussing how not to blog. Many of you have likely already read that post, and it actually was able to garner a bit of notoriety thanks to 20 Something Bloggers and their Speakeasy Awards. However, what I haven’t shared is why that post was written.

You see, about the time I wrote that post, I was actually in the process of comparing a short story I’d written to that of another blogger. In my opinion, the story I’d written was better than the other story…so much so that I actually called it “a poorly conceived work of fiction” and “inferior to most children’s books” to a friend of mine. Harsh? Absolutely. Over the line? Perhaps. Completely accurate? Yes and no.

On one hand, the assessment of the story was completely accurate. The story’s content wasn’t my ideal subject matter, however I could appreciate that some people enjoy sappy love stories. However, when you use the same verb eight times in a four sentence paragraph and you’re not going for a literary device of some kind, you should probably bust out a thesaurus.

They’re really quite dapper. Image credit icanhascheezburger.com

And yet, some time shortly after the start of the pounding migraine that I got from reading the story, I read through the comments of the post itself. People loved the story. And it wasn’t just a “oh, hey, great job!” type of love. It was a “shut up and take my money” type of love. I didn’t get it. How could someone who had written so poorly be so loved by their readers. You know, outside of Snooki or Bill O’Reilly.

Then it hit me like a ton of heavily padded bricks. The story wasn’t what had sold the readers on the tale being told. Rather, it was the interaction that the author of the story had with others (particularly a few high-profile commenters) that made the story so loved. The content wasn’t great, it was just packaged in a pretty container and marketed well. Think Coca-Cola, only in word form.

As a blogger, marketing will rarely be your worst enemy. You can become a successful blogger without having a great marketing strategy on your side. That said, it’s the equivalent of trying to drive from New York to Los Angeles on a child’s pedal bike. You’ll get there with enough time and effort, however you’ll exert far more force than you need to.

Admittedly, I’m not the best marketer around. Hell, I’ve made one blog ad ever and haven’t used it in well over two years. However, had it not been for a brush with a work I considered inferior, I wouldn’t have started marketing at all.

What do you do to market your blog? Do you have any tips/tricks you’d like to share with other readers?

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11 thoughts on “Acquiescing To Inferiority

  1. I don’t really market my blog at all…which is probably why I have a super small following that seems to be dwindling along with blogging in general. But I agree, it’s astonishing the pure crap people will not only pay for but violently promote if it’s packaged correctly. Insanity. I think of it as the John Green phenomenon- I love John, and Vlogbrothers, and have read/enjoyed most of his books. But I wouldn’t call him the best author ever- although there are rabid fans who would cut me for that (although he would not approve of their behavior, but still).

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    1. I really need to start marketing more, especially here in the near future. No idea how I’m going to go about doing that though. And yeah, I think that fandoms of anyone can get overly defensive about whatever they’re a fan of — usually to the chagrin of the person they’re a fan of.

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  2. I feel like I’ve lost nearly all of my readership. Between you, Brittany, Cherie, Samantha, and my wife, I think those are my only regular readers. I’ll feel bad to the five of you when I can’t get something written in time for one of my posting deadlines (which I’m sure will happen sooner rather than later). That said, most of my other readers seem to be gone.

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    1. Up until I found a new blogging community via Facebook, I had also lost most of my readership. Although, I also recently discovered there are people on Facebook following my blog that I didn’t even realize were following it; since they don’t comment, I wasn’t aware of the readership.

      I find Facebook is the easiest way to ensure people are still reading though. As far as regular, everyday readership that interacts, that’s definitely dropped for me too.

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      1. The one problem I have with doing that is that I haven’t had a Facebook account in over three years. I have zero intention of ever getting one again for various reasons, however that certainly limits my readership options. I’m sure there are people who follow my blog thanks to Facebook, but it can’t be that many (I’ve had a grand total of 7 visits from Facebook since October of last year).

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        1. Which, that is understandable. I think it works for me mainly because a large number of my Facebook friends are people I’ve connected with at various different locations over the years (camp, college), many of whom had an interest in my writing already. I have a feeling were I just to attempt to create a Facebook page for my blog and leave it through there, I would see a huge drop in Facebook readership.

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  3. I don’t understand blog-marketing. At all. Some months it peaks, others it doesn’t, regardless of what I do. In fact, at the top of the year, I was getting 500+ views for 4 months solid and I still can’t work out why. The most I do is make reasonable targets and aim as best I can for them, and scope around other sites when I get the chance. I set up a twitter account just for the pure purpose of not sharing posts to my personal profiles (even I was getting annoyed by them). Other than that, I don’t foresee swathes of traffic in the near future, but slight growth in stats is alright.

    My biggest problem at the moment is sporadic focus. Apart from homelife funsies, I’m trying to get my portfolio site, projects, and work up and running, and an update for my blog in general, and I’m succeeding in…none of them. It’s very depressing 😦

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    1. Before I moved to self-hosting, I was hitting 800-1000 visits a month. Since going to self-hosting, the most visitors I’ve had in a month has been 526 (in April). I’m consistently in the 350-450 range, but the fact that I can’t get close to the traffic I had before is depressing. I’d love to get my traffic up significantly before my book publishes, but I realistically don’t see that happening. I’m not the only one depressed by this though, so it seems reassuring, even though it’s not good for either of us.

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      1. I wonder why that would be… Never know, it might spike as a result of your book – I thought your marketing ideas for that were good ones πŸ™‚ Positivity and all that. Well, the one thing I’m now embarking on is one of the blogging courses with WP again, and actually trying to harness it into something useful. Last few times I’ve done it, it might have sparked traffic but not a whole lot else. If I can get my blog’s overhaul done and the portfolio site finished inside the month, I’ll be very content, regardless of traffic/etc.

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  4. I have a love/hate relationship with marketing my blog. I have bought (cheap) ads from a few pretty successful bloggers and I’ve participated in a few giveaways and link ups… each of these things has resulted in a spike in my readership and views… for a little while.

    It’s great to receive more attention, but most of that dies away if I don’t continually whore out my blog. And I don’t want to be one of those blogs who posts more marketing than content. That’s my least favorite thing. I’m more content with a small readership and keeping myself authentic than constantly marketing and losing any semblance of personality on my blog.

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    1. I’ve tried the same thing, though I really can’t recall of much of an inflow of traffic I’ve received from it. Even when I had an ad on 20SB, I rarely got more than one visit per week from it. I can’t find a traffic source other than 20SB or Twitter that I’ve been able to get more than 1-2 visits a week from. It’s kind of sad really.

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