Have you ever experienced something both incredibly humiliating and exhilarating at the same time?
A few weeks ago, I had a blogging experience which really rattled my cage. I was asked by a dear friend — asked! — to give her a link to a post I considered one of my best, so that she could share it on her Facebook page. I thought about it carefully, and chose Sometimes Change is Good. Are you ready?.
For a week I watched her page in expectation and I noticed something which bewildered me. She wasn’t sharing my post. But that wasn’t the kicker. She was sharing post after post from another blog. Clearly she had time to be on Facebook and was reading other blogs and sharing material with her fans. So what kept her from sharing the post link I so thoughtfully chose, at her request?
About the same time, I started noticing posts such as Stop Shouting: Great Content Speaks for Itself on blogs I greatly respect. These bloggers made comments like this one: “If you have great content, your blog will get noticed and shared by others. You should not be focusing on social media. Focus on great content first, and let the rest be second place.” Hmmm. That’s food for thought. If I have great content, others will share my content for me?
I began to wonder if the reverse was also true.
If no one is sharing my content except me, does that mean my content is not so great?
I tried a little experiment, and backed way off my social media content push. My page views did not increase. My page views didn’t even stay steady. They didn’t exactly plummet, but let me assure you it wasn’t good.
As these introspections of mine converged, I decided to ask my friend and mentor a tough question. I phrased it carefully — I didn’t want her to think I was whining! — and I truly wanted and needed to learn what made someone else’s posts more shareable than my own.
What follows is an excerpt from our conversation:
Me: “In other words, what would make my post about the changes God expects of us more shareable. Better. Because In my mind, my content is obviously lacking in substance. I’m not bringing any readers back. But I don’t know what to do about it.”
Her: “Your post about change made good points, but it didn’t go as deep as (another post). It wasn’t as vulnerable. Depth and vulnerability (appropriate vulnerability) make a powerful combination.”
Depth and vulnerability make a powerful combination.
After that conversation, it seemed like a good time for a second experiment.
My RSS-based newsletter goes out once a week and I decided to set that up so that the top post of the newsletter would be something with more depth and more vulnerability. The very first week I wrote Is Consistency Something I Value or Not? and instead of losing subscribers, I gained ten subscribers on the day my newsletter was delivered into inboxes. People were sharing my content.
Now, I am not saying that my content was great. I haven’t gone as deep as I want or found exactly the balance I’m striving for yet.
What I have discovered is that readers respond when you are real with them.
And if you can’t get readers to respond to what you write — if you aren’t helping people, changing lives or touching hearts — then there really isn’t any point in blogging. So, if you are struggling to find a consistent and growing audience — it’s time to get real.
Amy is a wife to a military man, and a homeschooling mom with six beautiful children ages 14, 12, 9, 7, 4 and 4. She currently lives in southern California, where she enjoys playing on the beach and at Legoland, CA. She loves to write, sing, hike and read great books. She also loves to teach — which turns out to be a very good thing now that she homeschools! Amy started Bow of Bronze as a place to encourage other homeschool parents as she shares about her life and her homeschool. Connect with Amy through Facebook and Pinterest.