Tag Archive | advertising

Blogging For Success

Recently on Pinterest there’s been a flurry of pins aimed at first-time or beginning bloggers. They all follow a theme: “You don’t know what you’re doing, so you’d better listen to me unless you want to be a failure.”

I get it. There are a lot of things I wish I knew when I first sat down to set pen to paper. (Well, actually, pixels to screen, but whatever.) But those things all had to do with the mechanics of creating a blog: finding the right host, picking a theme, figuring out the editor, and so on.

But far too many of the pins I mentioned have nothing to do with the logistics of running your blog and everything to do with your content.

And, of course, they all offer to sell you their book that promises instant fame, a successful blog, and to cure cancer all in one nifty little package. Just give us your money.

When I first looked into e-book publishing, I found a number of people selling books that promised to make you a successful self-published writer. But upon deeper examination, they all turned out to be a kit containing one e-book covering how to become a self-published writer. All you had to do was insert your own name as the author, and turn around and resell the kit to other people.

It said nothing about the process of writing, editing, re-writing, re-editing, and finally submitting your work to either an agent or a publisher.

And that’s exactly what the Pinterest pins seem to be doing: telling you how to spend your money on a kit, then reselling it under your own name.

Advice vs. Advertising

Please don’t misunderstand me: advice is often warranted. I look for it myself when I’m stumped by a particular problem. But useful advice is different than advertising. You have to have an actual product before you start selling it.

In a way, it reminds me of the early days of micro-computing and the concept of vaporware; software that was advertised heavily in computer magazines and advance orders taken. If the ads generated enough interest to make the product viable, then—and only then—was work begun on actually creating the software. If not, any advance orders were refunded with a technobabble line of bull-crap meant to explain the failure of the program.

A Guaranteed Formula For Success

The best formula for guaranteeing your success as a blogger is realizing that there isn’t any guaranteed formula for success as a blogger.

As was once famously said of Shoeless Joe Jackson,

If you build it, he will come.

So start your blog. Check out the tools available to help you. Find the best platform for your specific needs. For example, I chose WordPress. And then write. Write every day. Write even when you have nothing to say. Even if you don’t publish it, you should still write every day until it becomes a habit. Write for a specific audience, if that’s what you want to do.

Or be like me: I just write about whatever comes to mind when I sit down at my laptop. (Well, okay—it’s usually my mobile phone.) Once I’m done, that’s when I decide my target audience and publish it to the appropriate blog. Yes, I have several blogs, depending on my mood and my intended audience.

Writing For Medium

Medium is different. There, I have only one audience I aim for: other writers. People who are serious about their own writing. Or at least serious enough to share it with a critical audience. (In this context, I define “critical” as:

Expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art.

“she never won the critical acclaim she sought”

synonyms: evaluative, analytical, interpretative, expository, explanatory

“a critical essay”

(of a published literary or musical text) incorporating a detailed and scholarly analysis and commentary.

“a critical edition of a Bach sonata”

involving the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

“professors often find it difficult to encourage critical thinking in their students”

When I publish on Medium, I know I’m opening myself up to criticism. But that’s what I’m looking for, what I’m hoping for. What do other writers—many of them professionals, and many of them far better writers than I am—think of what I have to say” of how I say it? How can I improve?

Because ultimately, that’s what it comes to in the end for me: I want to improve. I want to get better. Not for any possible fame or fortune, but simply to become the very best me I can become.

Dear Blog Spammers

Dear Blog Spammers,

You know who you are. The ones who keep posting advertisements for your services, thinly disguised as “comments.” You promise me riches beyond my wildest imaginations, and everlasting fame.

You know what? My imaginations are pretty damn wild, and none of them include you. Fame? I’m not looking for it, and that’s not the point of this blog. Hell, I don’t even avail myself of the advertising services I already know about, and the fact that I don’t should tell you something. There are already too many commercials on the web, and I’m not going to add to them.

That’s why you don’t see any pop-ups on my blog or website: I don’t like it when I go to someone’s page and get bombarded by advertisements and various other popups, and I’m not about to inflict them on my readers.

Let me explain how your advertisements work on my pages:

  1. You post your ad in a comment.
  2. I get an email notice advising me to moderate your comment. Yes, I have chosen the option of moderating all comments before they appear on the page.
  3. Irritated because I know your comment is spam even before I look at it, I open my blog’s dashboard and read your “comment.”
  4. Seeing that it’s only a sales pitch and not a real comment, I move it to the trash.

So not only has your advertising campaign been a waste of time for both of us, you have also alienated a potential customer for your services

Look, I’ve been on the Internet since before it was even called that. I’ve taught classes in HTML, CSS, email, and just about everything else associated with the Web. I’d even go so far as to say I’ve been at this a lot longer than you have.

That’s not to brag, but rather to make a point: I KNOW all about search-engine optimization. I’m aware of all the scams masquerading as “services.” If I wanted to increase my readership, I know how to do it.

When I started this blog, I promised my readers that I wouldn’t harvest their email addresses for commercial use. There’s already too much of that going on elsewhere. It pisses me off, and I know it pisses off a lot of other people. So I don’t do it. I don’t even maintain a mailing list. People are free to come and go as they please. They know my blog is here, and they can come read it when they choose, nit when I want them to. Hell, I can’t even remember if I’ve activated an RSS feed here or not.

The same thing goes for ads. Yes, I could probably generate some small income by putting targeted ads on my pages, and it might even be enough to cover the monthly fee I pay to have this blog hosted.
But that would mean I’d have to give up something: my integrity. A promise is a promise.

So my point to all of this is that whatever services you’re offering, I DON’T WANT! Stop wasting your time–and more importantly, MINE–in trying to sell me stuff I don’t want.

Hmm…I just had an idea: maybe I WILL start harvesting email addresses of those of you who spam me with ads, and then sell them to the get-rich-quick folks in Nigeria. You’re definitely made for each other. You certainly deserve each other!