Not being a natural writer (I always preferred maths/science at school) this felt a bit daunting. I already had my own blog, but admittedly it lives in what I would describe as the ‘cul-de-sac’ of the ‘information superhighway’.
Publishing on LinkedIn felt like going mainstream, easily found and visible to the world. However, I hoped it would help me explore some interests, share some of my ideas and hopefully find my writing style. Putting myself out there a bit more seemed like a good idea.
So I wrote my first piece. Taking inspiration from the women’s world cup on at the time, it highlighted leadership qualities which are also relevant in the modern office. Everything was written, re-written, edited, re-edited. I attached a photo and with a nervous finger pressed PUBLISH.
As the little red icons started to appear in the top right hand corner of people’s screens, I quickly turned to see the stats: 10, 20, 50 people, it was being read… what a buzz! I even had some nice comments (thank you).
And so I have been hooked, trying to publish something new, thought provoking and relevant each month.
However as I gained experience and the articles have started building I have also noticed something interesting.
- After an initial burst of interest, the number of views of each subsequent article have flatlined or decreased.
- I was not alone. As I published more I noticed other people were starting to publish too. It was as if we had all discovered it together – at the same time.
- It felt like there was more comment out there, all looking for visibility…. it was getting a tougher market, harder to get new readers.
This got me thinking.
Is this really a trend? When is comment too much comment? Is too much content being posted, are readers losing interest? If so, just how do you maintain or increase your readership?
Whilst readership is important, (how do people know what you are saying if they don’t read your blog), this should not be the sole goal for publishing. I believe you need to decide your own reasons and objectives. For example, is it to explain new ideas, engage in discussion or just reach a new set of contacts?
Without this, it is a quick race to the bottom, with funny pictures, pop quizzes and one liners. They are extremely popular, but add little value and people see through them, not remembering who or what was posted.
Once your reason for writing are clear, it is also worth setting out your own set of publishing guidelines. There is plenty out there on writing great articles, however here are a few of my own thoughts on guidelines.
- Think carefully about the headline. Just like any newspaper: great headline, summarise the points early, explain the points and summarise again.
- Keep it positive. Explain even negative points in positive terms, not critical.
- Have an engaging point or non conventional view. Readers are better engaged, even if they don’t agree with your point of view.
- Be personal and authentic. The audience wants to hear from you, not from an imaginary persona, especially in a blog article.
- Don’t make it verbose or too long. Short, snappy to the point is more popular… (I struggle with this one!).
- Link and reference well.
- View, like and engage with other bloggers. Likes, comments, shares, all spread blog posts to your network.
Lastly: caution with kittens… I accept the line is blurring and pictures of cute kittens are fun, but try to stay focused on your objective and message, use with caution, only to re-enforce your point.
Why does no one read your blog, is there too much comment?
There has been an explosion of ideas and the interaction is undoubtably a positive thing. As a reader it can be harder to filter out the noise and as a writer harder to reach the reader. However I am not sure that number of views really matters in the long term. Engage the audience and they will return.
After all, an engaged reader is always many times more valuable than one which is not.