Being rapped over the knuckles for Self-Promotion

It may not have escaped your attention that if you are a blogger trying to earn your stripes you need to promote your content in numerous active channels to put people in front of your content. Promotion lets people know you are hip and happening. Hitting the streets with your work is your divine right! Why make a written piece of work if you can’t share it?

Then we focus on social communities, where we get acceptable behaviour, then violations. It’s the break on the runaway train to greatness.

Angry Nun with Ruler

Being rapped over the knuckles for Self-Promotion

It has become a rather growing theme that in certain communities the act of self-promotion is considered a crime.

Spamming

The act of repeating a rather low quality message numerous times. 

You’ll most likely get ejected for this or muted. It’s not a good strategy. On Twitter, repeating some of your tweets are no bad thing but on many other social sites you might become a hate figure if you are seen repeating yourself too often.

It depends on whether you want to really push the envelope and risk consequences or want to be modest.

Spamming in community areas is a strong no-no. Often you should try to avoid becoming too much of a dominant voice because you crowd out others around you. It can cause an arms race where the person who spams the most wins the spoils. This isn’t a mark of quality in a community. People are turned off very quickly by obvious attempts to oversaturate with self-promotion. If you give nothing back, why are people likely to be interesting in participating?

Another dark mark is directly contacting people with shares with the expectation they’ll take a look. If there is anything that looks like a cut and paste job, it is bound to be a more blunt force method of pushing your message across.

What’s up with advertising?

We’ve grown a bit weary to advertising as a unified world. Advertising doesn’t hold a person’s attention like it used to mostly because we’ve been bombarded with it for a long period of time and in order to stand out you have to go considerably further to impact your target.

I find adverts repulsive. I like to record programs on traditional channels and fast forward the adverts. Do you do that? If there is an advert I don’t like hearing on the radio I am sometimes compelled to lower the volume or turn off the radio altogether. Do you do that?

The other problem with advertising is that it can be indirect. Sometimes you might think to yourself “Who is this advert really for, it’s lost on me!”

So when you see a channel full of adverts often you might think, what is the benefit in that for me?

This leads to policing and moderation….

What’s the problem in a Police state?

Unnecessary brutality is a key symptom of a Police state. That is to say that for the good of keeping self-promotion from the eyes of the viewer, there ends up being very little incentive for content makers to participate. The reward of being part of a group is that you can share your stuff (even if nobody looks at it).

Facebook have been starting this process. The content published now only reaches a small percentage of the total. It has been filtered for the good of humanity. If you are cynical which happens to me most days, you could say the good of Facebook’s bank balance, which is already rather plump.

If you pay for it, it’s alright, isn’t it?

Paid advertising is now and has been the route that many social media outlets like to tout. Google has made most of its money on this activity above all others. Facebook generates huge revenue from paid advertising, having a large community of high grade businesses. Twitter and LinkedIn also make money from the same.

One of the major concerns with paid advertising is that you don’t have an iron clad return. You’ll be given guarantees but they have to materialise. You could run your advert and see nothing back. It is a gamble at the end of the day.

There is another argument that you drive the horrible industry that you are trying to escape from. Remember all those adverts you fast forwarded through? You are adding to that pile. There is something to leaving your sensibilities at the door when you get involved in business yourself but it smarts doesn’t it.

Is there any way to go about self-promotion in a ‘righter’ way?

Sadly not! No matter how you tackle this issue, you’ll have to look self-promotion in the face. Your stuff cannot exist in a vacuum. You have to work at building influence in order to become a stronger voice.

“He the man, She the man!”

henry-winkler-the-fonz-murphy-elliott

Image Source: Fine Art Of America by Murphy Elliot

I mentioned before in a previous post about becoming the Fonzy (Fonzarello from Happy Days) of the social world. Unfortunately, you have to embrace a bit of that ‘super star’ in order to succeed at the network. Promotion is a numbers game, you can write the worst title going and people will look if they see enough other people doing it. The tips that these big wig bloggers might tell you mean nothing when compared to the weight of number.

Weight of Number is a topic I will look at in more depth this year but in short summary; attraction can be influenced by social activity in numbers.

A lot of time you only reach the right level of exposure being in the right place at the right time. That special influencer spotted you at the right moment and shone the torch light on you. You then need to perform the right activities to succeed after that point. Throttle up or choke.

The false expectation of virility

We expect and pray for viral success, it is the reason why we share what we do. We want to join together thousands of like minds on a topic and reap the benefit whilst they get their fix.

The truth is, and this is an unfortunate truth, we may never go viral. We might produce the most epic content going but it may never be seen in the viral numbers we are expecting. Only a very small number of high quality content ever sees viral levels of traffic.

Even if we see a viral hit, will it have the impact that we hope for after? Will it retain sustained traffic in higher numbers, opening the flood gate, or will we still chart in the same level of numbers we were used to before?

We are under the false impression that our cookies are the best tasting cookies in the world. We haven’t realised that they got a bit burnt in the oven and tastes a bit salty. “It’s an acquired taste for a more complex palate.” We might say. Actually our baking is weak.

No calls to the CDC anytime soon….

Over To You

What are your thoughts about self-promotion? Love or hate?

Cozy Traps to Avoid when Forging Business Relationships with Blogging

Of all activities, forging a relationship with fellow business owners and the general audience is the most key. They are far more productive than anything you can do, regardless of what any expert says.

Forging business relationships when blogging

There are ways you can trip up on this goal

It is said that blogging is a people activity. I agree with that. Writing can be a deeply personal activity. Writing can be done entirely by you for yourself.

For blogging, you have to write for others and a bit less for yourself. If you are a more insular type of person, that might be a hard thing to achieve.

You can only get away with more “me-centric” blogging when you have an invested audience. People only care about your stories when you are popular. You need to present value before you present yourself.

Falling into cozy traps before you are ready

I am guilty of this activity myself as blog prefect’s head boy. I’ve got comfortable writing posts that don’t fit the audience brief, that don’t provide the right value, that are just throwaway.

It’s not good to waste time.

Let me explain more.

What are these cozy traps?

You may read from what I class as “big-wig bloggers”, the sharp end of the entrepreneur establishment, that you should be doing certain things.

These ladies and gentlemen have the advantage of hindsight. They’ve made all the stumbles and false starts, all the douche moves.

These overlords and overladies provide you with solutions of ‘best case’ but these best case solutions aren’t necessarily achievable in the way you hope.

The truth is, these big-wig bloggers don’t exist in your pond anymore, they don’t face the same unique difficulties you do in forging something great. They have the benefit of succeeding before, having a support structure, and having more available resources.

When reading tips from these individuals, beware!

So these traps then, what are they?

By no means is this a complete list, there is more in this complex equation, these are just a selection of the pressing issues you should consider.

Paying too much for tools and services that don’t work for you in the volume you need

The truth is, there are a lot of kick-backs for big-wig bloggers. It’s called affiliate sales. There is nothing wrong with this practice but you really must apply thought to whether this product is for you and put the brakes on when it is not. Free trials are great for low risk assessments. Make sure you know how to exit if it is not what you need.

You don’t generally jump into a tank and start pressing buttons the same as you wouldn’t jump into a jet and try the same. You need to develop an understanding before you start playing with the science.

Getting comfortable with content that doesn’t serve your audience

As bloggers, we all write to our set styles. We spend hours on the types of posts that make us happy. However, depending on your niche, there are going to be certain trigger topics that will make people very happy and the rest will be just, meh! Popularity plays into this. Sometimes how you dress your topic is more important than what is in it despite what you are told.

Following the trend rather than innovating for your unique proposition

Denim Sites

They say that imitation is the height of flattery but for many people, they just look at your denim site and think, whatever! You’ve got all the bells and whistles but you just look like everybody else. Yeah so you ticked all the boxes but what else have you got?

Producing too much or too little content based on unscientific observation

Your post schedule is not going to be like Mr Smith’s or Mrs Jones’ blog. It is what you can produce to best quality. It is not what seems to be a real stretch every week to make up numbers.

You should arrive at your schedule by trying different frequencies and not going by what other people say. This means taking a look at your stats and figuring out when your best window of the week is.

Not mixing up your strategies every so often

Things change as do the big-wig strategies. All things dim in the passing of time. Coastlines erode, rivers carve new routes, and deserts expand and contract. You need to embrace change as nature does.

Being too scared to fail

Ladies First 001

Image Source: Flickr from Mike Mozart

At the cornerstone of success is epic failure. One ironclad guarantee about success is that it is always outnumbered by failures. This means you have to try a few things and know how to come out of the shadow of disaster smelling of roses, or at the very least, know how to acquit yourself, dust off your shoulders and carry on.

Some lessons are best learnt the hard way. The unfortunate position of this blow hole may have seemed like a comedy gaff to the Rinco toy makers but many a man would think twice before puckering up on this model. Definitely ladies first.

The danger of ‘freeriding’

Freeriding is an economic term used by economic experts when those who have an obligation to pay (but not an exact demand) always decide not to pay. Freeriders drag everything down, expect things for free all the time, and don’t contribute equally back.

“Big-wig bloggers” may often refer you to making epic free content to share but at some stage you must make something back from that. It’s that eBook or .pdf guide you made that was supposed to convert into some eventual ready cash. It didn’t work out that way though did it?!

Some effort you can’t give away for free. It needs a cost of some type to in some way balance the transaction of your hard effort with the reader’s time (it doesn’t always have to be money).

Dangers of freeriding

Giving things away for free all the time makes your position difficult to start charging later. Many people agonise over this step. If you start out right this isn’t an issue but you have to be tough up front. There is no such thing as a free ride.

Networking will keep you busy

It’s a complex task, sometimes you may need more people to go into bat for you, the big wig blogger might say that internet business is a very “people” orientated activity and they would be right. It also requires persistence and consistency in your approach.

Over To You

What are your thoughts on how you go about networking? Do you think there are more cozy traps you could fall into? Do you feel you do enough of the right activities?

3 things to remember when blogging motivation is low

On some occasions you might hit a pot hole in the road of your blogging. There might be a point where doubt has paralysed you into inaction and the gears grind to a halt. There might be days where you can’t see the wood for the trees or when you feel you’ve talked about everything and are not sure how to move on uniquely.

3 things to remember when blogging motivation is low

1 Trust in yourself

There are a number of reasons you could be down.

Time of year

There are a number of trigger times during the year that could drag you down over the hot coals. For people who work in the Northern hemisphere where you are subject to less or more light in the abject cold there are some problems. Less serotonin and melanin is produced in your body at certain times of the year affecting your circadian rhythms, your mood stability and your cheer producing hormones. Sleeping might be difficult leaving you crabby and affecting your memory. Summer also has some issues for some, heat and allergies amongst them, also making sleep more difficult.

Taken a knock

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Well-meaning or non-well-meaning comments and observations from third parties could subject you to doubt or guilt. You might come back with an awesome comment to divert the negativity from someone else but the pain from that observation is still there.

If you take a knock too deep it can stop you in your tracks.

Family/Personal crisis

It happens, no escaping it sometimes. You might have a run of cheerful calm for years and then several events come along at once.

Andrew Warner covered this topic in a respectful way on his site at shadeofinfo.com, following his own experience. “What Happens To Your Blog When You Die?” was a particular post that attracted interest by many.

Close to burn out

Juggling too much in your professional and personal life will surely push you to the limit. Burn out is a big problem and can lead to serious cases of lack of activity. Whilst you can schedule your way to success, at a flash point, something will have to give.

Bored

Boredom comes from too much conformity to routine. If you are averse to changing your strategies you might become a shade “comfortable uncomfortable”. Boredom is dangerous because it can lead to you dropping standards and becoming disillusioned.

What’s the magic cure to these issues?

Make something. If it is bad, try to improve it, but make something.

It doesn’t have to be an epic length. Keep it simple. Once you have the sense of achievement pushing out the content, you should be better placed to start rolling again. If not, rinse and repeat until you get your mojo back.

Don't steal the mojo like Doctor Evil here.

Don’t steal the mojo like Doctor Evil here.

Make sure:

  • That it has some use
  • Asks a question
  • Gives food for thought

Don’t:

  • Write something too personal
  • Write an epic length article, you need to get back into the game sooner
  • Stray too far from your core topic

2 Talk to people

Asking somebody what they want, or what their bugbears are can quickly lead to an idea, this blogging thing is meant to be a collective activity.

It doesn’t even matter if the problem is one that you might think has already been covered. The truth is, everything has been covered but there are always common topics that return to popular comment. It’s just how you put your spin on it that counts.

I recommend this tip because I’ve had a few issues that pop up from time to time with my blog or facilities that work in unison with it which don’t always work as I expect or hope and I find it infuriating. Talking to others who’ve had similar issues is a great way to overcome that negativity.

Don’t:

  • Ask too many questions
  • Antagonise by pestering
  • Be a jerk or jerkette: See below

yourecards jerk

Image source someecards.com

3 Help someone out

Guides are brilliant, the sense of helping someone through a problem is magnificent, the person requiring help may not tip you with a comment but at least you made a difference. There is always a guide you can write. They don’t even have to have a basis in originality as long as you’ve added a unique flavour.

Things to try:

  • Make a guide for a friend and others might find it useful
  • Re-package someone else’s guide with improvements, in your own words
  • Research a trend, even if only a basic look

Things to avoid:

  • Making it too long
  • If it is a borrowed solution but with update, forget to tip the source with a link
  • Forgetting to add pictures or video.

 

Finally

Whilst this is a short post, those three tips can help you. If you can already think of more things to try you should be on your road to recovery. But if none of that is working for you, let me know in the comments below.