I’m writing personally to you because I know you, among the planet’s eight billion human residents, read my blog posts. Evidently you have a lot of time on your hands. And poor judgment. (That’s Andrew’s grinning mug beside these words. I’m hoping to increase my readership among the ladies…)
(Hi Bryan! You’re the other person who reads my blog!)
And hello to you, stray accessory person who may have stumbled onto my post mistakenly thinking it was one of Erin’s erudite and informative submissions on writing, and have, by some miracle, or an oversight on your part, continued reading.
This is the thing about organizational blogs. They are like social media posts: we think they are a necessary part of life but no one actually pays attention to them. We are, for all intents and purposes, using a global medium to talk to ourselves. Hey look, we got seven likes! Thanks mom and dad!
Ad Agency Blogs — thhhhppp!
I sometimes peruse the blogs of ad agencies, non-profits and others somehow related to my work. Here’s what I notice: outside of their staffs, and occasionally their families, I’m the only other person reading them. You can see by the comments and shares, or lack thereof, that the same six people have read the past year’s installments. And these are the blogs posted by the communication experts.
Many people who work like I do, as consultants, freelancers and sole proprietors, feel the need to promote themselves with a blog. They send it off to everyone on their email list. This helps increase the pool of people who will instantly delete the email.
And yet, we continue to pour resources into this endeavor with the express purpose of fooling the search engine algorithms. We are literally writing for bots. Which is painful to consider because writing a blog is not easy. For one thing, you have to have something to say. That eliminates most of America, including, obviously, me.
Then you have to take the time to write. I’m a writer, so for me this is like brushing my teeth: I can do it several times a week without much trouble.
For other people, this is a Herculean accomplishment that requires planning, focus, dedication and four “5-Hour Energy” drinks. They dread the process of blog writing but know they have to roll one out every single month or else millions of people who currently don’t care will think that the organization or individual has nothing to say.
(Ever the innovator, I use my blog posts to prove that point.)
If You Can Name Your Readers, Stop!
I have for months asked Charleston AMA for the analytics on my blog. They either change the subject – look, a squirrel! – or passive-aggressively promise to do so very soon, certainly by the next time Comet Kahoutek passes through our planet’s orbit.
They are not mean; indeed I believe they are being merciful. Or perhaps practical, assuming they want me to continue posting. They know that if Google reports the number of people reading my posts as: Andrew and Bryan and occasionally some lost soul who quit about halfway through, that I might stop bothering.
So I did an experiment. I slipped into my July 30 post something incendiary. Something designed to provoke howls of protest from outraged personages. It was small and subtle: you had to read the whole post to see it.
Do you know the word “bupkis”? (Spell check doesn’t.) That was the response. Either this blog has a massive following of culturally insensitive people or the echoes of my word bomb were clanging around an empty vessel.
So I occasionally counsel clients to forget about a blog and limit their time on social media. They’re not worth the time and effort because, frankly, no one cares what your printing company/business consulting firm/wounded vet organization has to say. If you really feel the need to blog, reduce it to its essence and post it on Twitter.
And spend the time saved brushing your teeth.
Thanks for reading, my beloved chapter president. And Bryan, if you’re still here.