social media

Why Doesn’t Anyone Read My Blog?

So, you’ve set up a blog. You post consistently, your topics are relevant and helpful to your readers, and hey- you aren’t too bad at this whole writing thing. So why does it still feel like the only person reading is your mom?

It may be a matter of accessibility. People won’t look at your blog if they don’t know how to find it (or worse, if they don’t know it exists). You’ve already done the grunt-work, now it’s time to add a little hustle to the mix. Here are four places you can apply said hustle:

1) Can people find your blog within your website? If you’re blogging as part of a business or a larger website, is there clear navigation to the blog portion of the website? Many businesses will link their blog right from the main menu, but there’s more than one way to get from A to B (with websites, anyway). Take a look at your sidebar, it’s another important piece of navigation real estate. Could you put a Recent Posts section in there, like Stonyfield does below? Or, maybe it’s a matter of creating a button or image that directs people to your blog home page when they click on it.

Problogger has their blog as menu item 2, pretty hard to miss.

Problogger has their blog as menu item 2, pretty hard to miss.

Take a look at other pages on your website- are there ways you can link to your blog on these pages? I got to this article about Organic Farming on Stonyfield Farm’s website  by clicking a link in their About page.

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If you look closely, they’re using the sidebar for additional blog posts AND linking in the menu. Way to hit the trifecta, Stonyfield.

If you’re having a hard time critiquing your website, have a friend take a look. Adding an unbiased brain to the mix  can only help, after all! Giving people alternate routes and clear signage is a great starting point. Now, let’s forge beyond your own territory.



2) Are you sharing on Social Media? Sharing a link to a blog post, old or new, lets people know that your blog is active and ready for readers. It also guarantees more eyeballs are going to see it- Facebook has over 1 billion users, after all. This could be a status update on Facebook or a quick tweet on Twitter. If it’s industry-related content, share it on LinkedIn. Think about where your people hang out online- those should be your target places. Facebook may have a bigger audience, but if your particular audience is hanging out on Google+, don’t turn your back on them!

This step can be accomplished in a few different ways, depending on your preference. If you’re more comfortable with the simple write and post, and can’t be bothered to remember to share on Facebook (or wherever else), you can automatically post to social media once the post is published (that link is for Wordpress users- there are other ways to do it if you have a different kind of platform though!). That means less remembering for you, and more readers for your blog! However, if you aren’t keen on automation and/or don’t want to share every blog post, you can always manage it yourself.

You don’t necessarily have to be the only one sharing your content, either. Wouldn’t it be great if people could share your posts once they’re done reading? You may have noticed some places have social sharing icons at the bottom of articles. You can have that, too! After finishing your latest post, all readers have to do is click the little bird icon and presto! your article just got shared via Twitter, my friend.

Not only does The Hungry Runner Girl share updates on her Facebook Page, she has a link to the blog in the handy dandy sidebar.

Not only does The Hungry Runner Girl share updates on her Facebook Page, she has a link to the blog in the handy dandy sidebar.



3) How about email? Do you have a list of e-mails? Maybe you have an e-mail newsletter that goes out once a month. This is yet another opportunity to promote your blog. If your newsletter for the month focuses on car maintenance, and you have an old blog post that ranks different brands of windshield wipers, go ahead and link to it. Readers will ideally click on the link, read the blog, and it’ll be in the back of their mind. Depending on what type of software you’re using, you can also integrate a feed that pulls in links to recent blog posts within your newsletter, or create a separate email altogether. Using an RSS component within your email management system pulls your recent blog posts into an email, and automatically sends to subscribers weekly, monthly, or whatever period of time you choose. Again, depending on what software you use, is customizable, so you can play around with formatting (i.e. title and featured image, title and a blurb, title, blurb and featured image- whatever boats your float).

The benefit of RSS is it brings your blog to the people. Let’s face it, we can all be a bit lazy at times, and may not feel like checking a website X number of times just to see if there’s a new blog post. Other times, we just forget. Having your posts delivered once a week/month/whenever is like having the paperboy deliver to your front step as opposed to going out, starting the car, driving to the store, buying a paper, and coming back home. It’s easy for you to set up, and it’s easier for your audience to read.

4) Can search engines find you? Just to clarify, this is not to say you should bend over backwards for the whims of SEO, but there are a few things you can do to make your work SEO friendly. No matter what game-changing rules come down the pipe (like Google deciding to nix authorship), if you are consistently creating relevant, meaningful content, you’ll be just fine. The rest is just detail.

A few details that might help get your blog some attention: creating compelling headlines (somewhere in between chapter in a 1950s textbook and linkbait for easily distracted people), tagging keywords when applicable and relevant, and renaming your images (i.e. instead of IMG_05948.jpg, use spidermonkey_fights_mastadon.jpg). To reiterate, these changes are not going to move mountains for your blog, they’re simple things that can give you a little boost. For more on headlines, wording, and other content related issues, check out this article from ProBlogger.

Writing a blog shouldn’t feel like shouting into the void. If you have great content, share it with the world (or, at least, the internet) more effectively so that content you spent hours on will get more eyeballs on it!

Stay tuned, we’ll be launching a product for bloggers like in March that involves setting a lot of this up. Get on our email newsletter and you too will be the first to know when it’s launched. (You can also subscribe to our blog via email there. Boom.)



The Joy of Missing Out

This is the time of year when everyone gets frazzled, spreading themselves as thin as possible to maximize the amount of social interactions and parties they attend. As an indecisive person, I can appreciate the relief that comes from saying “Yes” to everyone rather than having to say “No” to a few. Some people grapple with the whole “the grass is greener” mentality that comes with being forced to choose between events (i.e. committing to one party, only to spend the entire time wondering how much more fun the other one is). It’s 2014, you’d think someone would have figured out how to be in two places at once by now. Until then, we’ll just have to cope with holiday season FOMO.

The idea of FOMO started a few years ago, and is defined by Wikipedia as “a form of social anxiety, whereby one is compuslively concerned that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event.”   The article goes on to explain that the root cause of this social anxiety is our strong connections to social media and technology. For some people, when their phone dies or they find themselves without internet access, it’s an incredibly stressful ordeal. They feel like they’re missing something…and it doesn’t really matter if they can’t articulate that “something”- the anxiety, for whatever reason, is still present.



The dependence and anxiety attached to social media and the desire to check in constantly has also been described as addictive behavior. Given the right situation, I can absolutely relate to the behaviors they describe- checking Facebook just one last time or Ok, I’ll set my phone down now- OH WAIT did it just ring?!  Somewhere along the way, our brains are rewarding us for this behavior, so we keep going. Attached to FOMO is also the idea that if we turn down one invitation with a group of people, then they’re NEVER going to invite us out ever again, or have such a great time that they completely forget our existence. Is any of this rational? Probably not. But, it is happening.

To emphasize the irrationality of FOMO, there’s this video from College Humor from a year or so ago. It takes the whole idea of FOMO and turns it into something we can all laugh at (for those of us who weren’t laughing already).

Less than a year after the dawn of FOMO came JOMO, or the “Joy of Missing Out.” As the name suggests, JOMO is FOMO’s alter ego. It’s a night when, sure, you’ve maybe gotten a few invites out, but staying in and reading or binge-watching whatever you want on t.v. is more appealing, so that’s exactly what you do. Sans regretJOMO is being comfortable admitting, “Yeah, I’d rather to hang out at home tonight,” and be cool when other people share pictures on Facebook (or wherever else). It’s about being confident that your decisions are bringing you joy, even if they aren’t “exciting” or “worthy” of a status update.

Along the lines of JOMO, this article argues that social media works best when it works to improve relationships among humans. Check out Tom and Donna’s interactions below. Sure, they’re a tad social media obsessed, but they’re having fun, even if they’re methods of interacting totally baffle Ron (and probably a lot of other people).

At some point, we have to take ownership for what’s going to bring us fear or joy. As Anil Dash puts it: “Being the one in control of what moves me, what I feel obligated by, and what attachments I have to fleeting experiences is not an authority I’m willing to concede to the arbitrary whims of an app on my mobile phone.” Unless you’re having an impossible time of trying to change your account settings or something along those lines, it sounds silly to utter the words “Facebook made me sad.”

In other words: it’s your life, do whatever you want (unless it’s illegal or otherwise jerky).



Marketing Monday: Giving Tuesday 2014

Not matter how you feel about giving money, donating, tithing, or volunteering, I think we can all agree that it’s fun that online has their own version of Cyber Monday in the way of Giving Tuesday. Sure it’s a poke at the consumerism of the season and vaguely self congratulatory but it’s hash tag heart seems to be in the right place.

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It started a few years ago as a hashtag and a way to raise awareness about non-profit causes but now they’re a lot more organized. There is a website and coordinated efforts between Crowdrise (an online donation platform), Indiegogo (an online fundraising platform), the White House, and others.

If you look at the Giving Tuesday logo, you’ll see it’s a pretty clever mixture of a hashtag and a heart. Nice!givingtuesdaylogo



Whether you give your time or money or both, Giving Tuesday asks that we all give something today.

Leading up to this event, we have seen lots of marketing efforts in the way of educational videos and the use of the hashtag #UNselfie on especially the more visual social networks like Instagram to raise awareness about giving to those in need. Here are some things last week already showing up:

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Despite being a global idea, the Giving Tuesday website is highlighting campaigns in specific geographic areas as well:

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It also seems as if organizations have taken this time to use this time to educate their user base. This Heiffer International post and accompanying infographic I thought were particularly good examples of taking the opportunity to have a conversation:

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So we hope you consider doing something, online or offline, for Giving Tuesday. It’s a great sentiment and something we could all stand to remember this time of year where we spend lots of money to realize we could spend some of our finances and effort on something that makes a bit more impact than that scarf your brother probably won’t even like anyway.

(And if you know someone who needs one, we’re doing online donation forms for dayz.)

Happy #GivingTuesday!

Why You Only Need 300 Fans

Thumbs up or like symbol in coffee froth

I’ve been working with small businesses for over six years now, from the ‘ we haven’t even opened yet’ stage to running for multiple generations. And I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern.

Once we reach about the 300 fan mark on some social media platform (usually Facebook), they seem to do much better. Payments are more likely to come in on time, they are more open to us experimenting with their marketing, they are just generally more confident, likely because they are seeing traction, financially and otherwise.

There is a part of all of us that probably wants to be famous. We want to be sitting on the Today Show stage or on the front page of the New York Times, saying our equivalent of ‘golly gee, we started in our basement/garage/spare bedroom and look at us now!’

But we don’t need millions of customers and we don’t even need thousands to survive or even thrive. We just need a few hundred. Here’s why.



You’ll have customers at different levels.

In our business we have a mix of people we deal with:

Many are once or twice a year customers: they aren’t giving us lots of money but they also don’t need very much from us either.

We have some that are our power users. We are on retainer, make thousands a year from them, and are in regular contact.

Then there are people in between.

Whether you provide services like us or sell products, I bet you have customers at base, mid, and high levels of offerings.

People who move between levels, and  new customers come in as well to balance those who to elsewhere, go out of business, etc. (If you don’t have multiple levels of products, you may want to rethink that!)

Your business can’t survive on one client (well, it can but then you are kind of their employee then, aren’t you?). But you also don’t also need to kill yourself trying to serve thousands of people either since you are meeting different customers’ needs differently.



You’ll have repeat customers if you know what you’re doing.

The hardest sale is the first sale. Once people are used to working with you, however, that second (or third or twentieth) sale is not only easier but more fun.

If you have a good product with good service, you’ll have repeat customers in some capacity, whether they always stay in your hotel when they come to town or buy cheese from your shop every year for their holiday party.

Your customers have friends and family.

There will be people in your business life who inexplicably love you. There are people I have met in my travels and I have no idea why they like me so much… but they do. And they tell other people.

Every time a loyal customer sends someone your way who buys, that’s another sale you didn’t have to bust your hump for. In the biz, people call these ‘brand mavens’ (and there is a few other words for them) but they are your vocal minority spreading the love. And if you have just a few of these in the mix, they do wonders.

Between these three principles, it seems like most people need to stop worrying about getting millions to like them and work on getting 300 people to love them.

Because 300 people, and the fact that their your people, makes a big difference. And it’s not just me who’s noticed:

(Fun Fact: Kassie watches this before running marathons. I had to ask her what the movie was about.)



Tech Thursday: Sharing an Event Online

Every now and then, your business might host an event, or maybe participate in a larger event (i.e. Small Business Saturday). There are (at least) three things you should remember when you’re promoting an event using the internet, and that’s what this Tech Thursday is all about!

First, you should build excitement around the event. Give people some time to mentally prepare, and make it fun, exciting, and appealing to a crowd. The 100 Startup website has some great resources (that we reference in the video) for launching an event.

Second, get the word out on social media! Create a Facebook event, make some sort of graphic to share on Instagram, tweet about it, share with local online calendars, post in LinkedIn- anywhere that it would make sense for your event to be broadcast.

Third, make sure people know what they need to know. Where is the event? What time? Should they show up on time, or can they come and go over the span of a few hours? Is it black tie? Does it cost money? People don’t want to go to an event that makes them feel uncomfortable- so share what you can!

Also, we are going to do a musical number in the next week or so. Would you rather see us a) rap about OGP (Open Graph Protocol) or b) sing an original tune, with instruments, called “That’s Beyond the Scope of the Project”? Let us know!

Marketing Monday: Project Unbreakable

Domestic violence is a cause pretty close to my heart, for a mainly selfish reason.

I (at one point) thought I was too smart, too straight-forward, too butt-kicking to be in an abusive relationship. It was years ago since it happened but I still remember the yelling, the put downs, and one fateful night, a shove against a wall. He left the apartment and I felt small and powerless. I remember calling my parents (they were super calm and helpful). I hung up the phone and looked into the darkness, vowing to myself I’d never be there again and, if it were in my power, if I got out of this, I would do everything I could to keep even just one other person out of that situation.

I really appreciate all the work the internet has done, in particular in the last year, to really putting domestic violence, sexism, and harassment out in the open. Because let’s face it, no one starts by just walking up to a woman and hitting her or worse. There is an escalation… and an acceptance that turns into actions.

This video (where a woman is repeatedly harassed while walking in New York City) shows that it doesn’t matter what you wear, where you go, how much education you have, or anything else that we live in a society that treats women as objects: to be looked at, commented on, and even acted on at times.

And while it’s nice to wear purple and donate to charities that support anti-abuse programs, there is something really powerful about sharing your story and showing the world ‘this happened to me too.’ Not only the individual stories but the sheer number of people can produce change, in small and large ways.

This step can affect your friends and family… but most people don’t want to start a whole website about an abusive incident, several incidences, or a relationship. There is power in collecting these stories and sharing them with each other on a website and/or social media account already set aside for the purpose.

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Project Unbreakable has done just that. With their Tumblr blog, website, Twitter account, Instagram account, and Facebook page, they are accepting submissions of photos and sharing them with the world.

What I like is not only can the victims share what their abusers have said (as long or as short a quote as they want), they can also decide whether to show their faces or not.

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In our bite sized, social media world, the message is short and clear. Also women (mainly women are victims anyway), are getting supportive comments through the sharing of their story:

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As a visual share, we are able to connect with victims from identifying with their surroundings to identifying with a phrase, even if it is written in another language (the caption is usually translated into English).



The popularity of this group has allowed it not only to fundraise and grow for itself but has made it visible enough to partner with other websites like Buzzfeed to increase the general awareness of domestic violence.

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And whether submitting directly to Project Unbreakable itself or using the hashtag, people can take part in the message:

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No matter what cause is most dear to you, whether it’s animal rights, the rain forests, or anything else, we’d like to encourage you to not only get involved in the way of donating and volunteering with these organizations but follow them online and help them spread their message by contributing your part to the story. Use a hashtag or submit your idea to the organization itself. Yes you are just one voice but by connecting with others, you are creating powerful forces for good.

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