I am an excellent public speaker. It was my major in college and something I excel at; I have absolutely no problem getting up in front of a crowd, in fact, I like it. I disseminate information and thoroughly engage people in such a way, that when I am done, I have actually heard, "Do it again!"
You know why?
It's not because I stroll up and down the aisles when I speak or because I make eye contact or even because I throw in a few jokes. It's because I know my audience and I use the well researched and intimate knowledge I possess about them when I sit down at my computer to construct my speech. I write solid, relevant content. Obviously, blogging is no different.
Except that when I give a speech at PTA or church or at a community event, everyone in attendance is there because they want to hear me speak on a particular topic. They came to see me out of their own need. They want to be entertained or learn something. I am obviously speaking about a subject that interests them and if they like what I say, if I helped or amused them in some way, they will be excited to hear me speak again and come back ~ to me.
I do not go door to door asking people if they want to hear about (insert your topic here). That would not be very efficient.
In addition, my audiences are not generally trying to sell me something in return. They do not offer a counter speech when I stop talking and I most certainly do not go back to their home to sit through a speech of their's to thank them for showing up for mine.
As a blogger, I have read so many, many posts and articles prompting me to do just that. I have been told that to build my audience, I should go seek out other bloggers, read their content and comment, because then they will come back to my blog, read me and comment. Well, that works if I want to make friends (which I have) or if I am starting out.
Join the community, get exposure, put yourself in front of a larger blogger's audience with your pithy comments, I get it, but honestly, I have to say, I think this idea stinks if you are really trying to build a blogging business. A little bit of this type of marketing is fine, but spending too much time marketing to the blogging community, as a blogger?
I think not.
I have had so many people, who clearly have no interest whatsoever in home decor, follow me just so I will follow them in return. They never come back to read my posts, they never comment, they are focused on building a book of numbers and I am not. Plus many of these bloggers join the community, realize that blogging is not the way to make an easy buck and leave quickly. When they quit blogging, there goes my follower.
I want people to read my stuff because they enjoy what I have to say or I am offering them a solution to a problem or I am providing them with inspiration or something they need.
If you are reading my posts to be polite, that's going to get really old, really fast.
I visit a lot of blogs each day. I don't do it for business purposes or for return visits or reciprocal comments. I do it because I am a home decor and craft junkie and I am addicted to the pretty. I do it because I have met a lot of people that I now adore and I am genuinely interested in what they have to share. I do it because I would rather read about a weekend trip to the mountains and see pretty Christmas decor, than hear about the latest homicide or DWI in my area.
That is why I read blogs.
I hope that is why other's read mine.
Also, I have to say, that I have never, ever bought anything from a blog. You know why? Well, since I am a blogger, I am immune to the sales pitch. Most of the advertisements are repetitive. After I see them pop up on one or two blogs, they become white noise. As a blogger, I am not your best customer.
I am jaded.
I was just offered that same sponsored post or free product. I don't see it as a helpful public service announcement as much as an "Aha! So they were solicited by that company too!"
I know that blogging is huge and that networking with fellow bloggers is important for the business minded among us. Maybe there are bloggers making tons of money off of other bloggers. Maybe there are bloggers who can attribute their 100,000 monthly visitors mainly to bloggers, I just know that I can't.
Now, I understand that there are tons of people making money telling bloggers how to blog, but there again, that is a service. Those bloggers have honed in on the fact that there are millions of people trying to make money off the their own sites and they're going to show you how.
Awesome. I say more power to them.
They have a giant customer base and they are making it work for them, because some people, a large group actually, need to have a problem solved, i.e. the need to make money from their blogs, and they will seek those bloggers selling how to do out.
You know what my most popular post is? It's my box pleat valance.
It's a how to...people are looking for a solution to a specific problem...how do I make a box pleat valance myself without spending a fortune.
They end up at me.
That one post has generated more traffic than all of the link parties I have ever joined up at combined. It's more than my posts that have been featured on major craft websites or in national magazines. The eyeballs come to me from Google search and most of those people actually have no idea what a blog is....so why am I constantly being told to market to other bloggers?
It just doesn't seem to make sense to me, but that's just me and my little ole opinion and keep in mind, this is not a well researched piece, it's just a newish blogger's opinion based on my own (very limited) experience.
Again, my blog is not currently monetized and I am not saying it never will be ~ the offers come in often, they are very tempting and I certainly don't have an aversion to money. I am just saying that for those who do want to make money and grow their blog beyond an average ranking, I question conventional wisdom of marketing to other bloggers in the I'll follow you and you follow me game and I had to get it off my chest.
Ok, speech over, I'll get off my soapbox now.
Although I must admit that I do like being up here.
A lot. ;)