The hardest part about writing a weekly blog is deciding on one thing to talk about. In one week so much happens that I decided to add a Cool Stuff section at the end to include the things I feel are noteworthy but might not go along with the theme of the week. I also read so many blogs that I tend to not write what everyone else is writing about for fear of sounding too me-too-ish. (And others say it so brilliantly, anyway!)
If you’re new to my blog – hi! – I write about creativity, mojo and zen. Sometimes they intersect, sometimes they are disparate paths that still lead to living a successful, authentic life down the road. At my core, I’m a creative soul. I’ve spent more of the last few years nurturing that side of myself – keeping my inner pilot light lit – while being a mom and marketer, too.
I wrote last week about the little Internet flare-ups that can happen from negative reviews and artists’ responding to them. This week there are new hot topics, and there always will be. Paying for reviews, writing fake reviews, plagiarism et al will not go away just as the ego, greed and thirst for bigger, better, validation, acceptance – and ultimately, love – will not go away. But in pondering all of this, it led me to this:
How can one increase their web appeal in an authentic way when so much about algorithms and connecting online feel so fake? A-ha. Let me try.
- Be helpful. Some of my friends loathe social media because it seems so me-me-me, and this is true. It’s a status update, it’s a photo, it’s a link you were in control of putting out there in the universe. But how can you help? Advice? Support? And on a bigger level, creating events and opportunities for others to thrive. I’m hosting a novel prep workshop on 10/28 in Oklahoma City, but I’m not doing it because I think it will be a huge moneymaker. (If I wanted that, I’d just find a new marketing client.) I’m doing it because it’s soul work. I light up when I talk about stories and I want to see that light in others. I have gone down that path – 8 times – writing a novel and I have wonderful, generous author friends who are helping me by adding their wisdom to my class. I also have an AMAZING team that helps turn the vision into reality. You being helpful can reap big rewards, whether that’s financial or simply fulfillment. What do you have to share and how can you help?
- Connect more deeply. I don’t mean working on more followers for the sake of more followers, but genuinely connecting in ways that share your mission and grow your “tribe.” I’ve decided I wouldn’t simply be a “lurker” but will put myself out there with comments and conversations. I regularly comment on Writing on Ether and Writer Unboxed and other writerly blogs I come across or if I read something on Flipboard (my favorite) I will click share or RT to pass it along. You’ll see below how I reached out to two authors I’m reading now and how they responded within 24 hours. V. cool.
- Show attention to detail. I’m not just talking about being “professional,” but about sincerely caring that what you are putting on the web has been well thought out and executed. Paying attention to design and tone and word choice and proofreading are all important. Following up on comments, important. Thanking others for shares or retweets, yes, yes.
- Be interesting. Whatever it is that you do, be interesting about it. If you’re sharing on the web, what is it that you want the reader or buyer to gain? Knowledge? Inspiration? A cute new accessory? A connection or resource? And you can’t just be interesting once. You have to be consistent.
- Be personal. This goes along with number two, but what I mean is go that extra mile, like in #3, to personalize what you are doing. For example, on my workshop, I did a special note to writers who had attended a summer retreat. For my author friends, I sent personal notes to those that I wanted to nudge – but could also touch base with them on what they were working on. I try to send thank you notes, which also fulfills my gluttonous love with the card aisle at Target. I can almost hear you thinking, all these things take TIME, time that I don’t HAVE. I get it. But I read on Twitter that if someone asks you to do a 30 minute task, ask yourself where that time will come from – or away from – before you say yes. If your web appeal doesn’t fall in line with your authentic goals for your life, then maybe you don’t need to do it. Otherwise, go with what you love and take that bit of extra time to make it matter and make it important. I know the world does not need to see pictures of the outfits I put together, but it’s fun for me to put myself out there on Instagram and connect with others who might be in the same boat I am: a little restless from working by myself and needing a good laugh and some self-care outside of my “duties” as a mom and professional. And people love links! I hate to have to look up something on my own when the writer could have given it to me. Which is why you’ll see so many in my posts, too. It’s also hoping you’ll connect with others I post about.
Cool Stuff that happened this week:
- I told author Valerie Frankel, of her new book, “It’s Hard Not to Hate You,” on Twitter that I loved her book and we made it a top pic on Book End Babes. She responded graciously. And I simply adore her writing, and now her online persona, too. She went that extra step and here I am talking about it.
- I tagged author Sarah Jio, “Blackberry Winter,” in a photo I put of me holding her book I was reading in bed and she immediately responded with a thank you and a compliment on my nails. How ’bout that! That’s the way to do it.
- A hummingbird visited me during my “morning zen” workout – yoga on the deck. I do think it thought I was a flower, which is an even greater compliment, right? 🙂
- Something Wicked is DONE and proofs are on the way. I hope you’ll consider hosting a SW party with your book club or girlfriends or teens! My story is called Arach War featuring goddess sisters. Writing under the pen name Lena Brown. Info here on the book parties.
- I’m writing my first mystery. I love it, even though the story itself scares me. But being scared can be good, right? I’ll be working on it in November along with the castle & quill writers unless I’m done before then, which is pretty unlikely. I best get to it.