The blog was dead.
It had been nearly 12 hours and there wasn’t one comment. The zero stared at me.
In the garden, Sam asked why I was in a bad mood. I shrugged. “Ach, the world just feels a bit shitty when you put out a blog and no-one comments.”
I knew I sounded ridiculous. She was kind and empathetic. “I’ll leave one”, she offered, bright-eyed in delight at her solution for breaking the seal.
Bless her, but – “Baby, no. That’s so uncool. It’ll look pathetic.”
“I’ll post anonymously!” she offered, insistent on helping.
I was reminded of so many clients who have toyed with posting comments on their own blog, just to escape the feeling of living in a blog ghost town. (Not you, I’m sure…)
I imagined Sam’s email account pulling a sparkling Christmas tree next to her name. I told her that anyone who knew me would know instantly that the first comment was from my festive-loving wife, feeling sorry for me.
She looked indignant. “Angel, I wouldn’t start with… ‘Hey Corrina, I’m feeling sorry for you because no-one’s commented…’!”
Comments don’t matter (much)
I knew my blogs with the fewest comments often inspired the most sales. (Makes sense, right? People are so excited to click Buy Now that they’re distracted from leaving a comment.)
But my ego really cared about comments. My ego wanted validation, wanted friends, craved some sign of life out there. My ego wanted to know I’d got it right.
Blogging is a delicate path
Often, like anyone, I’ve got the balance wrong.
Over seven years of blogging, there have been some great bloopers. Times I’ve shared too much, or made a sexual innuendo that in retrospect felt a bit icky. Other times, I’ve got stuck in a formula. I’ve held back too much, coming across as wooden and formal.
Sometimes, I’ve been apologetic, coy about selling, “No, noooo, I’m not really in business. I’m just this generous community information service.” And at times, I’ve swung the other way and been over-forceful with promotions. I’ve plugged too hard, too often.
Here are five things I’ve learnt about CPR for dying blogs:
1) Once is never enough. Don’t expect one share on Facebook to bring the masses your way. Build up an email list of people who look forward to hearing from you, and share each blog a number of times, through a number of channels, in a number of ways. In your social media statuses and email subject lines, experiment with different angles until you find what hooks people enough to engage.
2) Reach out to individual people you think this post is written for. (Not written for anyone? Alert: it’s probably not a blog worth sharing in the first place. Tip: always write with one person in mind – even if it’s your younger self.)
3) Give to others what you want for yourself. With my blog dead in the water, I went on a commenting spree, a re-tweeting frenzy. If you know the pain of no blog comments, go relieve that pain for someone else.
4) Get curious about why this particular blog is struggling. Is it off-topic? Too formal, or too chummy? Did you post it at 2am? Has it accidentally fallen into people’s spam folder? Did you miss out the bit where you actually ask people to leave a comment? See what you can learn. Disclaimer: Sometimes you can’t figure it out. Sometimes a blog just dies. Bury it, and move on.
5) Look for other signs of life. Did the blog inspire personal emails? Social media messages? Actual sales and clients? Remember: zero comments doesn’t necessarily equate to zero engagement, so don’t write off a blog just because it looks lonely out there on the interweb.
And remember: everything can be turned into a future blog. Including (especially?) dead blogs.
Over to you
I really want to hear from you. So, rather than this being a formulaic section where I ask two to three pertinent questions and you obey and leave a reply, I just want your truth. What are you thinking, what are you feeling – right now?
p.s. Pass it on!
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2013