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How to Boost Your Audience - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
How to Boost Your Audience
puffbird pointed out that something I said in a comment really needed a post of its own, so people could find it. Here are my tips for improving the activity and size of your audience, useful for cyberfunded creativity and for blogging in general.

To make an audience more lively:
  • Invite comments by asking questions.

  • Praise people when they comment.

  • Track your most active members using the LJ Comments Stats Wizard.

  • Track your main topics: go to your Profile page, select "Journal" and then "Manage Tags." Look under "Your Tags" and sort by "Usage." Click each tag topic to display its number of posts and other data.

  • Ask your audience if they like the topics you are posting about most frequently and what topics they would like more (or less) of.

  • Post polls.

  • Watch for active people who interest you, and Friend them.


To make an audience bigger:
  • Post on other blogs that have a big, active audience and are related to your topic.

  • Join some Friending communities and watch for people whose interests match yours, and Friend them. add_a_writer and addme_creative are good choices.

  • Join communities related to your topic and post frequently there.

  • Scan the membership lists of communities you frequent, visit other members' journals, and Friend the ones that appeal to you.

  • Encourage your current readers to link to your blog and tell their friends about it.


More and better content will, of course, help with both of these goals:
  • Post frequently. Once a week is the minimum for an effective blog, several times a week is better, and daily is best.

  • If you cannot post frequently, post regularly. Pick a day of the week or several days in the month when your blog always updates, and tell people when.

  • Post good material. If it is dull, ugly, or difficult to decipher then people will probably not pay much attention to it.

  • Posting experiments, failures, and/or works-in-progress can draw attention if you discuss your goals and what is going right or wrong. This attracts other people who are trying to learn similar skills.

  • Post original material. If they can't get it anywhere else, people are more likely to hang around your blog to get the goodies.

  • Relay interesting material. If there is news related to your blog topic(s), post an excerpt and link to the original article, then add some personal comments. When people find a good source for news that interests them, they tend to check it often.

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Current Mood: busy busy

9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
nimitzbrood From: nimitzbrood Date: July 11th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for these!

I really would like to expand my readers because I have some ideas I think people should hear or try out but I never really had a good direction to go to accomplish that.
ayoub From: ayoub Date: July 11th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
A lot of that has worked for me... :D
norda From: norda Date: July 11th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lots and lots of good feedback here.... my thanks.

I was not familar with the Usage" feature here as far as tags were concerned.

I am trying to build the audience for Bookseller By Night [booksbynight on LJ, "booksellerbynight" on WordPress] and know that my worst failing in that regard is the irregularity of my postings there.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 11th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

Building a following in Wordpress is a lot harder than LiveJournal. LJ folks are gregarious and chatty compared to WP users, plus LJ funnels people to your blog better. However, WP is much more plugin-friendly so you can make better use of things like MyBlogLog and GoogleFriendConnect that let people subscribe to your site.
jongibbs From: jongibbs Date: July 12th, 2009 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent advice. Thanks for sharing :)
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 12th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

I see the challenge. Some possible solutions:

* Try writing very short updates like, "Today I drew X sketches" or "Today I worked on PAINTING TITLE and did DETAIL."

* Scan whatever art you are working on and post it.

* Take snapshots of your workspace and/or tools and post those.

* Post interesting links or snippets of news instead of trying to write long posts from scratch.

Maybe some artists in the audience can offer more ideas, if they've had similar experiences.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 12th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

>>I do, sometimes, but I have to be careful about posting art meant for publication. The editor of Abandoned Towers doesn't really consider posting on blogs to be previous publication, but many do.<<

That's a valid point. Possible counterbalance: Don't post what will actually be published, but instead post an early sketch, or only detail shots that show a small part. That won't give much away, and is less likely to annoy publishers. Or you could post auxiliary pieces, like sketch ideas that didn't work out ("Here's a discarded sketch from NEW ASSIGNMENT; the pose didn't have enough action.") or color tests ("After experimentation, I decided to go with the blue/cream palette.").

>>Right now, I'm getting ready for an impending move, so my time is especially tight. I almost posted about a strange little thing that happened with one of my recent creations, but I decided I would rather spend the time working on paying projects than spend it on blogging.<<

I can't fault that logic.

>>My concern about posting short updates is that it would get rather boring rather quickly. Would people really want to hear how I did yet another illuminated "i", or more knotwork borders?<<

I've been amazed at what interests people on LJ -- things that would never occur to me to blog about, except that my audience kept asking; and things that I posted once on a whim and then was pestered about until I made them regular features. You won't know unless you try. Also, posting something is almost always better than posting nothing. One link or update per day is unlikely to overwhelm anyone; there are people who do this all day long on Twitter, which is not my taste but is very popular. There are writers who post their daily (or whatever) word count.

>> Now, seeing the letters and borders may be a different story, but then I'm back to the issue of posting art meant for works in progress.<<

I think this would work great for detail shots. Nobody would see the whole piece until it's published, but you could do one or two details from each: one letter, one segment of knotwork, closeup of a character's nifty brooch, that sort of thing.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 12th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Yeah, that doesn't lend itself well to sharing. Too bad.
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ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 13th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

>>I do have a couple of finished drawings that never quite worked, that were never published with the poems they were meant to illustrate. Perhaps I may post them at some point, as examples of what might have been. However, I must admit to a bit of reluctance to post my failures.<<

That's a matter of personal taste. I rarely share my failures, but occasionally I do. I think it helps people learn, and in particular the poetry fishbowls are about doing poetry "live." I have posted some examples of things that didn't come out quite right so that people can see more of the process.

>>Of course, all of my comments here could make a blog entry in their own right!<<

That's a very frequent and effective technique that I forgot to list: realizing when your answer to someone else's post is good enough to turn into a post of its own. I do that a lot.
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