Raising the Bar: Consistency
When I started blogging in 2008, the hard part was coming up with an idea. After that, the writing came easy. I could knock out a post in an hour — two at the most.
Those days are gone. Now I agonize over a post for hours, even days in come cases. Okay. Agonize might be a little strong. But writing a post does take a lot longer.
My intention, when I started this post, was to lay all the blame at the feet of my status. I’m a published author for christ sake. I can’t just crap something out now. People expect more. My posts should be clever, beautifully constructed, thought-provoking, informative, poignant, and amusing.
As I pondered my way through this post, I realized distractions play a larger role than I thought. In addition to email messages, present from the beginning of my writing career, I now get notifications from dozens of apps I use for various purposes.
Okay. They’re hook up apps. I’m living in a college town, and am a single gay man over 30 — almost twice. I need to cast a wide net to catch any fish. Coming soon: my experiences with these apps.
So loyal followers know my posting pattern trends toward random and sporadic. I started out writing a post every two or three days. Now I’m doing good to write one good post during the week. On weekends, when I have more time, I’ll post two or three in a row.
My blog stats have plummeted. Changes to Facebook — my primary means of promoting the blog and a top referrer by huge margins — play a role, too. Sure, there’s Twitter. My tweets generate about the same traffic I’d get if I screamed from the ocean floor. Commenting on other blogs takes time I don’t have. So I’m going to have to build my audience through good old-fashioned word of mouth.
In the old days of two or three years ago, I’d post a link to new blog posts to my wall on Facebook. Without unfriending me or blocking my status updates, all my Facebook pals could see a new post was up. Depending on the title, he or she might glance at the intro sentences with the link to decide whether or not to visit my blog to read the entire post. A lot of hits meant I’d picked a topic people wanted to read about.
Now I’m not even sure who sees my posts on Facebook. I only see status updates from a small percentage of my Facebook friends. At first, I took the change personally. I blocked a friend from seeing my posts to plan a surprise for her (hi Mary!), so I know all the steps involved. What had I done to make someone go to the trouble of keeping me from seeing their status updates?
As always, it wasn’t about me. Depending on how we interact with each other, Facebook “decides” whether or not you see my posts. Dirty rotten bastards. How dare they eff with my free marketing platform?! If you’re one of the millions of lurkers who rarely comment on anyone’s status updates, including mine, you may never know when I’ve uploaded a new post on the blog.
Imagine missing out on one of my masterpieces. I know! The horrible thought keeps me awake nights.
My unpredictable posting habit doesn’t help. I can’t expect you to keep checking for something new. My posting habits are counter-productive, too. Instead of posting three days in a row and then going a week without any, I need to distribute them more evenly. I know from five years of blog stats that posting a witty essay when people are not sitting in front of an office computer is a wasted post.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to commit to posting every Monday and Thursday. For me, the change is a matter of scheduling posts rather than going live when I finish writing one. I set the time to somewhere between 5:15 and 5:45 in the morning — before I usually wake up. Otherwise, I tinker with the settings and mess everything up.
For readers, regular posting means you won’t have to wait for an announcement on Facebook or Twitter. Every Monday and Thursday, unless you’re a very early riser, stop in to see my latest rant over your favorite caffeinated beverage. Leave a comment. I love hearing from you.