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BLOGGING TURNOFFS – How to lose blog readers
I've had an interesting time, studying the poll results and insightful comments people left on last Wednesday’s poll about what might lower your opinion of a fellow blogger. Here are my own thoughts on the results (more in next week’s post), along with suggestions for how folks - particularly writers - who want to use their journal as a self-promotional tool might put the information gained from the poll to good use.

Rudeness and Mockery
According to the poll results, by far the most off-putting thing a blogger could do, was to insult or mock bloggers who disagreed with them. At the time of writing, more than four out of five (82.8%) of those who voted felt this would lower their opinion of the blogger.

Suggestion from a self-promotional point of view:
When someone posts something which annoys you, or which you feel is stupid, let it go. If you feel you have to say something, send them a private message, but be polite. Remember, it’s not the offending blogger you need to think about in this situation, it’s the 80+% of your other readers who you risk losing.

Political and Religious Rants
73.1% of those who voted said they were put off by a blog post which expressed opposing political or religious opinions in an obnoxious manner. Interestingly, only one person (0.7%) said they’d feel the same way if the opinion was expressed in a reasonable manner.

It’s also worth noting that more than a few people who commented said they found this just as off-putting if the blogger was on their side of the political/religious fence.

Suggestion from a self-promotional point of view:
It’s okay to be passionate about politics and religion, but not to rant about them. If something’s really got your goat, by all means write it out of your system, but whatever you do, don’t post it. Set it aside for a day then go over it to remove any vitriol. Otherwise you risk losing readers, even those who share your political views.

When it’s all About Them
Of those polled, 64.1% said they thought less of a blogger when all they seemed to do was post about their work and where to find it. If you do this and you’re using your blog as a self-promotional tool, that means almost two out of three people on your friends list either skim past your blog entries or have stopped reading altogether.

Suggestion from a self-promotional point of view:
Of course you need to get the word out about your writing, but frankly, if no-one’s reading your blog then continually posting about your work there is counter-productive. Trying to find your Writer’s Balance is tough. I believe that no more than about one in ten posts should be about self-advertising. Those entries are like signposts, pointing the way for anyone who wants to see more of you and your work, but most of a blog should be geared towards engaging with people. Give them a reason to care about where those signposts direct them to.

In the next post, I want to cover the other poll results, but in the meantime I’m curious.

What, if anything, in the voting results from last week’s poll about blogging surprised you?


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Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
catephoenix
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Excellent post, Jon.
jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I find it helps me to clarify things when I put my thoughts to paper - as it were :)
eclectic_writer
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you have here. I'd also like to add though that when you promote your books/anthologies/short stories etc, I always like it when the blogger posts a bit of personal enthusiasm. A little bit of "Gosh, I can't believe this, thank you!" can go a long way in drumming up reader enthusiasm. I so often see blogs that are mechanical, just putting out dates and links and reviews qith no real "voice". I'd rather read a book from a real person than a robot.
jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Enthusiasm is always good. I imagine it's easier to post like that if you're not doing it all the time too, don't you think?

Thanks for sharing :)
mongrelheart
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Great post, Jon!

most of a blog should be geared towards engaging with people.
I like that, it makes a lot of sense. I'm still trying to get started with my "official" blog, so I will definitely keep this in mind.
jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)

I'm glad you're finding it helpful.
asakiyume
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
This is an excellent analysis--thanks!

As for what things surprise me, I think I'd be interested in further analysis of the 88 percent who checked no for "Do you have people on your friends list whose posts you no longer read because they do any (or all) of the above?" Is it that that 88 percent chose the blogs they read wisely (so they never had those problems), or is it that they read the people even if the people sometimes have some of these infractions, or something else?



jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
That was actually 88 votes, or 62%.

We've all posted things that, with hindsight, could have been worded better, or perhaps not posted at all. It's when those kind of entries becomes the norm rather than the exception that there's a problem, at least for me personally.

Thanks for the input :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
'...I think the number one lesson is don't be a jerk...'

A perfect summation, thank you :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
I don't stop reading for that alone, though I do notice if it happens a few times and, like you, I stop commenting.

For the most part, I think that we stop reading someone else's blog over time, with a combination of those things in the poll gradually weighing down the scales until we no longer even read the opening line of someone's post, but skim on to the next one in our friends list.

Then again, it could be just me :)

norda
Nov. 25th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Suggestion from a self-promotional point of view:
When someone posts something which annoys you, or which you feel is stupid, let it go. If you feel you have to say something, send them a private message, but be polite. Remember, it’s not the offending blogger you need to think about in this situation, it’s the 80+% of your other readers who you risk losing.


Emphasis mine, but I definitely concur with all your points, Jon, even if I come at them from the self-promotion angle of a retailer & distributor, as opposed to your writer POV. These are just plain common-sense rules, yet so many do not think things through before they put things down in written and electronic permanence in columns, on blogs and in comments to blogs, and on fora.

By the bye, it was delightful to meet you at Philcon, and I hope you don't mind that I've added you. [I was the silver-haired short woman who led you on a merry chase through the hotel in our desperate search for the mezzanine and its secret stash of water carafes.]
jongibbs
Nov. 25th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
Lol, via the fourth floor, right?

It was lovely to meet you too. Thanks for commenting :)
ex_camillea
Nov. 26th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
What, if anything, in the voting results from last week’s poll about blogging surprised you?
Truly? That people think about other people's blogs that much at all.

Also, I read blogs mainly just to find out about other writers' or editors' (or agents, illustrators, publicists, or publishers, etc - anything to do with the industry) work -- where to find it, where it got reviewed, what they found in slush, etc.

I frankly get very quickly bored when writers blog about anything OTHER than their work. I don't mean I need blow-by-blow agonizing about wordcounts or rejections, but I do like regular quick and upbeat updates about how careers are going, who's illustrating what, and where I can go read or buy my colleagues' stuff.
jongibbs
Nov. 26th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
'...Truly? That people think about other people's blogs that much at all...'

Everyone has different ideas about how to use their blog. If folks use theirs as a personal journal then, of course, anything goes.

That said, this series on self-promotion is aimed at folks who want to utilize self-promotion in general and, in the case of the last few posts, their blog as an s-p tool.

Of course, people can (and should) do what they want, but not all methods are effective, and some achieve unintended results.

My goal with this series is to get people thinking - and by people, I mean writers in particular. If anything I write makes someone re-evaluate their own journal, their own self-promotion efforts, then I'm happy.

That said, these are just my suggestions which, like spouses and children can be embraced or ignored as people see fit ;)

Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the input :)
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Nov. 26th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: disabled comments
I'm not sure what you mean by 'disabled comments'.

Are you thinking about posts which don't invite comments at all? If so, I don't have a problem with them. In fact, for people who don't want to reply interact with their readers I'd say it's better to disable the comment option completely than to risk offending someone who took the time to respond to a post.

Having said that, from a self-promotional point of view, I'd say a blogger should be trying to connect with his/her readers, and that's not likely to happen if it's always a one-sided conversation.

Thanks for the input, and the kind words, they're much appreciated :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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