If you write anything on the Internet that you want people to read there are now lots of different ways for people to find out you have new content.
When I first started blogging there were generally three practical options.
1) Subscribe to the RSS feed (if it had one) and keep a regular eye on your news reader
2) Subscribe to the sites mailing list (if it had one!) and you’d get an email whenever something new was added.
3) Visit the website regularly – which if we’re honest it’s not very practical if there are lots of sites you frequent!
As a writer you didn’t have to do much for any of these to work as the first two options could be handled by your blogging software and the third one has nothing to do with you.
The web is much more crowded place now so getting yourself heard needs a bit more work. Fortunately if you want to let people know about your new content you can harness the power of social media.
The great thing about this is that if you write content that’s of interest to your audience they’ll use social media to promote your content for you via likes, shares and retweets which in turn drives more traffic to your site.
You can start the process off by creating accounts on social media networks so your audience can subscribe to you. Each time you create new content you can push notifications out through these accounts and links to your new content will appear in front of your readers eyes on their timelines and follow lists. You can even automate this process so you don’t have to lift a finger!
However, it’s not quite that simple as everyone has different habits on social networks.
As an example.
Mr Anderson is very selective about who he follows and keeps that list quite small to ensure that he can keep up with everything that’s posted. This allows him to read every single thing that comes his way. If we use Twitter as an example he may only follow 100 people at a maximum.
Mr Smith, however follows EVERYBODY. This could be anything between 500-5000 different people which means anything that appears in his timeline generally flies from view within a couple of seconds. Getting Mr Smith to read something of YOURS is usually down to timing and luck.
From a writers perspective Mr Anderson is great as you know if you post something once he’s going to see it and if he really likes it he’ll retweet and share with his followers.
That doesn’t mean Mr Smith isn’t important too but if you post something once you’ve got to get the timing spot on.
You also have to take Mr Smiths reading habits into account. He may only check his account a couple of times a day. Before he starts work and during lunch for example.
So the solution is to post about your new content several times and ensure you do it at certain times of the day when you think the people you want to get in front of will read it. If you post enough times Mr Smith may eventually pick it up. It’s highly likely he’ll still miss it which means he could be missing out on some information that’s important to him. Conversely the writer is missing out readers purely because of bad timing and luck.
But what about poor Mr Anderson?
If he only follows a smaller amount of people he’s going to see the same content from you posted again and again. You’re now “spamming his timeline” and if you do it enough you may irritate him to the point that it’s not long before he’s clicking the “unfollow” button.
I am in a position where the number of people who read my content doesn’t directly cost me business but if I was trying to generate an income from my site or if it was a key part of a wider marketing strategy it’s something I’d be very worried about!
So what to do?
No idea if I’m honest.
At the moment I cater mostly to Mr Smith. If I’ve written something I’ll share it several times but I’m very conscious of how many times I do this and how much time I leave before re-posting.
I also know that even after doing all that work getting Mr Smith to catch your notification is still hit and miss. On a couple of occasions I’ve had a conversation with someone around a topic I’ve recently blogged about but they’ve missed in their social media timelines.
If you write online content I’d love to hear your thoughts on this?
Conversely, if you read a lot of online content I’d like to hear your thoughts too. Does it irritate you when you get your timeline spammed? Do you understand it’s part of how people get their message out or is that not enough something you’d considered?
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