When blogging became all the rage a few years ago, nobody gave much thought to traffic generation (except maybe the geeks who figured out long before most of us that there was money to be made from it).
Now that social media sites drive much of blog traffic, much of the content written is to feed the needs of these communities. I have to say, I write this post out of a bit of frustration because many of the social media sites don’t meet my needs. Why? Let me explain.
Do Freelance Writers Really Get Much Traffic from Social Media Sites
Most of my online writing has to do with the business of freelance writing – how to land gigs, market for them, price them, etc. There seems to be no hope of me ever landing significant traffic from any social media outlet. Many of the stories that get high traffic on social media sites are entertainment, tech and/or political news.
So, unless Britney Spears announces that she’s becoming a freelance writer for CNN covering politics and will use her iPhone to interview subjects, there’s no hope of one of my posts ever landing on the front page. Oh, that doesn’t stop me from submitting my stuff to a few social media sites, but I’m really starting to question the point of doing so.
Letting Go of the Herd Mentality of Social Media Sites
I post regularly to Digg, Propeller and Technorati. I do so intermittently to StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us. It takes me probably 15 to 20 minutes to post to all of them. But, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about junking them all together.
It can be scary to let go of the herd mentality. I mean EVERYONE says you must get involved in a social network; that they can be great ways to generate traffic. And, I have no doubt that they’re right.
But, it takes time to penetrate what they’re looking for; to actively engage with enough of the community to make a real impact; to come up with topic after topic that’s going to really fly with that community. And, make no mistake, you can’t do that with every social media community if you have one niche blog because each social media site is different and looks for different things.
As a busy freelance writer, I just don’t have the time to devote to this.
Facing the Reality of What Social Media Sites Can Do for You – and What They Can’t
I think one of the biggest marketing mistakes many freelancers make is sticking with something because everyone else is doing it. We never stop to question, “Is this working for me?” Sooner or later, we have to face the reality of what social media sites can – and cannot – do for us.
If you run a tech blog, social media marketing is probably some of the smartest marketing you can do. But, if your niche is freelance writing (like mine), then you probably want to look for other means of online marketing.
One thing I’ve noticed that’s worked great for me is commenting on other blogs in my niche. So, instead of spending the 15 or 20 minutes to post to social media sites, I’ll spend that time commenting on other popular blogs in my niche.
How to Develop a Marketing Plan that Works for Your Particular Blog
The fundamental core of any marketing effort is to make money. But, how do you do that? First, you build a loyal following. You do this by getting them to (i) know, (ii) like, and (iii) trust you. A blog is a great way to accomplish all three of these objectives. And, commenting on other blogs in your niche gets you directly in front of the audience you’re trying to reach.
In my case, I’ve found that social media sites bring readers via a circuitous route, instead of the direct route just mentioned. Yeah I admit it, I got sucked into the herd mentality and forgot my goal.
So, I guess the whole point of this post is to really make you question which marketing works for you. Don’t get sucked into a herd mentality. Take the time to develop a marketing plan that works for your niche. And if what’s “all the rage right now” doesn’t fit it, don’t be afraid to ignore it.
Just like skinny jeans – they may be all the rage, but it doesn’t mean that any of us who are over a size 2 have any business trying to squeeze our behinds into a pair.