Years ago, in the efforts to “grow” my blog, I participated in blog carnivals. These involve a host site setting up a single page where other bloggers leave a link to one of their articles, with the idea that the many visitors to the carnival will see it and click.
Theoretically, it’s a way to drive traffic to one’s own site, since the carnivals are supposed to attract actual readers — as opposed to other bloggers — like flies. Hosts tried to counteract the natural outcome of desperate bloggers dropping links and running by encouraging — or demanding — participants to read another person’s blog and comment on it, and/or follow the host to increase her own numbers. It is one of many schemes propounded by social media “Influencers,” many of whom find success — both in readership and finances — by selling their wisdom through webinars, seminars, books, online or in person classes, and “consulting.”
“Build that brand!” they command, so successfully that few stop to ask, “What is your brand, by the way, other than that you sell others ‘secrets’ to building theirs?”
But few do ask, and in homes throughout the world, moms with young and/or multiple children snatch precious hours — late at night, when the kids are asleep; early in the morning, before they’re awake; during naps; and any other time that would otherwise be classified as free — to
- Create quality content!
- Connect with followers on social media!
- Maintain a regular and consistent posting schedule!
- Build relationships with readers! (All six of them. Thanks, Mom.)
- Build that brand by commenting on other people’s posts, joining forums and online groups, and oh, don’t forget the most important one: promoting the blogs of other people, especially the Influencers, so that they, in turn will promote the blogs of their followers! (Does anyone seriously believe this? Apparently so.)
- Write an ebook, and sell it! (This is sort of like, “Create quality content, and market it!”)
- Set up streams of income on the blog so the money starts rolling in, as the viewers exponentially multiply!
- Join with other blogs and create a group effort — and watch that blog GROW!
For a very small percentage, this stuff works — at least in building numbers — and they join the ranks of Influencers to create Successful Blog consulting options of their own, but numbers are funny things. They — like the Influencers — don’t necessarily tell the full, unadulterated, honest truth (something that one does tend to look for in, most especially, a person who calls herself a Christian). In looking through various Christian Mommy Blogs to see if we wanted to advertise in them for our business, Steve Henderson Collections, I was struck by the numbers they put out in the effort to draw me in:
“Christian Mommy Go-Go Blog is one of the fastest growing brands on the Internet, boasting 500,000 monthly views, of which 350,000 are unique visitors,” is typical of what I read. “We have 85,000 Twitter Followers, 250,000 Facebook Fans, and 20,000 Email subscribers. Advertise with us!”
Wow. My blog is such a failure.
Burrowing further in, I was struck by two things:
- I didn’t notice the advertising, either because there was so much of it or because it was buried in odd places, and
- The various posts, most of which didn’t hit me in the face as compelling, quality, well-written content, had few, if any, social media shares. Those that did were on the host’s blog carnival site, or linked to it. (There are exceptions. I am continuously amazed at the popularity of the “Titus 2 Mom” message, used to browbeat women into 18th century submission to their husbands.)
But obviously these people were successful — because they had numbers — and, carrying this to its natural conclusion from the teachings of American Christianity, they also enjoyed the blessings of God, who drove those numbers.
If you are one of the many, many Christian Mommy Bloggers who do not have these numbers — despite following all the bullet points above to the point that you spend more time at the keyboard than you ever did nursing your children — then there can be, within American Christianity (which we’ve exported around the world), only two reasons for this:
- You’re not working hard, and smart, enough, and
- You don’t have the blessing of God. Your blog, in order to be the ministry that it should be (been pressured by that one yet?), needs to reach lots of people and bring in income to your family. (Let’s be honest. Money, if we don’t watch it, is the driving force behind why we do things. This, also, is one of the major teachings of American Christianity.)
Before you believe 1 and 2, please stop.
Yes, your blog can be a ministry, in the sense that it touches someone who needs, deeply, your hard earned wisdom. Mine does this now and then, and it’s why I write — to counteract the corporate message of American Christianity that makes up the “teachings” propounded to church believers.
I don’t get a lot of viewers, but I treasure the ones who do stumble in, taking time to comment, “I’ve felt this way for a long time, but you put it into words. I thought that I was the problem!”
No, you’re not the problem — whether you’re a dissatisfied member of the pew-sitting populace who thinks that Christianity should consist of more than leadership meetings and Saturday church work days, or whether you’re a busy mom who has some funny, poignant stories to tell; or great recipes that are fast and easy to make; or thoughts on God and His love, beauty and guidance — and you can’t get a lot of people to discover what you have to say.
If it’s burning in you to write, then keep doing so and posting — but because the most important people you’re serving live with you and need face to face time, forget about the pressurized posting schedule, equating efficiency with godliness — and drop the idea that numbers equate intelligence and acumen on your part, or a sign that God approves of what you do.
Children grow up fast, and time is not something we can recapture. Be the true Influencer that you are, right now, by focusing, first, on the members of your household, family, and friends: stop what you’re doing and look at people when they speak, listen with your heart to their words; and invest your time in growing the love that exists among you.
This is success, and it has nothing to do with numbers.
Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes. I used to post on an insane schedule and hover over my stats, waiting for the numbers to confirm what I knew in my heart: I write worthwhile content that has meaning and purpose to it.
If this describes you, then don’t despair when your results don’t match what the Influencers say they should be. Who, after all, is the One who should influence us most?