Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Why People Don't Want to Read You Everyday
Admit it. Some days you skip reading your favorite newsletter or blog personality. And if you stop and study why, you might learn how to keep your material fresh and pertinent, one of those that readers want to read more than skip, or God forbid, unsubscribe.
I subscribe to more blogs than you want to know. I do not read them each and every day. I tend to love very smart, sometimes deep, and concentrated material because it tends to stay with me for the long haul. However, I've burned out on intense blogs before. The in-your-face, edgy, elaborate, high-intensity posts day in and day out eventually drain me. Like a shot in the arm, once you have to take it daily, the keenness wears off, and it's no longer quite the energizing jolt it was before. I place Justine Musk's blog Tribal Writer in this category. She has the balance just right - weekly. And when it arrives, I feel comfortable taking the time to read it in its entirety.
So, if you tend to write with a strong wit, blistering sarcasm, or caustic repartee, once or twice a week might be plenty. A daily dose can actually make your writers turn on you and see you in a bullying, arrogant or over-the-top role.
The Information Dump
Some writing educates you. You marvel at the bottomless pit of information in the regular stream of columns and editorials. How do they have the time to find it all? But you are happy they do it, to save you the time. But if you are anything like me, the steady stream of facts, data, news and potential markets overwhelm me on some days. They may come on a day when I want to write Chapter 23 or am on deadline. I'm so afraid of missing something that I read the posts anyway. I may get frustrated that I can't keep up. The information is coming at me faster than I can process it. I automatically ignore some posts on certain days, simply because I can't afford to be deterred from my mission.
If you want to provide informational postings in newsletters, magazines or blog posts, study the frequency in which you deliver them. Understand that some people will not read them everyday. They don't have time. Information from such posts put time obligations on the reader as he researches and determines if the opportunity you referenced applies to his work effort. Over the years, I learned to limit the material in my FundsforWriters newsletter - three contests, three grants, three publishers, three jobs, three freelance markets. No more. Some people still unsubscribe, saying they don't have time to read a weekly publication.
The Motivational and Inspirational
Those who pen captivating motivational columns attract readers who want to spend a moment absorbing the message. A friend of mine writes such a column - "I Wish You Enough" by Bob Perks . It goes out two to three times a week. Each time his stories touch me in some way. Admittedly, however, I feel the need to slow down to read them. If his post arrives when I'm in the thick of an energy-sapping obligation, I sometimes delete it, but I strive to read one or two per week, because I walk away feeling good from his missive. On one hand, I crave his regular teaching. On the other hand, I must slow down time to embrace it.
Motivational posts must be timely to be effective. Weekly is good. Twice weekly probably good. But if you deliver more than that, make the message a brief one.
Nobody is going to read your material every day or each time you deliver it. If you have line-edits to complete for your editor, you'll be more inclined to flip through your email and delete the majority of the messages. When I'm on the road, I tend to read much less email and skip many blog posts.
It's key to understand the type of message you want to deliver, and select the frequency of distribution. Short and light? Daily is an option. Deep and lengthy? One, two or three times a week. One is just as important as the other, because the imbalance can do as much to chase away readers as ignoring them.