Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Why People Don't Want to Read You Everyday

You open your email and scan the memos that await to be opened and devoured. Buy stuff, learn things, accept assignments, absorb motivation, read news - all hold the potential of orchestrating your day - or sending it on a tangent. Just seeing the subject titles give you pause.

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.

The Intense

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.


Arlee Bird said...

This is so true. Daily blogging may saturate the web with your presence, but it will dilute the impact of the individual postings for the reasons you mention.

In my first year of blogging I posted daily. I built a steady following and established myself as a consistent blogger with intent to produce. It was also a personal challenge to see if I could blog daily for a year.

Once I had proved myself and cut back to posting three days a week I saw my comments triple on the average. More people were able to visit and comment on each individual post which works toward my goal of more readers. My followers increased immensely.

Now I can devote more blogging time to visiting more blogs and leaving comments. My actual internet presence is far greater now than when I blogged daily. I'm considering scaling back to two posts a week to see how that works.

Tossing It Out

Bookie said...

I really enjoyed this post today. I started my blog for myself, but then came up with followers. I enjoy their input, but sometimes miss when they fail to comment for too long a time!

Hope Clark said...

It does seem that you're speaking to an empty room sometimes with blogging. You just never know. Thanks, Bookie.

Hope Clark said...

Lee, I've been considering cutting back a day each week as well. Just don't know which day. I have some readers who read religiously everyday, so it's a little scary! LOL

Michelle Fayard said...

Excellent advice, Hope, and just what I needed to give myself permission to continue with posting less often.

belinda said...

I am a new author,will you please read my new book,"MY LITTLE SECRETS"author Belinda Davis.My book is a love story that happen in the south and I know it will make a great movie!Thank you so much for your time Belinda!