Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Business, Things I've Learned | Posted on 10-09-2014
Now that I’m immersed in topics such as health, fitness and spirituality, I can’t help but notice some areas where bloggers could be doing a better job spreading their message. Interestingly, I see the same problems from blog to blog, which indicates that many may be simply copying what their peers do. I expect that there’s also some bad and/or old online marketing advice being spread around as well.
Some of what follows may be my own pet peeves, but I imagine if they’re annoying to me, they’re annoying to others as well.
While I’ve noticed a variety of annoyances, below are 3 that seem to be very common and are easy to address:
1. The reading aloud of a long, canned bio in video or audio interviews. As soon as I start to hear one of these being read, I jump ahead about 3 minutes in order to get past it. Because yes, many of them go on for that long! It’s painfully obvious they weren’t written for that purpose, and I can’t fathom why this is so common. What’s even stranger is that after the life story is read, the guest is often asked to provide even more information about themselves. Huh?!
Why, why, why, would anyone think this is a good idea?
Yes, of course the person being interviewed is hoping to get exposure for their own stuff. But how does reading off everything they’ve done since high school further this cause?
What would be a better idea: It’s likely the interviewer chose their interviewee for a reason. At some point they learned about them, read something of theirs, took their class, or saw them speak somewhere–and it left an impact. Tell that story! Or any other story that provides the gist of what your guest is all about. But for heaven’s sake, don’t ever, ever, ever read a canned bio. There is no world or situation where that is a good idea. (The same is true for conference presentations.)
2. Subscribing people automatically to a newsletter and/or making it difficult to unsubscribe. When someone provides you with their email for your webinar, your online conference, your free download, or anything else–unless you specifically, very clearly state that by providing you with their email address they will also be automatically subscribed to your newsletter–THEN DON’T DO IT!
Why would you want to create a list of people whom you forced to receive your newsletter? While it may provide you with a longer list of names, it’s doubtful they’ll be engaged or even reading it. In fact, those people may mark it as spam which will in turn make it more likely to be automatically filtered as spam by Gmail and other programs when sent to those who may actually want it.
I’ve seen bloggers who have gone so far as to provide no way to unsubscribe, force a log-in to unsubscribe, or force an email address to be typed, in order to unsubscribe. And what really gets my goat is when they say that the unsubscribe may take X amount of time to take effect!
All of the above are nasty, dishonest, unethical tricks that you should play no part in perpetuating–ever.
What would be a better idea: Provide great content that people won’t want to miss so that they will voluntarily sign up for your newsletter. And then make darn sure that the newsletter provides exactly what you say it will. Also be sure to prominently feature and promote the subscribe box, and clearly let people know how subscribing will benefit them. Be sure to point them to your past newsletters so they can know for sure if it’s what they’re looking for. (I rarely see bloggers do this.)
While you’ll definitely build up your email list more slowly this way–so what? An organically cultivated list full of happy subscribers who love you and what you do, is worth a bazillion times more than a fast-growing list of people who you tricked into subscribing.
3. Not replying to comments or social media posts. If this is you, sorry, but you suck. Seriously. Who got you to the position you’re in in the first place? Your devoted fans, of course. Choose to ignore them now at your own peril.
What would be a better idea: It’s understandable that you’re busy. Especially as you become more “famous” in your little world. But it only takes a few minutes to read people’s comments and provide some answers their questions. While it’s not necessary to respond to everyone who says “great post,” if someone is sincerely asking a question relating to what you’ve written, why would you choose to ignore them? If you truly are too busy, or you just can’t grasp the whole social media thing, then hire someone to read and comment on your behalf. Nobody has to know it’s not you, and you’ll look like an even bigger star than you already are.
I’m quite sure that all of the above also happens in spaces well beyond health, fitness and spirituality blogs. But as your mother would say, just because others are doing it doesn’t make it right!
My hope in pointing these faux pas out to you is not to chastise, but to let you know that there are indeed other, better, more ethical ways of marketing online. If you see your own blog in any of this, there’s no better time than right now to be a leader, rather than a follower.
P.S. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts below. And not just if you agree with me. Dissenting opinions are always welcome here!