turn your blog into a social object of desire
Many author blogs tend to be online personal journals. Writers will write about their life and give their opinions and share a bit about their novel-in-progress and maybe chart their daily wordcount. There’s nothing wrong with this – but if you’re not already successful offline, it can lack social gravitational pull.
It doesn’t give people who are not already interested in you a reason to gravitate to your blog. It doesn’t pull in strangers and convert them to readers and fans.
So what does?
Content that looks outward — to the world — and enables change to happen on an individual or social level.
Content that can function as a social object,with layers and edges and angles that allow for different but related conversations.
A social object is anything that inspires people to interact with other people. The object is the thing they have in common. It can be an event (a wedding) or an object (the new iPad).
It’s a shared experience through which people can connect with each other.
The interaction between like-minded individuals is the point. The object is the reason and the excuse. And since things change because of people interacting with other people, a powerful social object becomes a catalyst.
We use objects to express ourselves. The clothes we wear, the car we drive, the items we display on our desk, the framed prints we hang on our walls: the sum of these things becomes a statement of identity.
In social media, we express ourselves through the links and posts and images we create and curate and spread through our networks.
We are what we share.
We also seek out who we want to be, through the social objects that challenge, teach and inspire us.
Who do you need to find? What kind of signals do you need to send out in order to pull your right people to you? How will you keep them engaged? What can you give them? How can you empower them? What is the big meaning you can explore through your blog, the message at the center, that turns it into a genuine social object?
A novel requires you to journey inward. How can I serve the story?
A blog requires you to focus outward. How can I serve the reader?
A novel (or poem, or short story) is a world in and of itself.
A blog operates within a deep, rich context of other people — of reading, linking and sharing — in order to be successful. This is why old-school promotion and marketing doesn’t work on the web. If your message is, “Buy my book”, how is that going to resonate with people and vibrate out through their networks? What would make them want to share that, or talk about you or your work?
So maybe a brainshift is required. You market, now, through inspiration and thought leadership. If you give your blog a dharma — a reason for being that goes beyond self-promotion — you give it Big Meaning, and create a rich social object that people can help you explore.
You market, now, through creating your own little movement. Your own personal revolution.
There’s that famous saying by Gandhi that everyone on Twitter seems to quote at one time or another, and I’m going to quote now. It might be something to think about when you’re thinking on what you want to blog about. When you’re searching for the dharma for your blog, your platform, your writing, and maybe yourself.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Who – and what – do you want to be?