Gini Dietrich

Writing for You…Or the People?

By: Gini Dietrich | May 15, 2012 | 
114

A few weeks ago, I came across an OpEd by Ann Patchett. It was in the New York Times and she was lamenting the fact there was no Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction this year.

Before I go on, let me be clear I also think it’s a shame there were three finalists, but no Pulitzer Prize winner, too.

But the OpEd read like sour grapes to me.

When this blog gained a little bit of popularity, we began to have internal conversations about the type of content we should be writing. You see, what I consider the “smart” posts are never the ones that get shared a lot. Sure, people read them, but not as many comment nor share on their social networks.

The ones that do get a lot of comments and shares? The top 10 this or the such and such is dead.

It kind of makes me nuts. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. I’m an English major. I choose to read over watching TV. Heck, I just wrote a book. So the idea that something that takes 20 minutes to write and 90 seconds to read gets shared more consistently hurts my feelings.

Ann Patchett says:

With book coverage in the media split evenly between “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “The Hunger Games,” wouldn’t it have been something to have people talking about “The Pale King,” David Foster Wallace’s posthumous masterwork about a toiling tax collector? Unfortunately, the world of literature lacks the scandal, hype, and pretty dresses that draw people to the Academy Awards, which, by the way, is not an institution devoted to choosing the best movie every year as much as it is an institution designed to get people excited about going to the movies.

Pulitzer Prize-winning books don’t get made into movies. Well thought-out blog posts don’t get shared.

Both make money…just not as much as kids killing kids or top 10 ways to approach journalists on Twitter.

I remember reading somewhere that Julianne Moore makes two types of movies: The kind she wants to make and the kind she knows are going to be hits.

Perhaps it’s not high-brow enough to say authors should do the same. Perhaps I’m suggesting something insulting. I mean, I was there. When we had this conversation a year ago, I was saying, “Let the guest bloggers write the top 10 lists. I’m going to keep writing what I want to write.”

But after reading Patchett’s sour grapes OpEd, I’ve decided it’s OK to mix the two.

Give the people what they want!

P.S. This probably won’t get shared as much so I’ll have to write a top 10 post tomorrow.

P.P.S. The book launch went great! It still feels very surreal to me, but Geoff Livingston made it a very fun day. More to come.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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114 Comments on "Writing for You…Or the People?"

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lauraclick
4 years 16 days ago
Yup, I read that Anne Pachett article a few weeks ago too (Nashville represent!). I don’t know that it was sour grapes. I think, much like you, she was lamenting our focus on fluff.   As much as I love to read smart blog posts and books, the challenge is time. We’ve got so many different things demanding our attention, it’s difficult to find the time to focus on something deep. That’s why we love the snack-size posts of lists. We know exactly what we’re getting when we open them. When I scan through my Reader, I’m drawn in by great… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @lauraclick I debated it with my mom and my friend abbief . They agree with you – they didn’t read it as sour grapes. I don’t know why, but it really just rubbed me the wrong way and I’ve been thinking about it since.

Ameenafalchetto
4 years 16 days ago
Yay for the book launch Gini! That’s awesome!!!!    It never ceases to amaze me what gets shared online… more often than not the posts I put the most work into bomb and the ones that took all of 10 mins to write up, edit and post fly – not even going to try and make sense of such madness …    I guess it’s a lot like the Oscars – the weirdest movies seem to win and those great ones don’t, obviously there are always exceptions to the rule!    Ultimately I write for my audience, the way I… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Ameenafalchetto Thank you! It’s all pretty surreal!

ClayMorgan
4 years 16 days ago
Good morning Gini. First, I think we’re up to 41 Pulitzer Prize winners being made into movies or TV shows.   I was also disappointed there was no Pulitzer for fiction. More disappointing is the secrecy of the selection committee – they don’t say why there was no prize awarded.   Like you, I tend to read rather than watch TV, unless Breaking Bad or Justified is on. I think the challenge with books that are defined as literature, as opposed to genre fiction, is there is a perception that literature is “hard.” While I read quite a few books… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @ClayMorgan And, unfortunately, the trashy teen vampire novel sells. I read all of them. 🙂

ClayMorgan
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich It does indeed, BUT theirs hope.
 
This summer, I made a deal with my niece. If she’d read Dracula, I’d read Twilight. I definitely got the worse end of that deal and my niece actually enjoyed Dracula, so there’s one victory.
 
I have heard the trashy teen vampire novels described as “emotional porn.” I think it is apt.

KenMueller
4 years 16 days ago
This mirrors almost exactly the experiences I’ve had in recent years. Back when I was a Museum Curator in the 90s, I would put together exhibits and write some pretty heady content to provide context for the exhibitions. Over time, our editor started cutting the text and putting it in blocks and adding more images and graphics. Why? Because people weren’t reading. It was so frustrating. I had a lot to say but I couldn’t say it. I felt constrained, and as if my voice was being muted.    Fast forward to today, and I don’t have to constrain myself… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @KenMueller I love the analogy of how we feed our kids (or pets). Sometimes you just have to hide the veggies.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Unless you own a beagle who loves carrots, broccoli (zip it, Gumby), and raw snap peas. 

rdopping
rdopping
4 years 16 days ago
Is it because brains are no longer capable of processing something that has complexity? Nope, but you have to acknowledge that fact that ADHD is a reality of the internet alone. Who the heck buys a book and sits down to ready anymore? This guy, for one, does but I am in my mid fourties and I was BROUGHT UP THAT WAY. I can’t help myself….sorry for bleep sakes.   My young contemporaries in the office look at me sideways for the most part for that so I get it! The quick fix is here to stay and so are… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @rdopping I buy a book and sit down and read! I read two books a week. It makes me sad no one has the attention span to do that.

JoelFortner
4 years 16 days ago
While reading this I couldn’t help thinking, “Ahhhh, is she afraid not many people will buy the book? And share it.” You know that ain’t true!!!  Congrats on an awesome book launch day!  I bought a copy, shared that fact with others and tuned into Ustream for a bit. It was fun and I was glad to be a tiny part of it.   So I think you’ve hit on an important topic, a topic writers have dealt with forever. From my experience, people enjoy “smart” posts when they time to slow down and think about them.  The thing is… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @JoelFortner Oh ha! This had nothing to do with the book. I would feel differently if I wrote a piece of fiction. But, with the business book, I figure either people are going to buy it or they don’t. It’s not creative. It’s a theory, based on years of experience. So I don’t have the same feelings about it as I do fiction or a blog post.
 
I think I want a balance of what you describe – a few really smart posts and a few that really help people.

jmitchem
4 years 16 days ago
Good post. I just don’t know if I’m capable of writing a business book, though my business partner says we’ve got plenty of material at Boxman Studios going from billing zero three years ago to billing millions in such a short time (all using social media, of course). But that doesn’t appeal to me. That’s my ‘job’ over there. The kind of writing that puts me in a trance while I’m doing it is nearly uncontrollable. And yes, it’s fiction for the most part. If you ever go to my blog, you’ll see that its title is ‘Obsessed with Conformity.’… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @jmitchem And add to it the rough three months you’ve had…
 
But you, sir, are a phenomenal writer and you SHOULD write a book. 

jasonkonopinski
4 years 16 days ago
I’m with you on this, Gini – and I know we had this very discussion with seanmcginnis back in December.  I enjoy the heady stuff and the challenge of writing something clear and concise on complex topics is part of what keeps me blogging. While there are times when I get cranky about a lack of good meaty comments, I’ve seen that some of those dense, academic posts get shared quite a bit, but it’s often months after they’ve been published. Odd thing, this internet.    And while I can easily write the post guaranteed to see lots of shares, I… Read more »
Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski  seanmcginnis I think you said it all. The end.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski  I was talking to Valeria Maltoni about this, too. She never gets comments, but she has one of the most popular blogs on the web. She’s way too smart, which is why no one comments, But they sure do read…and she’s noticed it’s months after she’s published.

jasonkonopinski
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich She’s wicked smart. 
 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski She IS wicked smart. 

KDillabough
4 years 16 days ago

To paraphrase (or completely demolish the original quote): “I write therefore I am”. There’s definitely a synchronicity to the world as I think about what I posted on my blog today. Congrats again on the book and the launch. Did you get the ponies and balloons and cake? Cheers! Kaarina

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @KDillabough I did get all three! Thank you!!

Lisa Gerber
4 years 16 days ago

I told you this last week: Candy Chang blew me away, and my post tomorrow is on similar lines – about big ideas and how to get them. I love how much she made me think, and I had a lot of fun writing about it. I hope it will make some people think, but it won’t be a crowd pleaser and that’s OK. 
 
And don’t worry, you can just write about Pinterest tomorrow. There has to be another top ten list to be squeezed from that topic, right? 

jasonkonopinski
4 years 16 days ago

 @Lisa Gerber I. Love. Candy. Chang. 

Lisa Gerber
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski You do????!!!! I’d never heard of her! I have been moved. She is incredible, and you’ll read more tomorrow. 🙂 

jasonkonopinski
4 years 16 days ago

 @Lisa Gerber You need to get out more. 🙂 

NateStPierre
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski  @Lisa Gerber I’ve never heard of Candy Chang either. Link me to the thing you loved?

Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @NateStPierre  @jasonkonopinski  @Lisa Gerber I’m so glad that you asked. I wanted to ask, too, but I was trying to play it cool.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Erin F.  @NateStPierre  @jasonkonopinski  @Lisa Gerber Oh jeez. You guys do need to get out more. The post will run tomorrow…so watch for it!

Lisa Gerber
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich  @Erin F.  @NateStPierre  @jasonkonopinski HAHAHA! Yes, the post goes out tomorrow with all the links and even some cool pictures. So don’t forget to come back!

HowieSPM
4 years 16 days ago

You should write a post that says:
 
It is only about how many fans and followers you have.
 
Brogan, Solis, Scoble, and Godin are Gods and anything they say, write or even think you should implement immediately into your business practices because that was the secret to your success.
 
I bet you get 500,000 reads and so much praise you get invited to dinner with Sarah Palin.

HowieSPM
4 years 16 days ago

I really hated Dickens in High School. I remember I read the first 3 chapters of Great Expectations then waited to see the movie in class before the test.
 
Lord of the Rings still better than Harry Potter though!

Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @HowieSPM Lord of the Rings will always, always be better than Harry Potter.

NateStPierre
4 years 16 days ago

 @Erin F.  @HowieSPM I love both, but LOTR rules them all.

Byron Fernandez
4 years 16 days ago

@NateStPierre @Erin F. @HowieSPM Guess I can’t put them in the same mention. One’s like milk, the other’s like honey. It’s like comparing Greta Garbo and Meryl Streep

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @HowieSPM OK. I’ll try it.

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd
4 years 16 days ago

Excellent post Gini!  As a fellow English major in sales for a publisher, I think a lot about this.  We often discuss- do you want to write what is teachable, or write what is sellable? For our authors, it is very hard to come to terms with the fact that their passion project, founded in strong educational theory, will not sell as easily as resources that tap in to current buzz words or trends. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @RebeccaTodd You and I could have some really interesting conversations about this topic. You, me, wine…SOON!

Bzarbock
4 years 16 days ago
Congratulations on the book I look forward to reading it soon.   I, however, like the fact that an award wasn’t given out this year. I think it protects the integrity of the institution that they are not going to give out an award because they “have to” but that argument if for another day.    I think its an easy post to talk about how simplistic superficial content is more marketable and easier to share rather than your deepest musings. Reading the comments you got all the typical responses one would expect from such a redundant topic.   This… Read more »
NateStPierre
4 years 16 days ago

 @Bzarbock “The shallow end of the content pool…” I really like that one. Agreed with you on most everything, although there is some long-form writing out there on blogs that I do appreciate – You Are Not So Smart being one of them.
 
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2012/04/17/ego-depletion/
 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Bzarbock Are you implying I did the “high school reverse psychology” thing with this post? That wasn’t my intent at all. I have been thinking about this Ann Patchett OpEd for weeks now. I’ve debated it with my mom and friends. I’ve come to the conclusion that we have to have a balance. Write some things for us and others for the audience. My P.S. was a smart @ss comment. It wasn’t reverse psychology. I need a sarcasm font.

TheJackB
4 years 16 days ago
Instant gratification is killing attention spans. It irritates me to no end to see blog post after blog post talk about writing short blurbs because people won’t read more.   I refuse to do it. Read or don’t read it, but I won’t make it short simply because you have allowed yourself to be trained to have the attention span of a gnat.    I figure that good content will help encourage people to read all the way through. That assumes that the headline has caught their eye. Half the time when I write things like “We Did It On… Read more »
Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @TheJackB Gah! I hate that, too. We’re only encouraging short attention spans if we cater to them, right?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Erin F.  @TheJackB Yes, we are. But we also have to think about what our goals are for blogging. Jack, your goals are different than mine. My vision is about the industry; yours is about your writing. So you have more leeway to write for you than I do.

TheJackB
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich  @Erin F. In some respects I have more leeway but at the same time once you build a certain size community you can say almost anything and people will nod their heads and tell you that you are really smart.
 
You have that foundation here, but this place isn’t populated by as many of the air heads that can’t voice an opinion other than one that tells the author they are the smartest person ever.
 
The diversity and independence are part of why I enjoy hanging out here.

Erin F.
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich  @TheJackB And mine is different from both of those. I’m focused on helping people – mostly business people – tell their stories. I am going to be very, very sad if I have to change my blog completely. @KenMueller says I need to quit over-thinking and just write, but I don’t see the point if it’s not doing anyone any good.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Erin F.  Listen to Ken!

KenMueller
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich  @Erin F. OH my word. I am bronzing that comment and filing it under “Things You Never Thought Gini Would Say”.

Erin F.
4 years 15 days ago

 @KenMueller  @ginidietrich I had a good conversation with @Shonali tonight. She helped me think about some things. 🙂

Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

I think I’m trying to mix the two. I actually have a post scheduled that asks for people’s input. I know I have to lead the charge with the content I publish, but I also want to know how to best meet my readers’ needs. I’m at the point where I need somebody else’s perspective. I’ve gone around my head one too many times and am feeling the weight and weariness of it. :/
 
I know I avoid writing (and often reading) the list posts because they irritate the dickens out of me. Yes, the dickens. 

KenMueller
4 years 16 days ago

 @Erin F. See, they shouldn’t irritate you. It’s just a different type of writing. For me, my audience is primarily made up of small business owners. They want content that is actionable. You can mix the two. I try to add some good contextual and sociological content to set up my lists.
 
Think of it this way, in the literary world, there are very different kinds of writing. This is why we have writers like Douglas Coupland and Chuck Klosterman. Their style is very different from what we might be used to. 

Byron Fernandez
4 years 16 days ago

 @KenMueller  @Erin F. Precisely. Remaining true to ourselves as writers and meeting business expectations definitely a challenge. The cool part is entrepreneurial spirit blends well with the passion we tend to have for diverse subjects, which is what makes our story unique and can also be important differentiators for personal and organizational brands. 
The Lord Byron in me just wants to brood, but the LadyGaGa reminds me there’s sh*t to Do, and an insatiable public awaits… 

jasonkonopinski
4 years 16 days ago

 @Byron Fernandez  @KenMueller  @Erin F. List posts absolutely irritate me, mostly because they’ve been used to the point where they’re really little more than noise. Well-executed, they are absolutely effective (mostly from a traffic standpoint, I think) but, as jaybaer  astutely pointed out in a recent post, we’re not in the eyeballs game. Traffic is probably the least important social metric yet we continue to closely watch the analytics. 
 
Are list posts valuable? Yes, if they’re done well and infrequently. And, as marketers, we have to see the value in a tool or tactic from the best interest of the client. 

Byron Fernandez
4 years 16 days ago
 @jasonkonopinski  @KenMueller  @Erin F.  jaybaer A bit lost on all the hullabaloo surrounding lists. There’s a time and place for bullet points and numbering. Lists not the problem to me, it’s their abuse and overuse as you guys mention. No, they should not comprise the focal point of content. Period.   Lists should only supplement valuable insight, opinions and evidence supporting claims and assertions within the body of any work, whether a blog post, whitepaper, dissertation or book. If I had the time, it’d be fun to experiment with this. For example, start a “guest listing trend?” Could I include my dry cleaning and… Read more »
KenMueller
4 years 16 days ago
 @jasonkonopinski  @Byron Fernandez  @Erin F.  jaybaer And that’s why I say they work for me. My clients love them and use them more than any other posts. It’s the number one way I get traffic AND new clients, outside of referrals. When a small business owner sees “16 Ways to Use Pinterest for PR” they know what they are going to get. It tells them exactly what type of content to expect.    I would also argue that while eyeballs is overrated, it is not the least important. The amount of traffic you get is a key component to Google’s algorithm. And to flip… Read more »
Byron Fernandez
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski  @KenMueller  @Erin F.  jaybaer *Groceries
 
And @KenMueller ‘s right. Clients love them because they cut through the BS and give them what they want. Like Chick-fil-A / most fast food joint menus, or my favorite In-N-Out’s 2-option menu: Numbering is simple and people know what to expect 

jasonkonopinski
4 years 16 days ago

 @Byron Fernandez  @KenMueller  @Erin F.  jaybaer 
 
I’m not arguing that link posts are patently bad, mind you. They’re still around because they’re still generating results. Same as banner ads, pop-up subscription pages on blogs and sponsored links.  
 
I’ll repeat another of Jay’s lines from that post (which if you’ve haven’t read, you should) in framing the Pinterest traffic boondoggle: “You are in the behavior business, not the eyeballs business.”  If a list post generates lots of hits but little associated valuable behavior (lead form, going deep into your site, return traffic), there’s a lesson there. 
 
 

JayBaer
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski @Byron Fernandez @KenMueller @Erin F. Thanks Jason. I appreciate the plug. I’m not anti-lists. I write them quite a bit, actually. As Ken says, I write them because they work. But, they work from a traffic perspective (which is the least important perspective). I have seen no evidence that list posts convert to desired behavior (subscriptions, et al) than other posts, and in fact as a % of total readers, probably worse (because lists get clicks you wouldn’t usually get). 

jasonkonopinski
4 years 16 days ago

 @JayBaer  @Byron Fernandez  @KenMueller  @Erin F. Cheers, Jay. I always value your perspective which is why that Pinterest traffic post sticks so soundly in my brain. 
 
I’ve written a handful of list posts and I’ll continue to write them periodically in the future (typically for clients – phew). They definitely drive traffic and there’s value in that and I can’t argue that.  You’ve especially done a really good job in balancing the list with good, meaty analysis and, for that, I thank you. 🙂 

Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski  @JayBaer  @Byron Fernandez  @KenMueller I’m not against list posts if they’re done well. Can I write them? Yes. Do I write them? Yes. I wrote one yesterday, but I typically write them for other people. My business may offer action steps, but I’m more concerned with helping people to think about writing and communications in a different way than they have previously or to offer a glimpse into one person’s writing life. It’s hard to condense either of those things into a list.

KenMueller
4 years 16 days ago
 @JayBaer  @jasonkonopinski  @Byron Fernandez  @Erin F. My second to latest client came to me cold from list post. They liked it. Used it. Found it useful. Called me. I’m working with them now on things that go far beyond the scope of that list.    I think we need to remember that the desired behavior is different for all of us, and factor in what industry you’re working in. Another client is a veterinarian, and their lists on ways of taking care of your pets are absolutely behavior drivers. We think in terms of our little bubble which is very crowded, when we need… Read more »
TheJackB
4 years 16 days ago

 @jasonkonopinski Coming soon,  923,873 reasons why Jason hates list posts. This one will go big, just you watch.
 @Byron Fernandez  @KenMueller  @Erin F.  

TheJackB
4 years 16 days ago

 @JayBaer  @jasonkonopinski  @Byron Fernandez  @KenMueller  @Erin F. We still come back to a question of goals and objectives.
I am not a huge fan of list posts but there is an argument to be made that says there are advantages to bringing in large amounts of traffic because it gives you more opportunities to capture and convert prospects.
Sometimes if you are trying to build traction…

Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @KenMueller  @JayBaer  @jasonkonopinski  @Byron Fernandez Exactly. I can see list posts working wonderfully with a client who’s a veterinarian. I might even recommend that clients use them every so often as long as they serve a purpose. Will I use them more often? Guess we’ll see what happens in the upcoming weeks…

NateStPierre
4 years 16 days ago
 @KenMueller  @JayBaer  @jasonkonopinski  @Byron Fernandez  @Erin F. My thoughts exactly, Ken. Without traffic, almost nothing we do here (specifically concerning writing on the web) matters. Of course it shouldn’t be your total focus – more of a starting point, but let’s not be so highbrow as to say that it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter to us.   Bottom line is, you need people looking at your stuff in order to do whatever it is you want to do with your stuff. All producers want the world to love and share and talk about their best work, but not everyone in the world is like us.… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Erin F. I like the posts that have gone around in our heads and then we ask for input. I see that differently than “the top 10 ways to open a jar of mayo” posts.

Erin F.
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich I do, too. I’m trying to be better about asking questions that encourage conversation. It’s hard when I’m used to having that conclusion that slams the lid shut on the topic. 🙂

Byron Fernandez
Byron Fernandez
4 years 16 days ago
 ginidietrich @Lisa Gerber Enjoyed this. There’s a difference between pandering to the public and reflecting deeper sentiment or critical analysis.  It’s almost like saying ‘not all bloggers are writers, and not all writers are bloggers.’ Or, as Gini’s referred to in the past, bloggers are NOT journalists.  I’m wary of the distinction between all as well.   Agree with @lauraclick and @TheJackB though, too — great writing is great writing. Crowd pleasing, granted, is part of performing, but the quality of the performance itself is not incumbent upon the approval of the masses. That’s what it means to be an artist, producer, director, thinker,… Read more »
Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @Byron Fernandez  ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber  @lauraclick  @TheJackB Ha! I guess I’m wavering between the two. The writer in me says I shouldn’t worry about the number of comments and shares and whatever else. The entrepreneur in me? Totally different story. I’m struggling to find a way to blend the two parts so that I don’t compromise who I am and what I think but can still meet my audience’s needs. I agree, though, that validation should never be the driving motive. That only results in a lack of clarity and purpose.

TheJackB
4 years 16 days ago

 @Erin F.  @Byron Fernandez  ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber  @lauraclick I understand exactly what you are saying.
If I changed how I do things I could build the readership/comments much more quickly than I have, but I won’t.
I am still an advocate of building our communities around us. If we set a certain standard we will find like minded individuals. It would cripple me if I had to do things that eliminated passion and personality from my writing.
 
The quest for the blend is worth it.

Erin F.
4 years 16 days ago

 @TheJackB  @Byron Fernandez  ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber  @lauraclick It is. I think I’ve been struggling with the blending more often as of late, and it’s becoming a little discouraging.

ExtremelyAvg
4 years 15 days ago
 @TheJackB I’ve been blogging for almost 2.5 years now, everyday, and I’ve stopped caring about traffic.  I’ve just given up. I don’t get much more than 50 -100 per day, or I would assume, since I stopped checking sometime last year.   I post my novels, one chapter at a time, and some random thoughts on the blog, but if I write something I’m really proud of I send it to Gini or Shonali.  They already have lots of readers.   This past week I’ve written two short stories I’m very proud of (7.4K and 1K) and I’ve decided to try… Read more »
WaltGoshert
4 years 16 days ago
 @KenMueller hit upon it. You gotta do both fluff stuff, and go deep.   The fluff stuff gets the clicks, shares, likes that builds seo juice.   But going deep “qualifies” your visitors to take the steps to become clients.   Pay attention to your analytics. I find my subscribers do read my deep pieces. They don’t comment, share, or like ’em. They take action.   That’s a good thing if you’re looking to work with smart clients.   I’m a simple fisherman with lots of pride.   “You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @WaltGoshert  GREAT quote!

NateStPierre
4 years 16 days ago
Of course it’s okay to mix the two! “What you want to write” probably includes pieces that mean a lot to you, as well as pieces that give your blog more traffic, publicity and influence, yeah? So write ’em both. As long as you’re not compromising values to go after the bigger hits, it’s all good in the hood.   On my site I have two sections (as do many others) – the “Most Popular” list, based on comments/traffic/shares/whatever, but also the “Best Of” section, which is where I list my own personal favorite pieces . . . the pieces… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @NateStPierre I have no problem with them not awarding a Pulitzer (though it does make me a little sad), but I read the OpEd as “I didn’t get one and I think it’s ridiculous the only popular books are about vampires.”

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald
4 years 16 days ago

I thought I was the only one. I swear sometimes I write posts that are full of valuable information for marketing professionals centered around hop topics and I get NOTHING. At least I feel a little better.

ClayMorgan
4 years 16 days ago

 @jennimacdonald One thing I am curious about, and your post kind of raises. How do we KNOW the information is valuable to the reader?
 
I know at our paper we’ll have a great story sometimes, and we’ll think “our readers will eat this up,” then …. silence. I think it is hard to tell sometimes that there may be a difference between what we think is valuable to the reader and what the reader actually finds valuable.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @ClayMorgan  @jennimacdonald If you write about Pinterest, you’re golden. 🙂

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich  @ClayMorgan Ha it was about Pinterest, when I write blog posts I answer questions that I have been asked. Usually these questions are asked when I’m at tradeshows or events by CEOs, VP Marketing, etc. So I extend my answer into a blog post. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @jennimacdonald Keep doing that. It’s what provides the long tail on SEO and it gives clients and prospects something to read as they’re deciding whether or not they’re going to work with you. Don’t change that strategy. Pay less attention to comments and more to repeat visitors, new visitors, and bounce rate.

Jill Tooley
4 years 16 days ago
Right there with you, as usual! One of my favorite, most personal posts has only netted a handful of shares or comments to date, but a few fluffier ones I wrote at the last minute are sitting pretty at double or triple-digit shares. It’s disheartening! 🙁   I’ve read article after article lately about how bullet points are a must, how top 10 lists are more popular than ever, and how content should all be written in bite-sized chunks for the “scanners” to read with ease. That bothers me a bit, too, especially as a fellow English major! I have… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Jill Tooley It does cheapen the process, but it works. Which is why I guess I’m changing my mind. I don’t always want to do top 10 lists, but they certainly work. And, it’s true…the posts you write without any pain are always the most popular!

wabbitoid
4 years 15 days ago
You talkin’ to me?   Forget the fluff.  No one really makes money off of blogging alone – and those who make it sound like they do are either lying or (more likely) never exact about how much they make.  Visitors and retweets and all that by people who can’t think outside of a list of “Top XX Whatevers” aren’t going to get anyone a nickel.  It’s all hype and BS.   Build your reputation as a smart person – if you are, that is.  You’ll get some work from it.  My humble blog does decently in donations, too.  The… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @wabbitoid We know I’d much rather write the in-depth stuff, but the goal of the blog is bigger than just me. So I think it’s about your vision and your audience. Unless you blog just for yourself (and there are bloggers who do that), you have to have a balance.

wabbitoid
4 years 15 days ago
 @ginidietrich Barataria is nothing more than my own thoughts.  I’d like to be in a group with other people, but I’ve never been invited – so I can’t speak for that.  Certainly, when I write any kind of copy for pay I do my best to put it into that person’s voice or a voice that suits their organization. But when you’re talking about fluffy stuff, there’s really no place for it anywhere.  The non-internet-addicts in the world usually go to a site for something much more like news than what is usually produced.  I have gained quite a bit of… Read more »
Frank_Strong
4 years 15 days ago

So true Gini and can relate.  It kills me up when I labor over a well-thought out post, publish with excitement and then crickets…but then I write something top-10-ish and get a ton of traffic.  It’s the 2012 version of Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.”   

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Frank_Strong Seriously! And now that I see the title of your latest blog post, I have to go read it!

Shonali
4 years 15 days ago

Well, with 85 comments (and counting) you may have proved yourself wrong… :p

Ari Herzog
4 years 15 days ago

 @Shonali You need to remove the comments written by @ginidietrich as that’s more of a reply than a comment. Surely this can be edited in the core code, no @jennalanger ?
 
 

Shonali
4 years 15 days ago

 @Ari Herzog I can’t do that physically, and I’m not going to literally count out @ginidietrich replies. That is a question for @jennalanger as you noted. Personally, I don’t care if the comment count includes replies and replies to replies… isn’t the whole point of a comment section to generate engagement?

jennalanger
4 years 15 days ago

 @Shonali  @Ari Herzog  I would say that it still should be counted as a comment. The article itself is a whole piece, and anything posted below in this conversation is an extension of that, even if it is posted by @ginidietrich (maybe her comments should count as 2 anyway 😉

Ari Herzog
4 years 15 days ago

 @Shonali  @ginidietrich  @jennalanger There are two issues here. I agree with you that commenting is engaging in that the action establishes a meaningful relationship, but I am unsure whether the author’s replies to comments are comments in themselves.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Shonali Comments here are never a problem. You see lots of people having conversations without me (which is awesome!). But the shares are what’s interesting. Last week I wrote about Pinterest (which we all know I love) and it’s up to 350 tweets. This hasn’t broken the 100 mark. I find that fascinating. 

jackinessity
jackinessity
4 years 15 days ago

Congrats on the book launch, lady! I was an English major, too 🙂 Thoughtful stuff may not be as visibly popular, but good work is somehow more satisfying… you have interesting thoughts. 
 
Can we go back to making monkey jokes at each other, now? 😉
 
Jaks

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @jackinessity MONKEYS!

jennalanger
4 years 15 days ago

You could relate this to people watching and obsessing over shows like Jersey Shore instead of spending time watching documentaries about real issues. It all really depends on who you are trying to impress, or if that’s even the goal. 
 
I want to read your book!!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @jennalanger It’s totally the same. All reality TV vs. Downton Abbey. 

ExtremelyAvg
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich I love Downton Abbey and hate reality TV, but I think you are right, more people prefer mindless to clever.

jennalanger
4 years 14 days ago

 @ExtremelyAvg  @ginidietrich I keep hearing about this Downtown Abbey show, but it’s on at the same time as Jersey Shore! 😉

ginidietrich
4 years 12 days ago

 @jennalanger  DVR Downton Abbey. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Andrea T. H. W.
4 years 15 days ago
Well, it might also be that Pulitzer Prize-winning books are a bit boring. The interesting question is why people want this kind of things, or articles, or books. Is it because the most important thing is knowing what kind of surgery has done a celebrity or because in the effort of writing sound things they get boring? Or heavy to read?   As for me these days I’m not much into reading epic posts, or longer than 1000 words at maximum. Might be I don’t have enough free time but as a comparison reading a bulleted summary delivering the same… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 15 days ago

 @Andrea T. H. W. You’re absolutely right about the TV generation. People will spend hours watching TV, but won’t read a good book. That makes me laugh. I disagree, though, that Pulitzer Prize winning books are boring. Some may be…just like some TV or short blog posts are boring. But not all. Not all at all. How many alls can I type? All.

Andrea T. H. W.
4 years 15 days ago

 @ginidietrich 😀
 
Clearly you’re right. At all. 😀

SociallyGenius
4 years 15 days ago

Didn’t Queen Ann say let them have cake, and eat it, too!

#100thcomment

ginidietrich
4 years 12 days ago

 @SociallyGenius Mmmm….cake.

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DMVM
DMVM
4 years 14 days ago
I guess the answer is two-fold.  If you are being commissioned to write, then you write with the intent of meeting the clients needs, and if their needs are to pique the interest of cat ladies across the nation, then you may be compelled to write about frumpy sweaters, balls of yarn and hoarding (please note:  I have no idea what cat ladies like, I am spit-balling here).   The other fold, is those of us who write for the love of writing, and getting our souls onto paper for the world to embrace.  The Thoreaus of the world, those of us who… Read more »
ginidietrich
4 years 12 days ago

 @WhoIsDave So, really, you’re divided like me!

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[…] Obviously, you read it, and know that. Any maybe it is, or maybe we just knew you’d be more likely to engage with this post if the passing of mobile websites was made known to you.  Either way, you’re here, and we […]

rudee
3 years 3 months ago

Be proud of launching a book. It is more than most of us can do. I am not an English Major so you have something going for you that most of us only wish we have so we could write better. There are people out there who do like to read things that aren’t fluff. Give me the facts, just the facts. If I see a blog with lists, I will skim over the list and then leave the blog.
<a href=”http://www.garrettspecialties.com” rel=”nofollow”>RudeeG</a>

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