How many leads did you get? What’s the conversion rate? Did you optimise for that keyword?
There was a time when you could just post to entertain. Now you have to entertain and show your boss how many new sign-ups you got.
Which I think is bullshit.
I mean, it is a legit business model, and there are people benefiting from marketing tactics, but that’s also part of the reason why I want to stop writing for a living (versus making a living off my writing). Because I want to write what’s authentic. To me, at last.
But what does inauthentic mean to me, you may ask? Glad you brought that up.
Blogging only for the money
Let’s start with the obvious. We do so many things for money. But if there’s one thing I feel people shouldn’t do it for, it’s writing.
Besides, I’d like to think that you’d have a better chance earning big bucks from YouTube than you would from blogging.
Sure, there may be a handful of bloggers earning a decent living off their website, but that’s like pointing at JK Rowling and basing your novel-writing aspirations off her achievements.
Every time someone tells me they’re going to ‘start a blog to earn money’, I roll my eyes so hard they graze my medulla oblongata.
It’s worse when you tell me the same thing for the seventh time, yet never even get around to registering a blog account.
It’s no coincidence too that this demographic often consists of the loophole hunters, those who want a quick buck without having to put in the work.
They look up the best moneymaking niches, the most effective blog templates, and how to write ‘copy that converts’. Then their only post on their blog is a link to their e-book that’s priced at $14.99. The title? How To Build A Successful Blog.
The post has one like. It’s their own.
A better alternative: If you’re strictly looking for ways to make money, you’d fare much better on trendier platforms such as YouTube or TikTok. At least there, you’ll get a wider audience and a more accessible medium. If you really want to make money from writing, then go for erotica. It’s definitely more lucrative than blogging.
Going full-on marketing
Search engine optimisation. Split testing. Analytics. You’re going to optimise the shit out of your posts to best divert traffic to your $14.99 e-books.
After all, your problem isn’t a crappy product, no. As long as you come up with the perfect title and repeat it in your article twelve times, you’ll be well on your way to a seven-digit bank balance.
Come on, guy. We can’t go into 2022 expecting readers to be as dumb as they were back in 2002. Sure, a sucker is born every minute, but even those suckers would pick a more established charlatan over you.
I totally get it too. I look up keywords before writing a post, and I pepper my titles with power words, but no, your seven ways to eat Doritos isn’t ‘mind-blowing’, and your tips definitely aren’t ‘hacks’ (in fact, here’s my attempt at subverting that word).
You want to dive into the world of digital marketing? Be my guest. But maybe don’t over-salt your soup.
A better alternative: Try the low-hanging fruit. Networking and commenting on WordPress alone would generate more traffic than an ‘optimised article’ would, especially if you have low domain authority (like me). Also try Pinterest, or the ol’ putting-out-good-content.
Screaming in your readers’ faces
If you don’t have any substantial product (or content) on offer, then perhaps dial down on the newsletter pop-ups. That’s like talking about having children on a first date. Maybe let’s get to know each other first.
For some, choosing between a pop-up and a footer subscription form could mean thousands of dollars in conversions. For others, it’d just be another way of annoying your readers.
There’s a time and place for newsletter pop-ups, but doing so to push a $14.99 e-book down people’s throats is not it. Especially when your e-book is about the best ways to find love. And you’re single. And seventeen.
I actually believe in the power of e-mails (and have seen its effectiveness from my time in different companies), but if you’re only thinking about transactions from the get-go, then you might as well go to TikTok.
A better alternative: E-mail is all about content, so you better have your written-content game down pat. In fact, blog posts are the best way to determine how much traction you’ll get for your e-mails. If nobody’s engaging on your blog, don’t expect them to magically change in e-mail.
Because ‘they’ said so
If I had a penny for each time I’ve been asked to do something because my boss read the latest ‘best practices’ from a Facebook group, I’d have like maybe $1.37 right now.
That’s not a lot of money. But it’s a lot of times.
In fact, I can’t count the times I’ve been told to include an emoji in an email title because it reportedly increased conversions. Or to add a CTA every two paragraphs so that we could increase conversions. Or to use an image of a woman instead of a man in our ads so that we can increase… you get it.
And it becomes super obvious when you flit around from trend to trend, leaving behind an archive with so many personalities that you’d give M Night Syamalan’s Split a run for its money.
Not every piece of advice is worth your time. And certainly don’t do things just because people say so. You may think that this is common sense, but you’d be surprised at the number of bosses who’d change the way an entire department does things just because they’d heard that including company slogans in e-mail sign-offs increases morale.
A better alternative: No tips here, because that would defeat the purpose of this point. But yeah, don’t blindly take advice from anyone. Especially from me.
It’s still possible to grow without marketing
I used to have shabby hair as a hairdresser. And I typically ‘msg ppl like this’ as a writer. It’s the same for digital marketing, in that the last thing I want to do—after dealing with marketing funnels and headlines all day—is to care about SEO and social media.
I enjoy creating written content and affecting people’s lives in the tiniest ways, even if it’s to make them smile just for a second. Come to think of it, it’s pretty magical isn’t it? To make you, a stranger from halfway across the world, smile solely through the power of words?
Ultimately, that’s when I feel the most authentic, when I’m writing from the heart. And no amount of money is going to change that.
Except when I launch that $14.99 e-book. Then I’m going to SEO-ad-newsletter the shit outta that.
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