The Chief Means of Marketing, Part 6

Just to remind you, the real subject of these posts is word-of-mouth marketing. My thoughts have been spurred by Andy Sernovitz‘s book by that same title. Sernoviz made the statement to the effect that the boring is the killer of all buzz. Or stated in the positive, interesting is a must if something is to be buzz worthy.

In that light, I’ve been thinking about first the produce—the novel—and what makes it interesting and then the promotion, particularly blog posts and what makes them interesting.

Before I give my ideas about what makes a blog post interesting, I’ll tell you the things that aren’t compelling to me, and I’ll even give them in exciting, countdown fashion. 😀

5. Pictures – unless I know the people. Then, yes, they work. But just putting a generic picture up … not so much.
4. Personal journal stuff – unless I know the person in the real world. I don’t have a point of reference to know how great it was that you got to go to Australia for the weekend.
3. Cute personality trait quizzes. Yes, I’ve participated in a couple of those, but I’m so over it! 😉
2. Posts that are self-serving.
1. And the number one thing that does not compel me to read a blog post? Canned copy. When I recognize the material is the kind of information found in a press release, I pass.

Which brings us to the five most compelling features that encourage me to read a blog. (I was tempted to list Emoticons, but the only site I’d go to or the posts I’d read just for the emoticons is All About Children’s Books—see the complete list when you click on “Post a Comment.” )

So here we go. What makes a blog post interesting? Again, in countdown order, here are my top five:

5. Contests
4. Humor
3. Brevity
2. Hooks
1. Topic of interest

By “hooks” I mean either a great opening that catches my attention, or a nail-biting ending that has me coming back just to find out the rest.

But the number one, by far, is an interesting topic. I have subscribed to one blog (you can relax—this one is not about any who might come here and read) that I actually kind of groan at when I see there’s a post. By and large, this individual writes boring, boring posts. But once in a while, there’s a piece of information I would not have learned except for that blog. So I continue to scan it whenever a post comes up, but my scans only turn into in depth reading when I see a topic of particular interest.

Well, duh, you might be thinking. If I knew what was interesting, then I’d write interesting copy. The key is, interesting to your readers. Who comes to your site? Or who do you want to come to your site? Me, I love sports. I coached for years. I follow most major sports (and I consider soccer as a major sport) in the pros and some in the colleges. But you rarely read anything about sports here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. I figure the people who come to a site with Christian and Fiction in the title probably are here because that’s what they’re interested in. Consequently, I limit my content to those subjects, with the rare exception.

My guess is, the people who visit here regularly do so because they want to read content about one subject or the other or even better the intersection of the two.

Does that guarantee I’m writing something interesting? I wish! But at least I have a fighting chance because the visitors stopping by aren’t expecting my views on the political race or what I think about a 41-year-old mother swimming in her fifth Olympics or … you name it.

Now, if I could just master that brevity thing.

What about you? Did I list the thing you think makes a blog post interesting?


  1. You done good, girl.

    One thing I don’t much want to read either are the canned posts or the whining posts. I don’t mind occasional rants–I do them myself–but consistent whining and complaining: no thanks.

    And while I think everyone should talk up their favorite people in the biz (authors, editors, agents, etc.), when it slips into idol worship: gag me with a spoon. 😉

    I’m with you on topics of interest. Brevity doesn’t factor in to my preferences if the writing is good and I care about the topic. Another thing I especially appreciate is the way you respond to those who comment. I try to do that, too, unless no comment is warranted. That’s why I spend time on blogs is to interact.

    Finally, Becky, I just started Andy’s book. I appreciate that it’s easy reading, casual, and encouraging. However, I cannot figure out how to promote my novel or create “buzz” without cringing and feeling just as you described as one of your turn-offs: “Posts that are self-serving”.


  2. So on this post, of all posts, I almst forgot to come in and answer the comments. 😮

    The comments make a difference for me, too, Nicole. I cut my internet teeth on the FIF discussion board. It was all about interacting, not pontificating and never knowing what others thought about what you said. That’s why I appreciate it so much when you and others take the time to give feedback.

    Not to mention that I get ideas about what to write based on what people say in the comments.

    For me, win-win, when it comes to comments. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your reaction to the other points. I don’t know why the brevity thing is true for me. I know I get put off by long posts. Some I won’t even start, some I skim. Some I’ll read part way, realize I’m only half way and stop. It’s odd. I just don’t have much patience reading on the computer.

    As to the self-serving issue, I haven’t read enough to know if he’ll address this, but the other stuff is really all about serving others. I think about this with blogging. If I had a book to promote, I’d be asking, what can I give away that won’t break me but that my blog visitors would like and would be apt to mention to someone else? The idea is to give, not as a way to get your name out there, but as a thank you.

    You know who does this well is Sharon Hinck. She’s give me a bunch of stuff, canvas bags, a mug, free books, a note pad, book marks. Of course they all have some book tie in, but I don’t feel like she’s doing those things so that I’ll be a walking billboard for her. Rather they seem like genuine acts of appreciation. Oh, and by the way, I do take them all kinds of places and am happy to talk about the books if anyone asks.

    That’s one part of this idea. I’m sure there’s a lot, lot more.



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