“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
I’ve been writing here for almost two years now, with a significant break after eight months, and I know I still have a lot to learn.
One thing I believe I have to share, that I bring to the table from years of working with the public in myriad positions, are ways to engage with people.
I’ll admit, I am much better with words on paper than the ones that come out of my mouth. Mostly, because I can take time to craft my responses when I am composing an email/article/text, etc. In person, the filter I am supposed to have between my brain and my mouth doesn’t work. I believe I uninstalled it years ago in a software update.
Oops, did I say that?
I have tact, I just choose not to use it as often as I did when I was younger. In person, anyway.
When writing here, I have articles where I have received many comments and some, where crickets have taken up residence. No complaints.
For whatever reason, when I am on the mobile application, I don’t seem to get all of my notifications. I have missed some comments and I feel awful about that. Unless I am specifically tagged in the comment, it doesn’t come through.
One thing I pride myself on is engaging with my readers.
As a writer, engaging with your audience is key.
I write here to share my stories, my advice, and my life experiences. The hope is that what I’ve gone through, and often am still going through, will help someone else. If someone takes the time to read what I have written, then goes a step further to comment on my article, I want to respond.
To me, this is one of the most important ways to engage with people. It really isn’t rocket science. Someone says something to you, you respond. But I’ve noticed this isn’t always the case. Having had it happen to me, where I genuinely did not get a notification, I can understand that it is possible the author did not see my comment. However, when it happens literally every single time I comment on the same person’s articles, then I think, well, that person is just churning out articles and not taking the time to respond to their viewers.
I understand it is time consuming to respond to comments. I also understand not all comments a writer receives are positive. Some writers just can’t respond to their readers and others chose not to.
I’m just not one of those people.
Watch your stories/articles.
We’ve talked about comments, but now I mean your stats. If you notice that certain types of articles are performing well (and I am not talking about financially even), then you’ve found your audience. The stories and articles that have the highest views, the most engagement, these are the stories that most likely you’ve written very well, been the most open-hearted about, and put yourself into.
People can tell when you’re being authentic, when you’re writing from the heart, when you’re writing about something you’re passionate about. These are the types of stories people want to read. Even if you’re writing about weight loss, which granted, no one really wants to do because it is hard, if you’re truly passionate about it, it shows.
It’s not so much that you’re teaching, even if you are. You’re showing your audience your underbelly to an extent. You don’t have to tell your entire life story by any means. What you have to do is to be truthful and show them that you’ve been there, how you’ve been there, and why you know what you’re talking about.
Speaking of authentic and vulnerable
Next to engaging by conversation/commenting, I think this one of the best ways to engage with your intended audience. If you are writing as authentically as possible, showing vulnerability, then you will garner a true following.
People are tired of reading the same things over and over again by different talking heads. It’s a different person, but as soon as their mouths open, or their post begins, it’s the same drivel, just a different byline. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve clicked on, thinking it was one guru or another, just to find out it was a different one. They all sound the same.
I think they have a secret club with a template they all write from. And they are making money hand over fist.
Sure, I’d love a piece of the pie. I’ll take chocolate, please.
But not the kind from The Help.