Slow Blogging, emotions, and marketing

Best-selling writing elicits emotions strong enough to move a reader to action. Could this apply to blogs?

Best-selling writing elicits emotions strong enough to move a reader to action. Could this apply to blogs?

About four months ago, I came across an idea called slow blogging. I’ve seen it several times since then, and wondered about whether or not it’s a good idea–specifically when health, hearth and other obligations recently kept me away from my blog for more than two weeks.

As I understand it, slow blogging refers to blogging less frequently, but putting more time and thought into posts–kind of allowing them to age.

I admit, my first reaction was one of skepticism. How, exactly, are writers supposed to develop a decent platform for selling their work without gaining followers on their blogs? And how, exactly, are bloggers supposed to build their followings without writing three or four posts a day, at least?

Then I came across this guest post at ProBlogger, written by Brooke McAlary (SlowYourHome.com). This is what she had to say about it:

I’ve been writing about simple living for over two years, but it wasn’t until I started applying the elements of slow blogging that I saw vast improvement in my work, my community and my readership.

Slowing down, posting less frequently, spending more time thinking, studying and writing my posts, has ultimately led me to attract a much bigger audience. My readers now are engaged, inspired and my greatest champions, and I put much of that down to my decision to go Slow.

I’ll say that part again, because it bears repeating.

My readership has grown as I’ve posted less.

I’m giving the idea of slow blogging some serious thought now, partly because, although my readership dropped when I wasn’t posting, I kept gaining followers.

Mind you, I like getting followers, but that’s not why I blog. I blog because I’m a talk-a-holic, and I sometimes just have to get things out of my system.

I blog because I like the online community of writers, photographers and other artists–everyone has something wonderful to share. I like to be there to enjoy it all.

Also, I blog because I have a nagging need to learn, and it seems like the best way to really internalize what I’m learning is to share it with someone else. Blogging is the perfect medium for this.

I can’t say I don’t enjoy the feeling of attracting readers who think about and dream about the same things I think and dream about. I appreciate the fact that these people form part of my platform, but I really value them as a network of real-life friends that I just haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet. The really important thing about blogging, for me, is not so much the possibility of using my contacts to promote my work as the fact that my blogging friends add joy to my life.

Who doesn’t like joy?

And that brings me to my next point: my recent marketing studies have convinced me that if I really want to get the hang of writing books that sell, I need to get the hang of writing books that evoke emotions strong enough to move a reader to action.

From Dave Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines:

Do you see the relationship between reading and other forms of recreation? Here it is: when we read, we buy into a shared dream, a fiction, and by dong so we put ourselves in emotional jeopardy.

Later he wrote:

At the very heart of it, reading stories or viewing them allows us to perform an emotional exercise. And the better you as a writer are at creating fiction that meets your audience’s deepest needs, the better your work will sell.

(Read more about what I think about this book here.)

From Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On:

When we care, we share.

This includes sharing things on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.

Berger also wrote:

When trying to use emotions to drive sharing, remember to pick ones that kindle the fire: select high-arousal emotions that drive people to action.

I’m convinced that emotion-provoking writing is a must for fiction. It’s likely a must for nonfiction, as well–and maybe it’s even more important in that arena.

But how does it relate to blogging, and slow blogging in particular?

My initial thoughts are these:

  • If I’m blogging fast because I’m feeling emotional about something, that’s probably going to be apparent to my readers, and it might be okay to share that. If, however, I’m blogging fast just to blog something–anything–then I may just be blowing smoke and wasting the time of readers I respect and care about.
  • If I’m blogging slow, I have time to savor my own thoughts before I share them with others. Since I tend to be impetuous, this might save me from the embarrassment of sharing things that are too personal. It also gives me time to think about what I have to offer my online friends, hopefully protecting them from seeing careless posts they feel uninterested in but obligated to respond to.
  • The more I control my blogging, the more real writing work I do–and that’s emotionally rewarding on an entirely different level. Conversely, if I’m discouraged about something, I tend to avoid my works-in-progress (and any other uncomfortable challenge) and focus solely on my blog. I have to wonder what kinds of emotions my readers pick up from me then.

At this point, I’m not sure how seriously I take slow blogging. It may happen on my blog by default as the demands of life create new priorities. A quick note here: I refuse to get frustrated by this. 

If slow blogging becomes a bigger part of my life, it won’t be because I don’t enjoy blogging. Rather, it will mean that I’m enjoying the balance of ALL of my life–blogging included.

 

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13 Comments to “Slow Blogging, emotions, and marketing”

  1. Gwen, I really appreciated the gist of this post. I’ve been conflicted of late about the balance of blogging, working on my book, balancing social media and email — well, you get the idea. This idea of slow blogging makes sense to me. In fact, I dashed home tonight from a benefit concert worried because I don’t have a post for tomorrow — yikes! — and I was going to sit down and write something, anything. Until I read this post. I knew immediately that whatever I wrote would be clearly obvious to the reader that it was done in haste and thereby negating any worth it might have. Thank you for saving me from embarrassment. I’m going to let this idea of slow blogging marinate for a few days, and if something needs to be written, I’ll write it. If not, I’ll let it stand aside until I feel it’s been spit-shined to perfection. 🙂

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  2. The slow blogging definitely has an interesting take on it. I post 3-4 times a day, which is starting to feel excessive. I keep thinking I have to continue dancing around out there for attention. I do a lot of poetry too, so that never feels like a solid post. I’m curious to hear how your slow blogging experiment goes.

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    • Thanks. I’ll try to say something about it now and then. Right now, it just seems like the best option for me. I still intend to write at least two posts a week, hopefully more–but I probably won’t do any really heavy blogging for a while.

      I was actually thinking about your writing when I wrote this blog post…and about how the imagery you use and the fight scenes really do elicit emotional reactions. I think whether you blog a lot or not, when people read your work it will speak for itself.

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  3. Very interesting take on things. Sometimes it is good to pull back and slow down and give some extra thought into what we are blogging about.

    I try to blog everyday, but sometimes I just don’t have anything to share worth writing. On day’s like that I simply take a break or post a song or graphic that I enjoy to give people something to think about. I have also made it so that I do not blog on the weekends, those are my days with my family and not days I wish to be finding something to write about.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this it was a great read 🙂

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    • Great thoughts. I really love the idea of saving the weekends for family. I used to try to update the pages on my blog on weekends and write blog posts ahead of time…that hasn’t happened in a while! 🙂

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      • Yeah I was stressing about it and wanting to do it everyday, but we go to the Lake House on the weekends to be with my husbands parents and to me I was missing out on things trying to find time to blog in between family time, fishing and four-wheeling. So it’s been much better that I only blog on the weekdays. Gives me a break 🙂

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  4. It’s so interesting you posting this at a time when I’m trying to find a balance in my life. between my two blogs, keeping up with the comments and then the blogs I follow, and time to actually write/do the things I blog about, trying to fit everything is crazy. I’m not sure if I could make more than one post a week, but even if I don’t, I still get traffic. Letting posts sit and stew isn’t a bad idea, I’ve found. I’ll go back and edit things, making them more concise or simply worded differently. And I know even if I don’t post all the time, nobody’s going to abandon me. Great post!

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    • Thanks! Slow blogging has been a life-changing idea, for me. I love blogging, and I’d like to blog more than I do just because I enjoy it so much, but now I don’t feel pressured to write more than once or twice a week.

      I think finding balance in life is one of the trickiest things we humans could ever do, and one of the most rewarding. 🙂

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      • Hear, hear! I completely agree! I think I actually wrote an article to my college newspaper about finding balance among all the things you’re “supposed” to do at college.

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