10 March 2013

{Blogger Babble} Hey, How Do You Get Followers?

By: Me My Shelf And I | 10 March 2013 at 5:27 PM |

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I’ve pondered this post for a while now. Thing of it is, I feel like to tell you about this topic makes me look like I’m some kind of know-it-all-thing-that-rhymes-with-itch. But since I not only have had some experience in this area, but am now actually getting DM’s and e-mails asking me directly, it’s time to take it to the blog.

I’ve just started a book blog, how can I get followers?

tumblr_mcveh1U5iK1qdyt3aFirst off, welcome to the wonderful world of book blogging, we really are so excited to have you in the community!!! (see dancing guys! THAT’S how happy we are!)

Now, tell me exactly why you need followers? It’s just a number. A follower is just a person that once stopped into your blog. It does not guarantee they will ever come back. It doesn’t get you page views. It’s just a number.

It’s a pretty number, I’ll give you that. One that can make you fell all warm and fuzzy inside. But putting that shoe on the other foot, if that number isn’t what you feel it should/could/would be, then you are only feeling upset and depressed and that’s not ok. Blogging should make you happy, fill you with joy, not bring you down. You are more than that number!

Thing of it is, publishers don’t even care about this number. No, I’m serious, they don’t. They used too, yes , but no longer. What a publisher is looking for, is page hits. And before you think about hitting your page and refreshing for 8 days straight, I should point out they are looking for your UNIQUE page hits.

See, ARCs are expensive to make and NO ONE makes money off them. So they want them to go where they A: have the best chance of getting reviewed and B: will actually be seen when it is reviewed.

Okay then, how do I get these Unique Page hits you speak of?

Look at you guys, always asking the good questions! *wink* The answer is simple:

Content. Content. Content.

Content every day or at minimum every other. Hey you want page hits quickly…no one’s coming back to a blog that posts once a week or less – eventually they will think you just quit blogging and not come back at all….

And if you don’t think that this is the key, do me a favor and look at the blogs with high page counts, the ones with the publisher contacts, the ones that seem to always get ARC’s and have author contacts…what do they all have in common? Yes. They all post no less than 6 days a week and in most cases, several times a day.

Well I’m SUUUUUUPER busy and don’t have time for that, what else can I do?

tumblr_me9n0q4ZrU1r2q05mThis has to be the one thing I hate hearing the most. I don’t have any more time in my day than you do. We are all super busy.

For instance my blog takes roughly 30+ hours a week of my unpaid time. I also have a family with active kids, a house to clean, I’m writing my book and let’s not forget the reading I have to do for the blog – that’s not included in the 30+ hours.

There are tricks and tips to making this work for you. Just because you should have content every day, doesn’t mean you HAVE to ACTUALLY blog every day. Heck no. Do you think ANY of us bloggers would have our heads above water if that were the case! No sir!

So Tip #1: SCHEDULE AHEAD

Pick a day of the week you’re not really busy and have a few hours to spend on your blog. Write out some posts for the week or weeks ahead and schedule them. Both WordPress and Blogger offer this option. It’s right there in the POST section. Use it. You pick a date and time you want that post live.

There are memes (Waiting on Wednesday, Teaser Tuesday….) that exist for the simple reasons of fun and filling space on blogs. People love to read them, and they are fairly fast to set up. Under the FEATURES tab on my blog are the ones we participate in, check some out. You can do these MONTHS out if you so felt the need. I know of memes that exist for nearly every day of the week – that’s content right there for nearly every day of the week. Not every day has to be a review, so cut yourself some slack.

Tip #2: Join Book Blasts, Tours…and so forth

They send you the content, and a date to post it on. It couldn't get any easier. People who want to learn about that author or book come in. You’re immediately linked up because the tour host always has a list of participants on their blog. AND nearly all of these come with giveaways that are funded by the author in question, and giveaways are never a bad thing.

Tip #3: Grab a Friendtumblr_m4t5abRLe41rp5wts

Seriously. Do you have friends that read? Ask them to blog with you.Nearly ALL the largest blogs have some kind of group effort behind it. Don’t be a hero, don’t do it all yourself – plus everything is more fun with friends.

Woah, time out…you JUST said that you blog 30+ hour’s a week and you have a group of 7 working for MMSAI. So which is it?

Nice catch! I am very lucky to have my team! What works best for us here, is one of us (me) handles all the posting. They e-mail me their content and I make sure it’s scheduled and up. This is not how you have to do it, this just works best for us right now. Aside from the posts there are tons of other things included in this time spent: updating the review lists and author lists, answering 20-30 e-mails a day, sifting through the review requests and getting them to my team, addressing and shipping books to my team and winners, coming up with ideas for new content, reaching out to authors for interviews and memes, and so on and so on.

I read somewhere that I should just tweet to people to tell them I followed them and ask for a follow back. Seems Legit? Does it work?

A lot less frequently than you might think it does.

Here, let’s break it down. So you’re spending what? An hour maybe more DAILY on this? I promise you that less than 50% of these people actually follow you back and if they do we circle right back to my first point, a follower is just someone that stops in to your blog ONCE. Your goal, the bottom line for you should be to get people to come back repeatedly! The way you do this….say it with me now…is with your CONTENT!

Not only that, but when I was inundated with tweets of this type this week, I set out to find out how others felt. I’m not alone. Many more people that you know HATE this. Aside from the simpletumblr_inline_mirwt2Eud41r9eu9m annoying factor they hold, it’s a red flag that you are not really in this blogging thing for blogging. It shows the publishers (oh yes, they are on Twitter they know and see more than you think…) and other bloggers that you just want the end game, that you are only in this for free books. Weather this is the reason you ARE doing this…this is what it looks like. Sorry.

Look at it this way: you can’t do a work out video once and expect to be in shape. You can’t go to law school for one day and expect to be a lawyer. You can’t buy a race car and expect to be considered a race car driver. And you can’t start a blog and expect to be handed the books.

In the end…..

The blogging community is one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been apart of. We never leave any one behind. Every blogger I know offers help when asked for it, many post their tricks to their blog for you to read. We are not hiding some Blogger Bible somewhere with the REAL way to do things in it, laughing at you as you fail. We tell you flat out how it worked for us, and all of us all have the same story to tell.

Yet day after day we are met with resistance from those same people who want help. They hear it takes hard work, commitment, often times money (for custom blog layouts, graphics, shipping, prizes….) and a lot of time, and they scoff at us like we are trying to hold them back. NOTHING in life is free and ANYTHING worth having is worth working for. You can not expect to be taken seriously, if you don’t act serious and the things I see a lot is just people trying to get something for free.

Why do we bother helping those who don’t want it?

Well, in the end I suppose bloggers are viewed as a whole group. If some come in and act like greedy fools (and some do) then publisher stop offering books to us as often. Fewer copies are made available. At Book Expo America a couple years back a few greedy bloggers made it almost impossible for bloggers to qualify for media passes to the event because of they they acted while there…

ARC’s are not made for bloggers. They are made for libraries, review boards, books stores, and other professionals. We are lucky to be able to get them at all. And I don’t want to lose that ability. So we help.

If you have any blogging questions, fee free to leave them in the comments! I, or another blogger will respond. Like I said – we are here to help.

amber1

45 comments:

  1. Love this post so much. A fantastic way to look at things!!
    <3

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    1. I found this post very helpful! Thank you.

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    2. I found this post very helpful! Thank you.

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  2. This post is full of a lot of great advice! My blog is primarily a way for me to keep a record of what I'm reading for myself, so I don't care much about numbers. Friendships with other readers is much more important.

    I will always check out someone's blog if they leave a meaningful comment on one of my posts (not something like "Nice review! Visit my blog?"). I think spending time leaving thoughtful comments on others' blogs is the best way for a blogger to catch my interest. I actually don't care about how often a blogger posts because I follow a lot of blogs and my reader is always full of posts from various blogs. I will read reviews and discussion posts and generally skip over filler material like cover reveals or memes.

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    1. That is a great point I failed to make, thank you for bringing it up! Getting around to other blogs, comments and making friends is also a great way to grow your readership.

      I have to admit I don't get to as many blogs as I wish I did. If I see something on Twitter about a post that interests me, I always favorite it and go as soon as I have a few minutes!

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    2. But you always respond to comments on your blog, which is just as important! I always return to blogs where the bloggers take the time to let their readers know that they've read their comments because it's nice to know that my comment is not just going into some black hole. :-)

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    3. Well that's not totally true. I try, really hard. It was something I was never very good at in the past but am making a big effort to fix now...because you are right - it's important. people stop in to tell me what they thought of something we posted, the least we can do is make sure they know we got it.

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  3. This is a great post. :) Thanks for tackling it!

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  4. Awesome post. I just started my blog and it's fun to see I have a few followers, but I don't really need that. I'm blogging for me. I started it because I was getting confused as to which story belonged to which book and then realized you can get ARCs from netgalley and had a dancing moment of WHEEEEEEEE! :) Now I'm having fun discovering cover reveals and book blitzes and blurbs and blasts and connecting with everyone! :D

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    1. You know that's how MMSAI started? My friend bet me I couldn't read 104 books in a year, and I needed a place to keep track of what I was reading. Eventually when people started to spend time reading what I wrote, I gave it a face lift and a new name and it became this - but I still do it for me, for fun, for friends and for the love of my writer friends and the love of books in general. :)

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  5. What a great post! I will admit when I first started blogging followers was very important to me. But, now I don't even care. Sure its nice to have them but they don't make or break your blog. There are tons of things you can do to get more views. And most of the time doing those extra things make it more fun too!

    Jasmine

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    1. I was the same way! They were SO important to me. Now though, the Twitter followers I have bring me more traffic than my blog followers. No one has time to stop in at every blog they are "following" in blogger. Media outlets really help in sharing the word of what's on your blog today.

      I also have a weekly newsletter I do as a recap to the week people can sign up for :)

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  6. I like that you took that negative energy to make a positive post instead of a rant. And the gifs always help. lol I couldn't have said it any better. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! It's not my strong suit so I am really happy that things came across like that! I try to not sound snarky, but it can be my natural tone from time to time sadly. ;)

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  7. thank you so much for this post! I started my blog at least a year, maybe two ago, and have just started recieving review requests, and still don't have a lot of followers. I was feeling a little depressed about that fact, but this post really helped! thanks Amber! You bloggers are the best♥

    Also, I absolutely love your gifs! Jensen and Moss are the best!♥

    Stellar @ Books, Coffee, and a Sleepy Kitty

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    1. I just want to say that I did start blogging just because I love reading and I wanted to share that with everyone else, not just for review copies. I don't even think I knew about those when I started! It's just a nice thing to be thrown into the mix. I'm trying to care more about myself and what makes me happy rather than what makes the number on the sidebar on my blog larger. Just thought I'd clear that up!

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    2. Well I am glad I could help a little. I used to beat myself up over the number too, even after a great and powerful blogger told me the same thing I am telling you (for the most part) So I totally understand the hesitation in letting it go...

      And don't worry I knew what you meant in your post ;)

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  8. Great tips! I can't stand when people ask "follow for follow" - either you want to follow me or not, and I'll want to follow you based on your content, not just because you're following me.

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  9. Great post. I think for a lot of bloggers, especially in the beginning, number of followers seem important because, frankly, it makes you feel good. You're like 'loooook - people actually follow my blog!' But once you blog for awhile, it doesn't matter. Blogging is fun, finding new books is fantastic, getting to talk with other readers, bloggers and authors is probably the best perk of blogging. (Yes, over free books) I can't tell you how many friends (bloggers and authors) I've made since starting a review blog. It's been such a great experience that I'm so glad I started it. (This is coming from someone who used to run fansites for actors. That community was always so aggressive and mean. Blogging is more laid back, fun and everyone is nice)

    Something you didn't point out either (or if you did, I missed it) was hosting giveaways or joining giveaway hops will definitely have people stopping by your blog more. I try to join at least two hops a month and then we do our own giveaways. After awhile, you have the same people coming back to enter contests over and over again; plus the new hits of new people entering. Readers will appreciate your blog more if you give something back :)

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  10. Thank you for the great tips. I'm fairly new to the blog world and am working hard to make sure I have content each day.

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  11. Your blog is awesome. I am so impressed to read the all information. Kindly do me a favour to write the names of sites for following the blogs.
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  12. Thanks a lot for this post Amber. It was really helpful.When I started blogging, it was just for the fun of it.I love everything about being a blogger, and I can't believe that 6 months have gone away.
    And I learned that despite giving you butterflies in your stomach, followers are just a number who stopped by my blog.
    I used to worry about the fact that I don't have a lot of followers or comments, but not anymore. Well, your post has taught me something (a lot, actually), and thanks again for taking your time to do this.

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  13. Thanks for this. You're so right, all bloggers help each other out by posting advice. It's a very welcoming community.

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  14. I started my blog a few days ago after reading and following blogs for years :D This post was very insightful, thank you for that :)

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  17. I've been blogging for almost a year. I started in August of last year. I feel like I've been writing some good content, but no one comes. I know if you build it they may not come, and it's only a number, but it's a number that's bothering me.
    I have 110 followers, and I post somewhat often, I'm getting more into it now. There's another blogger who started at the same time as me ho has 12,800 followers. I don't know how she did it, but it makes me only a teeny bit jealous because she posts about 2-3 a month, sometimes less.

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    1. First, it's best not to compare yourself with others. It will never end well. But, that being said I do understand the feels you are having right now. I popped over your blog and it is very cute, organized, easy and fun to read. And you are right you do post nearly every day!

      Now, I don't know who this other blogger is who has 12K+ followers and started the same time you did - so I can't look over her blog and compare the two - but one thing that I noticed is you don't have Twitter account linked to your blog. Twitter is the devil for some, they hate it and refuse to use it. But, the bottom line is it is the greatest free marketing tool there is. Any one who chooses not to use itis essentially blocking potentially thousands of followers. FOr instance I have 3K Facebook likes on my blog page, 380 Tumblr Followers and almost 10K Twitter followers. Everyone used Twitter multiple times a day. So, get Twitter if you can. It will change your life. Talk to people, make friends, start convos...it's the best way.

      Last, is she has 12K+ followers in just over a year only posting a few times a month I assume she's using Twitter AND giving away a lot of things. Giveaways bring in followers. Especially if it is for things people want/need/lust after. Never under estimate the beauty of free stuff.

      Hang in there and don't give up. You matter and so does your blog!!

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  28. This is a great post, do you mind if I share it with a few of my blogging friends? They've just started and keep asking me how do I get followers. Thanks for your great advice!

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  29. This sounds great and I totally agree with everything you've said! Sometimes I feel puny and stupid with my meager amount of followers and sports season, but it's not about the numbers, and I'm doing the very best that I can. That's all anyone can ask, don't you think?
    -Amy

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  30. Great post! Thanks so much for the tips!

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  31. I'm a brand new (3 months and counting) book blogger and really appreciate this post! Thanks for the tips and I agree - I completely love the book blogging community!

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