Friday, February 24, 2012

P90X for The Vortex: Principle One

First, our starting point because all experiments must have measurable outcomes. At this time, The Vortex has 55 feed followers and averages 28 page loads, 21 unique visits and 20 first-time visits per day.

Principle #1 To Increase Blog Traffic: Target Content to Audience Likely to Share

This is tricky for me. I've built my "author brand" on all things time and time travel. The target audience for my books is predominantly Doctor-Who-loving women who prefer mainstream over romance, but still welcome that part of a story. C.J. Lyons calls them "thrillers with heart." My primary demographic is young to middle-aged women (My mom's earwig quote: "Why do your books have to be so complicated?") who appreciate complex, multi-layer stories. Men are a welcome audience, too. The men in my hero-centric novels piss in public, curse like merchant marines and can be jerks sometimes.

I adopted a pen name using initials to increase mainstream sales. Yes, I was thinking WAY ahead. But in this forum, I can't hide that I'm female. Early on, for a year, maybe more, I didn't put up a photo and tried desperately to keep my posts gender-neutral and use words like "one" and "we" to disguise it. All that resulted was a less-than-personal author-to-blog visitor relationship. Eventually, I realized I wanted to create a community. Without putting all of me into the posts, it never would have happened.

Some of my most faithful Vortex followers are men. I love you men. You keep it real and gritty and balanced. I tend to think women, however, are more likely to be my "content distributors." Genetically programmed to be more social and take advantage of social media and share links. Does that mean more beefcake references? Nah. I think we have just the right amount of that protein here.

So if I follow Principle #1, my content should be centered on:

Book/Movie recommendations that target my primary audience.
Writing/Book Industry news related to Thriller Island
A gateway of all things time travel
with the occasional Fabio and Dean Butler reference tossed in for fun

Somewhere, I read the most successful writers blogs were 10% author, 10% writing life and 80% content area. Keeping all this in mind, I grade The Vortex at a B. Points off for too many "just for fun" labels, not enough content area.

Next Friday: Principle #2 - Communities Where Your Target Audience Gathers

If you have a blog, what is your primary audience? How do you grade your blog's content in relation to that audience?

Remember, anyone who wants to take their blog to the next level with me is invited to share here. I'll be sure to include links and we'll follow your blog's progress as well. All non-writing oriented blogs welcome, too. Have a super weekend!


the walking man said...

According to the criteria set I would rate my blog a C. Very little about me personally is in there, I very rarely write about writing and 99.9% of it is just poetry.

My primary audience is just folks who want to read a piece of poetry or see if I kept it under 500 words on any given day. I would say that like you. Laura them that consistently comment relate to the work on it.

One other thing though I have another primary audience and it is the live one, where I get to go up and do anywhere from 8 to 30 minutes of poetry. To me i fail if a piece doesn't work in the ear as well as the eye.

Charles Gramlich said...

the 10, 10, 80 thing. I hadn't heard that before but it makes good sense.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@WM...I disagree about the C. AND you're not giving yourself enough credit. You ARE a poet and the fact that you post 99.9% poetry that you've written sounds like a clear A to me. I can speak to your audience because I am one. Each day your writing hits my feed-box and it's like a fresh note of gritty realism that inspires me to write every single day, too. Thanks for that ;)

@Charles...It made sense to me, too. No blog reader wants more than 10% of what any one person had for breakfast or how slow the words came that day, right?