I had lunch yesterday with the editor of a local woman's magazine. The magazine, her, (yes, it's supposed to be lower case), is relatively new and I had complimented the editor, Jane Sutter, on finally recognizing the power of the purse, locally. So, she invited me to lunch.
We had a nice time chatting about women, especially Rochester women, and then we talked about the blogs associated with the new publication. (that was my move...you know I had to put in my two cents about their blogs!)
First of all, let me say I'm thrilled that Rochester is finally recognizing its girl-power. We have some talented ladies here in the Flower City. her magazine is really good about spotlighting "women to watch" and focusing on the small business owner, the entrepreneur, and the Mom about town. I just love it!
But, I had to admit to Jane that the 'blog' section of the magazine and website is not as good as it could be. To give her credit, she's keeping up with the times by having 3 blogs on the site, and she is doing her best to create a magazine with a new millennium focus. It's just that - like many people who are not truly into blogging, Jane expected her blogs to be hip, entertaining, and popular - just because they're blogs.
Oh no, no...Virginia, there is no Santa Claus here! No chimney to slide down, no tree with presents beneath, no pine-scented wreaths. Just... misunderstanding.
Blog #1 is called The Fixie Chick blog. The premise is great! A woman who knows her power tools! The description says, "Brenna Hartmann is the owner of Brenlyn Publishing and the founder of Fixie Chix Inc., a do-it-yourself enterprise that includes Home & Yard Handbook, Fixie Chix how-to workshops and seminars and a home improvement website." So, I ask you, what's not to like about that?
Well, nothing. It's fantastically fabulous! Except - Brenna needs just a little coaching on how to blog.
Next, we have Rosa Smith-Montanaro blog. About weight loss. Rosa is actually a friend of mine and a former Smart Woman Online. She's one of the best weight loss coaches in Rochester - maybe, THE best. But...once again, when it comes to blogging - I think she could use a good coach.
Last, the Meami Craig blog is written by a talented woman who seems to be another coach. Her writing is chatty and aimed at helping us achieve more self-confidence or happiness, I guess. Still, the blog itself, like the others, is musings. Little more.
Herein lies the problem - if you have a blog with a specific intent, you need a strategy to achieve that intent. If you just want to journal, that's fine. But, if your blog exists to accomplish a goal - be that marketing a product or service (or yourself), educating folks about something, connecting like-minded people with each other, or even fund-raising, then you need to know a lot more than just how to compose a sentence in English.
Are any of you struggling with the issue of connectivity, community, reaction...to your blog? Is your blog getting the attention (traffic) it deserves? If it isn't - why isn't it?
Jane confided during our lunch that she'd just returned from a conference or training session, can't remember which, and someone stood up during a talk about blogs and said, "Blogs are just a fad."
Hmmm...that person seems pretty .... what? Clueless? Old fashioned? Stuck in a rut? Well, something to that effect. Because we all know that blogs are here to stay. We know that there are as many different kinds of blogs, and blog platforms, as there are blog topics...well, almost as many. And, we know that Web 2.0, to use a term you will all recognize, is here to stay. Social media, social networking, stands firmly on the very foundation of human communication - the need to talk to other people like yourself. Humorous cartoons like this, notwithstanding.
Jane understands. She knows they can improve their blogs, and they will. She's proud that they're blogging at all - as I think she should be. The bloggers are wonderful ladies - and they deserve to be part of a community, one that could stretch across the globe. If they would but go out and meet other bloggers. If they would but give their blogs real titles...and set them apart from the rest of the magazine. On a platform that could attract search engines and drive traffic to the homepage.
A lot of IFs there. Reminds me of the old saying, "Half of LIFE is... if."
Are you iffing your life away? I hope not. If your blog isn't giving you a Positive ROI, sit down and figure out why. It's one of two things: you're not blogging enough, or you're not being social enough. Fix those, and you're on your way.
Which is kind of what I told Jane. I know she listened because she's one smart cookie. With a great smile. I'm eager to watch her (the magazine) get better and better, and to watch the blogs as they blossom. Jane knows I'm here to help, if she needs me.