I wish I could say that the result has been an unequivocal success with hundreds of site visits, subscribers, friends, connections and followers.
Mostly, I feel as if I’m crawling up the steep and jagged learning curve on bloody hands and scraped knees. I keep looking ahead, at how much higher I have to go to reach – what? What, exactly, am I aiming for?
I had several clear goals in mind at the outset: update my website, start a blog, clarify my branding, build audience and increase my use of social media.
I’m doing all these. But I want more.
I’m like a glutton at a banquet, scanning the buffet for what to eat next while wolfing down what’s already heaped on my plate. Instead of counting my new followers, I’m looking to see how many more I need to reach 500. Instead of remembering that a month ago I didn’t have any subscribers to my blog – I didn’t even have a blog! – I’m disappointed to see how few people have signed up. I look at my numbers and want more subscribers, more followers, more, more, more!
I’ve caught a bad case of Marketing Disease, an ailment whose main symptoms are insatiability and discontent. And I’m working on a self-cure.
The first line of treatment is to look at the hard data of before and after.
- Before, I had a website that was five years old, outdated with an average of 57 visitors a day;
- now, I have a website that is current and attracting an average of 157 visitors a day, which is about 125 more people than I actually know.
- Before I did not have a blog of my own;
- now I’m posting weekly, on Wednesdays.
- Before, I had no subscribers;
- now, I have twenty-one, eleven of whom I don’t know. Of the other ten, only three are blood relatives and one’s my husband. (Full disclosure: I signed him up.)
- Before, I had a Facebook Page for Into the Wilderness with 335 likes;
- now I have a page for Deborah Lee Luskin, Author, with 410.
- Before I wasn’t on Twitter;
- now I am both a follower and followed.
There are other benefits, too.
- While I blundering my way around Twitter, I’m stumbling across a lot of good articles, blogs and news items I probably wouldn’t have otherwise seen. I’m learning a lot.
- I’ve had three queries for paid work through my website, which means my marketing is working and my website’s effective. I’ve also had a modest bump in book sales.
- Best of all, I’m writing more. In addition to this blog, my blog, and my Vermont Public Radio commentaries, I have a new, monthly column coming out in the Rutland Herald this week, about middle age.
Speaking my mind and reaching an audience sustains me as I embark on the arduous task of starting a new novel, tentatively titled Seasons of Grace.
When I measure how far I’ve come in a month, I can see my progress and feel good. When I only look ahead at how many followers other people have, I feel hopeless, like a failure.
I much prefer to feel good, so I’m tracking the hard data – and keeping my pen to the page.
Deborah Lee Luskin is a writer, educator, and public speaker. She lives in southern Vermont.