Tag Archives: Copyblogger

To Enumerate, Or Not To Enumerate

Another post from the Hamlet series

Okay, so I am still trying to learn the tricks of this trade, and I am always happy to listen to more experienced bloggers with lots of followers.  But there is one piece of blogging canon that is beginning to get on my nerves:

Thou shalt sprinkle thy posts with numbers.

“5 Things Readers Don’t Want to See.” – “ 7 Common Mistakes in Script Submissions.” – “The 8 Rules of Success.” And, apologies to Copyblogger who post fabulous advice but this is just too much: “37 Tips For Writing Emails That Get Opened, Read and Clicked.”

37… Dog help me, that is one post I am not going to open, read and click.

I get it. Numbers, bullet points do help drive home the message, and they also help me retain the message – provided there aren’t too many. Once they threaten me with more than 10 points, I switch off. And that has nothing to do with the shortness of my digital-age attention span. In fact, my attention span is pretty good (especially when I find something to procrastinate over). But serve me a post with 37 bullet points, and I will not retain even the first five.

That’s one thing that bugs me about the enumeration craze. The other is that these days everybody and their uncle are doing it. Sometimes I have the impression that a blogger sat down and thought, I have to do numbers, so what can I possibly write around eleven numbers? Or  perhaps they have a good idea for content but feel obliged to squeeze it into the enumeration corset, and so lose the freedom to argue and engage.

I guess that’s it for me. Numbers don’t invite me to engage. They lecture. Often it is good advice that is offered this way. But IMHO there is too much of it out there.

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Marketing Strategy

#wpad blog challenge, day 28.

Who, me?

Seriously, I wish I had one. So just a few thoughts based on what I’ve gathered from others much more versed in this:

Online Presence

Seems that this is something no writer can afford not to have. Well, perhaps someone like J.K. Rowling could. But all the established ones do, anyway.

So you have to blog, tweet (but please make it interesting and instructive – if you can’t, retweet somebody else’s instructive tweets but spare us details about the consistency of your breakfast egg). Maintain a facebook author page (note to self: make facebook author page and maintain.) Secure a domain with your name. Be recognizable – don’t hide behind an alias or fancy pen name (there are, of course, successful exceptions to this).

Be out there. And be generous – if you consistently promote others in a useful and appropriate way, good things will come back to you.

When you have a specific piece of work to market – a novel, a script, a collection of poems:

Polish Your Story and Know Your Pitch

First, whatever you’ve written must be the best it can possibly be before you offer it to the world (i.e. an agent, publisher or producer). That means have it read by a professional and incorporate their feedback.

Then, you must know who best to pitch it to, i.e. you must know the market for this kind of story and/or format. It should be obvious that you don’t offer a spy story to a publisher specializing in chick lit. And once you have identified who to pitch to, know your USP, come up with a pithy summary (loglines are excellent practise) and rehearse pitching that until you can recite it backwards in your sleep.

For further information, check out the professionals. Seth Godin and Copyblogger are very good places to start, not to forget Bang2Write.

PS I am on holiday and have pre-scheduled this so I won’t respond to any comments until late August.

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