Purpose. We all have one. Most likely, we have several. We try to make our choices with a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose is believed to be a top contributor to a person’s happiness.
I always assumed I had purpose – to be a good sister and daughter, and friend, to be a hard worker, a romance author, and to be and to have fun. It never dawned on me that I was wandering without purpose when I wrote. After all, writing is what I do most often and by choice. I would certainly do it with purpose. Right?
This week I had the pleasure – and I mean pleasure – of attending a webinar hosted by the bright, energizing and informative Sarah of www.xosarah.com, a site dedicated to helping bloggers. The webinar was on ‘list building’, which is blogger-speak for capturing email addresses so that you can directly contact people interested in your work, in my case that is my readers. You.
Sarah relayed a scenario that rang so true for me. She asked what our purpose was in emailing (I extend the question to my blogging) sharing the notion that many people start a blog, or build a list, because someone told them to. Yep, you guessed it. That is exactly what I did.
What to write?
Bloggers – and habitual emailers – struggle with creating content. Oh no, not Thursday again! What the hell will I write this time? Yep, that’s me too. Sarah had me pegged. But, God love her, she knew why I had this constant struggle with interesting content.
If you don’t know your purpose in writing, and your audience’s purpose in reading, how can you determine what to write? And since my purpose was to satisfy some “expert” who advised “You have to have a mailing list” or “You absolutely must have a blog”, I had a real problem.
Sarah explained that there are four reasons readers tune in to a blog or read a newsletter. Just four. Wow, I thought. this is easy. Just figure out what they want and give it to them. I have a 25% chance of being right.
Don’t like those Odds
I really appreciate your taking the time to read my writing. There is a ton of material to read on line everyday. I know I delete more than I read and I imagine you do too.
So what might make you read my post? Here is what Sarah suggested:
- you want advice or motivation,
- you want updates on events,
- you want information about new products or discounts,
- you want to learn more about me and what I do.
I stopped to think about it. I am a gambler, so I understand odds. I did not want to lose 75% of my audience for failure to provide what they want.
I am no exercise guru, as we know, and my failure at diets is legendary. I am a novice as a writer and even newer at blogging. Therefore, I am thinking that my ability to provide advice and motivation is not your primary reason for tuning in each week.
I do on occasion share information about events like book signings and conferences but so infrequently that I cannot imagine that was your purpose.
My products and discounts –Sure, you learn about my novels here, but more of you seem to find out about my book launches from my Facebook page. Surprisingly, most of you
bought “Bedeviled” even at full price (thanks for that, by the way) and “Beholden”, which I have never discounted, is currently my top seller, eliminating the idea that you are here for the discounts. If I rule out deals and discounts, I am left with only one option.
You read each week to learn about me, my process and my progress as a writer. You ask me questions about my characters and my plot, my inspiration for a story and my habits as a writer.
Throwing the Dice
So, if that is your purpose – to learn more about Madison Michael, the author – share your curiosities and questions with me. I promise to respond. I am putting myself out there and taking a risk. There is no house advantage unless you share your comments and ideas. Then, my odds of delivering content that you want to read improve.
Do you want to read excerpts from upcoming books? Deleted scenes? Do you want me to tell you about my writer’s block and how I finally overcame it? About how I try and fail, how I try and succeed? Do you want to hear about promotions and sales results? Let me know what will make you ante up.
On the flip side
Sarah asked what my purpose was in writing. Again, I had to do a serious gut-check to find mine. Want to know more about that? Read today’s newsletter by joining my VIP group. Place your bet here.
You might also be interested in
- “10 Reasons you Need an Email List whether you Sell Something or Not” on xosarah.com
- “What’s New in Blogging Lately” from problogger.com
- “A Formula for Happiness” from the New York Times, December, 2013