|Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard - 1772|
I know, ironic right? A few months ago I wrote a Sunday Sermon about turning 'readers' into 'followers'. That article was mainly about getting people to participate in my Blog in some way or other, either via commenting, following or emailing me. My ultimate end goal was to get people involved and engaged, so that I had more information from people who read my Blog, and so that I could then write more pertinent articles for you all and build a better Frontline Gamer. My motives were information gathering, understanding what these unseen lurkers wanted from me and the articles I wrote for this Blog. I still think the things I wrote back then are relative, and indeed still pertinent today. I'm still pretty certain that I'd be happy to see active followers join this site and contribute their thoughts to the swirling mass of geekdom that already exists here. I still want to know what you all think, what you are all up to, it's one of the main reasons I started all this.
|The Reader by Frank Weston Benson - 1910|
Last time around I found out that giving away free stuff was a great way to entice lurkers of this Blog into becoming followers, and get them started on the path to becoming fully fledged and engaged members of the community I've built here. The various prize draws I've had have enticed some names of lurkers who contacted me via email to join, and I'd like to say thanks and welcome aboard to them here... so thanks and welcome aboard! So I've continued to pursue this method of positive reinforcement through 'free stuff'. Now though I think I'm starting to exhaust the pool of lurkers I can realistically hope to convert into followers with my prize draws. Those lurkers who want to follow and engage pretty much have done I think, and those that don't want to won't. No matter what I do they're happy reading my Blog anonymously... and I'm happy to let them get on with it, and for them to use my Blog however the hell they see fit!
|The Reader by Edouard Manet - 1861|
So what the hell is this Sunday Sermon about then? Well my recent spate of prize draws has brought a veritable influx of new 'followers' to my site. That of course was the aim and indeed the intention of all this, to try and generate more followers, hits and comments. No doubt they've been spurned on by our insatiable human appetite for free stuff, and I'm genuinely over the moon that they've decided to pop along and take a look at my Blog. Even if it is only to read the competitions and then enter them. Because some of them have then gone on to read other articles I've written in the long distant past, enjoyed what they've seen and commented. That's really gratifying for me, that somebody would take the time to go back through my back catalogue and spend some of their time reading my stuff, and then actually engage in the debate... that's why I do this! For those of you who have gone and read some of my articles and commented I thank you, it's always good to see people reading my articles and taking the time to give me their thoughts, no matter how old the post. There's no such thing as threadomancy here, all topic are considered live if you want them to be.
|The Reader by Pierre-Auguste Renoir - 1877|
However, this sudden influx of followers does leave me with another slightly different conundrum to the one I had a few months back, a completely different puzzle to ponder. How the hell do I ensure that I can capitalise on this influx of new visitors to my Blog? How do I convert some of these 'followers' into 'readers'... and then get them engaging with me and the community that seems to be steadily building here? I mean if all they're after is the 'free stuff' it is unlikely they'll stick around for long enough to read any of my other articles. That means I have a very small window of opportunity to convert them into active readers and members of the community. It is a conundrum that's for sure! Just to be clear though I'm not complaining, as it's a conundrum I want. I know given the level of hits, comments and followers that I get here, that I've actually been very fortunate with this Blog. I'm also really glad my birthday prize draws have proven so popular. I'll let you all into a secret though, I thought I'd be giving this stuff away until early next year... and I guess I might still be in that situation if things calm down, but I somehow doubt it.
|The Reader in White by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier - 1857|
So to have this many new people flocking to my Blog is a splendid opportunity that I feel I simply must capitalise on. I'm just not too sure how I bloody well do that. When somebody comes to your Blog because they've heard there's a good article to read, or some such reason for visiting the Blog in the first place, there's an implied intent on that visitor to actually engage and read the stuff that I've produced. When people hear there's a lot of really cool loot on offer I guess the reason for visiting my humble corner of the Internet is very different. There are a few tricks I've tried to employ though:
- I've tried making the prize draw articles a little bit 'more' than just win free stuff. I've tried making them 'proper' articles, nothing too over the top, but enough to let people know I'm not a bad author and they might enjoy reading some of my other articles.
- I've linked to other articles on my Blog in the competition articles I've done, you know reviews, opinion pieces and even the odd interview, that sort of thing. Again this is primarily to convince people that my articles aren't too bad and that it's possibly worth sticking around to read them.
- The final trick is that the 'free stuff' that I'm giving away on my Blog just so happens to be the sorts of things I write about and like, there's a synergy there. So in theory these prizes are only going to attract those people who would be interested in the sorts of articles I write any way... in theory! This means I'm hopefully attracting the 'right sort of hobbyist' with these prizes.
So as you can see, there was some thought put into what I was doing, in an attempt to get new readers to this Blog, and hopefully get people contributing to the discussions we have here. I just feel it's not been going all that well.
|La Belle Liseuse (The Beautiful Reader) by Léon-François Comerre - Circa 1885|
Looking at my stats, something regular readers of my Blog will know I like to do every now and then, this mass influx of new 'followers' hasn't lead to any discernible difference in hits, comments or any other trend I've followed for the past year or so on this Blog. It's clear early on during my birthday prize draws I was converting people who read the Blog already. Those who already read my stuff. Now that has changed, and I appear to be attracting people who have never visited my Blog before, and the results have been... a bit disappointing to say the least. As I say I understand that if you are attracting people to your Blog with the lure of free illicit swag what do you expect? Well I guess I'd expected a few more people to stick around and see why it is all these companies have been willing to actually support my little old Blog, with such awesome prizes, to see what it is that they all see in it as well and what you all see in it too.
|La Lecture by Henri Lebasque - 1907|
Perhaps that was too much to hope for, perhaps I'm living in cloud cuckoo land, and perhaps maybe I should just be happy with what I have achieved. I more than certain a few of you will tell me to lighten up and be happy I'm doing so well, but again you know me well... and you know I'm unlikely to just let this lie. So what the hell would you lot do? What tricks would you employ, how would you try and convert the masses of new people being attracted to my Blog to actually reading some of my articles. Quite frankly I'm all ears... or eyes as I guess I'll be reading those suggestions. I know not everyone will like what I write about or even how I write, and that's fine. There is though one course of action within those prize draw articles that I have yet to try and employ. It's a tactic I'm not too proud to use, and it's one that in the past has been exceedingly successful when it has been used... and that's begging. Perhaps I should just come right out and ask people to stick around and give me a bit of their time to see if what I write is worth their time. i guess it has to be worth a shot, right? Peace out!