Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Building a brand one follower at a time

It used to be that when someone was following you, it wasn’t good. Especially in New York City. Now, I get all jumpy and gleeful when someone follows me. Yesterday I got my 21st blog follower. There are many people who read my blog regularly without being followers. I know this because Google gives me detailed stats of the viewers' originating sites and even their country of origin. I've had 126 views from Germany, 56 from Russia, 54 from South Korea and similar numbers from 9 countries.

It takes commitment for a reader to plug in his or her e-mail address in the little box and follow. You get a little kink in your frontal lobe where the critical “gatekeeper” warns: If you give out your e-mail address, someone is going to steal all of your money and maybe even blow up your house. Also you have all that other stuff you’ve signed up for and never look at, do you really need one more?

Yesterday, I took a good look at all of my followers to see what kind of people I had cajoled into my blogosphere. One lives in New Zealand and writes dark fantasy novels. Another writes gritty thrillers. Another imparts wisdom. There’s a Brit who is half of a crime-thriller writing duo that sells a ton of books. There’s a romance writer who also follows trends in tech and interiors. Bottom line: all my followers are accomplished grown-ups that have busy lives. One is a colleague from my copywriting days. Only one is related to me.

I’m doing even better on Twitter (335) although now that I’ve learned something about Twitter (from the awesome and informative Writers Guide to E-publishing).I’m attracting followers who have doped out my persona and targeted me. They want to sell me stuff or have me retweet and sell their stuff. Maybe it’s conceit to think I fit no definable profile but sadly Yahoo has me down pretty well. They tailor their homepage to tempt me with total crapola: The skinniest house in the world. (I’ve already read this but read it again.) 20 habits that are making you fat. Richards and Sheen are in a good place. Pa. woman sets fire with foreclosure docs. Spectacular Antiques Road Show find. (A middle-aged man brings in these Chinese cups that are worth 1.5 million. This show won’t air until 2012 but we see the clip. The owner says: You’re sure about that? The appraiser answers: I’m sure.

I can bet this is not the news menu they send to Rham Emanuel or Hilary Clinton.

So there you have it. I’m building a brand as the marketing gurus say I should.

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