This is one of those posts that I hesitate to write, simply because there is a whole lot of “You should do X & must do Y” advice that, er, Becca and I do not do. Maybe this costs us sometimes, but it’s what works for us. So, I’m going to pull the curtain back a bit and offer some food for thought.
Before we move on…
There’s no judgements here on what other people do. This is about what Becca & I do. I will try to give my reasons for the choices we’ve made. Mileage may vary.
Monetizing Our Blog
You will notice there are no ads here, no requests for donations, no “tip jar” set up. Have people expressed a desire to tip? Yes. Could we make money with ads based on traffic? You bet. Have people offered to pay us for ad space? Many times. But honestly, Becca and I feel everyone gets enough BUY, BUY, BUY elsewhere, and we don’t want Writers Helping Writers to be bulked up with Google Ads and the like.
So, we’ve chosen not to monetize our blog beyond a few affiliate links to Amazon. If, down the road, we have a sidebar link to another site or service it’s because we believe in that site’s purpose, not because we’re being paid.
Are we leaving money on the table? Probably. But to us, your shares, referrals and word of mouth about our books, the Writers Helping Writers site, and now our One Stop For Writers library too…these are all the thanks we need.
If you want to support us and what we do, just tell a writing friend about us and our work. That helps so much.
Thanking Everyone Who Tweets & Shares
Okay, here’s the thing. Would I love to do this? Yes. And do I absolutely appreciate the time that everyone takes when they tweet me or share a link? Holy heck, yes! But the reality is that I get so many re-tweets now that to respond to them all I would literally be doing nothing each day but thanking people in tweets.
I know you guys love good writing content, and I try to find it, build it, and share it. I am betting that if asked, you’d say you’d rather me be doing that (and, you know, write more books) than spend that time thanking you for each tweet.
So, I made a judgement call and stick to an occasional “thank you all for the tweets” post. I respond to all conversation though, and always will. I hope you’re all okay with this and understand where I’m at, because I love you guys!
Use Free Incentives for Newsletter Sign Ups
It’s practically the Golden Rule: give something away for free to encourage people to sign up for a newsletter. And…it’s a rule I break, with good reason.
To me a newsletter should be personal, fun, entertaining or have high value. People should want to read it. You can give the best freebie in the world away, but if you don’t follow through with a newsletter that keeps their interest, not only will they unsubscribe right away anyway, their disappointment will probably cause them to hesitate when you do have a book or product for sale.
The other reason is because I see people misuse freebies all the time. Even the big marketing gurus who offer free courses or webinars can go too far with the hard sell. I’ve attended more than a few webinars on how to market better, increase newsletter sign ups, build a sales funnel, etc. only to see the same manipulative techniques they teach being deployed in their follow up emails, all in hopes of “up-selling” a coaching service they provide.
Look, I get marketing. After all, girl gotta eat. Becca and I & our collective families? Yep, we gotta eat. So Coaching Gurus, well, they gotta eat too.
But when marketing is done poorly, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want anyone to feel that way because of something I do. I’d rather be transparent and just point you right to our Tools For Writers page, which is brimming with free, rather than make you do something to get free things.
(Really, visit and grab what you need. Becca and I like to share this stuff because we believe we should all grow and succeed together.)
When it comes to newsletters, I still have a lot to learn. I’m working hard to create ones that give my readers what the need and want. But I’d rather spend time growing my skills and focus on the content than try and entice people to sign up with the lure of “free.”
And here’s the thing…even without freebies, I average about 100 or so new sign ups between newsletters. So I really think it’s about the content, not the sign up bonus. So if you want to offer the free item on sign up, go for it. But make sure your focus is KEEPING subscribers, not just getting them to add their email.
(By the way, I love every one of our subscribers and their willingness to follow my
lunatic ravings er, rambles!)
That’s my three. What rules do you break and why? Let me know in the comments!