May 11, 2015 by Melissa Reyes
If my motive for writing and posting my work online was purely about the writing and was truly authentic, then I would not assign hashtags or be concerned about page views. I wouldn’t think about key words, search engine optimization, headings, the best time to post, or any of that. I would simply write. Simply write. That’s kind of funny. I don’t think I have ever written simply. Even in handwritten journals, I edited, I re-read, I illustrated, I quoted properly. Hmm. Properly.
This is what I want to explore. What is the “proper” way for me to write and what type of writing is worth compensation? If what I choose to write is primarily my own original thoughts and opinions, and I want others to find value in my writing, my motive is to produce the best quality work I possibly can create. Being true to my nature, I would want to share my creative work with everyone I know. I would want to share my passion with the world. The new word for this is authenticity. To me, it means being true to my self. Owning up to my values. Showing the real me. I believe I do this in my writing. I made it my mission for my blog and everything I do, to be honest and open.
What is transparent about posting and marketing my own creative works? What is organic about promoting myself? When did making friends online become engagement? When did reading analytic reports and deciphering statistics become a skill that I couldn’t ever imagine needing to know? What does authenticity have to do with it all?
I used to spend a day or two writing a post for my blog. I would research and check my facts and work on my photos until it was, perfection. My idea of perfection at that time was what was pleasing to me. Did I like it? Did I enjoy reading it? I tested all my entries by reading them aloud to my husband or kids. Their reaction to what I wrote was the most important thing to me. When I wrote the posts on my blog, it was with the intention to publish them as part of a book someday. I did think that far in advance. I did publish the book. It was quite an accomplishment for me. Yet, it wasn’t enough. I found a world where I could expand and grow in a community of other people with similar interests and motives.
Somewhere along the line, I learned how to be a blogger. It is much different than being a writer. As a blogger, I use techniques to navigate the internet and get seen and known in the blogosphere. This is called SEO. Search Engine Optimization. In other words, marketing. Bold and italicize words, link to other websites, place photos a certain way, put ads above the fold…everything I learned in college when I was pursuing a marketing degree. Why did I get out of that field? The reason is because I didn’t like selling something that people didn’t need for more than it was worth. I vowed to not fall into that trap again. I very carefully execute the principles of advertising and marketing by writing catchy phrases, using hashtags, and all the self-promotion tools I can for free across the social media platforms that I enjoy using. It is still marketing even if I am not selling something. But, I am selling something, aren’t I? Hopefully, I am providing a commodity that is valuable to you. How do you and I know what it is worth?
Would you pay to read this? That is the ultimate question. My point for exploring my thoughts is honestly to see if I can go in a direction where I ask you to pay a premium or watch an advertisement in order to support my craft. Is my writing worth being compensated by you, my readers? Would you be offended by the request? Would it be a new low for me, or in fact – a new high?
It is not an original idea, to ask for payment for a piece of entertainment, artwork, innovation, inspiration…in fact, it is not new to advertise, promote, or up-sell. It is part of our nature, our true nature to do so. I want to benefit from my labors. I want to rise above my current situation and create a successful, sustainable living doing what I love, using my talents and skills.
A nickelodeon isn’t just a network for kids, it started out as a nickel operated jukebox. Technically, it was an ap. Yes, there is an ap for that. I am using it now. Power Up is a plug in for WordPress that values my writing and enables me to charge for reading my writing, videos, poems, workshops, photos, anything I post on my blog. You have a choice of creating an account and paying for credits to use to have access to articles, or to click on an advertisement to view the page. Another option would be to wait until the material becomes accessible for free. Finally, bloggers and artists can get paid directly for everything they produce that is of marketable value without selling you something indirectly like we do with affiliate advertising and banner ads. I have tried a lot of different ways over the past four years of making a few extra bucks with my hobby on this blog. Over the next few years, I plan to step it up a notch. I am willing to try anything that doesn’t cost more than it is worth. Short of asking for donations like some blogs do, I plan to try new applications and varied ways of connecting with people, with innovations, and partnering with artistry of all kinds.
What does it all mean? I tried to grow my blog and social media outlets “organically” and I have been fairly successful. My community is continuing to see growth. I have a solid reputation. I have learned a lot and have developed skills in the areas that interest me most. But the bottom line is, being organic, homegrown, au natural, is for the chickens. I am ready to fortify. I am going to amp it up. I am going to take some risks. Growth is inevitable. Either by failing and learning what not to do, or by successfully embarking on new territories, I will forge ahead.
You may or may not have noticed that no animals were harmed in this post. What I mean to say, is – this is an certified SEO Free post. There are no back links, no bolded key words, no distractions. I didn’t create a hashtag or insert a shameless plug. I am dying to, I really am! Can you imagine what I would come up with? (Something along the lines of “hashtag organic chicken” comes to mind.) But, I just felt like writing my thoughts today. It was nice not using an ampersand, a pound sign, or a control i for a change.