I like to apply the golden rule to blogging when I reflect and plan. Am I treating my readers the way I would want them to treat me? In other words: Am I producing content I would want to read?
In order to evaluate my own content, I had to ask: What kind of content do I want to read? I began to notice that my Bloglovin feed was filled with content I did not want to read. Why was I following these blogs? Well, I know why I was following these blogs. I blindly followed to enter giveaways and to network with other bloggers.
I decided it was time to clean up my feed. I'm so glad I did. Now I'm enjoying reading blogs again!
I don't have any proven strategy for keeping followers. These are my personal reasons for unfollowing, and now I'm trying to be smart and make sure I'm only following when I want to. They also apply to FB pages, IG, Twitter, and TPT stores. I hope it is helpful to you as you make decisions about what you want to read or write.
Here are the top five reasons I would unfollow a blog (/store/FB/IG/Twitter.):
5. Your content does not apply to me.
Unfortunately, there's not much you can do about this one (except write for a wider audience.) There are some great blogs about teaching strategies for intermediate grades I was following, but I had to draw a line somewhere.
4. You sound pretentious.
You are talented. You are creative. You are lovely.
So is everyone else.
You may have a solution to a problem. You do not have the solution.
I think it can be difficult to find a voice that balances humility with confidence.Glennon Doyle Melton @momastery wrote about what she calls The Golden Coin of humility and confidence. I think it's brilliant. Her book, Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, is incredible. (Affiliate link.)
3. You ignore me.
Bloggers love comments. We all know this. I like getting comments on my blog. I always respond to comments via email. If you've commented on my blog a few times, I will remember you, and I will continue to support your blog. I try to support other bloggers with comments. I can't believe how often I leave a thoughtful comment or question on a blog and get no response from the author. If you are getting tons of comments on every post, I understand that you can't respond to everyone, but let's be real. Most of us are not blogging celebrities. If someone comments, it is appropriate to reply, especially if they took the time to say something insightful or ask a question.
2. You don't know what you're talking about.
If you are writing about a strategy you use in your classroom, or a product you've created, and I know it is not best practice, I get upset. I will not leave a mean comment, but I will not continue to support your blog. Incidentally, some of the best-selling products on TPT are not educational best practice.
Also, if you have lots of spelling or grammatical errors, I will assume you don't know what you are talking about.
And the number one reason I unfollow is:
1. Your content is boring.
I'm being pretty brutally honest here, so hopefully no one gets offended! What do I mean when I say the content is boring? Well, there are a few common features that do not engage me as a reader. I'm interested to hear about what others think about this. There's no problem with using some content like this, but if I look at your last 5 posts and this is all I see, you're just cluttering up my feed. Sorry.
Giveaways: We all love a good giveaway, but I think it's important not to get carried away! I know giveaways are a great way to gain followers. Spend a bit of time providing information or entertainment for your audience.
The Sales Pitch: I often hear the general rule of 80/20. This means that 80% of your blog should be quality content and 20% can be sales.
Fun Linky Parties and Bloghops: Yes, I know. They are easy to put together. You connect with other bloggers. You give people a peek into your life -- show them you're a real person.
Or do you?
Maybe you do. In my experience though, most of the posts just run together.
As with the giveaways and sales pitches, do them if you want, but don't get carried away. If you are using the 20/80 rule for sales. I'd say use the 20/80 rule for fun linky events as well, and I would also suggest trying to make your posts stand out from the rest with a theme, some deeper personal reflection, or humor. Apply what you know about teaching to your blog. We know that writers write for a purpose and for an audience. What is your purpose, and who is your audience?
Finally, keep this in mind:
When I'm looking through my Bloglovin' feed, all I can see is your title, a sentence or two from your opening, and your first image. We teach kids to write attention getters, but so many posts begin something like this:
I can't believe it's been so long since I've written on my blog.
Hey everyone! It's me. Are you all loving this time of year? I love this time of year.
Today I'm linking up with _____. Thanks to _____ for hosting such a fun linky.
These are not attention getters! There are lots of resources online where you can get tips on writing catchy titles and effective openings, but I'm positive you can do better than any of my examples above without doing any research. The title and the first few lines of your blog post -- I'm learning --are also very important for SEO (search engine optimization).
Now, whatever you do, don't go back through the archives of my blog to see if I've been following my own advice! I think I'm improving though! I've been reading and thinking quite a bit about this topic, so there you have it. Take what you like and leave the rest. Why do you unfollow someone's blog or social media account? Comment below!
What do you think?
Yes! This makes sense, this is the type of blog I'd like to follow. This is the kind of blog I should write! Then let's connect on your favorite social media platform below. Give me a shout-out and let me know who you are!
I agree! I'm already doing all these things! Why isn't everyone doing this? Then I'd probably like to read your blog! Comment below!
What does she know? This is ridiculous! Then I'm sorry to have wasted your time, but I still wish you a good day!