The Mistake Many Writers Make At HubPages
The Years Have Flown By
A note before we begin: this is only aimed at those Hubbers who "follow" someone and never once comment on the hubs of others. That is still a very small percentage of HubPages, but that number is growing, and that disturbs me.
Now let's begin!
I am zeroing in on five years at HubPages. I’ve got it in my sights and I’m about to shoot down another milestone on my writing journey.
Five years ago I took a chance. Truth be told, I joined this site simply to end my wife’s nagging. She’s my biggest supporter, you see, and she had been riding my butt for several months to put my writing out there and test the waters. I was content to just write a novel and never risk the scrutiny of strangers’ eyes, but she said that was nonsense, get out there, let others read it, find out if you have what it takes, blah, blah and more blah, will that woman ever shut up…….?
So I joined!
And my writing life changed!
Here I am, nine novels and twelve-hundred articles later, and I’m forced to admit my wife knew what she was talking about.
So anyway, I’ve got some miles behind me, and the road ahead is smoother for me because of the time I’ve spent at HP, and that time spent has taught me some valuable lessons about being an indie writer in this big, scary world overflowing with indie writers. And it is one of those lessons I want to share with you all today.
Why Are You Here?
I ask that because I’ve noticed an interesting trend at HubPages over the past few years. Rarely does a week go by when I don’t receive several notices telling me new writers are following me. It’s been that way since the early days of me being here, so that’s nothing unusual. What is unusual, though, and the trend I’m talking about, is that most of those people “following” me are never heard from again in the form of comments. They publish their articles, occasionally toss in a forum thread, but other than that, I never hear from them.
Now trust me, that’s in stark contrast to how it was when I first joined HubPages. Back then, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, people signed up to follow someone and then actually read articles written by other writers and commented on those articles. Back then, after the Great Flood had receded, relationships and friendships were formed, support was given, and ideas were exchanged.
I was thinking about this new trend last week when word was sent out that Mary Craig, Tillsontitan on HubPages, had died. Mary was a good friend of mine, a very early supporter of mine here at HP, and a beautiful human being. I never met Mary in person and yet she was a good friend. Right now I could tell you the names of her family members. I could tell you what she loved and what she detested, the important issues in her life, and I could even tell you some stories about her childhood.
She was a friend. She was a peer. She was a mentor.
In that week since her death, I’ve received five new followers, and not one comment from any of the five.
One dead, five new ones . . . in my opinion, that’s a negative outcome!
So, Back to the Question
Why are you here?
Some of you may not be here for friendship. You see this as a way of making some quick supplemental income, and why waste valuable time commenting on the articles of others? Right? It’s all nonsense, right? You’ll make your money whether you ever comment or not, so why bother? Some of you don’t care about mentors or even peers. Cash in, cash out, and move to the next opportunity.
Ridiculous is my reaction to that nonsense!
If you are just into this content writing to make money then you suck as a marketing manager.
How’s that for blunt?
Allow me, then, to point out the fallacy in your thinking. Don’t worry, I’m not charging you for this advice. Consider it my gift to you, a down-payment on a future friendship.
Marketing, for writers, is all about building a platform from which you can showcase your work. What is a platform, you ask? A platform, for writers, is not only the collective body of work they produce, but also their combined efforts to make that work known i.e. their website, their supporters and followers, their social media efforts, etc.
In other words, for me, my platform consists, not only of my thousands of articles and ten novels, but also my thirteen-hundred followers on HubPages, and the thousands who “friend” me on Facebook, and my followers on Twitter and Pinterest, on Flipboard and Reddit, those who follow my website and those I meet out in public. They are all my platform, and the larger my platform is, the better my chances are of succeeding.
Are you with me so far? Now I’m going to change direction for just a moment.
I read somewhere once that if a writer has one-hundred followers who will “follow him into hell,” he then is well on his way to success, because not only will those one-hundred followers read this books and articles, but they will tell their friends and family to read his books, and word-of-mouth is still the cheapest and most reliable marketing one can utilize.
So, let me ask you this: do you have one-hundred such followers?
And almost all of them, for me, came from the relationships I built, over the years, at HubPages.
Another Marketing Lesson for You Neophytes
If you are a writer trying to make money, you are your business. Your articles and books are your product but you, the writer, are the business. And success, in business, is all about customer service and building relationships with your customers.
And the best way to do this is to actually communicate with your customers!
Over the past five years I have literally received over 100,000 comments on my articles. I’ve responded to every single one of those comments. It’s the very least I can do if someone has taken the time to comment on my work, and from a marketing standpoint, it just makes good sense. It’s not like I’m basking in the luxury of unlimited time. I’m a busy guy and yet I find the time to respond to comments, and you should be doing it too.
Do you do that? Do you form relationships, or do you just hit the “follow” button and then disappear into the online background?
Someone told me the other day that one of the HP staff told them it wasn’t important whether they commented on Hubs or didn’t comment. I can’t verify whether the staff member said such a thing but if they did they are nutso. From a marketing standpoint it is suicide not to acknowledge when customer comments about your product.
I Don’t Know What Else to Say
I think many of you are missing the boat. I think you’re blowing it from a marketing standpoint, and you’re blowing it from a personal standpoint.
HubPages is more than just a way to make money. HubPages is a community of human beings, and we all need each other. If you think for one moment you’re going to make it as a writer living in a self-contained bubble, then you really are living in LaLa Land.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”