12 “oh, duh!” ways to get more people reading & sharing your blog.

 
 
 

I have a lot of opinions about why it’s so important to keep writing, even if it feels like “nobody’s reading.”

I’ve also written about why you are a really big deal, regardless of your audience size.

I’ve also written about why blogging isn’t for everyone & what you can do, instead.

But!

All of that being said, there are plenty of perfectly good reasons why you might want to seek out new blog readers — or encourage people to share what you’ve written.

I get that.

And… building an audience does NOT have to be complicated.
 

Here are 12 simple, unfussy ways to make it happen:
 

1. Quote someone? Let them know. If you mention someone in a blog post, send them an email and let them know. They might feel inspired to share what you’ve written with their own audience… or not. Either way, it’s a lovely thing to do. You will make that person feel very fancy, notable & quotable. You’ll probably make their day!

“Hey! Just FYI: I quoted you in my latest blog post: [link]. Because your parenting advice is always SO good! Thank you!”
 

2. Inspired by someone? Let them know that, too. But do NOT demand a response. Just be cool. It’s quite likely that your hero will want to share what you’ve written with others… as long as you don’t crank up the pressure.

“Hey! Your TED Talk on the power of positivity rocked me to the core. I wrote a piece in response, inspired by you: [link]. No need to reply. Just wanted to say: thank you.”

 

3. Be specific. Give your readers specific, actionable instructions on how to share your work.

“Do you know someone who’s thinking about quitting their job? Email this piece to them & encourage them to consider these 5 questions, first.”
 

4. Get curated. You can write to bloggers who do “curated posts” or “link round-ups” to give ‘em a heads up about something you’ve written… if you genuinely think that they’ll dig it.

“Hey! I love your weekly round-up of inspirational links — it’s like candy for my soul! I know that you’re obsessed with erotic novels (who isn’t?) so I figured you might be interested in this: [link].”
 

5. Make it intriguing. “A photo recap of my trip to Italy!” = fun, but not particularly intriguing, unless you’re Beyoncé.

“A photo recap of my trip to Italy — and 5 super-sexy things that Italians do that YOU should do, too.” = fascinating and very shareable.
 

6. Make it easy to explain. If you glance at the 21 most popular blog posts of all time, you’ll notice a commonality:

Every single post can be easily summarized in a sentence or less.

“Oh, did you see that piece about why smart kids are more likely to grow up to become heavy drinkers? You gotta read it.”

When the “point” of a post can be summed up in a few seconds, people are far more likely to talk about it… and share it with others.
 

7. Leverage the spotlight. If you’re getting profiled in the media — yes, even Cousin Pete’s Weekly Podcast-o-rama counts! — write a special blog post especially for that particular media audience, and then tell them about it!

“After listening to this interview, you might be thinking, ‘I can’t wait to start training for my first half-marathon!’ Well, you’re in luck: I just wrote a blog post featuring a training plan for total beginners, and that post is on the homepage of my blog, RIGHT NOW. Check it out!”
 

8. Offer a next step. Once folks get to the bottom of a post, they’re often wondering, “What next?” Invite your readers to pull up a chair & stay awhile, by directing them to another post on your blog.

“Like this post? You might also enjoy: [link].”
 

9. Get syndicated. There are literally thousands of websites, blogs and online magazines who are desperate for writers who will contribute (free) content.

Getting featured as a “guest writer” can be a great way to raise visibility about your work & draw people back to your own site — and no, you don’t need to be famous to do it. It’s generally just a matter of writing to the editor and saying:

“Hey! I’m in love with [name of site] and I’ve been voraciously devouring your posts.

It looks like you feature guest writers, from time to time, which got me thinking… if I wrote a piece called [title] about [topic] and submitted it to you, does that sound like something you & your readers would be into?

If so, let me know (no rush, whenever you can). And if my guest post sounds like a fit, I’ll whip it up & send it to you — for your consideration. Thank you!”
 

10. Get personal. From time to time, I’ll send a personal email to a friend or client and say:

“When I wrote this post — [link] — I was thinking about you.”

I’m not doing it because I’m hoping they’ll immediately share that post with their legions of Twitter followers or Facebook friends.

If that happens, well… fine. It’s a pleasant side effect, but it’s not the point.

My main impulse is to simply let that friend know:

“I’m thinking about you & I made this for you.”

Good things — surprising things — tend to happen when you reach out to a friend with care, concern & love.

(Things that are far more meaningful than a couple extra re-tweets on your latest post.)
 

11. Be dependable. If you create a reliable rhythm — one poem every Friday, an advice column once a month, a short essay every full moon, whatever feels good — then your readers will have something to look forward to. They’ll count on you.

Writing consistently creates an audience that checks in, consistently. You don’t have to be rigid & punish yourself for “missing a post,” occasionally. Just be consistent as often as possible. More often that… not.
 

12. Just write stuff that’s good. The best “marketing tactic” always has, and always will be… just writing stuff that’s helpful, inspiring, loving and truthful. You know. GOOD.

As I like to say:

“Don’t write blog posts. Creates little miracles for people.”

Focus on that, more than anything else, and your readership will grow to the exact size that it’s meant to be.

Be patient. Keep it simple.

It will happen.

You’ll see.

 

xo.

PS. Do you spend a LOT of time & energy thinking about how to increase the size of your readership? How could you let it be… simpler?

 
 

Read More business // acceleration creativity // inspiration

How to consult with a mystic (… and ask really good questions.)

 
 
 

I’ve had dozens of fascinating conversations & consultations with mystics, over the years.

Psychics. Witches. Readers. Intuitives. Angel whisperers. Hey, some of my best friends are Oracles!

I’ve learned that when it comes to seeking guidance from a professional mystic, framing your questions in the right way can make all the difference.

 

Here are my tips on how to have a highly productive conversation with a mystic:

 

1. Avoid “Yes” or “No” questions.

“Will I meet the love of my life, this year?” = not a great question.

“What are some things I could focus on to raise my chances of attracting an amazing partner, this year?” = a much better question.

“I’ve been struggling to meet people. What might be holding me back from connecting with someone amazing?” = a great question, too.

I’ve yet to meet a mystic who believes that the future is “set is stone”. Most of the mystics I know believe that your future is entirely up to you. Yes, certain opportunities may be better than others, and certain dates may be more auspicious, but at the end of the day, you call the shots, which means… it’s impossible for a mystic to give you a definitive “yes” or “no” answer on most topics.

As The Tarot Lady likes to say, “The cards tell a story… but YOU write the ending”.

 

2. Give options & ask for a forecast.

“I’m so lost! What should I do with my career? ” = not a great question.

“I’m at a crossroads in my career. Here are two options I’m considering: [describe both, simply]. Which option feels like a stronger path for me?” = a way better question.

Mystics tend to shine when presented with 2 or 3 options that they can respond to.

A channeler, for example, could do a quick check-in with her spirit guides to get a “vibe” on each path. (“Option One looks fraught with complications & friction… but Option Two looks like pure sexy-town…”)

 

3. In the end, trust your “hut”.

(Hut = my personal term for “heart + gut”.)

Just like there are terrific car mechanics and shady ones, there are terrific mystics… and there are hot messes. Choose wisely.

But even if I had the greatest mystical adviser on the planet, I would never, EVER do something solely because a mystic told me so.

It’s imperative to trust your instincts.

Mystics can help confirm what you already know (building your self-confidence, so that it’s easier to take action).

Mystics can help illuminate possibilities you hadn’t considered (or blindspots you’ve been overlooking).

Mystics can help articulate the potential pros & cons of the various paths you might choose.

But mystics are not there to “tell you what to do”.

That’s up to you.

 

To your magical life…

xo.

PS. If you’re curious, here are a few of my favorite mystics on the planet. I’m probably forgetting a few… forgive me.

Theresa (the gold standard for tarot). Paige (adorable & full of mischief. plays the ukelele, too). Heidi (she reads the stars & writes poetry that wakes up your heart). Ellen (she’s a career strategist & resume editor with a secret weapon: astrology). Laurel (she talks to angels & they talk back). Dyana (she’s an oracle: ask her to dream for you). Pace (she helped me think about “god” in a whole new way). Kris (she has conversations with mermaids. see also: bad-ass drummer). Catherine (she might not consider herself to be a “mystic,” but I do). The AstroTwins (stylish, jargon-free horoscopes from identical twin sisters. swoon).

 
 

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.”

 
 
 

The tragic suicide of one of the world’s most beloved comedians has rattled us all.

Robin Williams struggled with depression, addiction, alcoholism and other demons for many years. His death did not come out of “nowhere”.

From what the media reports, he tried, very hard, to bring himself to a place of balance.

Whatever he tried… it wasn’t enough.

I wish that Robin had been able to stay with us.
I wish that Philip had been able to stay with us.
I wish that my uncle Adam had been able to stay with us, too.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I urge you…

… in the words of my beautiful friend Catherine, an addiction survivor herself:

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens.”

Stay. Just one more day. Then another.

Your breakthrough moment of healing… your greatest creative idea of all time… the child you have longed for… the love of your life… your personal “miracle” could be waiting… just around the bend.

If only you’ll stay.

Don’t leave.

Please stay.

xo.

PS. If you, or someone you love, is struggling to stay in this world, please seek help.

PPS. Today: call a friend just to say: “Hey, I’m glad you’re on the planet.” (My friend Dyana’s signature catchphrase. It’s a good one.)

 
 

Read More grief // catharsis

Be the one who says “YES.”

 
 
 

“Hello. May I speak with Alexandra Franzen?”

The woman on the other end of the line sounded weary and beaten down, like she’d been riding a Greyhound bus through Hades for the past fifteen days.

“Speaking,” I said.

I knew, already, that this was some kind of fundraising or tele-marketing call.

Part of me wanted to preempt the whole conversation by saying, “Look, I’m not interested. Please take me off your list.”

But a small part of me said, “Just listen”.

The woman launched into a pre-scripted monologue about the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

She spoke to me about her work, which includes walking door to door to talk to people about each person’s right to marry the one they love.

She told me, too, about her sister — a lesbian — who had committed suicide after experiencing excruciating bullying in school.

She could have stopped after the first 10 seconds or so. She had me at the word “love.”

“Can I count on you for a donation, today?”

She paused after making her request, and I could practically hear the “cringe” in her voice. The cringe of a hundred NO’s, slapping down hard like a ruler on your wrist. Or worse: phones just clicking… dead. Goodbye. The end.

But I said:

“Yes.”

She sounded stunned.

“Really?”

“Yes, I’d be honored.”

“WOW!” she exclaimed. Her voice cracked. She sounded close to tears. If I had to guess, I’d bet this was her first “YES” of the entire week. Maybe the month. Maybe ever.

We had a short, lovely conversation as she collected my payment and email details.

“Thank you for your donation,” she finished.

“Thank you for the work that you do. Don’t give up.”

I hung up the phone and began sobbing — instantly reliving all those moments in my life where I, too, had prayed for that kind of sacred YES.

Yearning for just one person, anyone, to say… YES. I believe in you, and all that you do.

It felt so full-circle, so perfect, to be able to send that kind of YES back into the ‘verse — this time, for somebody else.

You can’t always be the one who says YES, of course. In fact, sometimes it’s essential to say NO. Sometimes you don’t have the money, or the manpower, or the time, or the emotional bandwidth, or the necessary skills, or the desire.

Not every YES is yours to give. Not every battle is yours to fight.

But when you CAN be the one who says “YES”…

Do it. Make someone’s day. Hell, make someone’s decade.

Be the One. It’s a YES you will never regret.

xo.

 
 

35 things you can do… instead of starting a blog.

 
 
 

So. You want to start a blog.

(Or take your current blog to the “next level”.)

But, let me ask you:

Do you… really?

Does blogging make you happy?

Does it feel natural? Energizing?

Or is it a perpetual drag? An energy leak that ruins your week?

When you’re blogging, do you feel like the best version of yourself?

When you’re blogging, do you feel like you’re creating little miracles for the people you wish to serve?

Or is blogging just… something you think you “should” do?

Here’s some good news:

If blogging just isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to carry your stories, ideas, helpful insights and hilarious observations out into the world. Plenty of other ways to create a positive dent in the universe, build a name for yourself, attract clients, or whatever else it is that you’re hoping your blog will do.

If you want to blog, blog.

If you don’t want to blog, stop.

And instead, why not…

: Create a library — a curated selection of your finest work. (Think: 10 – 12 timeless pieces.)

: Build a collection of amazingly useful resources (like this one. or this one.)

: Host an online TV show (like this one) … and then get it “syndicated” on a website that already has thousands of readers + viewers (like this one).

: Publish one short poem, just once a week.

: Design a game.

: Compose + post one song a day.

: Create a customer appreciation survey to find out what your people want most. (Then… give them exactly that.)

: Create a podcast.

: Post (or email) short voice notes, instead of written words.

: Create a collection of inspirational desktop wallpaper.

: Write very short stories on Twitter.

: Write a column for your local newspaper.

: Create a collection of digital travel guides.

: Send a “thank you” postcard to the last fifty people who hired you, taught you something, or did you a favor.

: Create a collection of audio meditations.

: Create a series of helpful classes.

: Create a monthly or quarterly online magazine (like this one).

: Or, publish an old-school ‘zine (like she did).

: Host a monthly salon or dinner party for your ten top clients.

: Publish other people’s secrets. (With their permission, of course.)

: Send out inspirational text messages to the masses.

: Design happy e-cards that people can send out to friends.

: Start an advice column (like she did).

: Make a webcomic. (Then sell prints of your most popular sketches.)

: Create a series of fun quizzes.

: Make a cookbook or collection of recipes.

: Make + share your own music playlists.

: Send out uplifting notes via email newsletter, only (like this guy).

: Start a gift of the month subscription service.

: Just post jokes.

: Just post illustrated workouts.

: Just post ideas on how to be a nice person.

: Just write love letters.

: Just write your damn book already.

Or, you know…

: Just have sex.

Happy un-blogging…

xo.

 

PS. If blogging didn’t exist, what would you do… instead?