What the hell is this? An advertisement?
Do you follow my blog? If you do, you know my latest post started as a humor-based personal essay and ended in a sales pitch. I tried to sell tickets to an upcoming event—a virtual author-talk by New York Times bestseller Jamie Ford. Let me assure you, I knew I was breaching accepted conventions before I even started writing.
I’ve been blogging for seven years. During that entire period, my day-job job-title has been Nonprofit Finance Director. A senior management position at three separate companies: a YWCA, a domestic violence shelter and a public library. I also endured a three-month stint at a bilingual charter school, but the executive director turned out to be the wicked witch of the east. I couldn’t leave that job fast enough.
At each of these companies, part of my job description was/is varying degrees of fundraising. I’m expected to use my contacts, business and otherwise, to secure donations. In many situations, I’m the person who writes the solicitation letter. I think I’ve shown remarkable restraint in never asking my blog followers for donations. Until now.
Before I hit publish the other day, I made careful note of my number of followers. My pitch was so distasteful, I fully expected to lose five or ten followers. Imagine my surprise when I gained six. I didn’t sell any tickets—well, I might have sold one: somebody my organization has never interacted with before bought a ticket that night, but she’s reasonably local, just an hour away, so more likely she’s a friend or relative of someone we already know. No one bought a ticket from, say, Australia.
Back to those followers—what did they get from my commercial break that made them want to follow my blog. I’m picky about who I follow. The writing must be clean, concise and readable; of course, I need to find the subject area interesting; but most importantly, the blogger can’t be trying to sell me anything. A blogger writing a post for the sole purpose of making a sale is possibly the last blogger I would ever follow.
Taking a walk with Susan this evening, I mentioned the how strange I found it that my followers increased with that post. She’s great at not rolling her eyes or showing any frustration when I bring up blogging as a conversation topic, and she almost always offers some intelligent analysis that I overlooked. “Maybe they like Jamie Ford.”
See! She should be reviewing my stats instead of me.
Thank you for not dropping me when I made my solicitation. WordPress is a sacred space. A place to escape from the crass commercialism of everyday life. You don’t need or want to be blindsided by some dude hitting you up for money. I’ve learned my lesson—for now. Never say never, but I don’t think it will happen again. We now resume our regularly scheduled program.