Looking for Patience – Research Woes

I didn’t expect it to be easy. But I certainly didn’t expect it to be blood-sucking and mind-draining. Have you ever tried to conduct a survey on your own? You may understand me then.

As part of the work for my MBA research, I’m conducting a 3-minute survey aimed at business-to-business marketers who have led social media programs in their organisations. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, it turns out these are very very busy folks and I can’t get 50 of them to answer my survey. Last I checked (2 minutes ago), 10 responses have been submitted, many of which I personally sent the link to. Advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn hasn’t generated many responses. It’s testing my patience…the little I have of it.

 

I started to think of all the surveys people asked me to fill and I ignored (forgive me for I was ignorant). I’m offering a copy of the results and it doesn’t seem to be attractive enough – actually, I don’t think people are reading that far into my message.

Perhaps I need to stalk my target audience. “Watch” them on LinkedIn to see their coming and going.

The survey is just 3 minutes long after all. How long is 3 minutes or have I missed something?

 

I’m making light of this but I’m quite frustrated. I don’t do being ignored very well and the number of “nos” and complete silences (worse) are unbearable. Sigh!

 

Alas, I need to persevere. There are a couple of other options that I could explore as far as the survey goes but I’ll give it till next week and see if patience pays off. I may even give it two weeks if I really want to stretch myself (unlikely).

 

I’m looking forward to the end – that’s what motivates me. I want to see it to. the. end. And get reasonable and fresh insight on the subject I’m researching. You can read more about my research at http://monthsofmadness.wordpress.com.

 

The end will be bliss. I’ll drink to that.

 

 

 

 

You’re attractive and engaging. Now what?

I don’t believe those claiming not to care about their blog stats. Why in the world are you writing on the web then? Perhaps a pocket-book or journal will suffice? Anyway, like I said, I don’t believe you. You might read through this post kicking and screaming but I think it will do some good to know what really matters in the notorious world of blog stats. Of course, it’s different for everyone.

I compare blog stats to online marketing. In that world, attractiveness, engagement and conversion are arguably the most important measurements in gauging effectiveness.

Attractiveness

Attractiveness in blogging will mean number of hits. It measures how many people are interested enough tto click on your post title. I find many personal blogs that are “attractive”. They get hundreads of hits a day! These blogs usually provide information that is of  popular interest. Some are just great marketers that visit hundreds of blogs who return the favour. That’s a lot of work. If you have a niche blog focussing on a certain demographics or topic, then your blog may not score high on attractiveness – and that’s not a bad thing.

Engagement

Engagement measures how many times people have a say in whatever conversation is on the blog. Essentially, it measures number of comments. This is my personal favourite because I think motivating people to talk is not an easy task, especially if they are complete strangers! How many times have you read an article, had something to say but never wrote it down? A lot of times, right? It doesn’t matter if your comments are in agreement with the blogger’s point of view. That you are passionate enough to comment means the blogger caused you to react to something. That’s worth a lot. But is it enough to be engaging? What about making people come back for more? This is when it becomes a religion of sorts. You have to convert them…

Conversion

This is when it starts to get really tricky. You get loads of hits, visitors can’t stop blabbing away in the comments section but they don’t come back. This is what being Freshly Pressed cannot do for you, I’m afraid. It can’t make people come back. In basic terms, conversion is the number of followers you have. Followers get alerts each time you post. It could be an indication that they were impressed by your last post.

 

 However, reality shows that even your followers may not come back as often as you’d like. Yes, blogging is hard if you want to stack the stats and make them the ultimate goal. In fact, blogging is hard, full stop. If you have a life and you are also managing to come on the web to try to reach out to strangers, you have a convert in me. So keep blogging, folks! It’s already February and there are lots to discuss before the year runs out.

Thanks for reading! (at least, I’m attractive ;-))

Tips for the confused jobist

It’s taken ages to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I read engineering at school but never quite fit in. At the same time, I never really knew what I wanted to do instead. When people asked me, ‘So what do you want to do?’,  it was always answered with a silly, confused expression.

But that’s changed in the past year. After starting my MBA (something I knew I wanted to do), I continuously made mental notes of areas that I found particularly interesting. Then I went off and did my research, which was something like:

  1. Identify area of interest e.g. marketing, web design, personnel management e.t.c.
  2. Act as a job seeker and SEARCH for roles in that area (the internet, job boards and social networking sites like LinkedIn are great for this).
  3. Take note of the JOB DESCRIPTION (what you’d be expected to do and be responsible for) Is it still of interest? If yes,
  4. Note the SKILLS employers expect from a potential candidate. Do you have them? If no, what can you do to get them? Can you get it in your current role? Should you consider personal development e.g. self-study, taught courses or perhaps a new role that provides such skills?
  5. Consider SALARY expectations. Is it what you thought it was? Is it reasonable such that you can live comfortably on it?
  6. And finally, give yourself a timeline. How long will it take you to get where you want to go? 6 months, 5 years?

Note that it’s okay to take a temporary hit on salary if  long-term, the role provides skills that will get you to the ‘Promise Land’. Money isn’t everything… And remember you are not applying for the roles now. You are just  discovering what opportunities are out there and subsequently setting out a personal plan to be the perfect candidate for the role in X numbers of years.

Now I have a good idea where I want to go and roughly how to get there. It’s made me happier and more confident. And it’s wiped that silly, confused look off my face :).

1,000 hits or more [all rights received]

I have no right to blog. In fact, there are many reasons why blogging is a particularly bad idea for me.

First of all, I’m a competitive soul so I obsess about the stats. There, the truth is out. I analyse (within myself, of course) what should be deemed an above average viewing per day, or per month. I still don’t know what the average stats are but I visited other blogs and saw 5,000 hits, 20,000 hits and even came across one that will probably hit a million views in the next few weeks. After 2 months of blogging, I started to panic. I didn’t have that many hits yet! ‘Oh, no, everyone hates my blog’, I heard myself thinking one day. But I suppose my disappointment at my seeming mediocre stats wasn’t enough to stop me from blogging.

Not getting hung up on the stats is hard!

It didn’t help that I was so sure I would run out of things to blog about after the first ten posts. This was my second worry. Between my business addiction and my family, I found limited resources to guide me on what people may find interesting. It complicated matters that I wanted to be me (hence, the Me-Brand was one of my first posts). I wanted to write about stuff I was interested in and disengage from the conflict between what is popular and what is honest and pure. I was relieved when many tips I came across encouraged honesty and the charm of being real. Still, every post I wrote felt like the very last drop of creativity in my bones. I believed I was real enough, honest, engaging and all that good stuff but I wondered: ‘Is there really a bottomless pit of ideas?’ This among other questions, kept me up at night.

Thirdly, I work in the oil and gas industry. Although, the industry is high-tech and risky, with hefty men drilling holes in the ground and putting stuff in them, the demographics is largely one of fairly low-tech folks who don’t warm up to technology as much as one would expect. In an industry where only an estimated 25% are on Facebook, 10% on Linked In and 1% are bloggers, I couldn’t help feeling like a square peg in a round hole. Am I the 1% that blogs? And if I am, who in the world is going to identify with me? To stop the avalanche of negative thoughts, I had to keep reminding myself (and still do) of why I started to blog in the first place:

Blogging is an opportunity to write about my passions. I’m passionate about my family, my friends, my job, God, love (yes, I believe in love AND love at first sight), business, the idea of being an entrepreneur, doing things properly, fashion, honesty, a fair and righteous world, and on and on. And I’m passionate about writing, which is something I’ve tried to ignore. So here I am still blogging after 3 months…with more than 1,000 hits I might add. It’s perhaps nothing in some worlds but more than I could have asked for in mine. I am always elated by that new reader that comments or likes any of my posts. In any event, I still want to get better at articulating my points and The Daily Post is a fantastic opportunity for frequent practice. But a word of caution is that I am committed to being real and writing about my passions and not anyone else’s. Hopefully, I will be charming along the way as I try to ignore all the strong reasons why I have no right to blog.

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