I log into my WordPress account to check my blog stats. One visitor; one view. Hmmm, Australians are asleep and Americans just woke up. I scroll down to community and click support. I search for how to increase blog traffic. And that’s what you should do because this post isn’t about SEO, publicize, or WordPress plugins. Me? I started blogging six weeks ago.
The initial response to my blog humbles me. That you would honour me, an Ijaw girl, whose only claim to fame is that I come from somewhere near Oloibiri in the Niger Delta, where Shell first struck oil, by reading my posts, I thank you.
Around midnight six weeks ago, I began sending mails to friends on Facebook and Linkedin. If I missed you, I’m sorry. I was struggling to keep my eyes open as I copied and pasted the prototype mail, changing the recipient’s name and customising each mail to take into account the circumstances of our friendship for that personal touch. Ko easy rara!
I sent the original to Yinka first. Then I copied and pasted it on Afi’s mail. I clicked the send button before I realized that Afi’s mail read: Hello Yinka!
What’s in a name? Plenty. People deserve to know that they are important no matter the time and distance that separates you from them. I couldn’t afford any more gaffes. At 2 a.m., I was still jogging my elephant memory, remembering the small details of our friendship and adapting each copy-and-paste mail accordingly.
Did it pay off? You tell me.
It got to the turn of a friend who is an award-winning writer. The last time I saw her was in 2010. As we exchanged pleasantries, she mentioned an event involving her grandmother. I planned to attend, but didn’t get round to.
I sent this customised copy-and-paste mail to her:
How are you doing? Long time. The last my sister and I saw you was in PH-ou mentioned your grandmother’s burial I think?
I’ve just started a new blog which I think may interest you. But, don’t just take my word for it, check it out for yourself! Leave a reply, share & spread the word! http://www.livelytwist.wordpress.com
A few days later, I received this response:
Hello Timi, I am okay, thanks. I will check out the blog. My grandmother is still alive.
I wanted to enter a forest so the trees could bury my humiliation with their green leaves. To think that my mail may have hit K as ill-wishes; tufiakwa! K, I only meant well o! May your grandmother live to be 120!
In his book, Axiom, Powerful Leadership Proverbs, Bill Hybels says, “Leadership is a lot about asking. After casting bold visions, leaders ask people to help make them become reality.”1 He writes about projects where the stakes felt sky-high and he had to remind himself to be absolutely shameless in asking people to join him.
So, here’s what I’m doing:
- Casting the vision – this blog is about us, because we’re doing life together and when we connect, we do life better.
- Stating the value proposition – every post you read will entertain, inform, inspire, or provoke thought.
- Inviting you to join me – the follow widget makes it easy to subscribe, so you’ll receive my posts instead of occasionally stumbling upon them.
Recruiting followers goes beyond blogosphere because we lead daily. In my experience, men tend to be hunters, aggressively going after what they want. Women on the other hand, tend to tell their potential followers all the reasons they should say no, and then apologise for asking.
Man: I just started this project (goes on to make it sound larger than life), and I want you to join me (exaggerates all the reasons it will be worth your while).
Woman: I know you’re very busy (adds more reasons why you should say no), but I just started this project (promotes project in humble terms), and I’d like you to join me (gives even more reasons for you to decline).
Well, it’s a new day for me. I’m learning to speak up about what I need and pursue what I want, without losing my femininity. What about you, how do you campaign for what you want?
©Timi Yeseibo 2013
1. Bill Hybels, Axiom, Powerful Leadership Proverbs, (Michigan: Zondervan, 2008), 21.
All people illustrations, animes, avatars, vectors by Microsoft
design: ©Timi Yeseibo
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