As much of a control freak as I am, there’s something that I love about the randomness of the internet and social media. Perhaps because the form this randomness takes is in wowzah bursts of opportunity. You know, that you can start talking to someone on Twitter about dogs and the next thing you know you’re writing the blog for the American Kennel Club. Or you reconnect with an old friend from high school and they hire you to ghostwrite their shark taming memoir.
Neither of those things has actually happened to me…yet. But other wild things have, so I’m not ruling anything out. The point is that anything can and will happen when you cast your net.
Last Search Terms
If you have a blog or a website, and it has any sort of analytic capability, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a section within your stats that serves as a bastion of randomousity. (Yes, I made that word up.)
In my blog stats, this section is called ‘Last Search Terms’ and it shows me what word or phrase visitors typed into their search engine that led them to my site.
I marvel when those terms include ‘marketing writer,’ ‘how to use Twitter,’ ‘optimism in recession’ and ‘copywriter, finding my niche’ – the search engines really earned their paychecks there.
But, some time ago, I wrote a post about viral marketing that was inspired by the Oprah show. Oprah featured people who had found fame and fortune via YouTube and their (cough) ridiculous viral videos. One of these videos included a bride and groom that learned that final Dirty Dancing dance and performed it at their wedding. In true Oprah fashion, Patrick Swayze came out and danced with the bride on the show. The picture at the top of my post shows Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey mid-dance in the movie circa 1987.
I’m shocked by how many times my ‘Last Search Terms’ shows that people landed on my site having searched for ‘Dirty Dancing.’ At least twice a day, every day. Just imagine their surprise. They do get their Dirty Dancing picture, but it comes along with a blog and website about copywriting, marketing, freelancing, social media…the works.
While I don’t actually know if those random customers become readers, subscribers or clients (I mean, really, who would admit that in the end), I can only guess that some of the people searching for ‘Dirty Dancing,’ ‘elevator music writing’ and ‘yoga book children’ arrive here, look around and stay – deciding to continue looking for all things ‘Nobody puts baby in a corner’ at some later date. That this randomness of search landing has actually led them to something and someone they needed (even if they didn’t realize it originally) is pretty cool.
Getting caught in the branches
When you write your blog, start with a clear goal and a main theme. This is the trunk of your blogging tree. Then, each post will contain variations on the theme, offshoots, branches. Some will be thick and sturdy, very closely related to the main concept, and others will be smaller and thin – still connected, though perhaps more far reaching. Build a big tree – with plenty of branches for easy and intriguing landing for a wide range of people and interests.
Unless that branch is hanging on a neighboring tree or lying on the ground, it is connected. And as the winds of the internet blow by, you never know who’ll get stuck in your branches, eat a leaf and fly on, and who will build a nest – long lasting and here to stay.