Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 8
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.
A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.
1. Alicia Bruxvoort submitted her blog.
- Overall, the design is nice, but it doesn’t seem to fit the space correctly. Your tagline is way at the bottom of your masthead, your post titles are scrunched to the left and you have some funky lines going through your email address submission box. I wonder if you’ve tested the site in multiple browsers?
- Your font size is fairly small in your posts, and your post length is quite long. It may seem silly to point this out, but things like these encourage people to skim. The more they skim, the easier it is for them to stop visiting your site altogether.
- There seems to be a lot of clutter at the end of your posts. You have prayers, praises, links to other bloggers, stock images, verses and a conversation-starter question. That’s a lot of takeaway, and it’s probably overwhelming readers.
- I don’t see where I can share posts on Facebook or Twitter.
View your site in multiple browsers and on multiple screen sizes. Tweak accordingly. You should also think about reorganizing your content so that you are flooding everything into your daily posts. I suggest leaving the praises for a separate, daily evening post and removing some of the tags and prayers and verses at the end to focus on the questions you pose to the readers. This will give a clearer picture of what you’re wanting from your readers and it will help them deliver.
2. Pilgrim on the Loose is a blog by Verla Wallace
- Your book is buried in your website. I wouldn’t even know you have a book if I didn’t click on the tabs and see it as an option. I understand you may be in the midst of rebranding, but your books sales numbers are going to matter very much when you try and sell your next book. So it’s wise to continue to push sales.
- Your blog seems to be a place of encouragement and insight…possibly a daily devotional type place. It’s harder to get readers to interact on this type of site, so be sure to have another place people can go where it’s more casual (such as a facebook page)
- I like your bio section. It’s well written and entertaining.
- Is there a reason you post the same picture of yourself on each post? Try to change it up a bit.
I think you need to determine what you want this site to do for you. You’ve moved away from being an expert in the workplace to being more of a introspective, devotional writer. While that’s okay, those types of writers are a dime a dozen. In broadening your audience you may also be eliminating the very thing that makes you unique. Just a thought.
3. Elizabeth Jane Kitchens submitted her website
- I’d really like to see a picture of you on the home page!
- I’m not sure the theme here is big enough to constitute an active blog following. I know there’s a huge underground of people interested in fairy tales, but I’m just not sure that your posts are going to capture those readers. They just seem kind of plain and safe. I don’t feel like I’m coming away with new information or a good laugh or even the discovery of something new.
- You feel very distant from your readers. There’s no Twitter or Facebook links, and for the contact section, all we’re given is an email address. In addition to this, there’s no REASON for me to reach out and try to connect with you more. I’m not going to be met with a thriving fairy tale-lovers community, I’m not going to be given a weekly email blast of what’s happening in the world of fairy tale books, movies and stage productions. There just isn’t a takeaway that makes it worth my time to get connected.
Think of ways to take this blog content to the next level. Really dig into answering the question of “how can I present fairy tale content that people NEED?” You may want to turn that on its head and ask yourself “If there was a one-stop blog where I could find out about fairy tales, what type of information would I want it to provide?” If you find the answer to this question, you’ll have the foundation for a blog that could really appeal to a niche market, and you’ll soon be the fairy tale expert!
Okay, readers, how are YOU working to make sure your content has serious takeaway value?
Thanks for taking time to help me improve my blog. I’m slowly learning how the blogsphere works- and your comments give me some great direction. I’d never thought much about the “clutter”- goodness knows my house is filled with it 🙂 Hopefully my blog won’t be once I make some of those changes you’ve suggested! Blessings on your Christmas season!
Thanks for the kind words, Alicia! I’m rooting for you!
I learn a lot from these posts and it’s all very timely for me since I’m finally working on shaping a writer’s blog. Thanks!!!! 😀
Great words of wisdom as usual. I always go back to my own blog and “critique” it after reading your Thursday posts. I’m slowly bringing it about – learning a lot from this. Thank you!
Thank you for critique of my website, Amanda! I will get to work on it. BTW, I enjoyed your query writing class at the ACFW conference. I’ve been curious ever since, though, about the book you mentioned you were writing. What it’s about, if you don’t mind sharing? And how does an agent go about selling her own manuscript? Is it taboo to use her publishing contacts for her own work?
Thanks for attending my ACFW class! My book is a general market fantasy geared for women. Something akin to what you see from Robin McKinley and Diana Gabaldon. It’s set in the viking age and is about a woman with healing touch.
My co-agent is reading it right now, and if she likes it she may show it to some editors. There’s no issue with using my contacts, because at the end of the day it all comes down to the writing. Just like ACFW puts you in contact with authors and editors, it’s not a for-sure, fast track to being published. You still need a crazy good manuscript. But it would be a bit taboo if I shopped it around myself. That would just be awkward for everyone involved. So that’s why my cohort is reviewing it.
Thanks for asking!
Having just started a blog, I’ve found your critiques very informative. Thank you.
Welcome to the blogosphere!
Amanda, I have really enjoyed these critiques as I learn something each time. Thank you for the brave writers who opened their blog for public scrutiny. You have inspired me to update my blog in 2013, especially getting rid of the clutter on the side panels.
I thought your comment to Elizabeth was interesting and challenging that introspective devotional writers were a dime a dozen. That alone challenges me to look once again at what unique gifts I can bring.
As I wind down from 2012 and begin to focus on 2013 goals, you have helped me with ideas. Thanks!
Brave writers, indeed! Thanks for reading, Jean. I appreciate it.