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Monday, April 2, 2012

From Coattails to Platform: Success the New-Fashioned Way

I've been blogging on success for nearly a year, which seems like a good time to take stock of this blog.

Good news! My readership has grown. Nowadays, my obsessive stats-checks of my blog traffic never yield zero hits, and that is certainly and definitely and meaningfully success. Of a baby-step sort. I mean, hello, isn't it time for The Huffington Post to discover me? Or Forbes? Or Babble? Babble would be great.

My three most popular posts are  Why Habit #2 Might Kill You; But If It Doesn't, You'll Be Stronger , Help Yourself to Success, and Highly Effective Habit #1: Be Proactive.  These are about Dale Carnegie and Stephen Covey. Whenever I mention Mr. Dale Carnegie or Mr. Stephen Covey or their most famous books, my hits increase. If I mention them and have a catchy title, my hits really, really increase.

So I've learned something about success: I must ride on the coattails of famous men. Or become one myself.

Now, the blogosphere experts recommend evaluating your most popular posts and using those to shape your content and build your platform. I hate that phrase. Build your Platform. I wish I'd never heard it. After all, my platform seems to cover a range from weird porno sites to some actually hilarious and well-known bloggers to, well, to my father. According to my father, my best post was the one on Montaigne. But he's 86 and has never worn jeans in his life. Why did he like that post? Well, having taken up ancient Greek about 25 years ago, he was interested in Montaigne's view of the Hellenists--and he thought it was my best so far because I didn't put much about myself in it.

Which tells you a lot about me and my father. But he reads my posts, my dozens of readers, and so do lots of searchbots like and some .coms that seem so likely to be porno search engines that I don't bother to click on them. What a diet product website wants to know about Montaigne I can't fathom. But I appreciate the hits.

The other thing the pundits of the blogosphere recommend--usually in posts with numbers, i.e., 10 Ways to Build Your Readership, or 6 Ways from Sunday: Assembling the Scaffolding of the Platform of Your Life (posts with numbers in them also score extra hits)--is defining your brand.

Um. My brand. WTF?

In fact, I am not sure what my brand is. I don't know any other blogs like mine. I read a lot of "Mommyblogs," but while I'm a mommy who blogs, and occasionally writes about her children, I don't think I'm a Mommyblogger. I also read a lot of blogs about writing, about blogging, about creativity, and about inspiration, but I'm not really about any one of those things, either, although I have mentioned all of them in one post or another. If led before a firing squad and forced to try to define my brand, I'd have to say my brand is me, talking about success, sometimes directly, sometimes tangentially.  I aim for strong writing, humor, passing along interesting factoids about success and its many synonyms, and the occasional moment of insight. Which is usually inadvertent.

Okay, no, it's not. But that was a funny comment, wasn't it?

By the way, I've had requests from actual human readers to continue my exegesis of Stephen Covey, which I will do, but not today. Today I am just talking about myself. I'll tell my dad to skip this one.


  1. However you define your brand, Hope, I'm sold on it! It takes a lot for me to slog through a regular mommy blogger's blog, hence I was so relieved to find you.

    Since your Dad won't be reading this (does he do what you tell him to do?) I'll say this: his preference runs counter to much of the blogosphere's proven preference.

    1. I know, I know. I guess I'll have to repress my naturally philosophical instincts.

      But I'm thrilled you--and my other dozens of readers--slog through the blog.
      I like that rhyme.