Selling me softly with his song

One of the most enchanting moments in traveling the web is when you find a blog you’ve never seen before. Many times it happens when you’re reading comments on someone else’s blog, find a commenter who says something interesting and head over to her blog to find out what else there might be.

I know research confirms that you should do this, but I still don’t get it:

“Welcome to XYZ! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to my RSS feed so you’ll never miss a post.”

In the context of social media, this is pretty much the equivalent of a person meeting another person and starting the conversation by saying “Hi, nice to meet you! Subscribe to my magazine, won’t you?”

This seems to be in direct contradiction to the advice that in essence says Do Not Sell, And If You Do, Do It Softly. After all, you ARE selling with those appeals.

Yet, we bloggers want our visitors to rush headlong into subscribing. The funniest part is that you sometimes see a subscription command like this even on blog posts that teach you how you shouldn’t be too much in-your-face with your selling. Talk or walk?

Shouldn’t you first let your visitor to get to know you and your content before you introduce the idea of a permanent relationship?

To me, a potential visitor’s adventures in a blog look like this:

(Finds a link to your blog.) —This looks promising, let’s see what the blog is about.
—Hey, here I am. Looks pretty good. Who is this and what does she tell me?
—Hmm, good points. Hadn’t thought about it that way before.
—What else is there? (Clicks to another post.)
—Yes, this post is as good as the previous one. I might want this blog in my reader. Where’s the subscription link? Oh, there it is. (Click.)

Or:

(Finds a link to your blog.) —This looks promising, let’s see what the blog is about.
—Hey, here I am. But what’s this? She wants me as a subscriber right off the bat? Must be one of those link baiters and snake oil peddlers. (Leaves site quickly.)

Don’t we need to follow the Know–Like–Trust–Buy path any more? The “subscribe now” and “join my email list” appeals seem to be putting the Buy first. Don’t you think it acts as a shield to the rest of your content, making your new visitors ricochet off in another direction? Why not let them make up their minds at their own pace by introducing the subscription link AFTER your awesome content.

Yes, I’m a sinner, too. Because research says so. Eyeballs are important. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

#blogging#social media

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