Friday, 13 May 2005

How to promote your AOL journal

this entry is my attempt to answer some of the questions i've been receiving lately from new journalers who are interested in increasing their readership
i have a few suggestions, please, just keep in mind that these are MY personal opinion .. i am confident that there is more than one way to skin a cat and not everyone will agree with my suggestions, but here are a few things you might want to consider ... 
first, be aware of the simple fact that not everyone appreciates or enjoys an identical type of journal content or format, so the more people that read your journal, the better chance you have of finding regular readers who are considerate enough to leave encouraging comments
ADVERTISE YOUR JOURNAL !! i would suggest that you pick a handful of journals you consider enjoyable .. journals that have the same "audience" that you feel might be interested in your journal
make it a point to visit those journals on a regular basis and introduce yourself .. let them know how you found their journal .. then keep going back and leave comments along with the FULL url for your journal (
remember that the url for aol journals IS case sensitive (there is nothing more frustrating than for someone to leave a comment with a note to "visit my journal" yet they don't take the time to let you know where their journal is .. or worse yet, give the wrong url !!)
if someone is considerate enough to leave well thought out and encouraging comments in MY journal, you can bet that i'm going to be motivated to return the favor !!

put the links to those handful of journals in your Other Journals section .. that section is one of the deciding factors when i choose to visit another journal on a regular basis .. if their other journal section is empty it is an indication to me that they have no interest in other journals and i quickly lose interest in their journal
TARGET YOUR READERS !!  is the font you use in your journal large enough for most readers to see?  are your selected journal colors inviting?  while a size 10 purple font on a burgundy background might look good to you, what you might be doing is eliminating a large number of aol members that simply can't see what you are attempting to share
CHOOSE YOUR CONTENT !!  be aware of who you envision is your "target audience" and when you write, keep them in mind .. if it is your desire to attract people who complain and moan .. then by all means, fill each journal entry with complaining and negativity .. but remember that if you intend on attracting humorous thoughtful readers then you need to post similar content so that they want to come back for more
are you a collector of jokes, memorable quotes or recipes? are you are family oriented?  then visit journals with similar content and target those readers !!
BECOME INVOLVED !!  there is a growing community of aol journalers who are connected by one single commonality, we each have an AOL Journal .. become "involved" in the community .. start by joining and becoming involved in the Born to Blog Community and the AOL Journal Message Board .. you might also want to check out the member guided message board J-land Bar and Grill

PARTICIPATE in one of the interactive journals mr scalzi's weekend assignment - check out an example here Weekend Assignment #58: Mothers and Children check his journal daily for the newest Assignment - By The Way...  

participate in patricks place "Saturday Six" - The Saturday Six - Episode 56

participate in the Journal Jar - 
The Journal Jar
MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO FIND YOUR JOURNAL .. add the link to your journal(s) on your message board signature and your AOL profile

to add a link to your journal in your message board signature:
click "setup" or "preferences" at the top of any message board
click "signature"
open your journal
click on the favorite place heart (the little red heart appearing in the right hand corner)
hold the button down and drag the heart over to the signature area
click "save"

now anytime you post to a message board, as long as the "use signature" box is checked, your link will appear

to add your link to your AOL profile:go to keyword: myprofile
click on "my profile" in the upper right corner
click on "links" from list in the left column
open your journal click and drag the favorite place heart from your journal into the text area
click "finish"

there are 2 known publicly used and member created AOL Journal Directories that are used by journalers to find other journals to read .. you can leave the link to your journal in the comment section of either directory to have your journal added

AOL Journal Directory (journals listed by screen name) created by myself : AOL Journal Directory

The Unofficial AOL Journal (journals listed by interest) created by lioneyes4you : The Unofficial AOL Journal Directory

there are some of us that werelucky enough to have started a journal back when it was first introduced in beta testing .. with only a handful of journals to choose from, things were less
complicated !! but with the recent surge in aol journals, i have a hard time deciding which journals i choose to visit and contribute to
MAKE AN EFFORT TO FIND READERS !!  you need to go out and find your readers !!
USE YOUR JOURNAL to share other journals that you find interesting .. both by using the other journals section and perhaps highlighting selected journals in entries
BE CONSISTENT .. be patient .. be uplifting and encouraging .. if you are just now finding your way to aol journals,be aware that most of us have already used up the allotment of links in our other journals sections .. its just a tad more competitive than it was when AOL Journals were initially created for that limited and valuable space to add links to other journals
even i was forced a few days ago to sit down and take a serious look at the links in my other journals section .. i was finding new and interesting journals to read but there simply wasn't room to add them all .. i had to sit down and decide which links to eliminate .. those that were filled with constant negativity or had fonts that were too small to read or had backgrounds that were too dark, or journals that were no longer posting daily updates were the ones to be removed so that i could add new links to journals with more appealing content
if its not your nature to compete with the established journals then go out and find other new journals and target them !!
show them how to entice readers through adding comments to other journals .. put up a link in your journal to the Born to Blog community
MAKE A COMMITMENT !!  it does take a lot of time and effort to get your journal established .. if you are just starting out, plan on spending several hours a day to compose your journal entries and make the rounds to leave comments .. the established journalers can vouch for the fact that you can't expect to take a few days off and retain your readership until well after you are established 
above all, try to have fun !!  although it has become more competitive .. the rewards of having regular, considerate readers makes this all worthwhile

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