Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Virtual Poetry Audience

I’ve read several articles recently on blogging, on what makes for a good blog, on how often to write blog posts, on how to increase one’s blog readership etc, particularly with regard to blogs about poetry and other forms of literature.

Jim Murdoch wrote an excellent post on the subject, which was taken up by Andy Philip.

I’ve never really gone about blogging in a strategic way. It’s good to know that people read my blog, but I’ve never even tried to reach a mass audience. To attract even a modest number of readers each month to any blog requires huge effort and I have to save my time and effort for other activities.

Anyway, I glanced at the “Blogs of Note” column on my Blogger dashboard and, to my surprise, saw that a site called Poem of the Week was listed. I went there and discovered it was pretty much what I might have expected. The blog author posts one poem each week, usually by a well known or emerging poet. The poems are usually of good quality.

Leaving aside copyright issues, what I found most interesting were the comments sections. Because of its “Blog of Note” status, there have been a large number of comments on the last few posts – many from people who don’t seem to know how many poetry blogs there are out there. Comments like “Great idea!” for example. And there are many people commenting on how great it is to find poetry on this site and how much they love reading poetry. Clearly, there is a much larger audience for poetry than poets and critics often assume. But unless people are pointed to the right places where good poetry is available, they don’t know how to find what they are looking for. But when they do find it, many like it and some are surprised to find themselves liking it.

So, clearly, poetry-related blogs could be far more popular than they actually are, if only they could find ways of tapping in to that large pool of potential readers. That “if only” is a big task.


Jim Murdoch said...

This is where marketing is so important. Take an example like the …For Dummies series. All they are are textbooks but they are delivered in a bright, friendly way. They take serious subjects and present them in an accessible manner. But they're still texbooks and textbooks are a necessary evil. I have several books on VBA for Access and the …For Dummies book is as good as any of the others and a lot easier to use.

Crafty Green Poet said...

There are some great networking sites out there for poets, eg - Poets Who Blog (http://poetswhoblog.blogspot.com), and prompt sites such as Read Write Poem (http://readwritepoem.org). Okay the standard of poetry produced by participants varies enormously and the audience is almost solely other poets but it does offer the blogging poet a good starting audience and guarentees good numbers of comments for those prepared to comment on other participants' work.

One advantage to Crafty Green Poet is that it gets crafters and environmentalists reading poetry!

Rob said...

Good points, folks. Thanks.