Wednesday, 20 October 2010

How to get a few things right on SL blogs and when promoting stuff (and how I get most of it wrong)

Free.Seats four. Link!

Promoting things (or yourself) is fine and useful. Well, usually, because who doesn’t want to play show and tell? Most of us do, I think. Don’t we? 

Look at the pumpkin... which is course a plug.

Different, eye-catching is good. But it may, in the long run, be better to stand out thanks to consistently good quality photos or products, interesting texts, or to a stunning layout, than - for instance - by blasting onto the scene with an epidemic of large fonts, bad spelling (see below) and exclamation marks (not to mention pretty non-sensational products). 

Ouch that’s bitchy but it’s an opinion. But again see below, last point. Fun.

*Points at self* I take lousy photos and  ramble to the point that product details are lost amid a mass of irrelevant text. 

Layout? What layout? 

Product quality? Well, ummm, having taken a quick tour of stuff advertised on the Midnight Mania circuit and elsewhere, I’ve seen worse than my designs. Much, much worse. But there is always somebody better than you.

Always. Unless you are Coco Designs.

Blog posts, advertising copy, signs, notecards: it helps if they’re readable. Which means at least a spell check. Yes, yes, it is ‘only SL’ but if you really have to slide in a French word (or even a big word), take the time to check it. Viola = string instrument or a flower. Voilà means ‘there you are’.  Apostrophes matter too. Bikini’s means belonging to the bikini not ‘more than one bikini’. 

Foreign writers, however, I cut a lot of slack. I would so not blog in French even if I write is reasonably well. Funnily enough though, foreign writers do tend to get their apostrophes right. 

*Points at self* I write boring stuff for a living, so spelling and grammar are relatively OK. But again, I ramble and slip too easily into ‘boring’ or pontificating* on the blog too. 

When it comes to signs, etc., my Photoshop skills are, shall we say, lacking. Understatement. 

*Hey look long word.  

Some of my product notecards have a French version (not all, because I am lazy). They will have errors in them because I am too lazy to get a friend to double check. Pfffft. (That’s a French shrug sound - the more fffff, the bigger the shrug).

Don’t whine. Don’t do tantrums. Don’t point fingers. Well, unless you’re a gossip blogger or you can pull it off in a way that is funny and / or thought-provoking.  And can take the fallout.

Sure, you should please yourself because it is Your Blog, but then don’t whine MORE because some of your readers criticise you for being arrogant or just plain infuriating rather than sticking to promoting things. 

Life is not fair, so logically SL is not fair either. If it was, I would be the Next Big Name and the proud owner of a whole sim (or three, let’s be ambitious), constantly overflowing with admiring customers flocking to buy my totally amazing decor. 

Also, if it was fair, then Mr RL would not roll his eyes when I pay into LL but find it perfectly OK to return from the DIY store with Yet Another Shiny Power Tool.  But I digress. 

*Points at self* Oh I can rant with the best of them. Possibly couched in slightly more polite terms than in some of the gossip blogs, but I do rant. It is My Blog. And now and then my inner bitch surfaces. 

I am quite sure this blog also helps my ten brave followers to exercise their scrolling fingers most of the time, too *waves*.

And actually I don’t want to be the next big name. A little more income to offset some of the tier would help in terms of domestic harmony, however. Heh.

Prioritise. Focus. Some people can do, and be, everything on SL and more power to them. Seriously. Particularly those who make their SL business into a RL job and do it well. 

But you will do better if you know where your talents lie and don’t try to do it all unless you are insanely talented and have a lot of time. Another opinion. 

*Points at self* I flit from building something big and complicated to the never-ending quest for the perfect black skirt to writing rambling blog posts to gossiping endlessly to friends or to turning out a one-prim wonder.

Yep, I’d like more exposure but don’t have the staying power (or time) to build AND enjoy my SL friends AND work on brown-nosing getting in with the cool kids of the moment proper advertising campaigns.  

So the ‘self-promotion’ side is pretty much a fail but hey, now comes the most important thing:

Enjoy yourself. Or it’s not worth doing. Maybe if SL is your RL job or is an essential part of your income you can (and must) cope with more hassle factors, but otherwise have some fun. Really. 

If writing blog posts with an epidemic of exclamation marks floats your boat, ignore irritating people like me. 

*Points at self* I have fun, mostly. 

But not always, which is why some major changes are coming at Vent du Sud. Good ones, I think. More about that when I get back from another work trip mid-November (whine, moan).

And in fact no, I don’t want half a dozen sims. I don’t want to make big bucks. Realising that after nearly four years has been a Very Good Thing. 

(Pssst, and despite the fact that my pumpkin arrangement  is one of 37,435 pumpkins available I had fun making it and it is free).


Anonymous said...


Shame you decided to post anonymously. Interesting link, though.

My opinion is that readable *helps* get a message across. Does that make me a grammar nazi? Actually, not really. But as Stephen Fry says in the article, if you are going to an interview, for example, you 'dress up' your language (out of respect and with a view to getting something). I tend to think that 'dressing up' your promotion deserves it too.