My Most Popular Posts on Writing, Marketing and Life

It’s been a year since I re-launched pen to ZEN as a site for entrepreneurs who are learning to write marketing and website copy…or who want to hire me as their writer or coach. (When p2Z was first born mid-2013, it was a niche site for journaling!)

Looking at the site analytics from 2014, I discovered my most popular posts in terms of page views. When I looked at engagement, I happily found a fair amount of overlap. Makes sense. Popular posts have more friends, I guess!

I want to share this posts with you now because they show us what my readers are like, what they have learned, and what they care about.

These results say a lot more than my content. They paint a picture of who I am serving and how I best serve them. They also teach me how lucky I am to be writing for a small audience of hard-working, smart folks with big hearts.

That’s YOU. Thank you.

pen to ZEN’s 3 Most Popular Posts of 2014

3. I’m excited to know Bloggers: Subtract Words, Add Actions, and Give Memorable Advice is a top post on my blog. I had an idea what would come in first and second place, but number three was a surprise. I think I know why it worked.

Blogger advice pen to ZenFirst, it’s because it features such great advice from people most of us respect: Seth Godin, Pat Flynn, and the Sparkline from Plus, it specifically addresses bloggers. I think I should do that more often.

Second, I promoted it with a small Facebook ad experiment. I was playing around with various approaches for about a month last spring. Getting people directly to this post with a visual/quote helped it out.

Finally, this post featured the sites of some of my peers, friends and clients. I love to share insight from the people I work with and admire. And apparently, my audience loves that, too.

It boosted email opt-ins as well. And though it didn’t get many comments (my posts rarely do), it really captured attention of its readers. Because its bounce rate is only 9%. My site average for 2014 is 46%.

2.  I expected How Turning Pro Answered My Call for: Help! to be my most popular post of 2014, but it actually came in second place. It’s pretty easy to see why this one worked.

Help! pen to ZenFirst, it was tweeted by Steven Pressfield and by Callie Oettinger, his publicist/marketer who also writes on his Pressfield’s blog. They pointed hundreds of new readers to this post.

Second, it was a contest, with a prize my readers valued: books by the very author that inspired me and this topic.

Giving away the books was a joy for me. I loved packing them up and sending them around the world to land in the hands of people who I know could TRULY be DIRECTLY served by reading them. Again, I have to thank Callie for sending them to me. I still have a few more and will be doing another round of paying it forward in 2015!

1. My heart swells to know Why I Had No Time to Write this Post and Why That’s a Lie was my most popular post last year. My heart breaks a little, too, because of what I wrote about.

time lao tzu treesAt the end of January 2014, as I was preparing to re-launch this site, I also had to suddenly prepare to lose my mom. She had fought a long battle with her ovarian cancer, and we thought she was still winning, but early last year she had to go into hospice.

She died a few weeks later, in mid-February.

It stands as one of the most difficult experiences of my life. But, it has also been mind- and life-altering, as I wrote about in the post.

The reaction it received means the world to me. I cry every time I read it.

The Path of Authenticity

It was weird for me to have to combine business and heartbreak…or my personal life and blogging about writing. But when I read the “No Time to Write” post and all the comments, not to mention the flood of emails that came in afterward, I realized it’s not so weird.

It’s my reality. There’s more to me, and my business, and my writing, than marketing copy. I’ll never be able to separate the two, and I’ve decided, no matter what expert business advice I come across out there, that I do not want to.

Luckily, it seems like you don’t want me to, either.

So again, thank you. For helping me learn what is most important–one way I learn this is by what matters to you!

Because you matter to me.

PS: I started a new site at the beginning of 2015, to help us focus on what is most important in our lives, and to free ourselves from getting caught up in too much advice, dogma, self-pressure, etc. It evolved from my experiences of last year. It’s called 52 Permission Slips, if you want to check it out.

PPS: MOM, I MISS YOU EVERY DAY. You were so loved!

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