One of the more well known parables of the New Testament is the parable of the sower. In it, Jesus tells a story of a certain sower:
3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
The parable is about who would accept the Gospel and who wouldn’t, but I think it’s just as applicable to blogging. In the parable, there are three kinds of people: those who flat out reject the gospel, those who accept but because of persecution or tribulation later give up on it, and those who accept and become faithful followers.
In the world of blogging, readers can be divided into three similar groups: those who never read your blog; those who read it once, but never come back; and those who read it and become blog subscribers. In the end, we all want blog subscribers. Not only do RSS subscribers read your content consistently, they’re more apt to share what you write with others. Thus, in the long run, more RSS subscribers mean more readers.
What can the parable of the sower teach us about getting RSS subscribers?
If you noticed in the story, the sower wasn’t very methodical about where he cast his seed. He was just throwing it around everywhere. Some of it landed in good soil and some of it landed among rocks and thorns.
We should be like the sower. Instead of seed, we have links to our blog. Our field is not only the entire internet, but also the real world. We should be “sowing” our links everywhere. If sowing links is like sowing seed, then only a third of the people who check your link out will become subscribers to your blog. 2/3 of the people who see your link won’t be coming back. If you want to increase the number of RSS subscribers, you have to increase the number of that 1/3 of potential subscribers.
Let’s do some math:
Let’s say you have 1 link floating out there in cyberspace and 100 people see it. 66 of those people won’t become subscribers, but 33 will.
Let’s increase the number of links to 10. Each link is seen by 100 people, so we have 1000 people who are aware of your blog. Now you’ve increased the pool of potential subscribers to 333! Of course 666 of those 1000 people won’t be coming back, but who cares! You’ve got 333 possible RSS subscribers.
Of course, the math is very simplified. It doesn’t work exactly like that in the real world, but I think it shows the principle. The more you expose your link, the more you increase your chance of getting regular readers.
So, How Can I Sow My Links
The number of different ways you can sow your links is only limited by your imagination and creativity. Here’s a short list of ways you could possibly sow your links:
- Put your blog site as your e-mail signature
- Comment in forums and put site address as your signature
- Comment on other people’s blogs and make sure to put your site in the “Website” box in the comment form
- Include your blog address on your business cards
- Just tell people you meet your blog address
I’ve been putting several of these into practice. The sowing technique I found surprisingly fruitful is commenting in forums. I’ve received a nice increase in traffic to The Frugal Law Student ever since I started posting regularly in forums. I have well over 100 comments on one forum, so that’s 100 sown links.
At the end of the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about how those who accept his message bear different amounts of fruit:
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The same goes with RSS subscribers. Some will just subscribe to your blog and read it regularly, which is great! We want regular readers. However, some of your new subscribers possibly could bring new readers to your blog by a hundredfold or sixty by sharing your blog with people they know.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start sowing those links!
[tags]blogging tips, parable of the sower, RSS, [/tags]