Count "Likes", Not "Views"

As a ghostwriter, I write articles for clients who then post the articles online. Then many start keeping score...

Did 100 people read the story?

Did I break 2,500 views?

Will this make my top three?

While understandable, these are the wrong questions to ask. You should be seeking engagement, not simply eyeballs. Your goal should be to connect with like-minded humans with whom you have the potential to foster an actual relationship. Seek to attract people with whom you'd like to become colleagues, customers and/or friends.

In the pieces I write under my own name, I pay special attention to Likes and Comments. Here are two examples:

Put Kindness First on Your To Do List: 11,6807 Views; 116 Likes, 132 Comments

How to Avoid Being Underpaid for Your Work: 83,816 Views; 461 Likes; 104 Comments

The second piece attracted eight times as many readers, but this could be a function of how it was promoted, and who promoted it. But even with 8X the reach, it generated fewer comments than the first piece. Also, for every person who read and liked Avoid Being Underpaid, two people read and Liked Kindness First.

I guarantee that some of the people who read Kindness First will play a significant role in my life. These are people with whom I share fundamental human values. Something in this piece struck a chord inside them.

That's what matters to me. Much as I still get pleasure out of having my words reach a large audience, everything pales versus connecting one person at a time.

A few words about connecting...

I read every comment on every article I write, but only reply to a few comments from each article. Most readers don't need or want a reply from the author; many enjoy interacting with other readers. I think of the Comments section as a showcase for everyone BUT the author, and jump in only when someone has asked for a reply, or when someone has made such a pivotal comment that it requires my response.

In many cases, I reply privately to people, and thus begin an actual relationship.

Image: id-iom/Flickr