Writing And The Meme-Ing of Life

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Over the past year, I traveled into the bowels of the internet.  (Like, seriously, I’ve seen stuff about bowels and I can’t un-see it.)  During these forays within the interweb, I discovered “MEMES.”

What’s a meme?  According to the Urban Dictionary, it is:

“an idea, belief or belief system, or pattern of behavior that spreads throughout a culture either vertically by cultural inheritance (as by parents to children) or horizontally by cultural acquisition (as by peers, information media, and entertainment media)

Blah, blah, blah.  In my middle-aged, formerly project management mind, a meme is just a few sentences on a PowerPoint slide.  The best memes contain funny or provocative thoughts or images.

Who cares?  Why should this matter to a writer?

Because these days, every opportunity to market yourself matters.  And memes are a fantastic way to market your writing.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been studying other parenting websites for the past two years.  Memes generate A LOT of traffic on these blogs.  In fact, most of the memes I’ve seen generate tens of thousands of “Likes,” as opposed to hundreds of “Likes” from their 900-word articles on these sites.

That’s right.  TENS OF THOUSANDS versus HUNDREDS of “Likes” on the site.  As writers, we’d be crazy NOT to harness this meme power for our blogs.

I don’t claim to be a meme expert, but I’m learning how to use them.  Here are my initial thoughts on meme marketing:

BREVITY:  My eyes glaze over on long-winded memes.  Especially with teeny, tiny font.  (Okay, this may also be because I need new glasses.  But I still think this point is valid.)  If you want to write an article, then write an article.  But don’t shove a paragraph from your article onto a meme.  No one will read it.

IMAGES:  There are plenty of great memes with just words on it.  But life and my Facebook newsfeed move fast, so memes with funny images are better at catching my attention when I’m scrolling through Facebook.  The greatest challenge is finding images without copyright restrictions.  Right now, I’m taking pictures in my house.  But I’d rather find a good site with free images for public use.  If I find one, I will share it on another blog post.  With a lot of new memes.

BRANDING:  This takes some thought.  If you want to use memes to market your blog, there should be something like a logo that ties all of them together and leads people back to your site.  At a minimum, your name or site name should be on the meme.  Applying the same font size and type to all of your memes is another way to create a consistent brand.  If your meme is branded properly, someone will be able to just glance at it and know that it comes from your site.

BENEFITS:  Why even bother with memes?  Because people have limited attention spans.  (Look!  A cat just walked by!  I’m sorry, what were we talking about?)  A 2-3 sentence meme with a funny image is an efficient way to deliver a customized message about your writing to your readers.  For example, try Googling David Hasselhoff memes…….  I laughed until I cried the first time I saw these.  (NOTE:  For copyright reasons, I don’t recommend loading them on your blog.  Unless you received The Hoff’s permission to use them, of course.)

TO ANYONE READING THIS:  So, what do you guys think?  Have any of you tapped into your meme potential?  Please let me know!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the art of MEME-ING.    

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