Professional Storyteller

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I was recently contacted by an outfit that does key word search and things of that kind. Their diagnostics revealed that my website has no appeal whatsoever, and since I've had two inquiries in not quite two years--both this month, mind you--I had to agree. For $1,295 they'll give my site a complete makeover. Then, for a mere $225 a month, they'll monitor, make adjustments, etc., to make me easily findable on Google, Ask.com, etc. In a monumental turnaround in my life, I've come to accept that one can make money at what one loves and still remain an honorable person. The makeover seems reasonable, the monthly maintenance not a great investment. Anybody have experiences with these kinds of things? Can someone recommend an agency?

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Dear Bernie:

I am unsure how you determined that Storyteller.net is "underused".

Perhaps as we are now accustomed to social networking sites like Professional Storyteller, Facebook, and blogs, we define "usage" differently on the Internet. True, these social sites make it possible to reply in real-time or leave comments for each other. However, remember that Storyteller.net is considered one of the best resources online. There are tons of articles and podcasts added on a regular basis.

Are you creating material yourself? Do you have a blog or do you make regular tweets through Twitter? Is there anything you are doing to indicate to people that you are ever-learning and ever-contributing to your storytelling community?

Sometimes to be part of a directory or an organization is really to say, "I support my art. I realize, as an expert in _________, that I need to be connected to these worldwide associations."

Even if these directories or organizations do not fit your niche completely, they still connect with storytelling on the global scale.

Love your art. Love those associated with your art. You do not have to agree with all the trends and conversations, but you can love the potential.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storytelling
www.rachelhedman.com
How-to Blog: http://www.storytellingadventures.blogspot.com
Performance Blog: http://www.familyfamine.com
Fair question, Rachel. I checked the list of storytellers in New York and New Jersey and the list of tellers seemed very small, especially in Jersey, considering the size of the community. But I may give it a shot--I have been on it before, when I told just Italian and family stories. Now the major part of my repertory is my 110-minute monologue involving my past lives and travels elsewhere in the universe and that's a vastly different audience, at least perhaps. Maybe it's just the choice of key words. :)

No, I don't Twitter. I find the whole thing intrusive and hollow. Show me a meaningful tweet and maybe I'll change my mind. I don't read blogs and don't read blogs. Usually save the day's miscellany for friends. I suppose you have to do these when storytelling is your livelihood. I can't imagine my livelihood coming from stories about past lives and travels elsewhere in the universe. Perhaps that's mistaken thinking is this days where every other movie is about the Mayan prophecy.
By the way, there have been 1,071 searches for storytellers at Storyteller.net this week. Plenty. of. life. Premium page members get most of that action.
I finally have my own website up and running. It was something I put off for years. Within two weeks, I had three brand new queries about my storytelling services. I thought, "Wow, search engine optimization works!" But I found out that's not the real story.

I checked under the hood of my new site, and Google informed me that these three people never made it to my new website. All of them found me via my premium page at Storyteller.net. My annual investment in a premium page pays for itself many times over.

I do think there is one aspect of Storyteller.net that is underused: the premium membership page. When I search for storytellers, and find significant numbers who have elected only to have a basic listing, I wonder: why is this person willing to provide contact information, but not willing to share any information about what they do, why I might enjoy them, and the kinds of stories they do? Especially because there are plenty of storytellers on the same site who are willing to share that info. Looking at this phenomenon from the perspective of a potential customer... with the exception of geographical limitations (e.g. "this listing is the only storyteller I could find within a 50 miles radius of my town"), I don't have any reason to learn more about the basic listing tellers.
Okay, okay, I'll give it a shot. With such trustworthy advocates how can I go on fighting?! The proof of the pudding will be in the telling. Or the telling gigs. Oh yes, I'll get a premium page. My looks aren't enough to bring in leads. :) Besides, it'll be a challenge to find the key words for the non-dysfunctional-Russian-immigrant-family stories.

I'll post something about the results of my listing when I have results.

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