A lot of blogging success is purely judged on your ability to bring in traffic. However my experience in the past have suggested that building a better class of audience is far more better than building visitors to your blog. Visitors usually equate to loss – emotional and monetary. In addition they also tend to drain you of all your blogging motivation. Getting visitors is like being an artist ( the day you are sick , you will not perform). Having an audience is like running a business (The day you are sick your business will still run).
Here are some of my experience put together to build a class of audience.
1) Are you building an audience or visitors ?
Over a period of year my blog receives approximately 36K unique visitors. Looking at my blog loyalty graph in analytics I know that only 6% of people return to my blog more than 4 times. This gives me a probable audience of less than 2200 people a year.
Although this number is very small it has a significant impact on blog’s life stage. If an author cannot find the right audience , the purpose of writing is nothing but a waste of time. Period.
Getting visitors to your blog is easy. Getting audience is equally difficult. Hence I have noted from my past blogging and other offline lessons that
- Blogging for money is the worst motivation you can have.
- Blogging to attract twitter and facebook traffic is the worst form of building audience.
- Believe me if you write compelling content, you will find your audience.
- Writing personal experiences and opinions goes a long way in building a loyal audience.
- Providing generic, list-based and useless advice is not compelling enough for people to convert to audience.
- A taste of disagreement in every blogger brings the best of arguments/discussions. Social spectrum(people, visitors)tend to take sides easily.
- If you can disagree with a tinge of humor, you have already provided a great platform for a following.
2) Is you blog full of showcases ? Point of difference between showing and telling !
I have a questions for people who compile all these list based articles (Guilty myself). How is it that your list based article is providing value to a visitor except for serving them with reference website to get inspired from ?
The real point of difference between showing and telling is that the latter tends to offer more value. Say you compiled a list of 50 inspirational websites for portfolio design.
You compile a list of 50 names with a thumbnail of each website. This provides reference sites for future inspiration. Period.
This is quite frankly a muted conversation. Apart from finding these websites you did not really do a great job of telling people why you think they are great ? This will bring visitors not audience.
You compile a list of 50 websites.
- You critique each website with a small footnote or 2-3 points of difference from the real world.
- You tell your reader why you chose these websites
- you tell your reader what is really compelling
- You tell your reader why you think these websites are great (Pimping your authority in such fields)
- You indirectly invite the author/creators of the website to comment on each critique you have just made.
This is much better because the article now has emotions, personal opinions and critique. This is much more an open conversation.
3) How do you look at the leaves on the tree ?
A zen was passing by a small village. Under an old tree, he sat for a while to take some rest. A passerby immediately recognized him and bowed to the great zen. The passerby after giving proper respect questioned the zen about his life.
He said – “Oh great Zen , How long do I have to take the burden of this life,my family ? When will I be liberated from this world ? “. The Zen was amused. He simply said “when all the leaves on this tree fall down, you will be liberated. “The passerby got really upset. He looked at the tree and there were a few thousand leaves on the tree. Cursing the Zen he left immediately.
A little while later another passerby came and saw the zen too. He having paid the respect asked the same question. The zen smiled this time. He replied “when all the leaves on this tree fall down, you will be liberated.” hearing the Zen , the passerby started dancing. The zen was amused even more. he asked the passerby why he was very happy ?
The traveler replied that the leaves on the tree are volatile and will probably wear off in a few years.He was really happy that his end was near.
The moral is basically the optimism/viewpoint in each person is different. However keeping a positive approach and explaining your content in the positive outlook will only help build a better breed of audience.
4) Are you invoking the emotional or the logical ?
A lot of bloggers fail due to non-persistence. However a lot of them actually fail because they get quite drifted by the style of someone else’s writing. Stick to your style and you will win your set of audience.
The first set of question to ask yourself is whether you are invoking the logical sense or the emotional sense in someone ? Try and answer this question as honestly as you can.
Invoking the logical
- A Math blog
- A stats, numbers blog
- Analytics blog
Invoking the emotional
- Spiritual blog
- Blogging blog
- Social media blog
If you can figure a particular sense you are invoking writing articles becomes relatively easy. This will also convert better in terms of audience. Each style will have its own set of growth. Remember to be persistent and never give up.
5) Adopting , Addressing and Analyzing before publishing.
Before I publish a new article, I like to go through some comments and discussions on the old threads. This gives me ample insights into knowing what people are thinking about and are reading in the entire article.
I tend to also browse through most of my category niche blog and find some good things that I can adopt on my blog. Keeping a track of the trend will provide you insights.
Always address each concern in your next publish. It could be a concern from a person commenting, a readers comment personally or just a discussion in the open. Make sure you analyse and appropriate a proper explanation on each concern. Too often people loose readers because they do not tend to respond to comments.
Also make sure that you justify and mention each change you make to your blog, your thoughts or your style of writing. Explain each of these choices individually. This will be well received by your readers and probably get you more readers via word of mouth.
Finally I implore you forum – what are your thoughts , concerns, comments….