Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Are Your Readers?

Last night I came across a post by Jennifer James in her Mom Blog Magazine titled "Why Do People Read Your Blog? Do You Even Know?" which inspired me to respond.

Bonnie says:

I have been blogging for almost four years now. I started my personal blog to learn about this form of communication and how I might be able to use a blog for my business. I have since learned that business blogging is much different than having a personal blog.

I also have found that blogging is a 2-way street. You get what you give. Unless you are a talented writer with a compelling story (think Pioneer Woman), your best bet is to make friends and comment on other blogs.

I made a few friends at Mom Blogger’s Club and the now-defunct Cre8Buzz. My “readers” are a handful of bloggers that cross-comment with me. I don’t spend as much time on my personal blog as I used to so I keep my bloggy friends to a small group.

I think it is more important to write for yourself than to worry about what your “readers” want to hear. For me, blogging is about personal development and keeping track of life’s trials and tribulations. And making a few friends along the way.

Experience is the Best Teacher

It's hard to believe that I am coming up on my 4-year anniversary of blogging. It's been an amazing journey. I've "met" some amazing bloggers along the way in my quest to understand Social Media. The knowledge I've gained has been helpful in understanding how to integrate tools like Twitter, Blogger, FaceBook and Constant Contact into my business.

There are so many misconceptions and worries when starting a blog. I worried about looking foolish in front of thousands of people. What would I write about? Would I be exposing my family to stalkers and trolls? How do I get started?

Truth is, in the beginning you will have no readers. No one will know about you. You are alone. The only person you will look foolish to is YOU.

Finding Your Voice

Forget about readers. The first challenge in blogging is to find your voice. Who are you? What is your unique perspective? What is your purpose for blogging?

If the answer is to make money, read no further. I am the wrong person to advise you.

Your number one reader should be you, the writer. Write about what you know, what interests you, and share your unique prospective on life. Write stories that you want to read. YOU will be your best audience and biggest fan!

A few tips on finding an audience

1. Join a Shared Interest Group - for an example, if you are a "Mom Blogger" join a site such as Mom Bloggers Club. You can find other groups on Ning, or use Google. Join in discussions, make comments on posts of interests. MAKE FRIENDS!

2. Key Words - Make sure you are using Key Words that someone might use when searching for the topic you are writing about. If possible, use these in your post title as well as when labeling the post in the area provided, "Labels for this post". Some websites have an area for SEO and ask for Meta words as well as a description.

3. Install a analytics program such as Stat-Counter or Google Analytics to find out who is coming to your blog and how they are finding you.

4. Tell your friends about your post - The best way to get others to read your post is to announce it on Twitter and provide a link. Shorten the title if possible using a program such as tiny URL. Give your fellow bloggers a reason to think about you and check out your blog. A well-worded comment on another post will help drive others to your blog.
Find posts to comment on.

What works for you? What drives others to your blog? How do you find your "readers"?


terri said...

Your thoughts are exactly what I believe about blogging. I have been at this just over 4 years now, and if I were in it for money or glory, I'd have given up long ago. I write mainly for me, though I enjoy it when what I write strikes a chord with others and they respond. I stick with it because like you, I've gathered a small group of online friends and we stay in touch by visiting each other's blogs. (I kind of miss our Cre8buzz days, though.) :-)

Getrealmommy said...

I go back and forth. At times I am totally satisfied with the idea of writing for the pure enjoyment of it, doing it for myself. Almost like some sort of a diary. For Christmas this year the best gift I got was from my husband who printed an entire year of posts and bound them together. He picked out his favorite quote from each month and put it at the front of each "chapter" (month) I realized what a treasure I had. This is an amazing tangible piece of work my kids can look at when they are grown, and know more about their childhood.
Other times I get sucked in by the analytics and sit and stew about why I don't have more readers, and why people don't comment on my blog. I come across other blogs that aren't so great, and wonder why they have a million followers....
My blog is always evolving, but as long as I continue to enjoy it I am going to keep doing it. And I'll never do it for money....