Blogging impressions: audience matters

Understanding your audience can be a major issue if you own a blog. Do you ever wonder what your audience is telling you by ‘liking’ your blog? Do you have posts that are loved and posts that seem to be completely ignored?

Mark Schaefer recently wrote about the importance of comments on his {grow} blog. I completely get this. It can be hard to interpret (a lack of) likes. In this post I’ll explore how your particular audience affects your pattern of likes, the pros and cons of likes (not necessarily in that order), and next steps.

Audience categories and blog results

I’ve been building a little theory (okay, officially it’s a hypothesis – I know), and my latest two posts seem to confirm it – so far, so good I guess ;):

Blogging impressions: audience matters

Audience matters: Who’s here
– and why? [OCAL picture]

  • We get different kinds of people on our blogs, obviously.
  • Different people like different posts and topics, so multi-topic blogs get likes from people depending on whether they like the subject matter (and tone of voice) in a particular post.
  • Many people on WordPress.com are mainly interested in non-businessy topics. You can blog about business, but you’d better inject a healthy dose of humor and not get into detailed stuff that nobody wants to read unless it’s their job. Um, that could be me… although not between 10 PM and my first dose of coffee 😉

Here’s what you get if you try out different kinds of posts.

  1. Humor and personal touch 60% or over – business content 40% but preferably less: you get likes from quite a few WP users. They’re a friendly audience. And yes, I did make those numbers up 🙂
  2. Business content up, humor down: no likes or perhaps one from a fellow blogger who’s commiserating with you for having un unloved post. Or who actually likes it because they’re interested in businessy stuff too. Which makes them part of a minority within the WP community as far as I can tell.
  3. What may happen is that you don’t get likes on WordPress but your content does get shared thanks to your social media connections. In my case that’s Twitter.
  4. As bloggers, WordPress inhabitants like to read tips about blogging.
  5. Obviously, once you think about it, posts about content curation get snapped up and curated by people who are interested in content curation. I got ‘scooped’ a while ago with this post. Which also got some likes because it’s about blogging. Wish I could blog about that on a weekly basis but I do have other interests too 😉

A Lack Of Likes

If you have something like Facebook likes, the same problem you might otherwise have with WordPress likes occurs: you don’t know if they like you – or your blog. It’s nice to get noticed – I’m not questioning that – but if you’re looking for solid stats to check how your blog is actually doing in terms of ‘business’ it blurs a picture that’s hazy to begin with.

You could leave out Facebook likes and even turn off WordPress likes. But that basically means you have less ways left to get feedback. If you leave only comments, you depend on people to actually write something. To keep the level of spam down, you may well choose to have people add their email address. Let’s face it – you’re making it really difficult for people who are not on WordPress.com to leave any kind of response.

Your blog’s audience in business terms

Confusion on the matter of what a like means is something you get no matter where you blog. There will always be people who can’t comment or like unless they are on some shared platform. The people who tend to comment are often those who are used to publishing their stuff anyway, AND who are familiar enough with the subject to feel confident of not getting laughed off. That narrows down the number of comments you’ll get.

This means likes are potentially a valuable way to announce to new readers that you’re actually getting readers on your blog. What they are NOT, is proof that your readers are actually part of a selected audience that is sensitive to any kind of sales process you might be tempted to unleash on them.

Is the focus on personal stuff a reason to skip the WordPress.com experience?

That depends on your own take on these matters.

  • If you are completely sure you’ll be able to lift your blog from the ground in no time at all – if you’re an experienced blogger/writer, you don’t need to be in a blogging community;
  • Same thing if you’re the kind of person who can keep going for a long time without getting any kind of feedback at all;
  • Or if you have carefully built an audience – not necessarily a crowd of friends – on Facebook before starting your blog.

If, on the other hand, you’re just getting started and you don’t have a clue whether this experiment of yours is going to work out, I think .com is a great place to start. If you want your posts about business topics to get noticed, you’ll need to share those posts on social media. Which you need to do no matter where you blog – unless you don’t want readers?

If you’re feeling that you’re not really making any progress at all and you’re wondering what you got yourself into, you can blog about that too – and find that you’re not alone. As far as I’m concerned that is one big bonus in any audience – even though I prefer to think of them as ‘you’.

Note: I’ve just made a Facebook page and added a box to my blog. Good idea or bad? I’m not quite sure. I’ve been too active on Twitter and here on my blog to spend time on Facebook, so I don’t have a Facebook audience 😉

What do you think? After all, on this blog you’re the audience watching me perform. Let me know how you feel about ‘audience matters’!

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2 thoughts on “Blogging impressions: audience matters

  1. I feel ‘audience matters’ is a well written piece – very easy reading/easy to understand & relevant.

    I always think if someone flies by & ‘likes’ a post but doesn’t comment, well, I think it’s possible they didn’t read the post & just want to maintain relations with you – & so throw in a ‘like’ to let you know they were there. That is what I think! ‘Likes’ are a compliment, but really only so when coupled with a comment, I reckon.

    Great writing… like!

    • Thank you for your comment! And I often find myself thinking the same. I’m glad you think this post is easy reading, that’s exactly what I try to achieve in my “Blogging impressions” posts.
      I can imagine that my business-topic posts are just not as accessible if only because the subject matter is not everyone’s cup of tea. But who knows, maybe I’ll develop my writing style so even these posts become easy reading too 😉

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