From my observation, I think there is a very important strategic component of blogging that too many overlook.
I preface this whole post by saying that it depends on your intentions. If you want to ultimately make money with your blog, then pay close attention. If you just want to get high comment counts and some fans, then this post might rub you the wrong way. Or at least give you another way of looking at things.
So, here it is…
If you want your blog audience to do certain things for you, then you need to attract the kind of people who will be wiling to do that. To a certain extent, the content you release on your blog should be designed to cultivate the attitude that you want your audience to have.
In the past, I’ve said that you have to “train” your audience. Perhaps the word “train” brings with it odd connotations. Obviously, every person who reads a blog is a living, breathing human being with their own sets of opinions and background. The idea of “training” them might seem a bit derogatory. But, it isn’t. It is no different than releasing content designed for a certain demographic on a TV commercial.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
- If you want people to help spread your message on Facebook or Twitter, you wouldn’t want to attract an audience who doesn’t like social media and thinks it is a fad. So, writing posts which rip into Twitter as a fad would be a bad idea if you’re going to ask people to retweet your stuff.
- If you want to make money from your blog, then writing posts which bash online marketing and the offering of products on a blog would be counter-intuitive. You would end up creating an audience of jaded people who will react harshly the moment you try to make a buck.
I can name a few blogs off the top of my head where the owners have monetary aims with those blogs (to one degree or another), yet the content they publish is going to naturally attract skeptical, jaded people. These bloggers are sentencing themselves to low income from their blogs.
It is easy to drive conversation. It is easy to jack up your comment counts. It is easy to build up a clique of frequent commenters who will cheer you on with everything you post. But, high comment counts don’t make you any money. Getting lots of repeat traffic doesn’t pay your bills.
It is easy to jack up your comments by getting negative or chiming in on controversial topics. This is why political blogs can get high involvement, but often make crappy business models. In some crowds, just by taking the contrarian viewpoint, you’ll drum up comments and cheerleaders. But, it doesn’t pay the bills. And, once again, you’re building up an audience based around complaints. An audience based around negativity isn’t good for business.
Here are the lessons I’m trying to convey today:
- Think about the kind of audience you want and tailor your content to them. It isn’t just about attracting people to your blog, but attracting the RIGHT people to your blog.
- Don’t chase the almighty comment unless you’ve thought first about how your strategy for earning that comment is affecting the overall vibe of your blog readership.
- Large, dedicated audiences mean two things – jack and crap – IF it isn’t the kind of audience which will help you achieve the goals you want for your blog.
This is the difference between blogging with a strategy in mind, or blogging for the short-term gratification of your stats and a few back-pats in your comments.
This also makes it clear why it is so important to know exactly what you’re going for before delving in with your blogging. Blogging for high numbers is not the same thing as blogging as a real business. High numbers and high income do not necessarily go together in this business, as counter-intuitive as that may seem.
Anyway, something to think about.
What do you think?