Driving Behavior, Not Conversation

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

Free Membership Will Get You...

Ability to participate in our forum community, access to exclusive downloads in the library, plus an exclusive subscription to THE EDGE. Sent each Monday, The EDGE will keep you on the cutting edge of Wordpress-based business.

Responses

  1. Great. There's the catch 22 right there. You still need some traffic to go through the filter of your 'intention' (and experiment with) so you end up with your desired audience. Then you work at holding them. Or 'protecting your herd' as Dan Kennedy puts it.

    Controversy is a valid tool. So is relevance and disclosure. You say it best with the simplicity of know, like, trust. Being unafraid to sell or piss someone off is an advantage.

    It's the time taken from start through to trust that will either eat you up or make you more resilient and resourceful. Audiences seem 'trust shy' because they are being shot at by mercenary snipers everyday.

    I am finding it s a load more work than I thought when I first started out 5 months ago. Thankfully I am learning by reading you guys and trying things out. Still a LONG way to go.

  2. Great. There's the catch 22 right there. You still need some traffic to go through the filter of your 'intention' (and experiment with) so you end up with your desired audience. Then you work at holding them. Or 'protecting your herd' as Dan Kennedy puts it.

    Controversy is a valid tool. So is relevance and disclosure. You say it best with the simplicity of know, like, trust. Being unafraid to sell or piss someone off is an advantage.

    It's the time taken from start through to trust that will either eat you up or make you more resilient and resourceful. Audiences seem 'trust shy' because they are being shot at by mercenary snipers everyday.

    I am finding it s a load more work than I thought when I first started out 5 months ago. Thankfully I am learning by reading you guys and trying things out. Still a LONG way to go.

  3. It was difficult for me starting my blog, because I had no experience and all I could find were affiliate links promising me ten's of thousands in days. No one said in these products that I purchased that one of the best ways to break-in was to start socializing and find those that can lead you to achieve your goals. You offer such advise on your blog and with your post! Your not going to find that kind of insight inside any affiliate offer. I guess to the patient go the spoils of Internet commerce!

  4. I don't think your points only relate to business. They relate to being true to your goals and yourself and attracting comments from those who are congruent with those goals..

  5. Hi David,

    First time visitor to your blog and I just have to tell you, awesome post. Well written and great points. (that sounds very kiss assish I know, but deserved).

    I see the industry bashing types of blogs all over the place, especially in the weight loss/ fitness market. People tear down ebooks and programs (I have been guilty of this on occasion if it's deserved) and then wonder why no one clicks their affiliate links or adsense ads promoting those things.

    I'm not saying hype a product just to make a buck, but if it's a great product and worthy of hype then by all means push it.

    I've found online or offline, like minded people always find each other.

    Steve

  6. If that's the case, then you're doing it wrong and attracting the wrong kinds of people to your list. Plus, you wouldn't be listening to what they need and want if that were the case.

    These things don't happen by chance. You create content in order to build the audience that you want, and that translates into who is on your list, too.

  7. Good stuff and I agree. My post was not meant to say “don't rock the boat”. But, I would say that you rock the boat with an overall strategy in mind. You understand what makes this biz tick, so I think you're doing it right.

  8. I was taking notice of this recently in my scenario. My niche focuses so much on the pessimistic side of marketing sometimes. Before, it did alter some of my writing patterns, creating content to a fleeting crowd. Traffic left and I was at square one. I found my business model was there I just got caught in the hype for a second. Live and learn.

    As time went on, I found there was a market there for commentary and a market for my services. I enjoy genuine promotion, but very well noted: cheerleaders don't pay the bills. Thanks for the tips David.

  9. Attracting the right people to your posts is common sense you'd think. I hear everywhere about it being all about the money is in the list. Well, what if the list doesn't want to buy what you have to offer? Then where's the money at? lol

    Good post, David.

  10. Perfect man. I think the key really, is to just be yourself and not try to cater to an audience. You'll get the right audience for you, and they'll be much more likely to buy what you're selling. At least that's what I've learned over the past few weeks.

  11. David, of course you're correct that going to one extreme end of the spectrum is counterproductive, but I think there's a way to be the non-conformist and still find success. (which is kind of what I'm attempting to do in this space)

    It's all about actually having a *business* model that is based around your platform. Something that centers around a “big idea” or service that has a tangible value to people. Without that, your message serves you no good if it can't effectively be monetized in some capacity.

    The blogger examples you mention I don't believe have any semblance of a business model in mind – no plan of products, services or any type of value-oriented monetization. Focusing more on getting site traffic, blog comments & social talk – they're taking the lowest common denominator approach without understanding how it fits in to earning income at a later date.

    Yes, you don't have to take the cookie-cutter approach – you can definitely pave your own path and create a platform that *can* be monetized… but building it off a community of peers/readers that won't spread it's monetary value to others as well as never be your customers themselves – then what exactly is the point of platform then?

  12. True, it is a matter of opinion.

    I know I struggled for quite awhile with it before I decided to be up front about it with my readership. In some ways I felt dishonest if I wasn't up front with them about it, but that could be my military background talking, LOL. Anyway, I'm glad I'm up front about it and my blog audience seems to be as well. But again, it depends on what your goals are and what may be the best approach for you and your audience as well.

  13. Yeah, I think where some bloggers make the mistake with the use of controversy is doing it purely as link bait, but not really thinking through the effects. Controversy does work, but when it serves to attract readers contrary to your own goals, you're not doing yourself any favors and the short-term traffic hike just isn't worth it.

  14. Yeah. How you approach that would be a matter of opinion, of course, but I think being upfront about the wishes to sell something would also serve to attract the right kind of people. After all, if they are allergic to efforts of others to make money, it is better that they leave and find somebody else to read early on. 🙂

  15. Absolutely!!!!

    It is all about attracting readers that fit in with your goals of the site. I see way too may bloggers cave into the “comment trap” worrying way too much about being controversial instead of focusing on a strong business model.

    Very well put.

  16. Really great post David. Straight and to the point just the way I like it.

    Expanding further on the subject, if your intention is to make money with your blog, just as you've clearly illustrated here, you need to be up front about it from the beginning. Let your readers know that you will be freely offering content to provide them with value but from time to time will offer content at a cost to better service them. Being up front about this from the very beginning will allow you to better cultivate an audience who not only finds value in your blog content, but also has an understanding that they may need to pay for some of the more valuable content which may help them fill a need.

    Again, great post!

  17. “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.”

    That one statement says it all. This is one of those great back to reality posts, man!

  18. Damn good post man. I can for sure relate with this post as the guy who wanted to monetize but wasn't aware of a “plan” for blogging. Lots of comments but no cash. Crafting the offer-posting with a plan and attracting the right people. ::smacking my forehead:: Yup, makes sense.

Join The Community (For Free). You'll Get...​

Related Articles You Might Like

Create Your FREE Account!

Join and participate in the community, access exclusive resources in the Document Vault, and get a free subscription to THE EDGE.

Your membership is free for life.