Bloggers Are Not Your Only Readers

In the year's I've been blogging, I've had many of my fellow bloggers ask me to tackle blog-related posts on Dramatis Personae.  I haven't and don't intend to, and there are two reasons why: first, I can reach a much larger, more focused audience sharing those posts here at IFB.  Also…

 

My blog's readers aren't solely other bloggers.

 

It's staggering to think about, but I won't write about blogging on my site because a majority of my readers aren't bloggers.   And their interests aren't in reading about blogging– they're interested in my lifestyle advice, my fashion tips, and my own style.

 

When we begin to promote our blogs, its easy to promote it to other bloggers thinking that they will make up the bulk of your traffic. It's natural to look to others in the community as a resource for building traffic.  Bloggers who ARE also readers play an important role on our blog– they're more often the ones who help build community; they leave comments and help promote your goods.  They help you define your social presence, increase your Klout, and help you build relationships with brands.

 

Your regular reader though, is just as important–they may not know how to comment on a blog or enter in to a giveaway, but they're returning daily for one thing– your voice.  When power bloggers like Rumi Neely or Gala Darling reach 500,000 pageviews a month, it's because they've recognized the power of the non-blogger.  While they may have a steady flow of blogger devotees reading as well, they've created a relationship with their readers in such a way that brings them back every day–regardless of the reader's relationship with the internet!

 

These readers are the hardest ones to find; they may remain silent, but they're quite possibly more valuable than your Alexa Ranking.  Beautifully Invisible linked me to a great post called the 90:9:1 Principal–which states

  • 90% of readers lurk on your blog quietly while consuming your content
  • 9% of readers are editors and comment regularly
  • 1% of readers are the fanatical people who leave page-long comments after each post.

 

That 90% of readers might not be interacting with you on Facebook or Twitter; they may not know how to leave comments on your site.  But in acting as a professional blogger, you need to keep their needs in mind when you're creating content.

 

What are you doing for your site that helps build this audience?  Is it possible that you've maybe overlooked your non-blogging audience when trying to grow your site? (I know I'm personally really guilty of that!)

  1. Send an email to your friends and family sharing the link. When I first started out, I was loathe to let anyone in my real life read my blog! But sure enough, the eventually all found it.  They all read it.  And they share it with other family members.  The boyfriend's family reads it–his great aunt reads it.  And that's all traffic,
  2. Following that— make sure your emails have links to your website– and maybe even your twitter page and facebook pages!  Set up an automatic signature that provides every person you email instant access to your blog.
  3. Post your blog posts to Facebook–and not just to your fan page wall!  I'm guilty of not doing this as much as I should (see point #1 & loathing people reading my work). But  I find that Facebook varies greatly from Twitter– to some degree, people on Twitter are trying to utilize social media for a gain, whereas on Facebook…everyone is using it.  But if you post it to your own wall?  Your friends might read it. That cute boy you like may read it. Your boss may read it (and find a great way to incorporate this in to your job!).
  4. SEO is your friend.  How does the average gal find information?  That's right, Google.  Bing. Yahoo.  Strong SEO helps regular readers find your blog posts.  If you're creating compelling content, it may even keep them coming back, long after you've solved their “How to does Nair work?” problems.
  5. Promote yourself via business cards or postcards.  Leave them in public places (ex: our Buffalo Exchange has a table for flyers and event info).  A compelling card could be picked up by a stylish gal or guy and shared with their friends!
  6. Guest Post, Guest Post, Guest Post. The easiest and best way to gain traffic?  Guest posting for other blogs.
  7. Create posts that engage people— whether you're answering a need or problem they're having or creating a bond between you and them.
  8. Make sure traditional communication is available! What's that mean? Make sure your readers can EMAIL you! From those who may love reading blogs, but don't understand how to communicate through them or social media, making yourself accessible via email is a great way for someone to email and say, “I loved this post.”

 

How do you build the bonds between yourself and your non-blogging readers?  Can you think of any bloggers who are great at engaging both sides of their audiences (bloggers and non-bloggers)?

 

Photo by Shandi-lee

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78 Responses

  1. Beautifully Invisible

    Great post, Ashe. It’s really easy to forget this at times so it was nice to have this reminder.

    Great advice as well. I do a lot of what you listed above, though due to my anonymity the blog is off limits when it comes to my “real” facebook account.

    I just try to interact as much as I can, wherever I can, whenever I can!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      I would be worried though– how do you know that, based on participation, that the numbers weren’t skewed? Every time I have a survey on my site, I’m convinced, based on the answers, that only other bloggers are commenting! Afterall, when I do them, only about 5% of my readers actually participate…

      Reply
    • Jaime @ DenimDebutante

      I’m with Ashe on this one – plus, I’ve found that my “everyday” readers are not usually heavy social platform users. Twitter is out of their realm – Facebook, however, is more universal.

      Reply
  2. Daniel Dunt

    When I blog I do not even thinking about the fact that other bloggers are reading my blog in most cases; usually I just sit there and ramble on about a subject, designer, collection or garment which I really love and then keep my fingers crossed that someone reads the post- which has certainly been happening over at my blog. I admit occasionally I throw in the odd (apologies if you’re not a blogger, this post might be a little boring) but then again, it’s not very often I blog about blogger-related subjects- if that makes sense? – A really informative post by the way; I am too guilty for not letting my friends or family read my posts, – Daniel 😀

    Reply
    • Ashe

      Never apologize for it for what you write about, Daniel! They’re there for you, so I’m sure even the off topic post is still interesting to them.

      Reply
  3. Bella Q

    As always: fantastic post, Ashe! You are such a good reminder to get out of our sometimes insular community and reach out- and that not every reader blogs, and that our content should be aimed to reach a larger audience than just our friends and fellow bloggers.

    You’ve said it so nicely, and those bullet points are gold. Much retweet this asap!

    Reply
  4. Courtney

    This.Is.A.Must.Read!

    This really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I sometimes “blog about blogging” but I think I need to start to consider who’s reading but not commenting. And also I need to get over my fear of telling my family & friends about my blog.

    Reply
    • Ashe

      I def don’t think there’s a right or wrong way.. I know for me, I’d rather blog about blogging here at IFB, because then I reach more people & an audience here for that conversation! If your audience is primarily other bloggers, I’m sure they love the hybrid of the two!

      Reply
    • Christy L.

      Courtney when I first started my blog I didn’t want to tell anyone about it in fear that it wasn’t good. After a while I realized that this was a silly notion, that family and friends would be the most forgiving of my mistakes made vs. total strangers. I eventually started a Facebook fan page and would suggest the page to anyone I thought would be interested in it. Now my aunt tells all of her friends about the site, so don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth via family.

      Reply
  5. Angeline

    What a great and timely reminder! It’s easy to get caught up trying to please those who comment (usually other bloggers), and it’s tempting to post only things you know other bloggers will read. But our audience is definitely more than just bloggers.

    Your tips are spot-on, too! I find that my Facebook page is somewhere I can interact with non-bloggers, even if they’re just clicking “like” on my post feeds. It’s a nice passive way to get feedback from those that aren’t motivated to actually comment.

    Reply
    • Ashe

      I LOVE when I get likes from people on Facebook– especially when I know they aren’t bloggers! It is passive (how easy is it for us to LIKE things? But it has such an impact!).

      Reply
  6. Farah

    Great Advice Ashe! I just started blogging 2 months ago, so I am new to all of these important details of promoting my blog.
    Thank you once again for all the advice you always give to bloggers!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      Of course! It’s been weighing on my mind a lot lately– and even after almost 4 years, they are obviously tips I can follow still too!

      Reply
  7. Vivian

    You’re right! The only thing I find difficult is sharing my blog with my friends or family. I feel it like a privacy invasion, which is extremely stupid, a blog is anything but private! It’s like me and the blogger are two different girls when it comes to “talk” about my blog. I prefer not to share it on my personal facebook and that’s a big mistake, because I would have more or less 300 potential new readers! Every blogger should get over these limits… I hope I’m not the only one with these issues!
    I also have great problems showing my blog at wor: I often complain or talk about my job on my blog, so I prefer that colleagues and boss don’t read it! Basically, this is another mistake, because I work in the field so it could be useful if someone read my blog.
    Haaa how many issues!
    Thank you anyway for the awesome post! You mad eme think about it! 😀

    Reply
    • Ashe

      Definitely not just you with those issues! I FREAKED at my old job when my young boss wanted a link to my blog!

      Reply
  8. Anne @ The Frump Factor

    Excellent points. Maybe this is why I’m hesitant to participate in too many memes — fear of alienating people who aren’t in on all the blogger lingo. I live for my real life readers! While it is — of course — an ego boost when another blogger responds to my posts, there is nothing quite like the glow I feel when a real-life friend says that something I wrote was meaningful to her.

    Reply
    • Ashe

      I always get flattered & embarrassed when people mention a post in my day to day life!

      Reply
      • Christy L.

        Ashe I get kind of bashful too, especially when it is one of my employees! Actually I get most bashful when my husband mentions he read what I just wrote. I always tell him “What were you doing on my site?”

  9. Kate

    This is so true, and so important to keep in mind when feeling down about number of comments, and also about followers vs. visitors… so many of my local readers don’t follow, they just come back every day, and they are generally silent! But they’re still there, reading, listening, and appreciating what you post!

    Reply
  10. MJ

    You are absolutely right! A lot of my family and non-blogger friends access my blog through my Facebook page and often times leave there comments there rather than on the blog. It’s a great way to engage nonbloggers and get them to read your stuff! 🙂

    Reply
  11. lisa

    So true! It can be easy to forget that only about 5-10% of your readers are bloggers who care to leave a comment or tweet back at you. The majority of readers simply enjoy reading your content.

    Reply
  12. Em K

    I agree with your point of veiw, I haven’t and don’t intend to write blogging related posts on my personal style blog. Those posts are certainly helpful (I’ve read my share on Grit & Glamor and Modly Chic) but I think it boils down to the purpose of your blog and where you want it to be.

    The 90:9:1 principle makes me wonder what it is that silent 90% get out of my blog!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      “I think it boils down to the purpose of your blog and where you want it to be.”

      Yes! For me the specific example was blogging– but I think it can really extend to any niche. Some people may want your awesome DIYs and you don’t have time, or maybe want make-up tutorials and you’re too self-conscious to do it.

      Regardless of what it is, you have a purpose you define for your blog, and there are two groups of readers who come for it. Don’t change it just because one group may be more vocal!

      Reply
  13. Neeka B.

    So I don’t have a blog but some how found this post. I must say I read a lot of blogs but maybe comment on 10%. I have been reading blogs for about a year and made my first comment in February. Blog commenting can be intimidating to a non blogger.

    Reply
  14. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    Eye opening post! And I love that you have a firm stance. Often times we are so engaged with one another that we neglect our readers that are coming to our blogs for advice and an outlet. Thanks so much for this, it definitely has be reevaluating some things.

    Reply
  15. devil_kin

    That is really true. My most visiting post are about graduating dress for 2010 and 2011 year.I check the statistic and this posts are reading even after graduation period is over :))

    Reply
  16. Alterations Needed

    This is also a great thing to remember when crafting giveaway & contest criteria. If your plan is to reward your readers with a cool prize, make sure they can ALL participate. A lot of bloggers (including myself) have jumped on the “Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect” or “Follow me on Twitter”, etc. If 90% of your readers are lurking non-bloggers, chances are they don’t have a Twitter or know what GFC is. I’ve seen lots of comments on people’s blogs saying, “I wish I could enter but I’m not a blogger”, thinking only bloggers have Twitter, GFC, etc. accounts.

    Reply
    • Ashe

      That’s such a GREAT point! I’ve had readers email me because they weren’t sure how to comment to enter a giveaway. I think that companies & bloggers BOTH should realize that using things like GFC, Twitter, FB only help as bonuses, and they don’t necessarily help you connect with the audience they’re trying to reach.

      People are still really mystified by things like Twitter & GFC, not realizing that they can use them too!

      Reply
  17. Pearl Westwood

    This is a great reminder post. I remember how shocked I was when one of my readers emailed me a lovely mail and said she had done so as she didn’t quite understand the commenting form. It just shows how we do take some things for granted! In fact I now have a fair few readers who I only know are there as they have emailed me, so just think how many others there may be! I can’t link to my facebook page due to work so I created two separate ones, it is a really good way to get to know people. You should also add a link to it in blog posts inviting readers to ‘friend’ you as many dont know if you would like to be friends with them or not if you don’t say so.

    Reply
    • Ashe

      We really DO take for granted how easy and natural these things come to us. For me it started on Livejournal, where– I know I was confounded on how to leave comments, write a post, interact with people! There’s a learning curve to it all, and we need to make it all as easy as possible.

      Reply
  18. Sharon Gibson

    Hi there,
    this is just the post I needed to read here today, I respect my fellow bloggers big time, but I don’t fit neatly into the fashion blogger mould as I am a stylist and aspiring fashion writer looking to connect with women who perhaps are not as fashion concious as a fashion blogger. Thank-you for afirming the sometimes lonely path I tread, really intersting post!

    Reply
  19. Lindsay

    I think a lot of bloggers are… well, a bit too proud for traditional marketing! Maybe a mixture of proud and a bit embarrassed. Combining the idea that “fashion blogging” still doesn’t align with “intelligent female” in the popular public opinion with our penchant for socializing online can create an adversity to cold promotion, like leaving postcards or business cards in local businesses. I know that every time I’m waiting for my coffee at my local shop, I’m perusing the business cards, and when there is a fashion-related notice, I pick it up! It’s tough to remember that you are just like everyone else, and everyone else is just like you!

    Great post, Ashe! Really awesome!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      “I think a lot of bloggers are… well, a bit too proud for traditional marketing!”

      God I love this quote! It’s so true– I think we want to seem up-to-date, current, on top of the newest trends and networks…when there’s a reason you need to mix the old with the new!

      Reply
  20. Jaime @ DenimDebutante

    We miss a lot of opportunities by not getting out of our comfort zone – I know I’m bad at it (especially working with traditional media).

    But the easiest thing? Changing your email signature. Very simple on gmail (I use the gmail platform for my debutantemedia.com email account, as well as any other domain-based emails) and it really makes a difference… as well as making you look more professional.

    Amazing post, Ashe. You hit this right on the head!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      I agree on that one!

      And you’ve reminded me I should figure out how to use .com emails through gmail for my own site!

      Reply
  21. TheOnlineStylist

    Fantastic reminder post – thank you! I think a lot of my readers are non-bloggers but it’s easy to forget this when you LIVE, EAT & SLEEP blogging! I’ve discovered lots of Facebook friends and “real life” people read my blog now and I was truly heartened to hear this. Have a great weekend! xxx

    Reply
  22. Christy L.

    Ashe you made so many great points here.

    As you know I leave my business cards everywhere, seriously. From flyer tables at stores and coffee shops to (and I’m not kidding)bathroom stalls in dive bars you never know where a potential reader will pick one up, or rather where you will pick up a potential reader.

    I ran into a guy at the supermarket about a month ago who recognized me and told me he just discovered my site thanks to a card he found somewhere. It was a neat feeling knowing my guerrilla style marketing tactics are working.

    Reply
  23. Mariel

    hahaha yeah I’m guilty of being shy with sharing my blog “in real life”. Good info to keep in mind but I think I’ve never posted anything blogger related on my blog.

    xx

    Reply
  24. Madison

    This is all very helpful. My co-worker told me that she read a post on a blog, not knowing it was mine or that I even had one. lol It sort of startled me, but through her sharing my link I collaborated with another designer. I’m just not used to sharing my blog with family or co-workers as much I guess.
    I actually just made some blog business cards. It took a while, but now I felt like it was the right time. I noticed recently that many of my followers on facebook are not bloggers at all! Thanks for another great post Ashe! 🙂

    Reply
  25. Tina

    This is so true. While I don’t write about blogging, and I’ve had my sites for over 3 years, I still catch myself assuming my readers are also bloggers, or somehow in the same industry, in this case, fashion. When in reality many, actually most, aren’t.

    P.S.: I also get super shy and embarrassed (and often surprised, like “you read that?”) when friends and family members reference any of my blog posts.

    Reply
  26. Elle

    Thank you Ashe for this reminder. I totally wasn’t fully aware of that though I definitely noticed at least 80% of my readers don’t comment and that most of my posts have the same people commenting. I haven’t written too much about blogging but I’ll definitely keep this in mind in the future!

    Reply
  27. Madeleine Gallay

    Simple truth, absolutely. It’s nice to support bloggers by commenting when you can (all emphasis meant). Most readers, and if you look at your stats you’ll see the truth – thousands of views and six to twenty comments – that readers enjoy and even share your writing but don’t/aren’t willing to comment. I’ve come to absolutely loathe the safety thing of typing in captcha words that I often mangle, maybe my stupidity but the words irritate most when I fail them. Since bloggers can choose to moderate comments, why in the world is there this barrier? Sharing on facebook and twitter often gets people involved in your blog, they may retweet you or “like” it and no comments. Interesting moment … weighing your value in comments at this time when many of us read a ton of varied blogs is not the best measure.

    I had no idea someone in Iran was watching my blog regularly (and many from different parts of the world) until I studied the geographical data.

    Amazing how blogs are reaching out .. and to readers you may never know how you grasped. I don’t give the quirky odd search words much thought .. ice cream Paris – how does that happen, lol.

    Cool that you brought this us.

    Reply
  28. Channie

    This is really helpful! I’m glad I found this. I just made a new blog and there’s not so much traffic in there, but I’m patient about it 🙂

    Reply
  29. My Style Canvas

    Great points–especially the one about Facebook. If we truly want to expand our audience, we need to stop being so picky, and chicken about people we know IRL reading our stuff.

    Reply
  30. Sam

    Thank you so much for writing this article and elaborating on the 90:9:1 theory. When it comes down to it non-blogger readers are the audience I’m trying to target, yet I focus all my attention on gaining other bloggers as readers. I look foward to using these strategies this following week.

    Reply
  31. Faiza

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve been debating whether to start up a Facebook Page for my blog but hesitate as it’s just as easy to share blog posts on my Personal Facebook Page. Is there really an advantage to have a separate FB Page for one’s blog?

    I’ve also been debating making a business card just for my blog. But, again hesitate as I already have a business card for my Fashion Design Services. Should I just make one card that includes my blog on it or keep the blog card separate from my Fashion Design Business Card? Any advice and feedback is much appreciated.

    Thanks!!

    Faiza xo
    VELVET MOON DIARIES

    Reply
    • Ashe

      Hey Faiza,
      Those are GREAT questions– and I can only respond with my own personal thoughts on them.

      For a FB page, my question to you is– do you want to add people you don’t know to your friend’s list, so that they can see those posts? Having a fan page allows you communciation with people who you may not personally know, but who love what you’re writing. I personally like to keep my FB page personal– so having a fan page is advantageous for me in that regard.

      As for business cards– you could look in to double sided cards! Promote your fashion design services on one side and your blog on the other. I’ve seen this work successfully for other bloggers who have an additional service to share…

      Reply
  32. Jamillah

    Ashe, wonderful post. I do think it’s really easy to feel insular in your blogging and I really try to keep in mind why I started blogging, who I started blogging for and why.

    Gawsh, I actually don’t share my blog with too many of people in my real life and while that may be silly I don’t think it’s something I can quite do yet. But setting up a facebook page for readers maybe a good idea, hmm.

    Thanks Ashe, more great advice.

    Reply
  33. Andi

    This post was really timely for me! My best friend left me a message yesterday that her mom loved my blog and was showing it to her friends. That’s when I realized that I must get quite a bit of traffic from people who aren’t bloggers. It was also a good reminder that the internet is extremely public and anyone could be reading what I write.

    Reply
  34. the fashion turd

    what a good and useful post! im completely guilty of seeking out other bloggers as potential readers and forget about those other people outside our geeky blogging universe! thanks for sharing this info..ill be using some of the tips for shiz!! x

    Reply
  35. Piper Larson

    So glad you wrote this post, Ashe. Your philosophy is exactly why I like your blog!

    When I visit fashion blogs, I’m looking for fashion/beauty etc… Even though I am a blogger, I come to fashion blogs for a little break from that world. And I always know I can count on Dramatis Personae to deliver!

    Love the 90:9:1 Principle. Hadn’t heard it put like that before – but it sounds about right.

    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  36. Jess

    I’ve become less shy about sharing my blog with my friends. I don’t know if many of them read it since they aren’t interested in fashion. But, I’m reluctant to share it on my personal facebook. I’ve been meaning to make a facebook fan page for my blog but, I have no clue what catagory blog would fall under.

    Reply
  37. celina

    Thanks for the tips, Ashe. And I am really glad to know that I am not the only one to be shy about my blog with family and friends, and to hesitate in going ‘public’ on Fb – it must be a beguinner syndrome!

    Reply
  38. amourette

    this is really helpful advice. i can totally relate to the feelings of some of the commenters about the difficulty of self promoting. also: it did not occur to me, that someone might prefer leaving a comment through email rather than the comment form but that makes sense now.
    thanks!

    Reply
  39. For Those About To Shop

    Excellent post! I often wonder who all those readers are that don’t comment. Now I know. I found this post very encouraging because a lack of comments does not signify a lack of interest in the blog!

    Reply
  40. Diane

    Loved this post! New to blogging myself,I wasn’t writing with other bloggers in mind.A friend of mine talked me into blogging because people would always ask me about my clothes and how do I always look so put together. So with that in mind,I blog about what I like as if I am talking to my friends. A lot of my readers are on FB and yes,word of mouth and telling your friends who tell their friends,is huge. I have a niece in Florida who is 28 and sent her an email reminding her to tell her gfs to read my blog.
    It’s all about reaching out to people who know you,then writing about something they can relate to. If you get fellow bloggers,too,well that’s a bonus.
    Diane

    Reply