Ask & Earn: Let’s Talk About Blogger Entitlement

“Why aren't more people reading my blog?”

Honestly, how many times have you asked yourself this very question (in the past month, week, 24 hours)? We're all working hard to make our blogs as fresh, original and amazing as possible, and therein lies the problem. All. Of. Us.

The blogosphere is a thriving, growing and constantly-expanding online space, with new blogs and new blog readers being created every day. That's a lot of people. But, it's a lot of people without a lot of time who have inumerable options when it comes to sites to browse online. So why aren't these millions of readers visiting your fabulous blog?

Last week I read this interesting article on about “The Real, #1, Most Obvious Reason No One’s Reading Your Blog.” According to the author, Jared Latigo, this real, #1, most obvious reason is entitlement.

He explains that there's an attitude permeating the blogosphere that we've forgotten that we are not entitled to anyone's attention on the Internet, no matter how amazing, cutting-edge and important our content is. Latigo says, “We forget that everyone else thinks they are just as awesome as we think we are.”

Is he right?

He may be onto something. We should all be confident in our blogs and confident in what we have to offer – but not cocky. Proud but not boastful. (And always, always, grateful.) Now, if everyone else thinks they're great, too (and if they are), how do we become a chosen one? Latigo suggests that instead of banging a digital frying pan over the heads of our potential followers and readers (so to speak) with too many tweets or updates about a recent blog post, for example – we should balance the asking with giving, attention to others, and helpfulness.

What does that mean?

It's an interesting thought to keep in mind both in your marketing and content strategy that readers don't owe us anything: not their time, not their money, not their click-throughs or their tweets and likes. The author points out that we need to ask for what we want, but we also have to make the other person want to read, to share and to follow. We can do that by giving, giving and giving – without expecting anything in return. No “Follow me and I'll follow you back.” No exchange, just giving.

So, do we have to earn our readers attention, too?

The two acts of asking and earning seem to go hand-in-hand. If you're going to ask for the attention of your readers, you should also aim to earn it too – by rewarding their actions with compelling, high-quality content. And not just once – over and over. We have to remember that our readers have no obligation to continually return to our sites – no, not even our moms! We must aim to impress and entertain our readers daily.

Whether or not entitlement really is the #1 reason no one is reading your blog – well – it's hard to say. However, it's definitely a mindset to keep in mind (along with the multitude of other efforts you're juggling).

So what's the point?

To paraphrase Steve Jobs, “Stay hungry.” There are many, many potential readers out there, but you can't expect them to choose your blog above the others simply because you believe your content is exceptional. As many sucessful professionals will tell you, talent isn't always enough. Keep a mentality of eagerness, excitement and generosity in your marketing and social media.


Do you agree with the author about this kind of blogger entitlement? What do you do to keep your readers coming back?


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15 Responses

  1. purplebananasandfudgeballs

    I’ve just recently come to accept the fact that having a blog doesn’t necessarily equate having readers too, even if my pictures are perfection in quality or if my content is fresh. I can personally attest to the sheer annoyance of ‘follow me, and I’ll follow back’ comments left on my blog(granted, I used to do this early on as a fresh blogger), but even when people leave those comments on my blog, I usually do follow them, but not for the fact that they’re following me(in fact I’ve disabled the ‘followers’ gadget on my blog. Rather I follow them because it’s obviously their goal to have more followers and I want to help them achieve their goal. My goal on the other hand is to gain more readers-more people who can’t wait to log on and see what I’ll wear next.

  2. Stephanie Maguire

    Basically, us bloggers are all hiding behind 3/4 lolcats and 1/4… well, you can figure that out. So yes, we do have to earn viewership, in a way. We can’t just expect to have hits and readers handed to us on a platter, can we? There needs to be a reason for people to want to come back, which is why we need to put in the effort.

    However, you need to balance fun with work, too. Otherwise it’ll become a chore and you won’t be inspired (and your viewers will notice!) I believe that if you don’t worry about readership and just have a blast writing about what you love, they will come.

  3. Elli

    If we didn’t have to work for our readers and followers and hits then we would become lazy and our standard of content would drop. I think this serves as a nice reminder for us bloggers that there are people behind the numbers and avatars that visit our little corners of the internet and that we need to prove that we are a people behind our blogs. In life just as in blogging, it always works to give without expecting anything in return!

  4. Maya B

    I think they’re right, if there is one thing I’ve learned from blogging so far: it’s constant hard work. Be nice to others and just get an overall good karma. I hope it will someday come back to me (hey there are days I’d wish everyone would return the nice words) but the truth is like they say here: they don’t have too. And I do admit I’ve been guilty of going on the follow for follow path some days, but mostly I follow them because I know the feeling of how much another new reader means, (even if it’s just a follower). It’s honestly hard to get noticed, stand out and whatnot but I hope that on my off days I’ll remember how much fun I’m having on my good days, where I really enjoy the writing, the photoshooting, the sharing, commenting.
    This post couldn’t have come on a better time, I’ve been bit sick this week and usually when I’m sick my thoughts get down more easily and I was so upset this morning that I barely had one comment on my blogpost from yesterday. Barely had people read that post. But at least that one comment comes from someone I’ve noticed leaving several other comments on my blog. I think I can say she’s one of my few first true readers and not just someone who passes by so they can gain a follower themselves. So instead of being upset, I should celebrate. There are people out there who care, even if it’s not such a big number.

    Lol this got way longer than I wanted it to be. Had to get the negatives out :p

  5. Libby

    I couldn’t agree more! I also think it’s important to keep writing in posts reasonably short, because too much writing can be a bit daunting, even if the writing is really great. It annoys me when people say follow me and I’ll follow you, because readers should be able to look just because they want to. And if you leave me your link, I will look and follow anyway, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. But the problem is, what am I supposed to tell them?

  6. Biki

    Well, I totally agree with the ‘Follow me and I’ll Follow you’ comment, it seems that the culture of fast-fashion has seeped into the blogging world. More often than not, people want instant success which equates to likes, followers, shares etc. And for me it can come accross as ‘agressive marketing’. More time should be spent trying to build relationships with fellow bloggers and not expect them to Like and Follow you just because you have asked them too. Give It Time. It’s like dating, no matter how Super Model like you look or how S-wonderful your personality is, when you meet a guy you like on the first date, it’s best not to ask too much on the first date in a bid to get closer and have him in your life. Take the time and work for that. The End.

  7. Ashe @ Ash in Fashion

    Blogging ain’t Field of Dreams: there is no, “If you build it, they will read it” guarantee.

    Latigo says, “We forget that everyone else thinks they are just as awesome as we think we are.”

    To quote Colbert, “Truthiness!” As bloggers, I think we owe it to ourselves to get over the entitlement, look honestly at our blogs and our content, and ask whether or not it’s really as good as we think it is. Then challenge ourselves to raise the bar. For ourselves, and for our readers.

  8. moiminnie

    I think about this often, and I cannot agree more with the comment about “follow for follow”. It seems as if today no one’s interested in people actually reading their posts, but only having a large number of followers displayed on their blog. Also everyone should keep in mind that the number of followers you see in GFC or Bloglovin’ don’t always mean the number of your readers. A lot of people just bookmarks your blog. Ultimately, don’t stress and be unhappy about the fact that only a few people visits your blog. Just try to make posts that contain the piece of your style and what you’re all about, do your own thing and the rest will come eventually.


  9. J'ara Ami

    I totally agree about the ‘follow for follow’ comment I see so much. There was a time when I almost fell victim to this way of thinking. It its however so wrong… if a blog is good, follow it because you want to and you like it, do not decide not follow that blog unless they follow you. What goes around comes around…

    It is not the end of the world if you like someone’s blog and follow it but they don’t follow you back… maybe they do not like your style and that is ok, they are not obliged to love your content just because you love theirs. Some people will like you and some people won’t. We should all focus on creating great content for those who do like our style, way of writing etc. This is what will bring you a loyal following, readers who REALLY enjoy your blog, love your personality and want to see and read more of you or about you.

    If you go in with a ‘follow me and I’ll follow you’ attitude or expect everyone to love you and read your blog, you are setting yourself up for failure. Organic, loyal readership is more rewarding, focus on these people no matter how small and others like them will find you as these loyal readers share you with their network.

    What’s the point in having 5,000 subscribers, 40+ comments on your posts but no 1 is sharing your content? How will you grow? Unless you plan on doing ‘follow me & I’ll follow you’ requests for your blogging life.

    Great article! Reminds me to remember the few loyal lovers I have and continue to please with them great content so they share me (“,) rather than getting upset thinking I deserve a million followers over night because I am the bee-knee’s.

    I talk alot… LOL! Sorry for long comment 😛

  10. Rachel

    One bit of this article really stood out to me, the sheer and irritating entitlement of people who leave comments on my post along the lines of I’m following you/ if I follow you, can you follow me too? Or emails saying ‘I’ve added a link to your blog to my blog roll, now you need to add mine to yours’ – drives me crazy!

    (Venting rant over!)

  11. Diamond grinding wheel

    I really enjoy this theme youve got going on on your site. What is the name of the design by the way? I was thinking of using this style for the website I am going to construct for my class room project.

  12. themerchantproject

    totally! The goal should always be to produce A+ content over and over. That said I think some of the frustation you speak of or entitlement comes from not understanding how to grow a readership –

  13. Charley

    Actually looking at the angle, in particular, that the article you quoted takes, you should see every compliment you get as a reason to take heart – that you didn’t just hijack someone’s attention or endorsement willy-nilly but you personally earned it. I know it sounds obvious but I suppose what I’m getting at is how it’s so easy to take for granted that, okay, you got so many hits in one day or so many comments – great! – without stepping back and thinking “Hang on! These are all individual feathers in my cap for which I personally fought and earned with my hard work” Appreciating them and appreciating your own self worth for earning them is so much healthier as a mindset than just clamouring for through-the-roof stats from day 1.
    I don’t get thousands of hits a day but it really means a lot when readers post positive comments – and they do. If you think that hits are about awareness (well, up to a point) it dawns on you that it’s more important to ensure that the people you are reaching like what they’re reading and if they come back for more, bonus! I’d rather have a handful of people who’ve heard of me and respect me than thousands of people knowing my blog exists but thinking I’m crap and overrated!
    On that happy note, my URL’s