One of the biggest concerns facing bloggers is engagement: how many comments are we receiving, how do our readers interact with us, are they sharing our posts, and what kind of feedback do we get?
The reality is, we don't hear from the majority of our readership. They are a silent majority.
Every day that a post goes live, it is read by hundreds, if not a thousands of people. But how many people are engaging with that post? In reality, it's a very, very small percentage, and undoubtedly, you've noticed the same on your site.
In a post from DIY Themes, they talk about the 90:9:1 Principal, and we learn that:
- 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.
When you see those statistics, how do those compare to your own site? That that would probably be a pretty darn close comparison to my own statistics, and it may even be GENEROUS to assume that 10% are commenting in one form or the other! Compare your stats on Facebook or Twitter– what percentage of your fans or followers are responding to what you put out? You may find similar ratios again.
It's easy to believe that everyone interacts with technology the same way that we do. As bloggers, we've cultivated a relationship with technology that is interaction based: we comment on blogs; we tweet each other; we engage with brands on Facebook pages. But the fact is, there's a significant portion of people on the internet who don't have that same relationship with the internet. A significant group of people aren't on Facebook OR Twitter. They don't check their email daily, and they may be drive-by readers.
The silent majority use the internet to find information; maybe they found your site via a Google search, found an answer, and moved on. They may be friends of your friends who passed along your site; they may have found you from another blog they love or read about you in the local paper. They may read your site because they enjoy it, but don't put in the time and energy to interact with a blog. (And realistically, they also have no clue the time and energy it takes to maintain a blog!) They think, “This site is fun to read,” and they visit when they remember to.
But they're loyal readers, nonetheless.
Over the years, I've noticed that the majority of people who engage with my blog are other bloggers. Occasionally I do get a reader response who is not a blogger. I value the comments I receive from other bloggers– I do. But there's something special about receiving a comment or an email from the silent reader. It means that what I've written, what I've created, has motivated them beyond their normal response. It's evoked an emotion in them that has pushed them to respond.
Bloggers are not our only readers, and there's incredible value in thinking about the silent majority who readers and supports our blogs.
How familiar are you with the audience who reads your site? Do you create content with that silent readership in mind or are you creating content for those more likely to interact with you? Have you figured out a way to engage and interact those readers… pull them out of the silence and into engagement?