I am aware that this article will probably not attract many comments and won’t be particularly popular. However, I have something to say that I think is important, and that tends to overrule any of my other goals.
I mention comments and popularity for a reason. I read Marcus’ latest post over at The Sales Lion last Friday: 10,862 Comments Later, I Realize Blog Comments are NOT a Business Model. Although you probably understand that blog comments in themselves aren’t a business model without Marcus having to tell you, the article has a lot more to say than just that.
Marcus heads up the article with the following recent exchange between him and John Falchetto:
“Marcus, of all the comments on your blog, how many of the people turned out to be actual customers?”
“Hmmm,” I thought “I really don’t think anyone that has commented on TSL has ever turned into a paying customer. Some customers have turned into commenters after being a client, but not the other way around.”
“Exactly,” said John, “Me neither.”
Think about that for a second: Over 10,000 comments and not a single customer.
What does this tell us? Well, we can speculate endlessly, but one thing is for sure – your blog’s success does not depend on the number of comments you get.
Let me clarify that statement – whilst the number of comments you receive can be an indication of your blog’s reach and “engagement factor”, it is highly limited as a metric of success.
Why? I will refer to a post by Darren Rowse: 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog. In it, he refers to a study in which it is purported that your visitors can be ‘split’ as follows:
- 90% are “lurkers”
- 9% contribute occasionally
- 1% contribute often
Now I appreciate that the aforementioned post and study are rather dated, but I highly doubt that the figures have changed by more than a couple of percentage points since.
Where Are You Going With This?
I think we are all guilty of (at least occasionally) assuming that the readers who communicate with us (via blog comments, emails, social media, or any other medium) are representative of our readership. But they’re not! In fact, they probably account for just 1-10% of your total readership. That is a very small proportion.
We often find ourselves living and dying by the number of blog comments or emails we receive. But there is so much more to your blog. And if you cater your blog to the 10%, you are catering it to the “hardcore” fans of your blog – not the “lurkers” – not the undecided.
Don’t Sell To The Sold
It’s like a car salesman spending 45 minutes trying to sell a car to someone who has already decided to buy, whilst five other potential customers are ignored.
Personal updates are a great example of catering solely to the 10%. Presuming that you don’t have a “personal” blog, let’s say that you post three times a week, and you decide to start dedicating every Friday to a “personal update”. It could be anything – a story about your dog, what you had for lunch, your Tuesday trip to a local food market… you think it is a good idea, as you seem to have attracted a following who are genuinely interested in you as a person.
That is fine, apart from the fact that only 10% of your readers give a damn about your dog. Sorry to give it to you straight, but the vast majority of your readers just aren’t interested.
I’m not saying that you should never do personal updates, but I am saying that it should not be at the expense of your regular content – which does appeal to “the masses”.
Don’t Stop Loving Your Biggest Fans!
Let me make something absolutely clear at this juncture – I am not saying that you should ignore your loyal supporters. Far from it. I am extraordinarily grateful to the guys and girls who have been consistently supporting me. It means a great deal.
But you do have to strike a healthy balance. Write for your whole audience – not just the ones that are interacting with you.
Blogging is in part a two way street, but for the vast majority of your readers, is completely one-sided. They come to read your content and learn, and for whatever reason, they have little or no interest in contacting you.
And for what it’s worth, that is absolutely fine – after all, if you go back 20 years, blogging as a concept would have seemed utterly bizarre. If you have any kind of audience, you will never be able to communicate with all of them, so be thankful that the majority don’t want to talk to you!
So please, don’t just write for the 10%. Make sure that you are catering for everyone.
Do You Write For The 10%?
I’d love to know what you think about this. Do you agree with what I’ve said, or do you take a different approach? Let me know in the comments section – because, people of the 10%, I value your thoughts!