audience of one

Bloggers: Does It Feel Like No One’s Listening?

September 15, 2010

in Business

audience of one

I read something last night in the ProBlogger Forum that really touched me. Someone wrote,

“Sometimes it seems like you’re just sending these posts out into the void and they just never come in contact with anyone or anything.”

I have enjoyed a lot of success on this blog, and I believe it was more luck than anything else. I do know the feeling of talking to an audience of one. Many, many blogs are slow-starters.

If there is one piece of advice I could give to people who feel like they are blogging in the dark, it’s to pay very close attention to people who have been doing this for a long time, as opposed to soaking in advice of the glorious few who have achieved incredible success overnight.

This blog may be new but I am not new to blogging! I’ve had total failures and moderate successes, and have worked with very popular people who have less than popular blogs, and bookworm types who have well-received blogs.

There are so many things to factor in that producing a 20-page guide on how to be an awesome blogger just isn’t something I could endorse with any degree of seriousness. That said, there is so much advice out there that is very good. Why are there still so many lonely bloggers?

Audience of One?

At least you should know this: you’re not alone! I visited two rather lonely blogs tonight. I know that the bloggers are doing their best. No blog is perfect. I’d say that the ratio of lonely blogs (as in, no one is really listening) to popular blogs has got to be somewhere close to a million to 1. Really. Think about how many blogs are started every single day. There are only so many readers. It takes time to get around.

I’m reminded of the scene from Julie & Julia (the movie) where Julie asks, “Is anyone listening?” or something like that. I’ve asked myself that time and again, even with BCB. I don’t remember when people started reading the blog and retweeting the posts and commenting. I remember that at one point I joined the Lady Bloggers Society, and that was a huge boost of confidence since it brought some active readers (like @ItalianMamaChef), and then when I felt I no longer fit that crowd, I moved on.

The point of this is to say that at some point, you have to try to get readers. Readers are what gives volume to your speakers. Otherwise, it’s just you talking into a muted microphone. Bloggers say that they are trying, but I would guess that they mean that they are reading all of the advice and then going back to their blogs to figure out what is wrong.

The answer is not on your blog. Stop looking for it there.

So what can you do to bring in readers?

Ugh, these answers are just some of the things you can do. There’s no possible way to list everything that works, because it’s always changing. As I said in a post on success on WeBlogBetter, at some point successful people learn to start making decisions for themselves. You can’t follow another person’s advice to the letter. Learn to interpret, to test, and to tweak until you figure out what works for you.

  • Join a free club expressly for the purpose of blog promotion, like SITS or the Lady Bloggers Society (sorry guys, don’t know of one for you).
  • Join a network like BlogEngage. Be advised, though, you will have to start commenting or doing something that will get you noticed. Submitting a link is not enough.
  • Join a premium, paid club that will have your back and show you the ropes, like Third Tribe or A-List Bloggers.
  • Join a forum like ProBlogger Forum or v7n Forum and specifically ask for help, or let people know about your blog, what you do, and that you’re looking for new readers and could use some help with networking.
  • Make REAL friends on Twitter. The kind you can DM and say, “Will you RT this please?” The kind that won’t ignore you. Obviously, to do this you need to be a reader of theirs, email them, or otherwise get to know them on a personal level. Ask for their help. Those are just some ideas.
  • Connect with a blogger you have been reading (and engaging with through comments, Facebook, and/or Twitter) and ask them if you can either guest post or if they would mind writing about you at some point. Make sure it’s a blogger who’s got a following and an active readership. Offer a collaboration – let them know that you’re trying to build your readership and have something to offer them and their readers. Be genuine. This worked really well for a client of mine who is now a contributor of a good blog in their niche, with premium sidebar placement and everything. Reach. Out. Get. Connected. Period. Also – be open to hear any suggestions they may have. After all, you want to be in their spot, so be willing to take constructive [intlink id="3372" type="post"]criticism[/intlink] if it comes.

The common link in all of these is connection with real people. Actual conversations need to be had. Guest posting and commenting and linking out are important but they are still not the same as the me-you type relationship that comes from a direct connection.

People who’ve been there before, what’s your advice?

Bottom Line: I Get It

The most important thing here is that I get it. It sucks really badly to be blogging away and getting not even so much as an echo coming back to you. Most of the active readership here doesn’t fall in to that bucket… but my educated guess is that those of you who are passive readers here and on other blogs, are probably struggling with the audience-of-one thing and there is a direct correlation there. Do something for yourself – break out of that box you’re in and make a connection. It starts with one.

It will get better!

Image Credit: Max Wolfe

Praveen@Techperk December 22, 2010 at 7:23 am

Hey, nice and a very good piece of share. I like the way this has been crafted. Keep up the great work. Retweeted

Kissie October 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Hi Tia,

You are absolutely right, one of the many benefits in joining a blogging community is an almost guaranteed visit, read, and comment. I also think first impressions are lasting … at least until the NEXT time. ;-)

Hey, thanks for the introduction to SITS. Good looking out, good looking.

Mike Sansone September 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Ah, this is a subject heavy on many a blogger (including myself at many stages and turns).

I once received a referral from a company in one state. The referral came from someone across the country — and the referring person had never commented and wasn’t on any list I had. So wallflowers can be important.

Your tips are great (and I’m gonna try a few). One thing is for sure: I’ve been a long-time reader, but now a first-time commenter – though it won’t be a last-time:-) Thanks for this great post!

Tia Peterson September 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Mike – I had no idea you were reading! :) I’m glad you connected here and that I found your blog over at ConverStations. Very cool name, by the way. I love the premise. Here’s to more discussion in the future!

Cheers,
Tia

1skyliner September 19, 2010 at 5:13 am

I like that you mentioned getting to know people personally.Thanks for the article. I liked reading it

bryan September 18, 2010 at 3:16 am

hey tia, I know that feeling of being in a lonely blog. It feels as if like you are blogging and no one is reading. But you know there are visitors from Google Analytics but when i started, there were no comments! just full of spam and I had to delete those spams. I was also thinking if I’m doing it right and whether I should continue and then I started changing my style a bit to reaching out the community.

I think one of the commentors made a great point about a community of bloggers helping and supporting each other. Right now I’m getting some comments but not as much as I wanted. Still it’s an improvement nonetheless.

Charlie September 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm

This is very true. I have been working on several sites that I do not believe will go anywhere and others that take off like no ones business. It takes time and alot of work to keep things going and it will continue to change. This is the puzzle that we must all play.

Fleire Castro September 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Oh, wow. I kind of think that you are talking to me with through this blog post. LOL

Honestly, I have just started lurking around BC and Linkedin. When I started with my web working and SMM assistance, I was just focused in helping out my clients that I forgot to even market myself — a really bad thing if you are a web worker. I have also started sticking so hard to posting an article per week on my blog which is very, very hard. And yes, no one is even listening. :(

Kathy September 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Tia,

New bloggers are going to find results a lot faster by joining a club like you mentioned. There is nothing quite like being able to jump into a room full of people and introduce yourself. All of these new acquaintances are going to want to read you at least once if only to find out what you’re all about. If your blog reveals a little of your own personality, then some of them will stick around and maybe come back in the future.

If you can forget about yourself for a few minutes and take a real interest in other people, you will find yourself forging new friendships and new readers pretty much effortlessly.

Libby Fisher September 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Hi Tia,

Very good post (nothing new there!)….I think you are right – the best way to get traffic and readers is to get yourself and your blog out there for the world to see! I am really glad for the traffic my blog gets, seeing how it is still very young (almost a month and a half old now! woohoo!), and I was really excited when I started getting comments and retweets on my posts but I was also taken a little off guard – I didn’t realize people were actually reading it yet and I was like “Oh no, I’m not ready for this! I dont have enough content on here!” But then I got over it and just kept writing, writing, writing….and still am! :) But the only reason I started actually getting readers was because I started focusing on interacting with other bloggers and putting time into things besides just writing, and sure enough, people started trickling over to my blog! :)

Julius @ Speeding up Wordpress September 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hey Tia,

this is a great post. I totally agree with you. Everyone who is blogging, even the successful ones, started small. So don’t get too frustrated about a blog with a small audience. The thing is that many people simply hope that it will change without actively wanting to change it. To be honest for me the best thing to do was to contact other bloggers and to talk to them.

John Garrett September 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Hey Tia, thanks for the comment on my site. I appreciate it.

I was the one who made the comment over on Problogger (of course you know that). I felt that way for the first few months of doing my site.

Honestly, I started putting up the articles I did because I would do searches and try to figure out problems and I would have a very difficult time.

Now, whenever I overcome a problem with whatever I’m doing (web stuff, 3D, graphic design or anything else) I try to put up an article in case anyone following behind me might come across it in their travels.

I think it’s starting to turn, I’m getting a lot more emails actually (I wish they would leave comments, tho :).

my Facebook page is not taking off, so I might turn my attention more towards Twitter. More people that I actually know use it with success so that might help. Anyway keep up the good work!

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Thanks, John! Hey I hope to continue to connect on the forums and here and Twitter (I use Twitter a ton).

That’s awesome that you’re getting emails, though! What might help: right above your contact form, put something like “Please feel free to use the contact form below if you have any questions, but for a much faster response, leave a comment on a post.” Something like that! Might encourage more.

Anyway, good luck and I’m glad you stopped by.

lawmacs September 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

You are perfectly rigfht Tia if you are doing something and it is not wroking you have to break out of the crowd try something different the success will come just remember rome was not build in one day.

Caleb September 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

The internet is a big gigantic community in and of itself so it’s kinda like in real life meaning that if you don’t ever visit anybody else’s place how do you expect someone to visit yours :?:

We as bloggers MUST interact with other bloggers and there is no way around this unless you got mega thousands of dollars to spend on paid advertising but even then you will still eventually have to interact with others in the blogosphere.

TJ McDowell@Photography Education September 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I’ve started multiple blogs, and the one I’m working on now is the first one that has really succeeded. I think I’m more passionate about this one, and I’m excited when people stop by to read and comment. Like everyone else though, I had a slow start. I think I’m over 3 months in now, and I’m just now starting to see response.

BLOGitse September 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

I’ve been with SITS but now I feel I don’t belong there anymore…
I do need to find new communities to join. No more mommy bloggers. Where are communities with adults with many interests?
I love theater, music…all kinds of art, good food, blogging, photographing…
Am I totally alone loving more than one thing in this life?
Even if I’m a mother that’s not how I identify myself.
Even if I take pictures I’m more than passionate amateur etc.

Too many bloggers think they can just publish, sit and wait.
To find and keep your audience is hard work especially if a blog is not about blogging or expert blog.

Thanks Tia, now I have to do some blog exploring and leave a couple of comments! :)

Tia Peterson September 17, 2010 at 8:55 am

You’re welcome. It can be hard to find the right community. You just have to keep looking around and trying them out til you find the right one.

T. September 15, 2010 at 11:18 am

Great post! I completely agree that we need to build relationships with our fellow bloggers. Show love = Get Love….but we need each other for so much more. There is nothing more important than having a community around you – the support, the encouragement, the constructive criticism – invaluable. I also feel that we need to build a similar relationship with our readers – whether we have one or one thousand. Interacting with readers on Twitter, Facebook, email – lets them know how much we appreciate them. I have some regular readers (some bloggers, some not) whose comments I can’t live without – they make me laugh and they make me think.
That being said, I think the most important thing we can do is to keep it real. If we and our blogs are sincere and honest readers will come, they’ll stay, and hopefully, they’ll bring their friends.

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Hey T.,

Yes, and you recently did a show love type post. Those are the building blocks; it starts there.

You’re dead on about keeping it real. It requires a little confidence, but wow what a difference it can make for a blog.

Extreme John September 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

Only my third post here and it’s another rocket ship, great job! It would be nice if you could single handily get this in front of every new blogger that just wants to throw in the towel.

Tia Peterson September 17, 2010 at 8:53 am

Hey John! So sorry, this ended up in SPAM. I think I will have to whitelist your email address! :)

Yes, I wish people would hold off quitting for awhile. I mean, if you don’t have time, it’s one thing. But, if it’s because you don’t have any readers, that can be fixed! Thanks for your comment, even though I didn’t find it until now!

Cheers,
Tia

Evelyn September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am

Hi Tia,
Another homerun post!

I use to think that I could simply post and the people would come, but I quickly realized/learned that blogging doesn’t work like that. We must leave our blogs, network and get to know other people.

I like that you mentioned getting to know people personally. I have found that really does work and I have met some awesome bloggers that way.

Thanks for such an motivating and inspirational post!

Take care,

Evelyn

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm

You’re so welcome, Evelyn! I’m glad you found the post motivational. It was written from the heart! lol Maybe I am just emotional this week.

Thanks for the kudos.

Tia

Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog September 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

Every blogger face that problem at some point and the answer is pretty simple: social networking but doing it in a clever and honest way.
Of course your blog must have some valuable content to visit often ;)

Have a funny week!

Gera

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Hey Gera, lol. Okay I will try to have a funny week. :)

And you’re right, and we’re going to talking about content a lot more in the upcoming weeks. It’s critical.

Ryan Biddulph September 15, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Tia,

Powerful tips here.

My blog suffered from Cricket Syndrome for a long time. Few readers and no comments. When I commented on other blogs this turned around for me. One key to getting traffic is to give other bloggers traffic by adding value with insightful comments and sharing their stuff on social networks.

This helped me jump from an average of 2 – 6 comments per post up to 54 in one post recently, in a relatively short period of time.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

Ryan Biddulph

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Hey Ryan – Congrats! That is an awesome jump! You ARE everywhere, lol. You pick all the right places. Smart guy!

Cristina September 15, 2010 at 8:33 am

Thank you for the tips, and for the encouragement.
“Do something for yourself – break out of that box you’re in and make a connection. It starts with one.” That’s the best advice of all, at least for me. Off to put it into practice :)

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Thanks, Christina. Good luck with it. Come back to BCB sometime! Good to see you here. You have a beautifully streamlined blog.

Cheers,
Tia

Patricia@lavenderuses September 15, 2010 at 7:51 am

As always great advice. I found I started getting more traffic to my site when I began commenting on other blogs and building up relationships. Then they would do the same and comment on mine. Spreading the love around so to speak.
Also I joined a blogging community at Bloggerluv and they have been so helpful and encouraging. Everyone wants me to succeed with my blog so are cheering me on all the way.
I know it takes time to build the trust and the traffic and as I keep publishing posts, stumbling and RT other people’s posts I am moving forward with my blog.
Being proactive is so important. Very salient points you have made.
I found some of the really big blogger sites a bit too much and I tried a couple of forums but got lost in the crowd. Also some were far too techie for me.
I think I have found my tribe now and will continue to enjoy the journey.
Patricia Perth Australia

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Hey Patricia – Thanks for your comment! Those things are great; I do them as well and have reaped the great rewards.

Cheers,
Tia

Marlee September 15, 2010 at 7:50 am

Hey Tia!
Thanks for the encouragement and tips. Writing for an audience of none can sometimes make you feel like you’re wasting your time. I think you hit the nail on the head with highlighting the importance of networking. I also think it’s important for new bloggers to write as though they are righting for their ultimate audience, because by generating awesome content, once the readers show up, they will stay. I also try not to look at stats. If I’m doing what I’m supposed to my audience will show up at the perfect time. :)

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Hey Marlee – Perfect. Stats are things we should look at periodically. It’s funny that as traffic starts to pile up, you end up having less time to look at the stats anyway!

Thanks for your comment!

Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter September 15, 2010 at 7:28 am

Hi Tia,
As always, these are awesome tips. We’ve all been there – getting steady, loyal traffic is the most common problem of bloggers. You’re advise about making friends and developing a network is probably the best advice here. Building relationships is the best thing you can do for your blog. What strengths blogging relationships is the genuine desire to help others.

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Hey Kiesha – Well said!! Being genuine in a desire to help others. That has proven effective in sales of all kinds – real estate, banking, and even retail. It has to come from the heart.

Justin Germino September 15, 2010 at 6:07 am

Really good article Tia, when I first started blogging of course I wondered if anybody was reading. I learned spam comments came frequently, but real readers were nowhere to be seen.

Yet I wrote because I wanted to, and eventually readers came. I did join networks like BlogEngage, but not until later on. My first social networks where I met other bloggers were SocialSpark, Entrecard and CMF Ads. I then started doing searches for other blogs and leaving comments, creating two way dialogs.

I think facebook fanpages and social media accounts are a must for building networks of people who then will learn who you are, start to “befriend” and this leads to a following.

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Hi Justin,

Same here. I know that once I developed an audience on Twitter, things started to change. My Facebook page is slow-going but it’s because I don’t spend as much time there. I know that both of them, if you can cultivate relationships with users there, play a huge role in community building for a blog.

Matthew DC September 15, 2010 at 3:45 am

I’m an SEO at heart and I started out in Internet Marketing. In our world, the name of the game is backlinks and getting ranked in Search Engines. Blogging is a completely different game.

I have had niche sites in the past that got upwards of 2-3,000 hits a day no problem. My blog is getting like 50. The problem is like you said, in Blogging, it’s all about networking, something I have yet to really learn or master. I know SEO, but at the same time, I want to be able to write on my blog about topics that interest me and my target audience, without having to spend 8 hours doing KW research and optimizing the heck out of every blog post.

It’s a conundrum I have yet to figure out. I appreciate posts like this that offer advice to those of us who may be more inexperienced in this scene and i’m glad you posted this. I was actually feeling a little down today considering of my last 3 posts, i’ve had like 0 comments, but after reading this, I think you’re right.

It’s all on me. If i’m not networking, if i’m not promoting and getting exposure out there for my blog (like you would for any product), what do I expect to happen?

Thanks Tia, a little kick in the butt is good sometimes!

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Thanks so much for this comment, Matthew. I’m glad you’re not feeling so down anymore! I started to feel really down after I read what that guy wrote in the forums. Blogging makes us part of a huge community all striving for the same thing and so when someone is down, I feel it, too!

Glad we’ve connected on the blog and here’s to better results for the next 3 posts!!! :)

Klaus @ TechPatio September 15, 2010 at 2:49 am

Ugh, connecting with real people, that’s so last century, isn’t it? :D

But you’re right, only few people will have an easy road to blogging success. It requires either great SEO skills, a great niche or great networking skills – and maybe something else that I don’t remember right now…

Tia Peterson September 15, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Hi Klaus,

Where do you live!? I got this comment in the middle of the night. :)

Great networking makes up for a lack of both niche and SEO. Although, a well optimized niche blog can make up for lack of networking, too!

Cheers,
Tia

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