5 Reasons I Stop Reading Your Blog
Recently I went through my RSS feed and did some (early) spring cleaning. I’ve never been a huge fan of clutter, digital or otherwise, and it was time to do some organizing.
As I finished my cleaning, I realized that all of the blogs from which I’d just unsubscribed have some things in common. If you’re not gaining any readers, or if you’ve noticed your readership dropping, you should consider adjusting your content strategy, keeping in mind five reasons people stop reading.
1. You update too much
Nobody likes spam, and nothing will make people disappear faster than filling their RSS feed or inbox with your blog posts. Not only that, but you run the risk of diluting the impact of a hard-hitting post by burying it deep in on your blog with a half-dozen other posts on top of it.
If you’re a large company with many contributors, think about taking the same route as Mashable and split your blog by topic into multiple RSS feeds. Your site may have dozens of postings per day, but giving your readers the option to subscribe to only “Business and Marketing” or “Social Media News” will lessen the burden on their RSS feed — and will give you a better idea of which of your topics are most popular, and with whom.
If you’re a one or two person outfit, pace yourselves: create an editorial calendar and spread your content out over time. Posting less often means that you have more time to work on meatier posts, as well as the day-to-day tasks that always seem to pile up.
2. You don’t update enough
As I’ve mentioned before, marketing can be a balancing act. Posting too often means you’re less likely to be read, and not posting at all guarantees that you won’t. And if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what does an abandoned blog signify?
Remember that these first two items are subjective: depending on your business and what you know about your customer, your definitions of “too much” or “too little” may be different than mine.
Pay attention to your site’s analytics: which posts are getting the most attention? Do the blogs at the beginning of the week get tons of comments, but the ones posted over the weekend are hardly viewed at all? Are your readers the type who want fresh content as often as possible, or do they prefer a more relaxed schedule? Optimize your publishing schedule and make sure you’re finding the right balance between too much and not enough.
3. Your content is wrong for your target market
I started following a particular blog because the author was always posting photos of her clever photography. Recently she stopped posting photos altogether, and is instead sending out occasional paragraph-long updates about her life.
Neither of these is the “right” or “wrong” way to blog. However, the reason I subscribed in the first place was because of her fantastic and whimsical photography — I’m just not interested in her personal life, and so I removed her blog from my RSS feed.
This is an issue to watch out for all the time, not just when you’re conducting your branding and content strategies. Any time you make a shift in the type of content you’re producing, you may lose some readers simply because your blog no longer fills a need that they have. If you’re thinking of making a radical switch in your message and the type of content you create, be prepared to see your numbers go down. Hopefully, if you’ve made the change strategically, your blog will soon be replenished by new readers who enjoy your new content.
4. You discourage community
One of the reasons some companies are hesitant to blog is that they don’t know how to react to any negative comments that may appear — so they either don’t respond to comments, or they disable them completely. Don’t make this mistake.
One purpose of blogging is to encourage open communication with your readers, prospects, and customers. If I can’t interact on a personal level with the author of the post, or discuss the topic with other readers, why should I waste my time reading it?
Getting involved with your reading community is the best focus group there is: the feedback they leave and the suggestions they make can help you further tailor your content strategy and improve your brand’s image. It can also present chances to provide customer service — opportunities that KLM missed.
5. All you do is talk about yourself
Encouraging community is important — and the easiest way to do that is to talk about something other than yourself. The goal is to position yourself not only as an expert in your field, but an expert as it applies to solving your customers’ problems.
Successful blogging is never about having a one-way conversation: it’s about sharing ideas and learning about the people who make up your community.
What are some of your customers’ biggest frustrations? What content can you provide them that will answer their questions and solve those problems? Let your customers’ voices be heard, and they’ll thank you for it.
Have you unsubscribed to any blogs recently? Why? Let me know in a comment.
Image: Amy Peveto