January 29, 2013
How to Create a Permanent Audience of your Blog
Image Source: Creative Commons Flickr/The Official Star Wars
On the World Wide Web there is very little that is permanent. Websites come and go at a very high rate, and blogs come and go at an even quicker rate. Most blogs that are not corporate sponsored will not last more than two years. The websites that rank highly one month may be forgotten by the next, and even search engines come and go. Do you even remember Btjunkie, Infoseek, or Scroogle? When was the last time you ran a Lycos search or AltaVista search? Permanent is not a commonly used word on the Internet. Even the web hosts (servers) have moved from country to country. With so much of the World Wide Web in a constant flux, how can something as flexible as a blog gain a permanent audience?
Why do blogs come and go so quickly?
Blogs are usually started by one person, which means that the blog’s future relies on one person. Therefore, a large number of possibilities may arise as to why blogs disappear as quickly as they appear:
- He/she becomes bored and stops blogging
- He/she thought it would be a good money maker but isn’t
- He/she thought it would lead to increased online credibility but didn’t
- He/she gets barely any traffic so gives up
- He/she finds something more fun
- He/she figures out that he/she is working for free
- He/she runs out of topics to write about
- He/she becomes ill or circumstances change
How come corporate sponsored blogs rarely have a permanent audience?
Corporate sponsored blogs exists in order to sell items of raise the SEO value of another website through linking to it. They are often planned by people who have no idea about planning, and are often poorly targeted. These are just a few reasons why these types of blogs never gain a permanent audience. There is also little motivation for a reader to follow a corporate blog on a regular basis.
What makes audiences return of their own free will?
There has to be something in it for the reader. They have to get something tangible out of it. The best examples come from the video blogs that are done on the escapist magazine website. For example the “Zero Punctuation” guy reviews computer games, but does it to a very funny script with little animations. Movie Bob on the other hand gives deep and character filled information about new movies that is very interesting and fun to listen to. People tune in every week and visit them at conventions because they both give something whilst being entertaining at the same time.
What exactly is a permanent audience and how is it different from fans or loyal viewers?
A permanent audience is a group of people who are going to read a blog regularly without question–even if it makes mistakes. Loyal viewers are people who do not have to visit a blog, but do so because there is something in it for them.
How do we tie and audience to a blog?
To gain a permanent audience, the viewers need to be tied to a blog so that their education, well being, safety or career will suffer if they do not. This is a very specific state of affairs, so please note the wording. Their education, well being, safety or career will suffer if they do not read the blog, so that it will not suffer if they do read it. Suffering is a consequence of not reading. The blog does not need to improve their circumstances in any way (that is often incidental), it just needs to be tied to them in a way that it will negatively affect them if they do not read the blog. This is why gaining a permanent audience is so difficult.
Here are some examples of a tied audience
Tying an audience to a blog is very hard, and it is mostly a matter of circumstance, nevertheless here are some examples where a permanent audience is guaranteed.
Tied to safety – This is the hardest one to achieve in the west because in the first world we are all pretty safe. But let’s say that your village is at threat from roaming vigilante armies; a blog that keeps people updated on their specific movements would have an instantly tied audience. The readers would be no better off for knowing the armies movements, but would suffer if they did not read the blog because they may venture into an active/dangerous area. They may also miss a warning that the army is coming to their village.
Tied to work – Updates in the form of blogs can keep some staff members tied to a blog. They will return periodically to see if any information will affect them. They may gain a benefit from reading the blog, but they are certainly not going to suffer if they read the blog, because they will not be “kept out of the loop” with regards to business matters. A business owner can tie the blog’s readership in a passive way, such as making it more of a newsletter. Or the business owner can use it as more of an update system, where staff will not know what section/area to work in if they do not read the blog.
Tied to school – Some professors have started blogs in which some very important test and coursework facts and tips are present. These professors tend to enjoy a permanent audience from students during their term at the school. These types of tips may include coursework and exam rules which students are largely unaware of.
Tied to wellbeing – There are blogs about certain medical conditions, which enjoy a permanent audience form sufferers. There are also blogs about medical concerns with chemicals and working conditions, which enjoy a permanent audience from people in their related industry.
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