Sunday, July 12, 2015

Advice for New Bloggers - Numbers Aren't Always What They Seem

Like a lot of the conferences that I attend, at the ISTE conference I had conversations with a bunch of people who were seeking advice about blogging. At some point almost of those people would say something like, "my blog is small, I only have a few hundred followers." Or they would say, "I'm on Twitter, but I only have one thousand followers." My response to both statements is, "that's awesome!" After that statement I follow up with some context to explain why 1,000 people is a lot of followers.

New bloggers and podcasters often get obsessed with how many followers they have. When you have a few hundred or one thousand followers that can seem like a small amount when you compare it to the more established blogs in a niche. But don't compare your follower/ subscriber count to that of more established bloggers. Instead compare your current subscriber/ follower count against the previous month's. Look to grow month by month not to become the world's most popular blogger in one month.

Let's put 1,000 followers into context. I live in a town of roughly 1,000 people. If I sent a letter to every person in town, I might get positive responses from 20 people. But if I send an email, publish a blog post, or produce a podcast episode for 1,000 people who have in someway said, "yes, I want to get more information from Richard" then I am going to get a far higher rate of response and engagement. Put another way, picture getting all of your followers together in one place and then you'll realize that 1,000 followers is a lot of people.

338,000 people like my Facebook page, but I get more responses from the 6,000 people who subscribe to the weekly newsletter. Creating a successful blog or podcast isn't about having the most followers, it's about having engaged followers.