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Are you blogging to the wrong audience?

It’s been my intention for some time now to expand this blog to write about other topics, and to post more frequently. I haven’t done that because, frankly, I don’t have the time. Blogging once a week has been perfect for me. It’s manageable, and with two- and three-year-old children, I need something manageable in my life (something more manageable than, “I don’t want a spooooon! I want a forrrrrrrk! I can’t eat eggs with a spoooooon!”) But there are two reasons I want to post more often. One is to expand my readership beyond other writers. Social media queen Kristen Lamb has written some great posts on this topic. One titled Solid Platform, Wrong Audience is my favorite and has links to her previous posts. My memoir, which I completed earlier this week, is about the six years I spent working as a fashion model in Europe and Japan. My current WIP is a collection of humorous parenting essays. And my next project is something different altogether. As much as I love blogging about writing and social media, it’s time for me to expand to also write about parenting and fashion and modeling and all the other topics I’m interested in, like rock climbing and geo-caching and Settlers of Catan. I can’t promise I’ll blog every week. I’m not ready for a two-post-per-week commitment just yet (and I may never be), but I will attempt to post about a topic of my choosing (picture me rubbing my hands together) most Thursdays (and that means Fridays or Saturdays when I’m running late). Meanwhile, Tuesdays will remain writing/publishing/social media days as they have been for some time.

Now, here’s an exercise to determine whether you are blogging to the wrong audience:

Profile your audience. Make a list of the different groups of people you imagine buying your book. Who are they? Are they teen girls? Middle-aged women? Men who like to read thrillers? How old are they? What do they do for a living? How do they spend their free time? What products do they buy? Make lists. Then, once you’ve got that down, think about what topics those people are interested in reading about. What concerns them? What are their thoughts preoccupied with? (Boys? Sex? Making money? Finding God? Decluttering their homes?) Make another list.

And finally, ask yourself: Are you blogging about the topics on that last list? Why or why not?

By the way, there is some value in attracting other bloggers to your blog for the simple reason that they are more likely to blog about you and your work than non-bloggers. But you need both. You need to reach as many potential readers as possible, and there are many ways to do that.

Now, you tell me. Are you blogging to the RIGHT audience? Are you blogging to your potential readers, or are you only blogging to other writers? What’s stopping you from making that leap?

30 comments to Are you blogging to the wrong audience?

  • Thanks so much for this blog post, Meghan. It really hit the spot for me.

    I write romance novellas set in the 1920s. I get hundreds of hits on my blog each day, but not from potential readers. They come to me from Google, searching for 'Josephine Baker' and 'Charles Lindbergh', celebrities of the 20s I've written blog posts about.

    So I'm currently taking a blog hiatus as I try to figure out what will draw in my intended market rather than drive-by net surfers.

    • Meghan Ward


      It's amazing how many hits mention of a celebrity can draw. I once compared my pregnancy to that of Milla Jovovich (who gained 70 lbs), and that post got a lot of hits from people searching her name. But I bet there are a lot of topics you can write about that would interest your readership – topics related to love and romance and to that period (how was sex different in the 20s? What was the fashion like? Posts about women's suffrage, etc.) – also topics that relate to people who tend to read romance novellas. Are they housewives fantasizing about traveling the world? Are they spending most of their time cooking? I can think of many ideas for you to write about!

  • I just finished a campy women's fiction called THE DEVIL AND ME and also began my first blog last week, so I'm literally a nobody coming out of nowhere. I came across Writerland during my non-ending googling around the planet for information about blogs and so happy I did. As you begin to try to reach even further out to audiences, I will follow in your footsteps. You're not only informative, but a personable writer yourself. I enjoy it. Maybe you'll check mine out? I got my first real other follower yesterday other than myself. I guess you might say I took the humor route in my articles 'cause everybody could use a giggle these days!

    • Meghan Ward

      Andrea, humorous blogs are the most popular of all! If you can do humor well, go for it. And of course I'll check out your blog. Looking forward to it.

  • I totally overhauled (renamed, redesigned, reconfigured) my blog earlier this year and had to take a hard look at this stuff. I definitely check my analytics to see what's drawing in the most action – and it's rarely what I predict. I sometimes post something that I feel is so incredibly awesome that it should have a halo on it, and it falls flat. Then I slap up some drivel and it gets tons of traffic. Go figure; I'm trying not to take it personally;

    It's all helpful in figuring out what readers want and where I should be spending my time, so as I writer I don't just have to guess about what will work.

    Looking forward to more dispatches from Writerland…

    • Meghan Ward

      Nancy, I know what you mean. The posts I've been the most nervous about, that I thought might not got any comments, are often the most popular. After two years I have a little bit better of an idea of what "works" for me, but this foray into blogging about modeling and fashion and parenting is new and scary, which is why I've put it off for so long. Writing about writing was my comfort zone, but it's time to expand beyond that.

  • lindseycrittenden

    Nancy, I have had the same experience in my (short) blogging life. So odd, how off the mark we can be about what will hit a nerve. One more reminder that we shouldn't close the door on sending anything (well, maybe not anything) out there. And as always, Meghan, I love the way you blend good sense with smart advice and humor. Good luck with the new THursday posts — And do I see sporks in your future?

    • Meghan Ward

      Sporks! Good idea! Two- and three-year-olds can be so demanding! ARE so demanding. Every minute. Thanks for the well wishes on the Thursday posts. I hope my writer friends will stop by to check them out.

  • karenjonesgowen

    I think about this often. I get a lot of traffic on my blog but it's not necessarily potential readers. I finally realized that I blog to interact with the writing community rather than to sell books. Book sales will happen or not and I've learned that one has nothing to do with the other. With that understanding, I can blog happily and write happily, without having unrealistic expectations about either.

    • Meghan Ward

      Karen, that's great that you've come to terms with why you're blogging. I've known for some time that I should be blogging about more than writing, but I felt like people were coming to Writerland for writing posts and might be turned off by finding a fashion post instead. Susan Bischoff's story on Kristen Lamb's blog really hit home for me. I felt like she was experiencing what I would be in a couple of years if I didn't change courses. It's an experiment for me, and it may not work, but I have to give it a try.

  • sierragodfrey

    I guess the question for me is not whether I"m blogging to the right audience, but rather whether that matters. For example, I don't see my blog readers and my future book readers as necessarily the same group, although I would hope there's cross over. I question all the time whether readers care about author blogs. I think other writers care about author blogs. However, writers are also readers. So, in effect, as long as I get writers coming to my blog and reading, I think I'm blogging to the right audience.

    I don't think genre matters, either. If I like a blogger, I'll read whatever genre their book is regardless.

    • Meghan Ward

      Hey Sierra, your comment echoes Karen's – that she knows she's not blogging to potential readers but she's okay with that. I think if your platform is large enough, like Nathan Bransford's, it may not matter whether you're blogging to potential readers. But for me, with a specific audience in mind (women and girls interested in memoirs, France, and fashion and modeling), it's silly not to blog about those things. It's a wasted opportunity. As for genre, it's great that you'll read any book by a blogger you like, but not every reader is like you. I for one, won't buy a book I have no interest in no matter how much I like the blogger. Unless they're a close personal friend. But even then, do we WANT people buying our books just to be nice to us, or do we want people buying our books who really want to read our books and who will tell others about them?

      • This topic plagues me. I see both sides of the coin. Like Sierra said, writers are readers and I've had so many people who I've met through my writing blog tell me that they can't wait to read my book. So I feel like my online presence will have generated some sales. But my issue is more one that Kristen Lamb also brings up–running out of things to say. I've been blogging on writing for over two years. Eventually I'm going to run out of topics. Having such a niche topic is limiting.

        And I considered doing what you're doing and mixing up my posts, but my blog is too entrenched as a writing only blog. When I asked my followers, the response was overwhelming that most wanted me to keep it writing only. So I started a separate blog on my author site where I blog on more general topics. But there I do find myself at a loss for topics. I post a boyfriend of the week, which is fun and gets some hits (mostly due to the celebrity mention thing), but does that make anyone stick around or check out my books? *shrug* Not really sure. Like Sierra said, I'm not sure how much non-writing readers even read author blogs except for contests or updates on the next book. But I don't know if that's because they are not interested or if not that many authors are blogging about anything worth following.

        I'll stop because this is turning into it's own blog post, lol. But yeah, I don't know the answer. You'll have to let us know how your experiment goes. 🙂

        • Meghan Ward

          Roni – I have to admit, I'm nervous about the experiment! But if it fails, I'll just go back to writing exclusively about writing. As for you – if you did combine your two blogs, couldn't writers just pop in on the days they want to read the writing posts? If you say Monday is for writing, Wednesday is for xxx and Friday is for xxx? (Like Kristen Lamb has a social media day, a writing day, and a misc day, and I mostly read her social media posts.)

          As for running out of things to say, I guess that's when people start reposting the same topics – like Nathan Bransford recently asked "What genre are you writing?" which he asked two years ago (surveys like that can be recycled as new followers join.) Lately, I've been finding NOT that I'm running out of ideas (it's easy not to run out of ideas when you only post once a week) but that I really want to blog about other topics, like earthquakes and my attempt to raise my kids bilingual. I guess like Kristen said in a recent post, there is no Social Media Snuggie – we all have to figure out what works best for us.

  • This is a great topic and your set of questions are good ones. I'm not sure of what my answers are right now. I was pretty sure my comic "chick lit" mysteries were mostly aimed at middle aged women writers (they're mostly about writers) Then yesterday I got my best review ever from a 29 year old male author of very noir fiction (as well as extreme martial arts fighter.) Today I got a message from my publisher suggesting I take the "chick lit" out of all my publicity. He pointed out I've had a number of great reviews this week on the uk site–all from men. Men like funny.

    So has my blog been targeting that audience? I don't know. I'm kind of with Karen G on that. I think my blog is more about community than selling books. Community helps sell indirectly, because it's through blogging that I met both my publishers and all the fantastic people who've hosted my blog tour (thanks Karen!) and even the 29-year old who gave me the review. (I didn't even have to ask him!)

    So I'm not going to do anything different. (Blogging once a week is all I can handle, too.) and I'm going to keep blogging about the publishing business, but I do understand the argument for branching out. I'm going to watch your changes with interest.

    • Meghan Ward

      I'm going to watch my changes with interest, too, Anne, because I love the once a week "slow blogging" model, and I've very reluctant to leave it behind. I think your blog, like Nathan's, has done very well for you. And I didn't know, btw, that your mysteries were about writers. That makes me want to read them all the more!

  • Kristan

    Great post, Meghan. Audience is definitely something me and my crit partners thought about when we created our blog, We Heart YA. We didn't want to be just another book review blog — we really wanted to discuss YA lit with other readers, and hopefully engage in conversation with teens. The tough part has been the latter, b/c they're so busy with high school they actually don't do much blogging/commenting (relative to other groups in the blogosphere). But we're still a young blog and we'll keep focused on our mission!

    At my personal blog, I'm pretty happy with the mix of writers and non-writers and friends and strangers that I've got. Whether I should be or not, lol.

    • Meghan Ward

      Kristan, that's interesting about teens being in school and not commenting/blogging much. I had assumed they were online every minute they weren't studying or thinking about boys. Or maybe they tend to be online but not to read blogs. Or maybe they read blogs but don't comment. Either way, definitely keep focused on your mission!

      • Kristan

        Hah, yeah, I was online a lot as a teen, but not so much with blogs as with chatting. Apparently now it's all texting, with some FB and Twitter thrown in.

  • Nina Badzin

    I'm a once a week blogger too! I followed Anne Allen's lead and I've never been sorry. I think readers appreciate it too . . . they can't stay caught up my blog in a more casual manner. Plus, I'm not constantly promoting myself.

    Poking around your blog a bit. Glad to find you! (And followed you on Twitter.)

    • Meghan Ward

      Thanks, Nina, for the follows! I also switched from blogging multiple times a week (inconsistently) to blogging once a week thanks to Anne. And I've never regretted it. If this twice-a-week thing doesn't work out, I'm going to revert to "slow blogging."

  • I might have to do a Slow Bloggers post sometime soon and interview Meghan and Nina about your decision to "slow down." I think most writers waste time on "busy work" blogging. I'm big on quality not quantity, and both of you have very high quality content.

    • Meghan Ward

      Anne, Slowing down was a wonderful decision. Whether speeding up is a wise decision I won't know for a few months!

  • Ive been considering starting a Blog for awhile now. But I think Ive hesitated for just the reason youve mentioned, Meghan: the subject and the audience. Your post here and the comments have really given me something to think about. THANKS.

    HOLIDAY HUGS, Kari Thomas,

    • Meghan Ward

      Kari – Be sure to read Kristen Lamb's post on this topic – it's a great post and really hammers home the importance of blogging to more than just other writers. And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  • Shawndra Russell

    Today feels like a lucky day thanks to finding your blog. I live this post because it goes against all the stuff I read about “niche” blogging. Instead of only blogging to one audience, I like your plan of reaching out to new readers by blogging about different topics. People aren’t one dimensional; why should our blogs be? Thank you for this affirmation!

  • Good job , Grant way to stick with your dream and making things happen, Hats off to you ! Yes..

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