Bloggie Wednesday: When Reader Engagement Doesn’t Meet The Blogger’s Expectations

Bloggie Wednesday: When Reader Engagement Doesn't Meet The Blogger's Expectations

© asife

I’m sure that this has happened to us one time or another. Picture the scenario: You have a great idea for a blog post which you think your readers will love. You end up spending many hours working on just that one blog post, perfecting it with beautiful pictures, witty anecdotes and a great storyline. You click on the Publish button, sit back and wait for the comments to come from either the blog or social media.

*sound of crickets*

You get bupkis. Instead of the usual number of comments you get per blog post, you’d be lucky to even have one. Where’s the engagement? Where are the comments? You spent so much time on the post! Why isn’t there more enthusiasm from your readers? Does no one care? Did you do something wrong?

Sound familiar?

Ahh…let me tell you, I’ve been there. In fact, I still go there from time to time. There are blog posts that I’d spent hours on that I expected a lot of comments for. I had just about a handful. I remember one blog post that I spent 6 hours creating and it only received 1-2 comments. And then there are those blog posts that I whipped out of a hat; written and published in 15 minutes which received a lot of comments. It’s almost hilarious and I would laugh my head off if I didn’t feel like crying for that lost time.

To be honest, I don’t have the exact answer for you as to why sometimes our blog posts just weren’t as well received as we expected. If I do, I wouldn’t still be getting periods of this. But over time, here’s what I’ve learned, and that knowledge has helped minimise the lack of reader engagement and the heartache from what I thought was wasted hard work.

You didn’t promote that blog post enough

It’s been said that we should spend 20% of our time creating content and 80% promoting it. I’m not typically a very “promote-y” sort of person and don’t send blasts of my blog post updates every hour for fear of pissing my followers off. But the thing is, while a few of your followers may notice every single promotion of your blog posts that you do, most will not. This is particularly true on Twitter. It’s even worse on Facebook when only a very small percentage of your followers will actually see your update unless you pay to boost the post. Try promoting your blog post more than just once, especially on Twitter. Don’t flood your timeline every couple of hours with “HEY READ MY LATEST POST”; spread it out throughout the day. You can also re-promote your blog post the next day or a week down the line.

Sometimes it’s them, not you

This isn’t a blame game; it’s not your readers’ fault that your blog post didn’t do well. It could be that that blog post didn’t resonate with them at all. You cannot read every reader’s mind on what they like or don’t like; sometimes there will be blog posts that aren’t their cup of tea. For example, while bloggers read my Bloggie Wednesday posts, I also have a lot of readers who aren’t bloggers. This means that most if not all of my Bloggie Wednesday posts won’t do anything for them and I understand that. A good way to know what your readers want from you is simply to ask them. Do a reader survey and request for feedback. Encourage them to contact you either via the blog, email or social media for any problems they may have that you may be able to help out with a blog post.

Sometimes it’s you, not them

After I’ve worked particularly hard on a blog post, I tend to feel a tad smug when I hit the Publish button. Ahh surely my readers will really appreciate this; after all I’ve worked really hard on it. And when the blog post didn’t receive the amount of engagement I expected, I get angry and frustrated. Yet when I read back those old blog posts, I could almost feel the smugness in the words. There were posts in which the approach and direction taken were wrong that I only realised in hindsight. The problem was with me, not my readers. I mean, really, what the heck was I expecting? A round of applause for that blog post? Tsk tsk.

The timing isn’t right

If most of my readers are based in the US and I keep writing seasonal topics that are completely opposite from the Northern hemisphere, it’s no wonder the posts don’t do well. How can they relate if each time I write about surviving winter, they’re trying to survive summer at the same time? This is just an example, of course, but I’m sure you know what I mean. Maybe you blogging all those wedding planning posts isn’t resonating with readers who are going through a tough divorce. Perhaps all that baby talk on the blog is hurting those who are having infertility problems. The timing just isn’t right.

There really could be 101 reasons to why your reader engagement for a particular blog post didn’t do as well as you expected. Or there could be no reason at all. It can be frustrating but losing sleep over it isn’t going to do anyone any favours. Shit happens. Learn the lesson and move on. I can either stew in my frustration as to why that blog post I worked so hard on didn’t get the amount of comments that I expected or I can use that time of stewing to think of better content that will, hopefully, resonate better with my readers.

At the end of the day, our work is never wasted. It may not be what your readers are wanting to read right now but weeks, months and even years down the road, who knows how well those blog posts will do? I have very old blog posts that are doing well now, despite them not receiving great engagement when they were first published.

What about you? What do you do when your reader engagement didn’t meet your expectations? What do you do when a blog post you’ve worked hard on didn’t receive the number of comments you expected? Or even no comments at all?

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.

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16 comments… add one
  1. Norlin

    Ah. love this post because, yes it happens to I think most of us bloggers. All the points you’ve stated are right actually. It could be timing, it could be the lack of exposure… and to remedy that, I usually share the same post again at a much later date. It does work though. Sometimes people just don’t comment anymore, doesn’t mean they don’t read it though.
    Norlin recently posted..Health & Lifestyle: How Easy Is Running Really?My Profile

    1. Tine

      I agree. I see the regular amount of traffic coming in so I know the post is being read. Sometimes I just wish people would leave a comment, you know? Call it blogger validation if you will but it does feel good to at least be acknowledged. Tsk tsk so hard to please. 😛

  2. Paris B

    Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt! I have noticed a slight shift in comments so I don’t know if people are just not commenting anymore, or if they have trouble commenting. I can’t tell! But I have also noticed different sorts of reader engagement – Facebook likes, Twitter shares, engagement on other social media instead of on the blog. It sometimes vexes me why they don’t just comment directly on the blog, but it reminds me that there are different ways we can interact, and perhaps people are just using the way they know best and are most comfortable with.

    As for not sharing enough, I often wonder if it’s counter productive. On a personal note, even when someone tweets a link, I rarely click on it. No matter how interesting.
    Paris B recently posted..Excuse me, your age is showing! 8 Physical signs of aging and how you can combat them to look youngerMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh yeah most definitely. These days with social media, a comment via Twitter/FB/Instagram, etc suffices too. So many people are already on Facebook, so they find it easier to just comment there. But yeah, I wish they’d leave a comment on the blog instead. It would be lovely too.

  3. Allison

    Yes. Absolutely. But thanks, Tine, for suggesting re-promoting posts that are a few days old. I’ve got the Twitter plug-in Repost Old something or other for stuff that’s a couple of weeks old or more, but I don’t usually repromote stuff that’s a couple of days old except for giveaways. I’ll try that.
    Allison recently posted..TribeTats Jewelry-Inspired Temporary Metallic Tattoos Arm BandsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I like to re-promote old posts on Twitter. I use the CoSchedule plugin to repromote my old posts. I’ve seen the “Tweet Old Post” plugin around; lots of bloggers use it for promoting old content. It works too.

  4. gio

    Yep, happened to me too. Posts that I spent ages working on and thought would really interest people got little engagements, while others I thought were less engaging got a lot of shares and comments . It’s so hard to figure out what readers want. But I’m realising that promotion is often key. I hate this part. I’m not “promote-y” too. I’m often scared of pissing off people by promoting too much. But I’m trying to do some more promotion anyway. We’ll see how it goes.
    gio recently posted..Is Lining Your Lashlines Dangerous?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Me too! I find like I’m trying to hard when I’m being promote-y. I mean, I can’t stand it when bloggers keep promoting posts on Twitter yet here I am doing the same. Sigh, such a catch-22. It works though.

  5. MonicaP

    Sure this happens when my posts are more product based than outfit based .. sometimes it’s harder to have a multi subject blog because the fashion audience wants to see the outfits and the makeup folks want to see the cosmetics .. oh, well .. I try to blog about stuff that I think is “fabulous’ … lol. If readers like it great, if not .. at least I think it’s great .. lol.

    MonicaP recently posted..Athletic outfit featuring Capri Pants by Lorna JaneMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Sigh I know what you mean. It can get pretty tough being in a niche that you’ll need to talk about most of the time because that’s what people come to your website for. I’d love to venture to different topics but it’s not something readers (at least a majority) or them would be keen on. I’m going to have to do another reader survey to find out!

  6. Cocoa

    Your last point is very right. Some of the highest viewed and commented post come from way, way back. And that reminds me that a blog is truly more a library and archive than a fleeting newspaper/ magazine to read and throw away. Sometimes, a blogger just has to admit that it takes time, and be patient.

    That’s what the search function is for. The subscriber will return to the blog because the subscriber remembers that the blogger talked about an item before.
    Cocoa recently posted..Travel Theme: Land Meets Water | The Sandbar Is My Wedding AisleMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh it definitely takes time, and a whole lot of it too!

  7. Mel

    I feel this!! Especially since my blog is new… and only a hobby… and I recently took a long blogging break… and I haven’t been commenting on other blogs much lately (except yours haha)… I guess it is my fault I’ve had no comments lately!

    1. Tine

      Awww thanks for still commenting Mel! I’m feeling the love, I really am. 😀
      Once you’re back on track, the comments will come back, I’m sure of it. 🙂

  8. Rebecca B. Bird

    I think part of the problem is that people are just less likely in general to engage by commenting on a blog post (but or more likely to engage on social media). When I post an image from a blog post to Instagram (for example), sometimes people will comment on the blog post within Instagram instead of the actual post. Or reply to a tweet promoting the post. And so on. I look to pageviews now (instead of comments) to gauge how successful a post is. But I hear your frustration on the 15 minute post thing – sometimes I’ll throw up some quickie post like that and it gets tons of comments and I’m like uh… why this one?
    Rebecca B. Bird recently posted..Summer Style: Easy Beachy Waves (for Medium to Long Hair)My Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha I know right? Sometimes I’d be like, BUT I SPENT 6 HOURS ON THIS! COMMENT PLEASE!! 😛

      I see readers commenting via Facebook and Twitter too. I often forget that these days with social media, it makes it easier for people to comment and interact with the blogger now, even though it’s not directly on the blog.

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