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Alright alright alriiiiiiiiight, we gon’ learn today! Lots of the Q’s I get through CUR are somehow related to blogging, whether it’s on how to start a “successful” blog in the first place, how to grow an audience, or how to work with brands and get paid to live what you love. I lovelovelove giving A’s to your Q’s, so today’s post is a lil’ bit o’ tough love for anyone stressing about why people just don’t seem to come back for more. It stinks, I know. When you’re putting in hours and hours of time (not to mention money!) into something you lovelovelove, you desperately want others to love it, too. You want to build an audience. I get it. I feel you. And I’m here to help.
If you’ve been feeling stuck or confused as to why readers aren’t returning, any one of these *might* be to blame. Give it an honest consideration to see which, if any, you’re facing. Here are 9 reasons why people don’t come back to your blog.
It’s all about you.
I hate to be the bubble burster in the room, but girlfriend, it’s not all about you. At least, not if you want people to come back to your blog time and time again without you begging and pleading at their ankles. I cannot tell you the amount of times I see folks asking for social media shares of content that has literally zero relevance to anyone but themselves. “Why my dog it the best dog” or “my morning routine” are not shareable if they’re all about you. People share when they see value for other people. Your morning routine might very well be read by curious eyes, but don’t count on it being shared.
It’s not creative, clever, or compelling.
If it IS all about you, you best be making people laugh, cry, or experience some other intense emotion. If someone reads your post and immediately thinks, “Hmmph, that was a waste of my time,” they won’t be coming back for more. Don’t be afraid to play with your creativity or try something clever! If it seems like you’re just writing something off the cuff for the sake of hitting “publish,” that shows. If your creative juices feel dry, try a 2-minute open brainstorm: write down anything and everything you can think of for two-minutes without stopping. Somewhere in there is bound to be something worthwhile!
You’re not consistent.
If people have no idea when to expect you, they’re going to forget about you. If people have no idea what to expect from you, they’re also going to forget about you. Get repeat viewers and really build and audience by establishing a strong brand from the get go and stickin’ to it. Be consistent in everything from your look, tone, content, and timing so that you are unmistakably you, and you are unmistakably their go-to for whatever it is you do best.
You’re not being unique.
Writing the same exact post as everyone else justbecause it seems to be trendy doesn’t make your blog a must-read…it makes it the same as everyone else. To keep people interested in YOU + YOUR space, think outside the box! Get unique. Be unafraid to be different. If you want to follow a trend and do a common type of post, think of a way that you can diversify it to make it all your own (+ all the more clickable!).
It’s not valuable to them.
Y’all. This. Is. HUGE. Wanna build an audience? Make your content matter to them. A basic element of human psychology is that humans are selfish by nature. We’re wired to think of ourselves first in a sortof weirdo protective manner. We click on a post or website – blog post or not – and our subconscious starts running, “what’s in it for me?” As big a heart o’ gold as you have, you’ve gotta admit…you do it, too! We all have a mere 24 hours to play with in a day, and ain’t nobody got time to waste – point blank period. If you’re not being valuable, you’re wasting everyone’s time (including your own), because it’s not inspiring a big return rate for readership. So…what does valuable even mean then, amiright??? Being valuable is being helpful, or genuinely enriching your reader’s life in some way. This is why your brand can’t just be all about you – at least not to start! Unless your last name is Kardashian, people don’t just give a hoot about you from the get go. You’ve gotta make them care by showing them WHY they should give a hoot! Do this via value. If you’re sharing a recap of a trip, make sure you include a list of actual tips to help your readers should they opt to travel to the same spot. Is it an outfit? For the love of fashion, pleasepleaseplease don’t just post pretty picture and run…TEACH your reader how to develop style, too! Offering real VALUE builds trust, and with trust comes community.
It’s not clear WHY they should come back.
Meaning, what the heck do you even blog about in the first place?! I’m not saying you need to pick a niche stat, but your readers *should* know what they’re getting themselves into upon clicking your website. Should they come back because you post the most indulgent healthy desserts on the interwebs? Should they return for your graphic design tips with a twist? Are they clicking every Wednesday for a new hair tutorial? You can’t build an audience without giving peeps an incentive to keep returning. Give them reason to come back for more!
There’s zilch community.
Community is a long game and not something you can just wake up and create. But, it’s oh so important, and when there’s community around something, it inspires return. Take my all-time favorite reality TV franchise: The Bachelor. I’d need extra limbs to name off all of the people I know top of head who watch The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise for one reason alone: Bachelor Nation. What’s Bachelor Nation? It’s the ridiculously strong, consistent online community that trends on Twitter every single night an episode airs. People come back not even because they like the content at this point, but because they like the community talking about the content. And that’s one helluvah strong community.
You’re not inviting them back – creatively.
Telling someone “check out my blog!” is the same as an infomercial saying “Buy Shamwow now!” It doesn’t actually work. Girlfriend, you’ve gotta get savvier than that in a world currently bogged down by content shock! Invite people back by buying in tune to why it would be really valuable for THEM if they return (remember that value lesson?), and invite them in by sharing a snippet of what that value will be. Is the outfit you’re sharing buyable for less than $50 head-to-toe? Are you sharing not just “how to grow your blog,” but “how to grow your blog by 1,000 followers a week through Pinterest”? Make it specific and creative to get folks coming back for more.
This kinda sorta totally goes along with the value and unique factors. If you’re not providing relevance to someone’s life, it’s the same as trying to connect with someone at a bar by just saying whatever comes to the top of your head. It just doesn’t work. When you’re trying to make friends, you try to find commonalities by being observant and being relevant – otherwise you risk coming off as self-absorbed or clueless. Same flies in blog world! When you’re wanting people to come back time and time again, you’ve gotta be on top of the times and give them useful, unique value that genuinely enhances their life in some way, shape, or form.
RELATED: How to Start a (Successful) Blog
What do you do when you want to build an audience?
Because we’re all about community in these rosy parts, I’d lovelovelove to encourage you today to leave one tip in the comments below for someone else who may need it. Whether it’s a tip on how to build an audience or how you saw + fixed one of the above in your own blogging journey, let’s help each other out! Mkay? Mkay. TGIF.
P.S. Something big is happening on CUR in the coming months. Something…really big. If you’ve ever thought about making blogging your own full-time gig (or at least, if you want to make some $$$ from it for Starbucks money!), I’d highly, highly, highly recommend signing up for the waitlist to be first in line for deets. I promise you: it will not disappoint. 😉