How Do You Know If Your Blog Is Making an Impact?

markwschaefer
Mark Schaefer Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

Posted on October 23rd 2012

How Do You Know If Your Blog Is Making an Impact?

About two years ago, I was really down on my blogging.

I would work hard on something that I thought was really smart and provocative and it would just fall flat.  And then I would put out something dumb like “The 20 Funniest things you can do on Twitter” and it would go viral.  It didn’t make any sense.  It was disheartening.

I felt like my hard work was going nowhere. Maybe you feel that way sometimes too?

No matter how much you stare at your Google Analytics, it’s not going to interpret for you whether anybody cares about your blog.

Even comment sections aren’t much help.

A rule of thumb is that only about 2 percent of your readers leave comments. That’s a generalization I have found that holds up across many types of blogs. Readers may be too busy, too shy, or just not interested enough to comment. So you need a LOT of readers before you start getting comments.

Drastic action

In addition to only hearing from a vast minority of your readers, there is a big difference between a “comment” on the topic and real “feedback” on how you are doing as blogger – if you are making a dent in the way people act and think.

I realized that if I was going to make truly meaningful connections with these strangers popping in on my blog and figure out if this thing was having any impact, I was going to have to make an effort to get to know them better.  So, I started to call up my readers.

I made a goal to call at least three of my blog readers per week over a period of a couple of months and by far the overwhelming lesson I learned was yes — I was having an impact, in so many unexpected ways.

I’ll never forget a call I had with Caroline Di Diego, a businesswoman and entrepreneur who had left so many interesting comments on my blog. She told me in great detail how one quite obscure blog post I had written had changed her outlook on business and marketing. Although the post had run two years ago, she could still recall its lessons and it still impacts her even to this day.

This conversation meant so much to me, because I had been particularly proud of that blog post but it had not been a popular post in terms of how much it had been shared. In fact, I was so disappointed by the reaction to this thoughtful post that I wondered why I was blogging at all.

A re-energizing impact

Caroline’s reaction — and the reaction of so many others — gave me a new energy, a new commitment to blogging, because these conversations made me realize that even though I might not hear it every day, I am having an impact.

I recently recounted how one physician who averaged just 4.5 readers a day found out that she had impacted a life.

My point is, if you’re working hard on your blog, it may be difficult to know if you are really having an impact unless you reach out and actually talk to people about it.

What has your experience been?  Are you making an impact and how do you know?

Illustration: I added the WordPress logo to a Bigstock.com illustration

 

markwschaefer

Mark Schaefer

Executive Director, Schaefer Marketing Solutions

Mark Schaefer is a consultant, author of The Tao of Twitter, and college educator who blogs at www.businessesgrow.com/blog.
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Comments

Mark -


This hits home. My blog is www.socialmarvels.com and a lot of the times I'm wondering everything you mentioned above. I'll call some people and get some reactions. Maybe that'll answer some of my plaguing questions.

 

Thanks

Shaun

I write a pet blog. I started it as a creative outlet and didn't really expect to garner much of a following. While my views remained fairly low, I started getting a decent amount of comments considering my views (5-10 on each post). This was the first indicator that my blog mattered to someone beyond just me. 

Since I started my blog, I have had to take a few "off" periods away from it due to personal matters or work. Each time, at least 3 or more of my readers have emailed or called, asking if I was okay, letting me know that they missed my posts, etc. It always means so much to me that they take the time to reach out and let me know that my blog matters to them--It's what keeps me posting. 

A powerful message, Mark. We offer a free tool for helping people do a brain dump of topics that they can blog about. For regular visitors, we require an optin.

For people here, who would just like to quit banging their head against the wall trying to think of topics, just go to my site and put "/outline" after the dot-com.

And hey, if you want to opt-in, that's cool too.

A bit about the exercise: You print out a 6-page fill-in-the-blanks PDF, then carve out an un-interruptible block of time (an hour is perfect) and watch a 37-minute video. By the end of the video, you'll have 64 kick-ass blog post topics and a bad case of writer's cramp.

If you feel that the exercise was helpful, let me know....and share it with someone.