Close
Close

Do You Attract Readers to Your Blog that Are Like You?

A couple of months ago we ran a reader survey over at my Photography site that asked readers a few demographical questions, a few questions about their photography and a few questions about how they’d like to see the site develop. We had thousands of responses which meant we had a good sample of data to work with which gave us both insight into our readership and how we could serve them better.

Last night I published a post on DPS that gave a few results from the survey (mainly the demographical information). As I was about to hit publish on the post something hit me that I’d not realized at any point over the last two years of developing the site:

“the audience of DPS is…. well remarkably like…. me”

On each section of the survey that asked about people’s demographics or photography habits the most common response was the response I would have given if I’d completed the survey.

Of course there were a lot of people who answered differently – but if I had to describe my readers they’d be people a lot like me.

I’m still processing what this means (if anything) – Neil in the comments on that post suggested that it’s like pet owners and their pets looking like each other – perhaps that’s true.

Perhaps it is also a bit of a learning lesson – develop a blog for yourself, or people like you.

  • meet your own needs (or needs you’ve had)
  • write about things that interest you
  • write about questions that you’ve asked
  • share experiences you’ve had and lessons you’ve learned

Do these kinds of things and you’ll attract people in a similar situation.

I’m going to ponder that some more – but in the mean time I’m interested to hear what other peoples experiences are – have you attracted readers to your blog that are ‘like you’?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. I have not found out, but it sounds interesting! I think that I might run a survey soon. Thanks for the idea!

    - Nate

  2. Allan Ward says:

    In my ‘day job’ I find that a lot of my clients are of a similar age or stage of life to me. This does make it easier to relate to them and understand their needs.
    It’s too early to tell with my blog, but I suspect if you’re blogging about a topic that’s important to you, it may also be important to people at a similar stage of life to you.

  3. I’m still in the early stages with my blog. However, I have noticed that I like to read blogs by people who share my political leanings, writing style, and general ideals. In most cases, I think I could be friends with the blog writers. Or I wonder why we’re not already friends, because we’re so similar.

  4. For my self growth blog I started it because I wanted to write about lessons I’d learnt and things I struggled with. So I suppose that is ‘all about me’ and writing for people like me. I am a bit of a ponder-ra, and keen to ‘figure out all the answers’ where as a lot of people dont bother doing that – so I want to provide them ‘the answers’. I am sure there are tonnes of people out there struggling with the things I did, but not as many are keen to ‘figure it all out’. So I am writing for ‘me’s'!!!

  5. From my experience, when I talked to people about who I am, and what I can do with my contents, they seemed more tuned in.

    So, I guess it definitely works if you open up to your readers.

  6. TechMata says:

    Unfortunately people only visit my sites because of the info they just want to read (and of course thats the nature for most readers). And then after they get the information that they needed, they won’t come back again.haha

  7. Bryan P. says:

    I think it also depends on what your blog is about. This my own idea, without a research. For blogs about photography, you get a certain subset of people.

    For open topics like ProBlogger, the subset should be different. Although, chances are people who read this and indentify with the content are similar to your interests and feelings.

  8. I guess I do, the information I get is based on the field that I am into and the places I go to are somewhat similar to me. I mean, why write on photography and send your readers to places that do nothing on it. You want to have some what relavant information.

  9. Judy Dunn says:

    Absolutely I think your theory is true. When I first started blogging, it seemed to be a more diverse audience. But as I found my voice (sometimes edgy, humor, with a touch of sarcasm), niche, and focus, while some readers fell away, I attracted others.

    I’d be interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this.

  10. Thank you for this post. It explains everything! I have been wondering why a page that I created entitled “Social Media Advocacy: 5 Influential Steps” has had 20 times more hits than anything else. It has beat an Olympic Athlete and major current news. Why? Everyone visiting my blog is an advocate of their cause and they want to know how to do it better. Thank you.

  11. The good thing with writing about stuff that interest you, problems you’ve had is that there is at least one that have had those experiences. And if there is one there are probably many more. You might not make any money on it but the blogging might be more interesting.

    I think it might be easier to make money from your own experience then going into google keyword tool and try to find something that people search on in order to find a niche that you can write things in (and some more steps … ). I did this and it bored me to tears. made some money but if you dread doing it its blood money. Always start with your self it makes things much easier.

  12. Whoever is like the most people gets the most traffic! :)

  13. Heather says:

    As you’ve written yourself, the best written blogs are ones that are written based on the author’s own experience and knowledge. People are generally attracted to good writing that appeals to their sensibilities, so they’re more likely to stick around and be loyal readers (and survey takers) if they connect well with the blogger.

    There have also been a couple of interesting studies done that show this same circumstance in reverse: readers tend to believe that anonymous bloggers are demographically like themselves.

  14. Without a doubt my readers are like me. For a mommy blog that makes sense. Discussing my kids appeals to other moms. Discussing my faith practices appeals to those who share my faith. Etc.

    Do you consider it a negative to attract readers who are like you?

  15. I’m fairly sure my readers would be similar to me. Every article I’ve written is an article I’ve wanted to seen written but couldn’t find. This makes me really think about the subject area, maybe pick up some fragments from some other people and compile it all into a single guide that is both helpful to me and reader.

    The fact that I clearly outline who I am, what my site is, and what my site is not probably helps too because people can make a quicker decision whether they like me or not. :-)

  16. That’s an interesting idea – I’ve found that I blog about things that I want to learn about and have researched and those ideas usually turn into good post ideas.

  17. I would have to agree wholeheartedly!

    I love to interact with new people of all types, but there is a definite group that I resonate with. And my Mom.

    I think maybe to me, the bigger question is do we strive via our blogs to attract a bigger/different readership, maybe growing as a person? Or do we just play in the sandbox we are used to?

    At this point in time, I am not sure myself.

  18. Yes!

    Do you suppose this is more the case for people who blog about hobbies (and narrower niches) than for more general topic blogs? I’d think so, anyway. The attraction, for example, to a particular hobby indicates at least some connection in ‘tastes’, ideas, preferences, etc…

  19. Eddie Gear says:

    I’ve been trying to figure that out for sometime now. Based on the clicks I see of certain items on my site, I can say I do attract like minded readers.

    Cheers,
    Eddie Gear

  20. Mark Dykeman says:

    I think my readers and I share a similar sense of humor and appreciation of ideas… there are a lot of differences, though!

  21. Dawn/FFL says:

    To me this doesn’t surprise me because when I write an article, I write with the idea that I am writing to myself in some regards. Therefore it wouldn’t surprise me that I attract mostly people like me and then a few varying degrees of that persona.

  22. Kayla says:

    I’ve noticed as I write my blog more for myself, I get a better feedback from people of the same interests. “share experiences you’ve had and lessons you’ve learned” really hit home. Lessons I’ve learned from experience or even from my schooling have really given my readers what they’re looking for.

  23. I think we do attract people to us who are similar. I see this in sales at our company. Each rep has a different demographic of customer that often mirrors who they are.

    As a company, it is a good thing to establish who you are and the type of customer you want to attract. Its much easier to play with people you like and understand.

    With a blog, this makes a lot of sense. A blog is about communication. For someone to become an avid reader, they are going to have to understand you, and as such communicate in the same way. You attract readers who have a similar approach.

  24. Michele says:

    Well, here I am again, reading all I can about blogging. I believe, unknown and totally out of the loop, that people will go to websites that interest them. If the site turns out to be useless, then no more visits, period. I am studying everything in sight relating to blogging and it certainly sounds like something I can do. Build it and they will come, keep it interesting and they will keep coming!

  25. Shanel Yang says:

    Yup, yup, yup! And it always surprises me! I guess I should be used to it by now. Thanks to your post, I can see why: Like attracts like — just as in real life! : )

  26. It’s an interesting point. In my case maybe I attract people who consider themselves just a bit unusual. After all, how many Scots who emigrated to America, homeschool, and love nature are there? I hope my writing is attractive to a bigger audience than that or I’m in trouble!

    I try to write for someone who is coming up a few years behind me in terms of their life experience maybe – moms with kids younger than mine. If I’m not sure how to approach things I try to write for a favorite reader or two. I assume that if they like what I’m writing it will be useful to others too.

    I found it really hard to write when I didn’t have at least a couple of regular readers – I was kind of floundering around. Those first few regular readers really are special :-)

  27. Im not sure yet, I suspect due to my writing style that it would. I need to find out once I build up my user base.

  28. Dhiaqis says:

    Yes.. that’s right. Thanks for the sharing. I think most people are attracted to my blog because of a valuable information. Two communication also is one of the reason.

  29. Darren,

    I think this makes perfect sense that readers attracted to your blog are like you. If your niche in blogging is small enough and not that broad, then this is especially true. For instance, my blog covers business in sports and the readers that check the blog out are sports fans. I mean there are always exceptions to the rule, that check out the blog just to hear your viewpoints; nonetheless, I feel that the majority of the time the readers are just like you. Keep up the solid work.

  30. John Samuel says:

    I started blogging with the interest of sharing my experiences with people with similar interests. And it is really a great feeling when people come to your blog and comment

  31. Bryan says:

    As I scour the internet for resources I am not trying to become anyone else but to broaden my detailed knowledge on subjects and become more distinct of a person. So I may share interests with other people but am striving for my own goal sets in the end.

  32. April S says:

    Absolutely! And it’s remarkable how an audience has the propensity to keep that blog momentum going as they bounce their similar ideas around. It really inspires you as a blogger. Often you learn more from a pool of similar thought than you do anywhere else on the web…

  33. Luke says:

    Originally yes I used to think the readers of my site were like me. Now I think my readers are more what I used to be like.

    Now hopefully the info I give them will make them more like me as the will find out new things about London that would have passed them by if they hadn’t fallen upon my site

    Also as most of my traffic currently comes from organic results so I think the people reading my site are very similar to me because they are finding shared interests on my site and hopefully picking up new ideas and advice from me and other writers on the site (who are also a bit like me)

    Hope that makes sense?!

  34. krissy knox says:

    I think you’re correct, I think we do attract people in a similar situation as our own — cat lovers do meet other cat lobers. Nothing wrong with that. It does give us pause to think, however, that there may be places we may want to reach out to that we haven’t before, so that we are continuing to learn from others and not just drawing others like ourselves to our blogs. The more we are willing to meet others that are a little different (I’m of course talking w/in reason), the more we will have someone new to share with and learn from, and they the same. I think that’s part of what the world should be about, and one of the reasons I so love Twitter, as I am learning new things and meeting people I would never aforeto met. I guess I’m saying this bc I reach out a lot. No, the demographics of my blog readers are not just like me. And I have often been surprised why someone would read my opinionated words, LOL, when they often came from different beliefs, backgrounds, ideas, professions, income level, interests, etc. So why are they reading my blogs? I don’t know. My one guess is that I try to reach out to everybody, show interest in everyone, bc I do have interest in them, and therefore their projects/ blogs. And it comes full circle, they take a look at my blog also. It’s more of a philosophy than a method of “enlarging your readership,” or getting a diverse readership. It’s merely being genuinely interested in people, regardless of their interests, befriending them in social networks, etc and commenting on their blogs. They reciprocate. Now if you don’t have that much time to spend in Social Media, it would be hard to get a diverse readership. I suppose it comes down to how you view people — if you have time, share with them, socialize with them in Social Media, consider being diverse enough to let someone in you may not have thought you would. Others will reciprocate, although it isn’t your intention. It’s just a happy byproduct!

  35. Janet says:

    Darren, I think “readers like me” are a key factor in successful community building, be it on a blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, or whatever. Some bit of commonality is what initially brings people together – and after that, we can discover what’s different among us and celebrate that too.

    I also think that’s why there’s room for so many bloggers on individual topics. I’ll soon be launching a blog about social media for middle-aged women. I’ll cover a lot of the same topics that are being covered by all the 20- or 30-something social media bloggers, but by writing from my own perspective it will be relevant to women like me who want to learn, but who are most comfortable learning from each other.

  36. The best thing about your visitors being like you is that you know what keywords they would search.

  37. Agent 001 says:

    I do not think my readers are like me. They blog on different topics. Luckily my posts sometime comes under there niche.

  38. Tracy says:

    I’ve found that the readers of my blog are a motley crew, but they all have these traits in common:

    Keen sense of humor
    Enthusiastic
    Positive
    Curious

    These are the traits I most value in myself, so it’s great that I’ve been able to attract an audience that helps me bring it out.

  39. I have to agree that most of the people who read my blogs are like me, and it’s a little sad because after over ten years of being online and trying to make money I’m not making “enough to feed my coffee habit” and most of my readers are looking for ways to do better than I’m doing.

  40. From what I can tell, if my readers are like me, they’re like me in ways that can’t easily be ascertained by a survey.

    In other words, they aren’t like me in terms of concrete demographics, but they find something in me (or in my writing) that they can really relate to. Maybe their life hasn’t turned out like they expected. Maybe they struggle with the fact that they can’t be easily categorized. Maybe they have faith but tend to struggle with organized religion.

    In the midst of those abstract commonalities, there are a wide range of things that make us different, which I’m really glad about.

  41. Heather says:

    Thanks for this tip. I know know what to write today. Great blog. Should be visiting more often, I think. ;-)

  42. Heather says:

    Grr, sorry for the silly typo. I did meant that I now know what to write today. ;-)

  43. Tyrone says:

    Well that is not a child play to determine which reader is like you just by reading the comments of the readers. That will be nice to know the people who are just like you.

  44. Hi Darren, yes I attract readers like me who wants to achieve financial freedom in the early stage of their lives.