When I write a story for a newspaper or magazine, I don’t get much feedback.
Sure, the editor may tell me if she likes it or not. And if I prod enough, I might elicit some response from a friend or family member. But for the most part, I publish and then move onto the next story, without hearing a reader response.
The opposite holds true in the blogging world. The moment I hit “publish,” I get all types of feedback:
- Comments: The number of comments that my readers leave on a blog article (also known as a blog “post”) – and the message within those comments – tells me whether or not I wrote something that elicited an emotional response from my readers.
- Sharing: The amount of sharing on social media – through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other mediums – tells me whether or not my readers thought a blog post was worth sharing.
- Subscribers: The number of new subscribers that come from a particular blog post tells me whether or not I wrote something so powerful that it created a loyal fan.
- Pageviews: The overall popularity of a blog post, as measured by pageviews and average time-on-page, shows me how relevant and engaging my readers found the article.
In short, I get immense feedback on every blog post. Sometimes it’s direct – readers will email me, or leave a comment at the bottom of a post, to say that they loved it (or hated it!) Or they’ll reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook to comment on a post, or to share it with their own social circles.
But sometimes that feedback is just underneath the surface, inside the data that tracks how much time people spend on my website, what pages they visit, how much time they spend on each page, what they do after leaving that page, and whether or not they subscribed after reading that page. Data is insightful.
And here’s what shocks me: Oftentimes, the articles that I think are my best work are the ones that get overlooked.
And conversely, articles that I think are so-so are the ones that my readers LOVE.
This is ultra-valuable information for any writer. It forces me to rethink my assumptions about what’s a good article and what isn’t. It makes me analyze my well-performing pieces in a new light, especially if I had previously judged them to be non-remarkable. And it encourages me to write a mix of stories: some inspirational, some humorous, and some jam-packed with tips and advice.
As a blogger, you’ll find that your favorite stories aren’t necessarily the crowd favorite.
You’ll learn how to better write for your readers. (And in turn, improve response to your blog.) After all, your readers are the reason that you blog exists. In many ways, it’s their blog, not yours.
Best of all, you’ll feel the joy of writing something that connects with people. You’ll get emails from people telling you that your words struck a chord with them. You’ll hear about how your advice or tips shaped someone’s life. You’ll meet readers, face-to-face, who thank you for giving them the courage to overcome some obstacle or make a positive change.
That impact grows from your writing. And your writing improves, everyday, as a result of the constant feedback that you receive.
And that’s what makes blogging so satisfying.