Help — I’m Boring My Readers
When the readers aren’t flocking to your work
First of all, do not panic. Reader droughts happen to the best of us. When the stats plummet, the analytics show big fat zeros, or you haven’t had a comment in weeks — it happens to all of us writers, bloggers, or wanna-be influencers.
The pool of readers, fans, viewers simply seems to dry up overnight.
It. Happens. So, what to do? We up our game. We wait. We promote. Rinse. Repeat. But there are a few other things we could be doing. Here are a few suggestions.
Do NOT let your stats and feedback define you
This is no time for a mental health crisis over your feedback or lack thereof. When your thousands of hearts, claps, and likes per day dwindles to crickets — I get it, it sucks. You open your stats for the day or your analytics and it is turning into a record of your failures — full stop.
You can’t simply fall apart or throw yourself the pity party of all pity parties. It’s unbecoming and unproductive. This is a time for “shake it off” and keep your eyes on the long game.
What is your goal? THAT is your long game. You are merely taking a bend in the road. Slow down, redirect a bit, but stay on the long course toward your goal. (Here’s a little bit about Owning. It.)
Reconsider your topics
By reconsider your topics, I mean evaluate what works for your reader.
Something interesting happens when I write about my own life, my own experiences. For the most part, no one reads it. As much as I want to rock the personal essay, my readers simply don’t read it. (With the exception of this one , my top performing article of all time across any platform is, ironically, a personal essay.)
It is so tempting to take it personally. Is my life that boring?
Possibly, yes. But while I love reading the personal essays of other people, this does not mean my readership appreciates the same from me. I can interpret this two ways:
- My work sucks. I can’t write a decent personal essay to save my ass.
- OR — They read my work for other reasons. They look for different value from my work. (Yeah, I’m gonna go with this one.)
Consider the topics that win big with your readers (or if you are an influencer, an artist etc — what is it that your fans most react to from you)— and deliver.
This is also a great time to try something completely new! Perhaps you’ll find new followers and fans, meet a few new people, or learn something that broadens your work.
Connect with your readers
When readership and social media response is down it means one thing — they are distracted. Online eyes and minds are so easily distractible! You are competing with so much other content. Why not take this pportunity of downtime to poke around a bit to see what is trending on all of your social media and writing outlets?
Slow and steady — consistency wins.
Then toss in your perspective. Post on the trending hashtags. Try out something you see in all your news feeds to try and reel in a bit of that attention. If it feels like fishing for viewers and readers, it is. Suck it up and jump in. You need to stay as relevant as possible. Remember your long game!
Publish more and with regularity
Another aspect of “getting noticed” is for your name, your face, your work to cross the news feeds more often and regularly. Keep yourself fresh in the mind of your readers and fans. Again, offer them what they need.
Stay regular in your posting, even when it is tough. Consistency wins. Remember The Hare & the Tortoise? Guess who won that race. Slow and steady — consistency wins.
Keep it simple
The incredibly wandering eyes of internet readers and viewers, from time to time, will suffer from even shorter attention spans. (Currently — Covid 19 has the world on edge and you’d have to be blind not to see how it is affecting online behavior.) Whatever the matter at hand, give it a bit of time to settle.
In the meantime, keep it simple.
- Great headings.
- Irresistible topics.
- Bullet points.
- Simple things a reader / viewer can glean value from quickly.
Consider the topics that win big with your readers — and deliver.
Fish when the fishing is good
Sometimes the fish just aren’t biting.
If you're not born and raised in the south like me, the analogy may not make a lot of sense, but when you are fishing, yes with a fishing pole and a worm, sometimes the fish simply aren’t biting. Your bait hangs there limp and dying on your hook and there’s not a darn thing you can do to change that.
Other times you go out to fish and start catching the loveliest rainbow trout you’ve ever seen, one right after another, as fast as you can bait your hook and cast it out into the blue waters. Also, this is not to your credit as a fabulous fisherman / woman. It just IS.
What’s all this fishing babble got to do with your goals?
Timing. Timing, luck, and being in the right place at the right time. Some of these things are simply beyond your control, but change things up a bit and see if you find where the fish are biting.
Don’t beat yourself up!
You’ve actually been online right? (Obviously.)
I mean, you see the waves of behavior across social media — do you really want to define your value on something that is ever-changing, can be a bit fickle, and is almost always hyper-critical? It’s hard impressing total strangers.
Give yourself a break. The long game is still there. The goal is still there. And if you stay consistent — your fans will be too as soon as they get back from whatever has them distracted away from your work.
Consider it a perfect time to improve your craft, time to try new creative angles, and time to take a breath. This is a slow and steady race. And as long as you’re still trying — you’re still in it.