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Karthik

Beth,
Thanks for this - excellent post.

Nina Simon

Beth,
I think this is missing a key starting point: define your audience of interest. Your post presumes that the goal is to reach as many readers as possible rather than a targeted audience. While many bloggers may be looking for broad reach, some, particularly non-profits, may want to reach specific audiences.

As a personal example, I write a blog for (mostly) museum practitioners. My goal is to encourage people who design museums, libraries, and public spaces to take a more participatory approach to their work. Once in a while, a post will get picked up by a big tech blog and I will see a spike in traffic -- but I know that these people are not my core audience of interest. In fact, my audience of interest is LEAST likely to reblog, tweet, or generally spread and respond to posts, since they are less tech-savvy than other peripheral audiences like techies and game designers. I know from some analysis that my target readers are more likely to receive the blog by email than in any other form. My greatest achievement from an impact perspective wasn't getting more readers to the blog, but getting the blog syndicated in a bi-monthly (print) museum industry magazine. Everyone who reads that magazine is in my target audience, whereas many of the people who read the blog are not.

In other words, don't get seduced by numbers and number impact if your goal is to reach particular audiences. That may require different strategies and insights from those used to increase overall readership and broad engagement.

adams

A worthful note.

BlackRiverBRAT

Nina, excellent points! I recently did a SurveyMonkey survey of my core volunteers who have e-mail; a mere 5 out of 45 had even heard of FaceBook or Twitter, and only 1 actually uses FB -- none of them Tweets! So numbers might help for outreach to new folks, but I am keeping a closer eye on my current volunteers and partners. To me, it's just as important to nurture the existing relationships as it is to develop new ones, and I have to meet folks at their level of techno-comfort, if you will. As you mentioned, Nina, my focus should be on what audience you're trying to reach.

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