Saturday, December 02, 2006

3 theories on creating a blog audience

Common Cause: No More Consolidation

Pop Culture Lure

Your have a business blog, but you write post titles and articles that include the names of stars and popular personalities.

You post about hot news items, celebrities, products, TV shows, movies, political scandals, Hollywood break-ups. An attempt to attract web surfers who are typing pop ephemera and news trivia (like "Britney Spears") into search engines.

Or you use glamor sex and a druggy ambience to lure readers to your product blog, which has an army of cash-driven lustopens ready to pounce on the hapless victims drawn by their own shameful, counter-productive lusts and secretive, immature voyeurism.

Although your blog is about marketing or business, you use just enough pop culture fluff, or base human depravities, naughty and unsublime, to arouse controversy, guilty satisfaction, in order to draw eyes, to generate traffic.

You then try to tie it in with the real topics of your blog and your company, or your consulting services. It always looks clunky, contrived, and opportunistic. Rarely is the commentary very enlightening or well-researched and documented. Generally, it's just tossed off casually, though perhaps pompously, while the blogger has only numbers in his heart, no true compassion for his audience.

"Trick them into coming, and you might also con some money out of them" is the battlecry of digi-wankers and clone-lite exemplophiles.

PROBLEM: You attract people who care about the pop culture fluff, but don't care about your blog's real topics and issues. You anger celebrity news hounds with your deceptive strategy and obvious baiting attempts.

(2) My Fascinating Personality Ploy

You mix relevant meat with candy confessions and slurpy asides. You hope that as you reveal the minutae of your life, others will find you fascinating, warts and all. Exhibitionist tranquility and narcissistic rage teeter back and forth as you spill the beans about everything.

Your blog may be about a web topic, but relevant posts are buried under tons of personal observations, home remodeling reports, vacation highlights, conference schedules, politics, music, films, and lunches described in ghoulish detail.

PROBLEM: Since most readers care little for your private adventures, and get frustrated trying to find relevant gems in all the dross, they just dump your blog and never return.

(3) Reader Empathy Strategy

You try to anticipate the concerns of your ideal, target, or theorized audience, and meet their needs. You prefer instruction over intimacies.

You seek to help others, and not to display every excruciatingly charming or astronomically boring aspect of your forlorn self.

Vallejo on Literary Audiences

From Interviews With Spanish Writers by Marie-Lise Gazarian Gautier (Dalkey Archive Press, 1991), a quote by Antonio Buero Vallejo, some statements about playwrights, which also apply to bloggers.


As far as the public is concerned,there can be playwrights [read: bloggers] who try to meet all of the audience's requirements, and produce a type of theatre [blog] that is very commercial and has wide appeal.

Although they can be quite successful, they cannot be considered good playwrights [bloggers].

A good and ambitious playwright [blogger] is one who does not try to satisfy the whims and fancies of the public, but who would rather create his own captive audience, which is different. Sometimes he succeeds, while at other times he does not, although he may be a very good playwright [blogger]. On still other occasions, success comes only after death; there are many instances of this in literary history.

However, the norm tends to be that after some years a good playwright [blogger] will gain a following, whether it be large or small, but usually sufficient to feed him. A good playwright [blogger] will not only attempt to create his own public, but also try to shape it (which is really the same thing).

In so doing, he may contradict the expectations of the audience in an attempt to create his own mores, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. So the relationship with the public is one that is always more or less antagonistic.

Another consideration is that the audience is the unforseeable factor; no one has the formula on how to make the public happy, especially when you are trying to contradict its expectations. Nobody has this formula, not even those who want to please the public. In fact, they sometimes fail spectacularly with plays [blogs] they thought the audience would enjoy a lot.

All of this means that the public is unpredictable, which is a good thing.


your pal,

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