How To Learn What Your Readers Want To Read

Like any conceptual advertising campaign, the key to learning exactly what your audience wants is to understand them – specifically, what intrigues them. Curiosity is a congenital human trait. It fuels the desire to learn and evolve so we can fulfil ambitions and become the people we aspire to be. Marketing strategists harness the power of curiosity for subliminal advertising. They research stimuli most likely to evoke an emotional response by evaluating opinions generated by surveys and previous campaigns. As a writer, you don’t have to go to such great lengths to understand what your readers want to read, but you can employ some of the research tactics used by marketing pros to stay one step ahead!

1. Understand The Give and Take Principle

I’ll admit it took me some time to realise that to be successful in blogging, I needed to embrace the principle of give and take. This means getting out of the mindset that, in being a purveyor of content, you are already fulfilling your duty to readers. If you want to reward reader loyalty, you have to provide them with what they ask for, and there’s nowhere better to start researching this than on your own site.

  • Comments

Post comments are perhaps the greatest indicator of reader opinions, and as such, should be your first port of call when looking for inspiration. If readers openly suggest a follow-up to a specific post, consider making it part of a mini-series. If you received an influx of comments in response to a semi-political post, consider using other careful political examples to emphasise your message.

  • Emails

As a writer, I can affirm that receiving that first email in response to a post (whether congratulatory or critical) is a sure-fire sign you are making headway with your blog. Readers will only usually make this extra effort if you have struck a chord or hit a nerve – in either case, you’re evoking a response. But, this is also means to understand what puts readers off. If you receive emails expressing contempt or dismay, you may need to clamp down on controversial topics and/or personal opinions.

  • Social Sharing

Are readers sharing your posts? In-post Facebook and Twitter widgets aren’t purely a bookmarking tool. Readers tend to re-Tweet and ‘like’ posts they feel will be of value to people they know. Not only is this great for traffic, it can also give you an insight into the posts your readers find most useful or educational!

2. Evaluate Blog Statistics

Visitor statistics are primarily used for analysing the health and reach of your blog, as well as your SEO performance. But, they can also be used to evaluate visitor activity. contributor Susan Gunelius discusses the benefits of keeping an eye on site activity in Making Sense of Blog Traffic Statistics. “Each visitor on your blog will view a certain number of pages during their visit” she elaborates. “They might see one page then leave, or they might click on link after link viewing a variety of posts, pages and more”. Page views can reveal much about the kind of content your readers are drawn to, even if there are very few comments. Write on 2-3 topics that have proven popular in the past and link them to those old posts. In building links, you’re demonstrating the kind of topic continuity that most readers tend to appreciate.

3. Introduce Regular Polls

Polls have long been a controversial subject of debate among bloggers. Some see them as a pointless addition when users have the option to comment instead. Others, such as Social Media Magic, claim they can improve your social media strategy, and “give your clients a faster, easier way to communicate their opinion”. While you may still be working on the former, implementing a poll on your site could help you leverage reader opinions, and subsequently hone your content.

Tip: Remember to share your poll via social networks, as you would a normal blog post.

4. Review Topics Covered By Fellow Bloggers

There’s a lot to be gained from staying up to date with similar blogs to your own. Not only will you get a feel for the style and tone that readers appreciate, you’ll also likely discover angles on topics you hadn’t even thought of. Adopt the same methods recommended above; evaluating comments, re-Tweets and ‘likes’ to gauge the popularity of posts, but also look for questions submitted by readers that haven’t been answered/covered by the author.

Perhaps the most vital rule when crafting blog posts is to remember you’re not just creating content that interests you. Your readers are integral to the growth of your blog and your authority, therefore taking steps to understand what piques their curiosity will be rewarded by their loyalty, and ultimately, even more qualified traffic!

Jack Samuelson is a contributing author who writes articles on numerous subjects, interested in issues of personal rights, online privacy, network security and anonymous surfing. He has been an insightful observer of new technologies (such as tools to hide IP) and their relations with the problems of internet privacy, freedom and independence.

Filed in: Blogging
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