This is a common issue with bloggers today – subscribers and comments are dwindling, and social shares and post marketing are becoming the norm. Loyalty to individual authors is being replaced by curating content on social media streams.
It’s probably true for you, too, as a subscriber.
Are you reluctant to add to your already-glutted inbox?
Has content aggregation on social media eliminated the need?
Maybe it’s a bit of both??
I vote for #2. Why should someone subscribe if they already see everything you write cross their Facebook wall, Twitter stream or other social channels?
Perhaps email subscribers are a dying breed. I don’t think I’m alone in my frustrations about building an email database; all bloggers are increasingly challenged with building email lists.
I believe it’s directly related to shifts in how people digest information and decreased loyalty towards WHERE they get that information.
What is content aggregation? Identifying a specific target audience, filtering through relevant online content, then sharing only what you find most interesting, trendy or applicable to that audience. Sorting the good stuff from the garbage. It becomes content curation when you add value to the things you share – opinions, expertise, etc.
I read an interesting article yesterday, called “People Do Not Follow Blogs, They Read Articles” on exploreB2B.com – a site that I normally don’t read. Similar to ezinearticles.com (is that even still in existence?), it appears to be a site open to all writers, regardless of quality or skill, with little-to-zero editing oversight. It seems full of newbies who aren’t actual experts teaching entrepreneurs and small businesses the wrong things. Meh.
It doesn’t even stay true to it’s own target: business to business. It’s cluttered with junk ranging from belts as a style accessory to traveling with children; worthy topics, sure, but certainly not relevant to B2B.
It also has a lot of promotional content disguised as content marketing. Great for PR pros, since it’s an easy placement for repurposed press releases and bylines, but bad for readership.
Anyway, I digress. This particular article caught my eye because the headline dovetails with an issue I’m having on RockTheStatusQuo.com. Plus, it was well written, with thought and experience behind it.
I struggle with growing subscribers to my own blog. It’s an issue. My reach and influence grows, but my subscriber list remains embarrassingly low.
I have several theories about why. I don’t think it’s the quality of what I write; I think it’s a sign of changing times. In a way, the above article corroborated my theory.
People read differently, they monitor differently and, most of all, they are sick and tired of their exploding inboxes.
Fewer people are subscribing because they increasingly rely on social media to curate favorite authors, blogs and publishers – and select what to read by what catches their eye from their own social media streams. Instead of subscribing to receive posts and news by email, they lean on social media.
What’s the casualty? Loss of subscribers. Not readers, but subscribers – and hence, the ability to build a database.
On a similar note – those who have glutted Twitter streams are relying on lists to sort their ifeed. Instead of a follow, they add you to a list. They don’t like you any less, they just dislike a messy Twitter stream more! Adding someone to a list, instead of the overall stream, helps them categorize and manage their stream.
This issue isn’t going to go away. The more content we produce, the more overwhelmed people are. They’ll either lean to their trusted sources, subscribe then ignore everything else – or they’ll stop subscribing at all and select only from social streams.
I’m guilty of the second. Even though I subscribe to a few dozen blogs, over 95% of my actual reading each day is sourced from my social media. Not the emails, the content I curate on social media.
I’m a public relations pro. Why should I care about email or blog subscribers? This isn’t related to visibility!
As PR pros, we are increasingly expected to know more and more about the online world. Social media, content marketing, blogging – these are all starting to be owned by public relations departments. And we are also expected to measure results. One of the strongest metrics you can track is conversions – how your social media activity and content are transitioning into business revenue.
Even if you don’t give a fig about email and building a database, it makes you A STRONGER PROFESSIONAL to help your client or employer connect the dots from visibility and reach to conversion. Building a database is a GREAT conversion metric! It can easily become one of their most important assets.
So what is the solution? If you are serious about building an email list, give them something unique as a subscriber that THEY CAN’T GET ANYWHERE ELSE. Not just once as a thank you, but consistently dripped in every email communication. If they enjoy your blog and want more of you, they’ll subscribe.
I know, I know. Why aren’t you doing this, Carrie? I will. I just need more dang hours in the day. I’ll get there, I promise.
How do you consume content? Be honest.
What do you think – are people tired of subscribing? DO YOU subscribe, or just follow those you like on social media instead? What makes you tip over the edge into subscribing… and staying subscribed?