No Readers? Here’s a Simple Way to go from 0 to Hero

Be honest. You spend a lot more time on your WordPress Dashboard than you should. And most of that time is spent wondering why those stats are so low, why aren’t readers flocking to your blog, and why aren’t people liking, commenting, and sharing your content.

The truth is that the art of blogging is hard drudgery, but what should you do when your time and energy don’t seem to pay off?

Should you just keep punching those keys and hope for the best?

You need a proper strategy, not wishful thinking.

When your blog isn’t doing as well as you’d like, take a step back and analyze what you’ve done so far.

If you are in need of a plan that will help you win more readers, you first need to understand one reader. Just one.

Let’s start with getting to know this reader.

1. Who is your one fan?

Here’s the thing: when you think about large numbers of readers, actual human beings tend to dissolve into this faceless crowd. And when you write for a something as vague as a hundred thousand followers, your blogging becomes colorless, lukewarm, and boring.

Quick question. Do you think Stephen King focuses on his millions of avid fans when writing his novels?

Actually the King himself admitted to writing for one reader only — his wife.

When you write for one reader, your blog becomes more engaging, personal, and persuasive. Your posts will receive more comments, which will inspire you to write more and better content.

Do you know who this reader is?

It does help if you can find an actual human who you’d like to write for, but if such a person cannot be found, you can always imagine them into existence.

Who is that one person who’d love your writing? Your number one fan? What kind of person would care most about your content? What are their dreams and aspirations, what do they fear? What problems do they face, and which of those problems can you help them solve?

2. Why would this one fan read your blog?

Whenever someone clicks on your blog, they ask themselves this question. They want to know what’s in it for them. They do not know you personally, so you are not socially relevant to them, which gives them permission to be quite selfish.

So…why would your ideal reader want to spent their time on your blog?

If you have trouble answering this question, try completing the following sentence: my number one fan reads my blog because I help him …

Your purpose defines how you help your readers and keeps you focused on engaging and inspiring them.

That’s how your blog becomes a must-read in your niche.

3. Does each blog post help your fan?

Unless you understand who this ideal reader is, unless you can empathize deeply with this person, you will forever feel like walking on tightrope. Torn between selfish writing that is supposed to meet your needs and selfless content that helps your reader, you will never feel like what you are writing makes much sense.

Think about your ideal reader.

  • What does this person dream about?
  • What are their struggles?
  • Which resources could educate them? How? Why?
  • What could you teach them?
  • What questions doe they badly want answered?

Stop writing blog posts for the sake of posting something.

4. Does this reader know you exist?

This is the question 99% of bloggers never bother to ask, let alone try to answer.

Promoting content feels like a giant time-suck — and how can you promote your content without going crazy?

Well…

Guest blogging is the one of the best ways to make sure your reader knows you exist.

Also, try being active on the social media platforms where this reader might be.

Sorry, but being social is an integral part of being successful both offline and online.

5. Is this ideal reader a friend of yours?

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.”J.D. Salinger

Why do we read stories and blogs and articles and magazines and newspapers?

I’d say that we do so because we wish to feel less lonely. Actually, I think that we read because we want to know for sure we are not alone.

There’s someone else who feels and thinks and wants the same things we do. Someone like us, someone who’s everything we wish we were, someone who’s the exact opposite.

This ideal reader, do you want them to be your friend? Would they?

Be honest for a second. Did you ever ask yourself if you’d like your readers to be your friends? Would you like to meet with them for a cup of coffee and talk for a few hours about what interests you all?

It’s easy to forget that those stats in your dashboard represent actual human beings. People like you, people who live and breathe and love and cry and laugh and dream and want to read the stories of other people who do the same things.

Are you the kind of blogger your ideal reader would want to be friends with?

Give yourself the permission to write with personality, to sell your soul, so to speak. Write from the heart. Do your best to be insanely helpful, be consistent — whether you blog on a weekly, daily, or monthly basis, make sure your reader knows what to expect and when.

One of the most crucial (and underrated) aspects of blogging is that in order to become a popular blogger, you have to stop treating your readers like some numbers.


I’d like you to spend actual time thinking of who this ideal reader might be. Write down at least 10 topics that this reader would love to read. And next, think of how you can make sure that your reader finds out about this awesome content that they’d absolutely love to read.

So, what do you think? Do you know who your ideal reader is? Do you care? And does your content help readers know, like, and trust you?

I’d appreciate honest answers.

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81 thoughts on “No Readers? Here’s a Simple Way to go from 0 to Hero

    1. Yes. It makes sense. Then ask yourself those questions.

      See, that’s the funny thing. Most people aren’t self-aware enough to know themselves to the point of being able to write the kind of stuff someone just like themselves would love to read, meaning that they don’t much like their own blog posts, if that makes sense.

      I mean, you should re-read your own posts for the pleasure of it. Like, it’s that good, it makes you smile and stuff. Or it reminds you of something you need to do or a way of thinking. And it makes you proud.

      So, who are you? What do you want? What do you fear? Love? Hate? What makes you feel alive?

      Liked by 6 people

      1. That’s for the detailed reply. I’m grateful for feedback when I receive it. I decided to write because I stopped trying to find something I was good at and therefore could make money from. I instead did what I like to do which is read, write and educate others. I’m quite aware I’ve been given the luxury of time to think, to become self aware and to not worry about money. It’s quite a rarity that I’m able to indulge in my hobbies to the extent that I do. I’m not like other people and hopefully my readers will come to appreciate this and treasure my posts. If not, well I tried and that’s all one can expect.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. I believe I know who my ideal reader is (stay at home mom trying to get her life together), but I’m unsure what content they want to see from me. I thought my blog niche would be using healthy living to fight anxiety and depression. But so far the content my readers like best is healthy living for a family of four on a single income. I’m unsure what my content strategy should be going forward. I’m fairly new, so tried a few different things. I am considering moving toward featuring more of that content most of the time and seeing how that goes. I know I need to niche down more in my content to show authority and gain more trust from my ideal reader.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Honestly I write to release the thoughts in my mind, I write about my experience as a Mum & about the crazy things I do & the yummy food I make & I hope that someone gets a giggle, or help someone to know their not the only one with a kid that does that, or gets people raving about a dish that they cooked that they got from my blog. But my biggest bit of honesty is I’m scared of the comments, I’m scared people will hate my blog & that’s why I haven’t told my friends or family or promoted it on social media, I’m scare my words, my release from my mind, my heart & honesty on the screen will get laughed at & be seen as a joke or waste of time. I love writing, always have but I never let anyone read anything more than what I write in a greeting card.
    How’s that for honest? Who’s my reader? Am I writing out of arrogance or loneliness? Where do I go from here, have you the answer to fear and confidence, teach me how to not care what people think & if they’ll like my blog or not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here’s the thing: it is inevitable that someone someday will hate your stuff. Yeah, most of those who hate your stuff don’t comment, but someday that is going to happen.

      But that’s not such a big deal. I mean, there’s got to be some guy somewhere who thought Gandhi was an asshole. Or Mother Theresa. It is how it is. You cannot please everyone.

      And here’s another interesting thing: in order for some folks to love your content, there’s got to be some who hate it. A polarizing effect. Great content divides people. It always did. Because it elicits an emotional reaction, and emotions are tricky, tricky things.

      My advice? Don’t worry about it. You get used to the haters, and after a while it will amuse you even. They are not part of your target audience anyway, so why worry about them?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Cristian Mihai! I discovered your blog just last week and since then I have been following you. but so far, this is the blog that really hit me so hard, prompting me to write you and express my deepest gratitude. Thank you for all your tips. But this piece so far actualized everything I have read from your posts. I have become your ideal reader! That I think is what I should first clarify, my ideal reader or fan as you say. Most of all, the question of my being open to friendships. Truth is, I am so afraid of social media. Been writing my reflections and homilies (i am a priest) for the past 16 years for friends and relatives via email. they asked me to have an FB then a blog which i started last June. Every day I write a prayer. and always the issue is should i write in the first person singular because it is my prayer and experience or should i write in the first person plural because i feel and know some people out there who feel like me. How I wish I could see you! God bless and more power to you! fr nick

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In scrolling through the comments, I saw your comment Fr. Nick and was excited to see it! I’m a fellow Catholic who has a blog about the Catholic faith… Thank you for your priesthood and sharing your heart with others. God bless!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Terese Rose. One with you in the vineyard of the Lord. Just realized this afternoon during a class in the seminary where I teach that it is really important to identify that person to whom we write because that was how Jesus preached – very personal and particular. Is it not? God bless!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice thought provoking post. True I don’t know for whom I am writing. I write sometime because I like to write. At the same time, if someone reads it feels good. How to identify that someone?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful guidance! I do know who My audience is – and I always have, but I needed this to remind Me. It is easy to believe One is Writing for their anonymous audience after a while and becoming distracted by it. I could almost say I was Blessed to have very few readers for the first few years, I was less concerned with what they might think. When thousands of People were reading My Words, I wanted to please them all and I’m sure that influenced My Style for awhile, I became more conscious and perhaps more conservative, a little less ‘gutsy’. I think I’m back now, but this Will forever serve as a Great reminder for Me if I’m ever feeling ‘stuck’. See, I’m Writing for God, to God. I grow in My relationship with God by Writing to Him every day, and sharing My Words with My audience. In this Way, I hope to help My audience Grow and develop in their relationship with God, too. I believe this if I always Keep in Mind who I am Writing for, I Will always be on the right path. Thank You, and Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. One of my favorite quotes from a movie I love “5 to 7” is this:

    “I promise you this, your favorite story, whatever it might be, was written for one reader.”

    I love that King writes for his wife. I write for the person I would like to someday marry. Sometimes I forget but almost always when I remember I feel I write my best work and I love reading it myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for such a great blog post.

    I definitely try to write for the writer looking to get published one day, particularly a writer who is a fan of the fantasy genre. My blog really is for myself to document my own journey, but I always try to include a universal message, if you will, in every blog post for my readers.

    I think I’m most nervous about being a guest on other blogs. I feel like I’m not a viable blogger to guest on other blogs, because I don’t have many followers. Why would someone want a nobody like me to write for their blog, you know? I guess that’s just something I need to personally work on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it does not matter how many followers you have, but how you feel about your writing. If you tie that to some number, I don’t think it’s going to go well in the future.

      You just need to believe in the power of your words and know that it takes a lot of rejection before you get one “yes.” But the good thing is that it takes just one “yes.”

      Like

  8. You had me at Stephen King, who is one of my favorite authors. I just picked up his book On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft and am ready to devour it!
    I’ve mostly written for myself and tend to blather on about whatever happens to be in my mind at any given moment – and then nothing for months because I don’t seem to capture anyone’s attention (aside from others following just to market something they’re selling or the random phishing attempt). This is very much the kind of advice Jasmine Star (photographer) gave … to invent your ideal client in your head and market to that person.
    I hadn’t thought of doing that for blogging, but I will now! I’ll call her Stella. She’s a Democrat, just slightly left of center, in the 40-65 age group. She struggles to fit in and usually chooses not to. She has strong opinions that she may or may not keep to herself. She doesn’t get the point of gossip and finds it trivial and boring. She dreams of traveling and being fit and healthy.
    That’s all I have so far. Do you think I’m off to a good start with Stella?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I’m going to write about her interests. Human interests. Health & wellness. My “9 to 5” is in the travel industry, and part of my time there was in trust & security, so I have a lot of information about all of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I think my ideal reader is someone who is struggling motherhood/parenting and needs some motivation. I like the statement: your purpose defines how you help your reader and keeps you focused in engaging and inspiring them. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My ideal reader asks the same questions that I ask myself all the time: “How can I get rid of these nagging migraines? As a Christian, what movies and tv shows should I consume? Why is my house always a total disaster? Does my husband really love me when he spends all his time at work? Will I be a good mother someday? Is it my own fault that I feel so tired and stressed? Why does God stay silent sometimes?”

    THANK YOU! Thinking about my ideal reader is a great place to start because each blog post should address—if not actually answer—one of those important questions.

    QUESTION: Should my posts follow a consistent theme, or is it OK to address all of those seemingly random topics one at a time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You do need a theme. The more specific, the better. If certain topics feel “random” then it’s probably a good idea not to blog about them.

      If you ask yourself what combination of topics to write about, which to remove, etc. The idea is to look for similar blogs. If no one’s ever blogged about that combination of topics, it’s probably a really bad idea.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You say you blog consists of “seemingly” random posts, but I do see a theme. I would call it a lifestyle (or reality) blog, and there are people interested in those. I know because I’m one of those people! I like following blogs written by people keeping everyday life real. Having a theme doesn’t necessarily mean you’re tied to just one topic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! That helps (on both accounts). I think my theme is really “How to Handle Major Life Transitions While Staying Sane,” so topics like health and managing screen time would fit under the larger theme of big changes like marriage, getting a new job, etc. Do you think the theme of dealing with transitions is still too broad? I need to think about this more … much appreciated!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. That is pretty interesting. It may be hard to find that one reader in real life, but an imaginary reader idea sounds reasonable. Imagining that one person with specific traits may also lead to more consistent posts as well? Since your audience is a person with specific likes and dislikes. But at the same time, it could feel limiting too. I think it is a bit controversial. But must give it a try and see which side I find myself in. Thanks for the writing as always! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m not sure who I’m writing to, but I do know for sure who inspired me to write my blog. Mostly, when I write my posts, I feel like I’m trying to educate and entertain at the same time. I want to preserve the era I’m writing about… I suppose I’m thinking that most readers don’t know much about the 50’s– but then again, I have made a couple of friends here on WP who were actually alive then and they enjoy my blog very much. This is a great post though, I will have to keep these tips in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This was quite helpful. Thank you! I had to step away from blogging for some time, and it’s a struggle attempting to get back. Feels a little awkward after not writing for some time. I genuinely appreciate the advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This has been really useful advice for helping me figure out why I am writing and how I can shape it to better fit my chosen topic.

    Like

  16. This is great advice and it makes sense. Thank you. I tend to write for a specific audience rather than focusing on the one person when I write, so maybe I can rethink this. Because I write with personal heartfelt emotion with the intention to inspire others, I am content to have a limited audience. I want my followers to be inspired when they come into my world. But of course, I would like to increase those followers. It is satisfying to make a difference in someone else’s life. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Cristian, I love reading your blogging advice. I’m writing a new blog on books. I really want to make my posts not only interesting to readers, but actually helpful. Do you think that helping people ‘solve the problem’ of ‘what to read’ qualifies? If my blog doesn’t matter to readers, then it doesn’t matter.And I want to offer content that matters!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Hey! Thank you for such helpful content! Most of the time, I write as if I’m expressing myself to my sister but I’ve never actually asked her if it helps her in any way or solves her problems. Guess it is time to do that.
    Thank again, sir. Your posts help me a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Great insights! I am a new blogger and your new ideal reader. 😊 While reading this it gives me motivation to think more about how i write with passion and sincerely. Thank you so much.. looking forward to your new post.. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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