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February 5, 2007

Expanding Blog Readership

-- by Dave Johnson

In today's post, Apex Reached? Moving From Bloggers To Communities, Chris Bowers at MyDD discusses whether progressive blog traffic may have reached a plateau.

I think that what is happening is that the blogs have reached a point that commonly occurs in tech ventures. We have saturated the early adapters but are not doing the right things to reach out to the larger mainstream "consumer" audience. Up to now, adapters came to us. We offered "cool" so there was a reason to seek us out. But expecting that people will find you just because you offer something great is a path to failure. Reaching the larger mainstream audience requires a different approach. They don't come to you, you have to go to them.

Silicon Valley tech marketers talk about this problem as "Crossing the Chasm." That's the title of a 1991 book by Geoffrey Moore, and I think the theme of the book applies. There is a chasm between the early adopters and the the next group that might be interested, called the "Early Majority" by Moore. This is a larger group than the early adopters - the beginnings of the mass-consumer market you really want to reach with your product - but they are not as adventurous and are more risk-averse. Where the early adopters will seek you out, you have to reach the early majority with different methods, and seek them out. And where the early adopters would teach themselves how to use what you offer and what it is for, the early majority is different. You have to educate them and you have to make them feel comfortable with your offering.

So bloggers, now we have to understand that we need to go to the next audience and bring them in to us. We need to be explaining who we are and what we offer to people who are not going to just happen to discover us, which is what has happened up to now. We need to start marketing, advertising and changing from the insider focus we have had to a more inclusive, approachable "product" that they the next and larger group of people can easily understand. We can't expect the next level of audience to just somehow magically appear without us doing outreach to draw them in.

Posted by Dave Johnson at February 5, 2007 7:48 PM

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