You Have More Reach Than You Think

You Have More Reach Than You Think

I used to be so caught up with vanity stats and metrics when I first started blogging that I didn’t realize how much energy I was wasting.

It took me a long time to figure it out too.

You have more reach than you think you do.

It doesn’t matter how many followers, subscribers, or likes you have. You have to look beyond the numbers. Look at the connections you’re making at a personal level. One-on-one.

There are plenty of people who read blogs but aren’t email or RSS subscribers. Just think of all the blogs you read, podcasts you listen to, or people you follow that you aren’t subscribed to.

Are you really going to measure your self-worth (and the worth of what you create) by how many five-star reviews you have on iTunes or Amazon?

There are always going to be people that aren’t found in some sort of “metric” you track (visitors, pageviews, downloads, shares, comments, sales, subscribers, etc.) that can get something out of what you make.

The hard part is that you probably won’t ever hear anything from them. Ever. Like forever-ever.

Just because you publish something and it doesn’t get favorited or retweeted doesn’t mean people don’t see it, read it, and value what you’re sharing.

If every blogger gave up every time they got no comments and no shares there would be no bloggers left.
  or copy + Facebook

Beyond that, one of the biggest problems when you think about your “reach” is to not add in all the connections you already have and the reach they have.

  • Who do you know that can help you spread the word?
  • How can you get in front of their audiences?
  • Where else can you write to have an even bigger reach?

How many more people could you reach if you just asked?

Do what no one else will do. Keep going. Know when to persevere.

And don’t get bogged down by…

  • How small your list is.
  • How few social media followers you have.
  • How many comments you get.

Those aren’t the things that matter. What matters is that you keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep making things that people want.

So, how big is your reach? I’d bet it is bigger than you think it is.


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  • Jared Akers

    Great message and reminder. Thanks for sharing from that perspective.

  • Ed Herzog

    This is a great reminder for all of us who are just starting out. It’s easy to get jealous of those who already have a large audience. But of course, they didn’t start out that way either. They also started off small and eventually grew and grew and grew. Why? Because they were delivering value to their audience.

  • Matt Becker

    This is such an important topic, but one that’s really hard to learning. I’m still learning it, and it’s a struggle.

    I spent my first 3 months of blogging in total darkness. No one visiting except myself basically. Then one other blogger started coming by and commenting, and she ended up introducing me to the idea of connecting with other bloggers. It was like a goldmine. I commented on their sites. They commented on mine. They shared my stuff. It was awesome!

    I spent a year basically recycling the same daily routine, and I was happy because my comment and share counts kept going up.

    But you know what? I kind of lost track of why I started in the first place. I started out because I had been frustrated by the lack of good financial advice specifically geared towards new parents, and I wanted to be that resource. I wanted to help other new parents get the money stuff right.

    But as I focused on my comments and shares, I was focusing on the other bloggers. Yeah, those numbers were going up, but so what? Was it helping me connect with the people I really wanted to connect to? Or was it helping me connect to people who were really only going to share and comment on my stuff if I continued to share and comment on theirs?

    Recently, I’ve made a big change in how I spend my time. I spend a lot less time trying to get these other bloggers to like me and a lot more time thinking about how I can create awesome things for my actual target audience and connect directly with them. And it’s hard. My shares have dropped. So have my comments. And that hurts a little emotionally.

    But you know what? Those things were never real to begin with. They were just mirages. And you know what I have had more of? Direct email conversations with regular people who want some help. Sure, there’s no count I can display on my website that shows that off, but so what? It’s what I want to be doing, so bring it on!

    Now, one last point. I don’t meant to say here that connecting with other bloggers is bad. Obviously it can be one of the most powerful things you do. It just needs to be done for the right reasons, and I was doing it for the wrong ones.

    Anyways, thanks for writing this. It’s very true, though not easy to actually learn.

    • Bree Brouwer

      That’s an amazing journey and great to hear, Matt!

  • Life.Style.Fun.

    So true! It happend many times, that I felt like my words have no impact, but then I went out on Saturday evening and heard compliments on my blog from people I would never expect them reading it!

  • wjb

    Nice reminder, but I would have liked a bit more depth, as in places to look for reach you have, that you might not think about when simply thinking about your reach.

    Also thanks for using discus, I enjoy it so much more than having to sign in on every site I feel like adding a comment to.

    • Faith Watson

      They used to call this concept starting with your “warm circle” — I think Caleb addressed the core of places to look for reach that you have by suggesting you consider who you already know. Their already receptive to you as a person so you can remind them what you’re doing, ask for support and ask them who they know that you could help or that your content would be of interest to. This can be done with personal relationships (it’s something I used to do when I had a brick and mortar biz but it’s harder for me to do with my online biz now…another topic but it’s not a good excuse!) and online.

      I struggle with my warm circle building an online business, because so many people in my warm circle don’t really get what I do or am doing, and many are even opposed to the idea that I’m not out there trying to have a regular job in marketing anymore. When I had my fitness studio it was SO much easier. People shared my info. all the time. Even my website for my studio had so much more validity and interest automatically, because it showed my schedule, showed a physical location, and was a topic everyone understood & cared about.

      So what I have been doing is building a new warm circle of online friends. Even if they aren’t interested in my services for themselves, they get what I’m doing, support it, and can share my information with others they know. Because what I have to offer IS really great for some people and everyone knows somebody. So do you! Another place you can look is locally. I advise entrepreneurs, even if they have a global online biz dream, to try to reach people locally to promote their sites. Chambers of Commerce for example might not have direct biz connections for you, but the people can get very close and it’s excellent to network with people who understand the challenges of business and are interested in sharing referrals.

      • Bree Brouwer

        Faith, it’s funny you say this, because the last few months I’ve asked relatives to refer me to people they know, but none of them really “get” what I do, either! They’re always like, “Oh, so can you teach me Twitter?” Um… yes, but that’s not really my focus — it’s freelance writing!

        • Faith Watson

          Even funnier…. I just realized yesterday how MOST of my pen to Zen clients are NOT on my list. So those who DO get it (and are willing to PAY for it!) often can’t be counted in the subscribery way–and yet they are the charter members of my crew.

      • wjb

        I think that is why I hoped for something I’m missing. Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate it.

        The people in my immediate circle do not really get what I do either. On one level I sometimes get good feedback when I ask them to read something I wrote, because I get the view of someone completely out of touch with the industry, but for the most part I also know they are not the people I see as my ideal customer. So yes I think I need to grow my warm circle.

        • Faith Watson

          wjb I have learned to take any good feedback at face value and not doubt it whether it’s from an ideal customer or not! I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of positive impressions–you never know who will tell who about you. :-)

  • Meg Sylvia

    Great message that every blogger, whether just starting out or experienced, should be reminded of from time to time!

  • Carl

    Great post Caleb!

    I have struggled with this in the past and found I was starting to write for stats (i.e. what I thought people would share) rather than writing from the heart and on what I thought would be of use to others. My writing drifted as a result and I enjoyed it less.

    However, I caught it and now I write purely for the joy of it and to be of service in some small way to others.

  • Teresa Capaldo

    Appreciate this post a ton. Great points to keep in the forefront when building an audience!

  • Joey Augustin

    This is great stuff Caleb. I really needed this right now. Thank you.

  • Jamie Logie

    Important to remember as well is you never know who’s watching you. You don’t know the influence of a person who might enjoy what you’re doing and at some point could share it and help open doors for you

  • Matt Hotze

    Thanks for the post, it is a nice reminder of what to focus on. FYI episode 17 of the podcast that you refer to above does not show in Stitcher for some reason.

    • Caleb Wojcik

      Thanks for the heads-up on this Matt. I’ll reach out to them and see what’s up.

  • Sofia Garcês

    This is just what I needed to here today! My list maybe small but there listening and I’ve created friendships in the blogger world that I could have never dreamed of!

  • Survive 55

    I want to quit every day but my blog won’t let me.

    • Bree Brouwer

      This should be a tshirt design.

      • Survive 55

        Bree, you’re right. I’m going to have some made up right away.

  • Marianne Manthey

    oh gosh i never bothered to look at it this way but you’re so right…. i read posts and tweets and whatever all the time and don’t leave comments sometimes. it’s usually when i have nothing to contribute, but i still appreciate it. in that case, i do try to share it at least, but i know not all people do that.

  • Muriel

    This is a great reminder that we should blog for us and not for others. Writing about interests you and not comparing yourself to others is always important. It’s a constant struggle but I always remind myself that the content is important to me and not to get caught up on numbers or metrics. Thanks for this!

  • Leon Terra

    This just reminded me of a guideline I heard years ago and continue to use today:

    Don’t write for Google.

    And which weirdly coincides with advice rapper Jay-Z gave to up-and-coming music folks:

    Don’t chase the radio.

    Pretty much, talk about what you care about because more than likely someone else cares about that too.

    Thanks Caleb

    • wjb

      I think there has to be a balance.

      If organic search is where you want to get your traffic, you have to make your site search friendly. If it is social, then you have to focus your structure on social. I guess it us a function of where you hope to find an audience, because people need to find you, no matter how great your content is.

  • Brandon G. Donnelly

    Good post.

    It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics. I’ve been blogging everyday for 8 months straight and my subscriber base and follower base is still relatively small. And I’ll be honest and say that I do care. But I constantly get great feedback from the people I do connect with and I personally find that rewarding.

    At the same time, I told myself when I started blogging that even if nobody read any of posts, that there would still be value in me organizing my thoughts and writing something everyday. So that’s what I do.

  • kimanzi constable

    I’m screaming because this is so spot on. If you only have 20 email subscribers you should know them by name, you should know when their kids birthday’s are (is that creepy?). When you make those real connections and relationships you can build that third tier like Chase talks about.

  • Brian Cain

    Really glad to see this topic being talked about. Everyone struggles with this.

  • George Kao

    Since no one mentioned the word Karma, I guess I will :)

    Focus on making truly useful and digestible content, and sharing it regularly in multiple places, wherever you like to hang out (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Medium, Slideshare, Youtube, Pinterest, Flickr, etc).

    And as this post brilliantly says, know that the ripple effect is far greater than you can imagine.

    Know that the good karma you are building, by being of true service, by focusing on doing good for others, will come back to you many times. Often in this life, but certainly in the future too :)

    Mindmap on how to make content more engaging:

    Oh, and be sure to have a regular schedule of making offers to your audience so you can get better at that too :)

  • Paul Turner

    I don’t know if it’s my blog that won’t let me quit, I just don’t know what else I’d do. It’s one of those I can’t live with it and I can’t live without it. Or can I? Deep thoughts with Jack Handy.

  • Aqilah Norazman

    Great reminder, Caleb. Blogging success does not happen overnight. The best ones stick to what they’re doing day in and day out. It’s something I tell myself every day.

  • Mitchel Schwindt

    Totally agree. Easy to get drawn into checking analytics instead of doing the real work of creating and sharing.

  • Nick Loper

    This is something I still struggle with, and it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap with other big-name bloggers who are very public about their subscriber numbers and even monthly earnings.

    But to argue that those stats are all “vanity metrics” might be doing them a disservice. After all, there is value in having a large and engaged audience. To be sure, you can’t buy groceries with twitter followers or podcast downloads, but it’s what those followers or listeners represent. Are they in your tribe? Do they support your work? Do they buy your stuff?

    A general rule I’ve heard is that only 1% of people who read you blog will comment. So that leaves 99% in the “silent majority” (borrowing from @TropicalMBA) you may never hear from. I have to remind myself of that when I shoot a blog post out into the wilderness of the interwebs and get silence back!

    • Dan Andrews

      Absolutely … a lot of things worth writing about aren’t necessarily commentable or sharable necessarily… I see ‘small’ blogs all the time in our community having a huge impact on people’s lives (and thus generating leads/customers/deals if that’s the aim) because 1) people are writing about important problems and 2) deeper impact is an easier / quicker / cheaper way to gain clients/customers than broad appeal in my view.

  • penina

    I wholeheartedly agree with your message! I’ve got two thoughts to add:

    1. You can’t completely ignore metrics because they have unfortunately become a commodity: While they may have little other value to you, I find users — and potential partners — do take note. One startup client of ours was told by an important prospect that they’d only consider a partnership once their Facebook page had 1,000 Likes. It was a prospect we couldn’t afford to dismiss.

    2. We’re conducting an experiment with our studio newsletter, and have decided to make it invite-only. Sure, part of it is to try out “exclusivity”, but more importantly, we put a lot of energy into those newsletters and think hard about who is reading them. By letting go of building a big subscriber list, we can focus on messages that are meaningful to people who truly value what we do.

  • Thea Woods

    “Just because you publish something and it doesn’t get favorited or retweeted doesn’t mean people don’t see it, read it, and value what you’re sharing.” I love this!!

    Ironically, I just discovered your site a few moments ago after seeing this article shared in another blogger’s comments area. :) While I agree with some of your readers’ comments (that metrics are still important and not to discount that) I totally agree with your sentiments. Metrics shouldn’t be our main focus. I have struggled with this for quite some time and your words are a timely reminder to just focus on producing great content and being of service to our readers, regardless of whether they subscribe to us or not.

    Thank you! :)

  • Hannah Rounds

    Thanks for saying something realistic on the internet. The fact that I didn’t storm onto the internet with thunderous applause has been a bit of a let down, but its also been a great learning experience. I hope that over time, I will be able to build a big engaged audience, but for now I will attempt to continue to add value a little bit at a time.

  • Jan Koch

    Acknowledging your own reach seems to be as difficult as acknowledging your own expertise and skills. I think both go hand in hand and people need to learn how to accept their own position.

    We’re conditioned to focus on what’s going wrong, because we’re taught to fix what’s going wrong. Yet instead we should focus on the things we already accomplished and see what we can do to leverage our potential in those areas we are already successful in.

    Great post Caleb, hopefully lots of readers get motivated to follow through on pursuing their goals!


  • Linda Coussement

    Thanks for this! I’m just starting out (4 blogs and counting :) ) and already I feel the pressure for the numbers. So far I’m just perceiving it all as a very interesting learning experience as I am also new to most social media platforms but as with everything else in life I strive for reaching my vision with as much balance in the NOW as possible!

  • Charlene Smiley-Woodley

    I totally needed this today…thanks!

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