If you’re like most authors, you’ve probably figured out how to use Google Analytics, or whatever metrics your web site host or blog host offers to determine how many readers have viewed your web site or blog. That’s important, because the amount of traffic you’re getting helps determine how effectively your efforts to increase your reader base are working.
Book Promotion and Reader Engagement by the Numbers
Another factor in determining how assess the success of your social network, article writing, blogging, and other online efforts, and how quickly it’s helping you build a community of supporters, is to track the number of comments you’ve received. Engagement is important, and that’s why authors put so much time into creating opportunities for interactivity when they write and post. Every time authors ask a question, request ideas, or elicit feedback, it raises the likelihood that the author has added another member to the tribe, built the community, and enhanced the readership base.
Looking at the metrics of your own book promotion activities is one way to gauge the effectiveness of those efforts. The next step is to take a look at the success of your colleagues and competitors. It’s easy to keep one eye on others who write about your subject matter, and to compare the number of comments their blogs receive with the amount of engagement you’ve created.
In a sense, that’s fair. You want to build as strong a community of supporters as possible, and comparing the number of comments on your blog to the number other authors receive has some validity. Besides, it’s greatly tempting to enter into competition with other authors and experts, and to measure your success against theirs.
Building the Right Community of Readers
However, although you are building a community and enhancing your readership, numbers aren’t the only thing that matters. The types of readers with whom you engage and interact are also important.
You will notice that the loudest voices trigger the most responses. That’s a variation of the old cliché about the squeaky wheel…you know it. Your fellow experts and other authors who are in your space might well be squeaking a lot. They might be saying outrageous things or making offensive statements just to roust a response of people. So their blogs will garner more comments than yours, and their posts will elicit more interactivity.
They’re using one of the most valued book promotion techniques: using controversy as a news hook, and bringing people to them in that way. Some of the people they brought will strongly agree with them, and some will undoubtedly disagree.
But the experience of engaging with vocal experts who put themselves out there and risk offending others is appealing for many potential readers. If that’s something you want to do as part of your book promotion efforts, feel free to do so. It will increase your community more quickly than will disseminating your points authoritatively, credibly, compassionately, and professionally.