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#SITSClass What’s In It For Me & the Customer Experience

By May 9, 2011July 3rd, 201433 Comments

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Hello class! Welcome to week two of Think Like a Marketer! Official homework is on Wednesday’s post, but be sure to check out the group questions at the end of this post. If you missed us last week, you can find Lesson 1, How to Blog Using Successful Branding, here, and Lesson 2, How to Create Brilliant Ideas & Brainstorm, here.

By the way, sign-ups for this class is now closed, but you can still get loads of info from the posts and in the forum… so keep on reading!

Lesson 3: What’s In It For Me?

For today’s lesson, I could write typical advice about how to get more readers. I could tell you to use Twitter, interact on your Facebook fan page, participate in forums and comment on other blogs.

But I’m not. 

Instead, I’m going to tell you how to keep readers once they get to your blog.

Let’s start with this: WIIFM.

Oh boy, you’re thinking, not another acronym! So, what’s it stand for?

What’s In It For Me?

The kicker is this. The ME isn’t you; it’s your readers.

When marketers write about a product or service, it’s less about that product or service and more about the value it will provide.

Let’s take this sliver of copy from Apple’s iPhone page:

If they told you that the screen is 960×640, you’d most likely say: “So what? What’s in it for me?”

Then they explain the benefit: text and graphics look unbelievably crisp and sharp.

Aaaah, okay. I do love that. Now I get it.

So, how does this extend into blogging? It boils down to two things: content and reader experience.


The first thing you’re probably asking is why wouldn’t I blog for me? After all, I have a personal blog and people love my stories!

People DO love your stories. Or your tutorials. Or your pictures. But it’s not for the reason that you think.

It’s because of the way your stories, tutorials or pictures make your reader FEEL. Or the VALUE you provide them. That’s what in it for them.

If you don’t believe me, go over to Copyblogger’s site and see what’s #1 on the list of “crippling beliefs that keeps writers penniless and mired in mediocrity.” I hate to say this is one-size-fits-all advice or that you shouldn’t stay true to yourself because that’s not what I mean at all.  To show you what I mean, put on your blog reader shoes:

Say you read a blog about couponing and living on a budget. You LOVE seeing pictures of the blogger’s massive grocery store trips where she only spent $6.98 for 30 items. “What’s in it for me?” She gives you hope that you can save that much too. Or motivation to start clipping coupons.

Say you read a blog about motherhood. You enjoy reading her wild, outlandish stories about the crazy things her kids do. “What’s in it for me?” Her stories entertain you. She makes you laugh even on your worst days.

Say you read a blog about writing. The blogger gives you tips about how to write smarter and how to get published. “What’s in it for me?” She provides VALUE to you. You improve because of what you learn.

See how these are really about the reader?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting some “value” out of what you’re reading. We’re human. We hang around people that make us feel good. Would you rather be friends with someone who only talks about how rich she is or someone who actually sits down, looks you in the eyes and asks, “How are you doing today?” Plus, we only have so many hours in the day so we spend our time where it benefits us most.

Now, put back on your blogging shoes. Time to ask yourself some questions:

  • What do people expect when they visit your blog?. ex. funny, educational, inspiring, a little bit of everything
  • Are you giving it to them?

If people come to your site to laugh, are you making them laugh? If they come to learn, are you teaching them? It doesn’t mean you can’t experiment or deviate from that every once in a while. Just keep in your mind why readers come to your blog and give it to them.

How to Find Out What Your Readers Want

Maybe you aren’t sure what value you provide or how you make your readers feel. That’s okay. Here are a couple of ways you can find out.

Look at Your Analytics

Take a stroll through your posts and see which posts have the most comments, the most retweets, the most likes on Facebook. Which posts do people respond more to? Which ones seemed to go by practically unnoticed?

If you use Google Analytics, Sitemeter or something else, peek at your analytics as well. What content are people viewing most? What does this content have in common? How are people getting to your site (direct search, Twitter, SITS Girls, Facebook)? That answer will tell you where you need to focus your efforts because that’s where your readers are.

Do a little research and you’ll discover a lot of the answers on your own.

Just Ask

When I was deciding if I should make Momcomm into a new site, I asked my Adventuroo readers a few questions. I created a survey through Survey Monkey for FREE. It’s super easy to set up and you can even embed the survey right into the blog post. You can see my Momcomm survey here.

If that’s too much trouble, ask your readers through a post, on Twitter or on your Facebook page. Find out what topics make them read your blog, why they like your blog and if there’s anything they want to see more of.

Reader Experience

The experience you give your readers is critical to turn a first-time visitor into a devoted reader. Beside great content, a reader looks for an experience that benefits them. Are you sacrificing your reader’s experience for your own benefit?

Let’s look at a few examples of what I mean…

Partial RSS Feeds

Partial RSS feeds are when a small portion of a blog post shows up in an RSS reader and then you have to click on the “read more” to go to the blog and finish the article. While most people don’t do partial RSS, I see them every so often. The argument I’ve heard for partial feeds?

“But they increase my page views!”

Well, that’s true. But what about your readers?

They now have to spend more time reading your post because they have to click through to your blog. While that may not sound like much, what if 15 of the 20 blogs you read had partial RSS feeds? That’s a lot of extra time spent clicking through and waiting for the post to load just because you wanted more page views.

Commenting on Facebook Status Updates

Reader experience doesn’t have to just be on your blog. It can be in social media too. If you happen to have your Facebook fan page connected to Twitter, you know that your status updates automatically post to Twitter with a link back to your fan page. Have you ever asked your readers a question on Facebook only to have them respond on Twitter?

I actually saw a blogger once ask her readers to respond to her only on Facebook. That’s essentially asking her followers to do something that’s less convenient for them to boost her Facebook stats. While you secretly may want people to only respond on Facebook, let your readers/fans/followers respond however is most convenient.

Auto DMs on Twitter

I think automatic direct messages are the most loathed practice in social media. It’s basically when someone follows you, you automatically send them a message that says “Thanks for the follow! You can also find me on Facebook at LINK!”

There’s nothing of value there for your new follower. Remember “What’s in it for me?

While it MAY drive a little bit of traffic to whatever link you provide in an auto DM, you’re irritating 99% of your other followers just for a slight uptick in traffic. Is it worth it?

Auto DMs are such a passionate topic out there in the blogosphere, If you need more convincing not to do it, you can read this post from Fadra at Social Dialect and this post from Crissy at Dear Crissy.

The basic idea of a positive reader experience is this: don’t annoy your readers by doing things that only benefit you. Make things easy for them and give them options (but not too many). We’ll talk about both of these things in our final two lessons!

By creating content and an experience that provides value to your readers, you’ll keep them coming back for more. And more.

While there’s no official “homework” for this lesson, I’d like you to discuss any or all of the following questions with your group (and using the #SITSClass hashtag on Twitter):

  • What value are you providing your readers? How are you making them feel?
  • How are you planning to find out what your reader’s want? (analytics, ask or both)
  • Is there anything you do that sacrifices your reader experience to benefit you? How can you change what you’re doing?

Download your lesson handout here so you have it for easy reference.

If you have a question about today’s lesson, hop on over to the Think Like a Marketer section of the forum and ask away! You can also find us on Twitter by using the hashtag #SITSClass and by following me on Twitter @momcommblog.

More From the Think Like a Marketer Class

Be sure you don’t miss a single post from this series. The Think Like a Marketer Class is guaranteed to help you learn how to blog better!

About Melissa

Melissa is a busy mama with 11 years of experience in marketing and branding. She blogs at Adventuroo, a blog about capturing the everyday moments in motherhood, and Momcomm, a blog where she shares can-do tips for blogging, writing and social media.


  • Love this! I’ve often wondered what keeps my readers coming back because when you write about your personal experience, it doesn’t feel like you are offering them any value. But you make great points and now I have that in the back of my mind when creating my posts. Thanks!

  • Courtney K. says:

    Great information! I read a lot of “this is my blog, I’ll do as I please” type messages and I have to admit that it’s a total turn off. I write for me, but I also write for my readers. I try to avoid topics that I know cause controversy (like politics) and save those discussions and thoughts for my personal, private blog/journal.

  • Very helpful post, and I love that there’s an example of a survey. We’re still finding our voice a bit – As a parenting blog that covers a range from humor to resources, I’m not entirely sure what elements folks are really looking for (and it does appear at this point to be both).

    My question: Do you consider including a survey when your traffic is consistent but smaller (80-140 Mon – Wed, 60 or below Thurs-Fri), and when the “interaction” levels aren’t that high (not much commenting going on) – Or would it be “wasting” that opportunity at this point?

    I just want to get past the point of throwing 100 things out there and hoping something resonates.

  • Beth says:

    When I started my blog, it was all about raising awareness for Down syndrome. While I still blog about Down syndrome, most of my posts are photo link-ups, because that’s what get the most comments nowadays. I’ve noticed if I write a real post, with no pictures, I get hardly any comments.

  • Nikki Brown says:

    OMG, best information out there! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

  • Hmmm, good question. What’s in it for my readers? It was only recently that I started promoting my blog, even though I’ve been blogging since 2006. It started out as an online diary, and until late 2010, I didn’t really want it to take off because I wanted the freedom to write whatever, without having to censor myself. Plus, I wrote about people I encountered in my life, and I didn’t really want them to know I was writing about them. So I made the blog public, but I didn’t link it to any of my social networking profiles. But now, I feel differently. I want it to take off. I’ve started promoting it, joining communities, and commenting on others’ blogs (which I rarely did before, and when I did, I didn’t link back to my site). I still don’t have a “niche” though. When some readers leave comments saying they love my blog, I think to myself, “Really? Why? What do they get out of this?” I have yet to find an answer to that, honestly. I write about my life, poetry, and some fiction, but I don’t offer advice, information, prizes, etc. Should I?

    Guess it’s time to start thinking. Thanks for these insights!

  • Hmmm, good question. What’s in it for my readers? It was only recently that I started promoting my blog, even though I’ve been blogging since 2006. It started out as an online diary, and until late 2010, I didn’t really want it to take off because I wanted the freedom to write whatever, without having to censor myself. Plus, I wrote about people I encountered in my life, and I didn’t really want them to know I was writing about them. So I made the blog public, but I didn’t link it to any of my social networking profiles. But now, I feel differently. I want it to take off. I’ve started promoting it, joining communities, and commenting on others’ blogs (which I rarely did before, and when I did, I didn’t link back to my site). I still don’t have a “niche” though. When some readers leave comments on my blog saying I love it, I think to myself, “Really? Why? What do they get out of this?” I have yet to find an answer to that, honestly.

    Guess it’s time to start thinking. Thanks for these insights!

  • Holly says:

    I just started blogging, and I get so much information from momcomm and the Think Like a Marketer Classes. There are SO many things to consider!! I completely agree about partial RSS feeds. I have well over 50 feeds, and I admit if it’s a partial feed, I usually skip it completely and go on to the next one.

    I will put Lesson 2 to good use and put more thought into the reader’s experience. I hadn’t considered that perspective before. Thank you for the much needed tips!!

  • Kristin says:

    I think my problem is also that I don’t know what people want, but then again, I’ve only started two months ago. What time frame should go by before you start to see a clear indication of what your readers want?

  • This is an interesting post for sure. There’s a lot to think about here…thanks!!

  • Ms. Michelle says:

    Having to keep up with so many blogs, I find that I ‘skim’ more than read, so with that in mind I have been making my own blog posts shorter but with plenty of photos. I am getting more comments, but the giveaway posting still trump the daily posts anyday. Good idea on the ‘whats in it for me’ perspective. I will start keeping that in mind while I’m writing my new posts.

    My analytics tell me that most of my readers are coming from Google – which really doesn’t tell me anything at all. Is there a better tracking system than google analytics?

  • Sarah Cox says:

    I’ve noticed that the posts I have which seem to “give” the most back to readers are clearly thematic….I’m going to finish the course before I ask any outright questions, but I have a feeling I’m being led, via my readership, to change topics!

  • Alyce- I’ve seen that done and for some blogs that works perfectly! I’m referring to partial feeds in RSS… so if someone is looking at your post in Google Reader, they have to click to your site (leave their Reader) to see the full post. That’s generally frowned upon but what you’re describing isn’t! 🙂

  • Kimberly says:

    Great tips! And the blogs that have partial feed in my reader- I VERY rarely click over because I’m usually reading whenever I have a spare moment, and extra steps are annoying. I click over when I find something engaging and want to comment.

  • AlyceB says:

    For me, doing the “read more” on my blog was more about clearing up the clutter and making it easier to get to and read older posts.

  • Luci says:

    I started my blog for others, not for me at all!! I know for a fact though that I still haven’t gotten my audience pegged, and my message may need to be tightened a bit. I’m still playing with it. Thanks so much for the ideas on how to get a better idea on what they want. I’m a bit shy about using a twitter question or a survey in my blog… eek!

  • Leah says:

    As usual, great advice. I especially appreciate the information on partial RSS posts. I used to do full RSS, but changed it to partial a few months ago. While I have not seen a page decrease due to that, it’s a very good point about thinking about one’s readers rather than what us bloggers want. In my own reading of blogs, I’ve found that if the RSS feed is worthwhile enough, I tend to click on it anyway in order to comment.

  • rachel says:

    I HATE those partial feeds too. I RARELY click through them. But I DO like the idea of getting more page views. Although I guess it doesn’t really matter, if people are reading my content, it shouldn’t matter if it’s in their reader or on my page. RIght?

  • Modern Gypsy says:

    WIIFM is very important when blogging. Trouble is, I didn’t know how to figure out what readers really enjoyed on my blog – until now. I’ll check out the stats on my wordpress.com dashboard & see what I find. Thanks for the great article!

  • What a great lesson. I always have my full post in my feed and on my blog. I know that when I come a across a read more feed post, 99.9% of the time I will not click through and end up deleting the email and/or the feed. I have the same issue with actual blog posts. Majority of the time I will not read or click through a post if it has a read more. I know everyone is different, but in my opinion, I get more readers to stick around if I make it easy for them and give it all to them upfront.

  • Lynda says:

    I loved this article and have all the links open in my browser to read throughout the next couple of days!

  • Very interesting. I am torn about this since my blog is really, bottom-line, for me. If I didn’t get something out of it I wouldn’t do it. But, then again, I want to connect to others so that is about pleasing readers. Sigh.

    • Melissa says:

      I think the key is writing about what makes you AND your readers happy. It’s about understand what posts of yours most resonate with your readers. Hopefully, you’re already blogging about topics that you want to write about. Now match up the things that the reader most likes about your blog and do more of it!

      It’s kinda of like a company. Good companies try to please their customers while doing what they do best. Sometimes you have those irrational customers so you can’t please everyone. But if that company can provide a GREAT customer experience while staying true to their values and focus, then it’s a win!

  • thanks for sharing all that info. A lot to think about, and so true about What is in it for me part.
    I am trying to relax more in writing, that is what I like to read on other blogs, so I hope I am heading in the right way!? and yes the auto DM don’t go well with me either. Great tips and thanks.

  • Thanks–great lesson. My blog used to just be for me and I knew what I wanted out of it. Now that I am going out to the masses (or well, my 50 or so peeps, a girl can dream) I have to change my focus and create more of a product that THEY want to keep them coming back for more. I have followers from three different groups/genres (mommy bloggers/writers & novelists/funny bloggers) so I will have to figure out how to please all three groups.

  • Jenny says:

    I often think of how to keep readers on my blog, but nothing I do works even if I make it all about them in some way. But this post gives me new ideas. Thanks for sharing it!!

    BTW! FIRST (?!?)