The Brice is Right

People Who Like People…. Are the luckiest People in the world.  Are you singing yet?  Put Barbra on in the background, because just like everything old is new again, to understand how to build a blog audience, it only takes a little reconnection Fanny Brice style.

What do I mean by that?  Well, if you’ve got a blog looking for an audience, you’re already in trouble.  In fact, what you need is an audience looking for a blog, just as Ziegfield had an audience looking for a good show, long before he ever booked his top talent.

The People Factor

Last week, I started reviewing the 5 P’s of Marketing and their relevance in the blogosphere with Price and Place.  The truth is that the P’s are somewhat outdated, but the ideas behind them are not.  Take the P that stands for People.  People, fortunately, are never outdated.  They just change where they are and what they want. A marketer’s job is to figure it out and give them – just as the great showman of yesteryear would have – what they want.

In the blogosphere, or new realms of social media, we don’t talk about People anymore – just relationships.  But guess what?  Relationships are about people!  But the fallacy of social media is the myth that you can start a blog as lonely person and suddenly develop these budding relationships around the world. That, my friends, is the thinking of a social stalker, not a social media marketer.

Yes, it’s true, along the way, you’ll meet some new people, friend some names behind faces you’ve never seen, and become familiar with new names you didn’t know before.  But, just as any Facebook mom (my new name for Soccer moms) knows — social media friends start with real ones.

The Popularity Contest


If you check out the people on LinkedIn with hundreds of friends, one of a few things tend to be true:

  • They are LIONS, or a new term for social slut.  They have announced to the world that they are a free friend with no strings attached to anyone who cares to link up. LION stands for LinkedIn Open Network and is an Open House invitation for anyone to join the party. You know the old Grocho Marx routine about the club that lets just about anyone in?  Well, this is it.
  • They genuinely have hundreds of friends.  The odds are, if you dig deep enough, they have been on a board or two in their lifetime, and agreed to affiliate with anyone who is a member of their association.  The key here is that they first went out into the world and joined something, did something, and contributed.
  • They genuinely have thousands of followers. These people are basically famous. Again, they’ve done something, contributed something and physically put themselves out there before they attempted to link up with the world.

People First, Audience Second


It’s the rare bird that goes on the blogosphere and gains audience without first having created a following or network first – in the real world. Seth Godin just has to sneeze now and the world will provide a handkerchief, but it wasn’t always that way. He first had to write a book and do speeches.

Ironically, book publishers are going the other way, as demonstrated by a presentation done by Shiv Singh on SlideShare.  Singh, author of Social Media Marketing for Dummies, notes that book publishers want you to prove you have an audience before you ask them to publish a book for you.  And, he notes, your proof of an audience is, in some cases, having a popular blog.

But, how do you first build that blog audience?  It starts the old fashioned way – one person at a time.  The most successful bloggers I will argue (without any research to back me up) are those who start blogging after they have a following. They announce to their fans that they will be in cyberspace, they let everyone who is already attached to them talk about them.  They basically, like Fanny Brice, work the room.

The moral of the story – never stop talking about your blog to anyone and everyone who is even mildly interested in you as a person.  Here’s just a few ideas:

  • In a casual conversation, say “as I wrote in my blog…”
  • Write about people in your blog (perhaps not by name) and then send the post to them to show them how you’ve been inspired by them
  • Ask people to review your blog to give you feedback
  • Give a speech about your blog topic and make sure to reference your blog
  • Agree to write a column for an association or group newsletter, and if not in the body copy then in your bio line, mention the blog

People who are interested in who you are, or what you have to say will read your blog.  Others may find you through SEO and other search techniques, but your core audience – the fans that every rock star counts on to show up for a concert – will be those people who have some sort of relationship with you before you ever enter the blogosphere. I’m willing to bet the house on it.

Rhona Bronson

Rhona Bronson started down the social media path in 2006 with her blog and there’s been no turning back. “It opens you up to the world of possibilities,” she notes. She has helped dozens of executives enter into the social media world as part of their marketing growth plans. Her background spans both the B:B and B:C world with experience in publishing, printing, consulting, association, small business and corporate marketing and communications. She came to marketing from the communications side, starting with training in journalism from Syracuse University. With experience in all marketing genres — from Twitter to Transit Advertising — she brings a broad toolkit of skills to any marketing project. Her ability to integrate clear writing with creativity has made her a sought-after expert in developing results-oriented marketing programs for today’s challenging times. Today, she leads the Plaza Consulting Group as its Marketing Strategist specializing in integrating social media into business marketing plans. 


  8 comments for “The Brice is Right

  1. February 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Loved this line, Rhona: “Well, if you’ve got a blog looking for an audience, you’re already in trouble. In fact, what you need is an audience looking for a blog.”

    I’m reminded of David Meerman Scott [New Rules for PR/Marketing book and WebInkNow blog]. David reminds us that before we market anything we have to understand and describe our Customer Profile.

    My challenge now is writing a blog for Baby Boomers to learn about social media — since most of the people I want to talk with are running and screaming in the other direction, it is a difficult challenge, indeed.
    Love suggestions from your readers.

  2. February 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Shari: Curious about your blog. Why is it geared toward Baby Boomers learning about social media? Does the demographic mean that the blog would be presented differently? Is it the samples that are different Also wondering why the people you want to talk to aren’t cooperating. Are you trying to speak with people who are using social media, or those who aren’t yet? Is it that they don’t want to be identified?

    David Meerman Scott is a great mentor. You can also follow him on Twitter.

  3. February 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Hi Rhona,
    Thanks for the reply.
    I’m a university PR/Marketing lecturer who started a blog almost a year ago. I write about everything I am learning about in social media AS I learn it . . . but I have begun to put together How-to’s AND WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE to reach my Baby Boomer friends who throw tantrums every time they hear the word Twitter, Social Media, etc.

    Of course i can’t expect to talk directly to people who don’t use social media UNTIL I can get them started.
    “Is it that they don’t want to be identified?”
    Are you asking me “Why” they aren’t online?
    If so, it’s not that they don’t want to be identified, they just think they can live the rest of their lives without participating . . . and I don’t think that is a realistic expectation.

    I’m certain that they probably all felt the same way about email . . . and now they all use it to varying degrees.

  4. February 8, 2010 at 5:35 am

    In my experience, people engage in any media when there’s something in it for them. Hence, I started texting when my teen wanted to text me. I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to engage with a teen willing to communicate. For some Baby Boomers, that means getting on Skype when a grandchild calls from across the country. It usually starts with Facebook so people can reconnect with friends and then relatives.

    Blogs and Twitter are other animals, which to me are more about information gathering. If the only info someone wants is about a friend or family’s goings-on, then they will never see value in these social networks. If, however, they are still in the work force and want to stay current…. or want to continue to build their own careers — well, that’s a horse of a different color.

  5. February 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    “Well, if you’ve got a blog looking for an audience, you’re already in trouble.”

    I certainly agree with this quote, Rhona. The good news is that I also thinks lacking an audience for your blog makes things that much more glorious for you when you do in fact find/grow an audience for your blog. Life is boring when its easy :-)

    However, if you are already well-stimulated by other activities and responsibilities in your life, then going in to blogging cold and seeking to build an audience for your blog while also writing, editing, designing, and getting up to speed on the latest social media tools for it is, altogether, probably a recipe for wearing yourself out.

    That’s one of the reasons we organized The Bloggers Bulletin: it gathers a strong group of blogging/social media Contributors who post regularly; then, on the administrators’ end (and amongst other activities we do such as editing, picture selection, site management, email responses, strategic planning), we work on the day-to-day job of building a larger audience for Contributors’ daily posts — something which might be challenging for Contributors in the group to do by themselves.

    Today marks our 6 month in existence. Congratulations to all of us and many thanks to our readers!

  6. February 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Blank broadcast for links may be dumped by the audience hearing you.
    Rather we can employee some communication tricks to make some small memory imprints for them. So that they pick-up what we want them to, from our conversation.
    These techniques are already used by many of automobile sales persons in US and many other parts of the world.

  7. February 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Rahul — Could you clarify a bit more? Any particular techniques you’re referring to? Any links to, or info with background on what you see auto dealers doing?

  8. February 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Rhona — When ever you come across any smart sales person, you would realize that they don’t force for their product. Instead they try to create a comfort level with customer. And once that is done, they try to suggest us something. These suggestions have those words hidden which they want you to think about. They will ask you for answer in closed boundary by giving you few options. Once in comfort zone our mind doesn’t realize there is world beyond these options.

    These are communication tricks, which could be employed by bloggers too, but we need to have patience to see results

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