Do People Hate What You Write or Create? How to Know

Updated on July 23, 2019
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Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing expert, author of 21+ books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.

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If you have low views or likes on your blog, videos, or social media, does that mean your content is bad? How about if your have low sales for your books? Classic marketing and sales philosophy would say that the market has spoken! But let’s break down what might be happening before you say your market hates what you create.

True, it’s easy to believe that you’re creating great content and say, “They just don't get it.” That’s creator hubris. I’m not saying you should preserve your ego by just saying that your content is great regardless of response. Rather, it’s time to dig in to figure out what’s happening.

You're Too Early

Is the content you create edgy and ahead of the acceptance curve? Looking at your work’s market acceptance as a bell curve, you’d fall somewhere on the left tail. Not a lot of action and audience there... yet. Maybe eventually, if you can over-deliver for your small core of like-minded followers, your followers will start to draw in their friends and followers.

How long does it take to achieve an acceptable level of critical mass for your leading edge work? That’s a gamble. It could be months or years. Are you willing to keep doing what you’re doing until that happens?

Your Niche is Too Small

Similar to the problem of being on the early cutting edge, your market niche may be extraordinarily small. Though there is the theory of “riches in the niches,” sometimes the niche is too small and it will remain that way forever.

Are you okay with serving a market that may have little or no growth? If you’re not, then don’t expend resources building a content empire for it.

Information Overload

Information overload is real! We can’t possibly or consciously consume even the most minute fraction of content that’s being generated every day. So we’re filtering our content feeds for just a portion of what’s available.

Unfortunately for content creators, including those that we might really like, much of their work will go unnoticed.

Too Much Competition

A related issue to information overload is the fact that the total volume of content continues to grow wildly. When new content is posted on the Internet, the old content doesn’t go away. This means that any piece of content is going to face greater competition than it did even just hours ago.

You could say that your content has to be better than the competition. But what shows up as popular in your niche may be popular for other reasons than quality. Top content providers may have some unique advantages, or may have done advertising, that helped them climb to the top.

Low, Slow Grow

Some content types take a long time to gain traffic. This is particularly the case with podcasts which, at this point in technological development, are difficult for listeners to interact with and are not SEO friendly. The only solid metrics for podcasts are downloads and subscribers. Podcasts are one type of content that could take months or years to develop even a small regular audience.

Recognize the limitations and nuances of each type of content you create.

How Do You Know If You're Fooling Yourself?

So how do you know if you’re fooling yourself in thinking you have great content when you don’t? How do you know if you should keep going with what you’re doing or quit? Here are some ways to start evaluating what’s going on with your content.

Research Internet Search Traffic

Type in your topic or area of interest into the Google search bar. I’d encourage you to be as specific as possible. For example, if you talk about nutrition, you don’t want to just type in “nutrition.” That will return mega-millions of results. Drill down and enter a specific type of nutrition issue. You’ll get better insight. Also know that if there are hundreds of millions of results (or more?), the competition for that topic will be fierce and you’ll struggle.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you only get in the low hundreds of thousands of results, you may be looking at a too small niche. Don’t be lured into thinking that since it’s a small pond, you can be a big fish! You could be a big catch. But if no one is fishing for you, you’ll be swimming around by yourself.

To get even more insight, use a keyword search tool to get search traffic for related terms. Google has a tool for their AdWords advertisers. But there are free keyword search tools, too. One that I’ve been liking a lot lately is Ubersuggest from online marketing expert, Neil Patel. And a lot of the features are free.

Use a keyword search tool that shows top content for various keyword terms. You can look at those blog posts, websites, videos, etc. to see what is popular in your niche.

There is a Goldilocks sweet spot where the interest and traffic is just right. Many years ago, when I was starting to learn more about SEO, that sweet spot was in the hundreds of thousands for search. But the Internet is additive, meaning that it will grow exponentially over time as it becomes the archive of our human history. So I don’t think there is a specific search number to shoot for since that will change as the Internet expands. Compare search result numbers for broader terms versus super narrow, then find something that’s between the two extremes.

This analysis can also help you determine if you’re creating content for a super small or declining niche. If the traffic for the top online content in your niche is very low, you probably have a small niche. If the top content in your topic is years old, and very little new content is showing up anywhere in search, it may be stagnant or even declining.

Watch Your Numbers, But Watch What You Watch

Your audience will often surprise you in terms of the content that gains traffic and engagement. That can help you develop new content that they’ll appreciate. But be careful! Watching only the numbers can be a trap.

For example, I use my Instagram and Twitter accounts for everything, both personal and professional. There are times where a random personal post (dog pictures, a restaurant I’m dining at, etc.) will generate a swell of likes or comments. Does that mean I should only do those types of posts? Absolutely not! Mix in some fun or personal posts to appear human, but don’t mix up your main messaging!

Only watch the metrics for your content that’s relevant for your primary goals.

Watch Your Numbers, But Watch How You Watch Them

There are limitations and nuances to each type of content. As mentioned earlier, podcasts can be a low, slow grind to acceptance. Blog posts still have SEO advantages and may achieve higher traffic numbers faster. Book sales might be counted on one hand in a week or month. Don't expect similar numbers from different content.

Give your online content time to gain traction, too. This is another area where your audience may surprise you. I’ve found that some content I created years ago still gets traffic, or may even have an unexpected bump in traffic, sometimes for completely unidentifiable reasons.

Track all stats over time for the relevant content you create. What you’re looking for are patterns that can help you determine what resonates with your audience.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Heidi Thorne

    Comments

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    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      10 days ago from Chicago Area

      CMHypno, I've always been surprised at what really resonates with my readers, too. *sigh* I've also just decided to write about what I know about and what interests me. I figure that people who are like me will find that helpful. Thanks so much for chiming in and have a beautiful day!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 

      12 days ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Thanks for the great advice Heidi. I can never predict which of my hubs will get high views or none. I made a decision to just write about what interested me, but even then I could usefully tweak the titles etc

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      6 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Mary, good to hear that tweaking your articles brought more traffic your way. It is a good strategy to keep updating them as times change (and HP recommends it!).

      I think we all can look back at some of our work and understand why it just didn't resonate with our readers. Oh well. At least we're committed to keep trying.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely weekend ahead!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Heidi, these are excellent insights. I know that when I make my articles current, they get more visits. Reviewing some of my articles, it is understandable why they don't get much attention. We grow and hopefully, we get it.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Bill, I think you have the right attitude. Do what works for you first. Then let those who are like-minded join your tribe. And who says those folks aren't following you for your sparkling personality and good looks? Just sayin'.

      Thanks so much for starting your week here in the comments! Make it a great July 4th week!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Rodric, it's so tough to keep going sometimes when you serve a small niche. I've been there, too! True, sales are great. But we'd just like recognition regardless of the dollars.

      I think the best way to handle it is to observe the patterns--up, down, or flat--for the content we create over time. That's the only easy way to see what's maybe working for our readers.

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation! Have a terrific week ahead!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Pamela, it is tricky! And the worst part of it is that writing is the easy part of the process. :) Getting people to read is tough. Appreciate you stopping by and chiming in. Have a lovely week ahead!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      No kidding, Linda! We all need to be thinking about whether we're reaching our target readers, or just wasting energy talking in the wind. Thanks so much for chiming in and have a wonderful week ahead!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      RTalloni, madness is right! :) Glad you found the discussion useful. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a terrific week!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've shared useful and important information, as always. The information is something that all writers need to think about.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      There is certainly a lot to consider in this article. Writing can surely be tricky sometimes as what you think will do well doesn't always work out. Thanks for all this great information.

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      7 weeks ago from Peoria, Arizona

      This is good information. I have been ebbing in my numbers and realize that I am in a small niche area for most of my articles and my blog. I am not doing it just for sales, however, I WOULD LOVE to get more readers. I'm conditioned to want numbers to go up even if I don't use that as a reason to write content.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm so out of touch, Heidi. The only thing important to me is am I satisfied with what I write. I have a small, very loyal following of readers who must enjoy what I write....I assume. It can't be my sparkling personality or good looks. lol

      Happy Sunday my friend!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      7 weeks ago from the short journey

      Thanks for lots of good food for thought. Traffic is unpredictable for everyone but these tips bring a method to the madness.

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Flourish, sadly we often have to learn these things through trial and error (*raising hand*).

      It always makes me crazy, too, when I think I've done some amazing work which doesn't resonate. But I take a step back and wait to see if it is just taking a while to catch on before I get too bummed. I may tweak something here or there with keywords and such to see if that helps. However, I usually just take it as a sign and move on to try again or try something else.

      Thanks for sharing your experience, as always. Have a lovely weekend!

    • heidithorne profile imageAUTHOR

      Heidi Thorne 

      7 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Liz! Glad you found it helpful for writers. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      7 weeks ago from USA

      This is a great article. I have always simply written about what I was interested in but over time learned to be somewhat strategic about keywords. There have been some articles that I thought were my best work but they did not do well at all with traffic. I think the niche was just not significantly large, and it was also before I was smart about keywords.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 weeks ago from UK

      This a very useful and thorough guide for any writer trying to make a go of it. Thanks for sharing from your knowledge and experience.

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