Once you’ve dissented against the norms in the blogging world, once you’ve clearly outlined how — exactly — you intend to help others, once you’ve focused on substance and earned the consent of readers who want you to contact them on a regular basis, and once you’ve fermented your own style and substance until the blog is authentically you and no one else, it’s time to relent to the constructive feedback.
It’s time to yield up some control to your readers.
Some of this happens through simply being teachable and admitting you’re wrong. Often.
Some of this happens through writing and reading and performing and recording more of whatever they want and respond well to.
Some of this happens by surveying them to see what else they like — if you’ve got a hundred or a thousand truly engaged audience members, then there’s a good chance that they all have something else in common other than their connection with you. What else do they have in common? And do you share that? If you do, add that to the list.
Whatever it is, it means receiving constructive feedback and doing something about it.
It’s a simple rule, but for instance it showed me that I needed to close my comments after a day. None of my readers interact with me in the comments. They did about five years ago, but that has changed — unless a piece goes viral, I almost never get comments on my site. I asked many, many regular readers about this and the consensus was that they preferred interacting via email.
So I bucked all of the advice in the blogging world, turned off comments, and encouraged people to email me more.
And you know what?
People started subscribing in droves. And they interact more with me through the inbox than they ever did on the site.
If your readers and audience collectively push you in a direction, relent.