How do I find more readers?
July 4, 2010 8:44 AM   Subscribe

I am an online Music and Theater writer in Chicago. How can I increase my readership? It can't be that difficult, there are a few million people here!

I post links to my stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace, but I have reached a limit. Most of my traffic comes from Facebook and I only have so many friends. I only write about events in Chicago or artists from Chicago. I can't write about Paris Hilton getting arrested in South Africa or such gossip unless there is a Chicago interest. I have the subject, I need the audience. I want to know if you have any ideas to build up that audience. Where to find them, etc.? Thanks
posted by lee to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Mod note: Link removed, put it in your profile if you like.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:56 AM on July 4, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry cortex. Link is in profile.
posted by lee at 9:07 AM on July 4, 2010

Make a mission statement and send it (preferably on paper, maybe in a non-maketspeak-looking postable format) to theater directors and music associations, since their members might be particularly interested in it. You might also consider taking out cheap, small ad space in theater programs and/or posting flyers at music venues.

(note - haven't seen your site; taking a while to load.)
posted by amtho at 9:58 AM on July 4, 2010

Are you writing articles at

I would get a blog, post an excerpt from each piece as they come out, and do your marketing from/about the blog.

I suggest this strategy for a few reasons:

1/ There is no "home page" for all of your articles at the Examiner.
2/ It's very hard to build a readership and community around an unlinked series of articles.
3/ It gives you one thing to promote.

Regarding #3, this is really important. You linked your profile to your latest article because you can't link your profile to ALL of your articles. That sucks, and makes what you're trying to do virtually impossible to promote.

Once you have a blog in place, you need to do a bit of networking by linking to other people in your space. The web runs on links. In your articles, you link to no blogs. Linking to people is how they know you are there, so they can/might link back to you.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:10 AM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Actually, unless the Examiner is paying you to blog (which is nice), I'm not sure why you're writing there. You yourself are saying there's no audience, and by dumping all your material there, all you're doing is building their brand, not yours. Your own blog might be a better route to readership.

I'm sure I could figure out who you are and what your deal with them there is if I could get more info, but that site is excruciatingly slow and your bio page won't load at all. If this is some sort of blog network revenue sharing thing, then I would encourage you to re-examine the numbers if they can't deliver page views to you. If there's no revenue share, bail.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:17 AM on July 4, 2010

Well, having visited the profile link, I have to say I was very put off by the setup. It's absolutely saturated with advertising. Text ads and animated ads and pop-ups? Ugh. Plus, the main navigation links take you to content that is by other people, about other cities and on other topics. Unless you have an important reason for staying with that service, why on earth aren't you hosting this yourself so that your own content is front and center?

Comments on the actual content to follow after I've had a poke around.
posted by the latin mouse at 10:27 AM on July 4, 2010

Response by poster: @amtho Thanks, I could make a press release type anouncement.

@DarlingBri They do pay, but it's based on traffic and the pay is literally pennies. I do have a blogger blog but I have just been putting the links and a small picthere, I guess I should mirror the content too. There is a main page with my stories, I'll switch my profile to that. I put the link to the story as an example.

@the latin mouse, Thanks I have had firefox with Ad Blocker Plus for years and I had no idea how polluted the pages were. I have never seen all of the ads and certainly no pop ups. I turned off the ABP and still couldn't get a pop up because Firefox blocked it.
posted by lee at 10:45 AM on July 4, 2010

Okay, having looked at some of your more recent articles, I'm afraid your content also struck me as a little weak and scattershot. What does a HP tweet war have to do with the Chicago arts scene? Ditto the article about the scary movie trailer.

I'm very closely plugged in to my own city's arts blog scene and there are three types of blogs I follow regularly: Listings, Community and Commentary...

For Listings, I follow a blog which is a pretty comprehensive events guide for the city. There's no editorialising, just the basics (I think most of the content is gathered by scraping the websites of the city's major arts venues), but it's simple, accessible and scrupulously tagged. The tagging means I can use RSS feeds to get only the listings that interest me, otherwise the volume would be overwhelming.

A multi-contributor blog which specialises in noting trends and posing questions for the arts in my city and whose comments section is a hangout for creatives from multiple artforms.

A couple of individual blogs by people whose writing I enjoy. They'll review events around the city or link to arts news in the national press then provide commentary on how those events will affect my city.

I think you need to go back to basics and decide what you want to accomplish. There's no point seeking more readers for what you already have if you're just shoehorning in irrelevant stuff to fill space.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:10 PM on July 4, 2010

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