Groupthink mentality can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing. This psychological phenomenon occurs when people do something just because everyone else is doing it. Some examples: planking, following a group of people to the wrong entrance, subscribing to a blog because there are already 10,000 other people subscribed. That last one is obviously a bonus for us bloggers, and in this post I’m going to focus on how you can use this groupthink mentality to grow your blog!
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!
The key way you can use groupthink to get more subscribers and traffic on your blog is by using the numbers that you have. Take a look at the Digital Photography School blog run by Darren Rowse, and you will notice that in the upper right hand corner of the site, he invites you to join 880,000 + subscribers in their endeavor to learn more about photography. Whoa! 880,000? This guy obviously knows what he’s doing, and everyone else is doing it, so I am subscribing. This is what most people think when they see this number, which is undoubtedly much larger than your number.
Taking advantage of the groupthink mentality to grow your blog involves a little number twisting. Not in a bad way, of course – never try to trick your readers. Ever. This is simply taking the stats that you have and presenting them in a way that makes your blog look popular. Also, you always put valuable content on your blog, so it’s not like you’re getting readers to sign up for something that won’t greatly benefit them. If they’re a photographer, it’s probably beneficial for them to sign up for DPS – putting the huge number there just gives them the nudge they need to commit!
Followers And Subscribers
If you have followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Digg, RSS, Email, Delicious, and more, then this is going to work wonderfully for you. How does Darren phrase it on DPS? “Join 888,145 Subscribers.” While it turns out that Darren actually does have 888k RSS readers, and he doesn’t need to make this number look bigger, for less popular blogs, here is something that you can do.
If you are, on your site right now, just advertising the number of email subscribers that you have, you probably don’t have that impressive of a number. On one of my blogs, this number is a mere 264 subscribers. This is not a big enough number to really initiate some groupthink. When you add that to how many Twitter followers I have (301), Facebook likes the page has (384), and my RSS subscribers (260), you come out with a total of 1,209 followers! This is a number that can really motivate readers to follow you on one of your mediums, and can help you to build all of your different means of social traffic. In this number, I didn’t include other statistics such as Pinterest followers that would have made it even larger!
Popular Posts Sidebar Widget
In this post about creating a sidebar layout for your blog, I talked about how it was important to have some kind of popular posts widget on your sidebar, and that this could be done either on the basis of page views (if routed through Google Analytics) or on the basis of comments. I would recommend, unless you have a blog as popular as Engadget, who does the comments way, that you do it based on views. Why? Because the numbers will be larger. If readers see that a post has been viewed 500 times in the last week, they automatically see you as more popular, and, therefore, more reputable.