February 8, 2016

How to Listen to Silent Audiences

Did you know that a lot of your readers never comment on your articles? But they keep coming back to your site to read your content.

silent readers

The whispers of silent readers matter.

These “silent readers” still click ads, they still buy from your affiliate campaigns, and they still care about what you think. Despite a lack of engagement, you’re still a trust agent even though you’ve never spoken with them. So how do you know what they like if they don’t ever talk to you about it?

Don’t wait till they quit reading your content. Know what they like, know how they’ve reacted to and shared previous content, and cater what you write toward them.

Monitoring Social Media to Listen to Silent Audiences

Experts developed social media monitoring (SMM) tools for brands concerned about tracking what people say about their PR campaigns, but recently, tools have been adapted for bloggers and writers. This means that they work perfectly for listening what silent audiences, say about your articles; silent audiences might not interact with you on your site about what you write, but they still share your articles on social media.

Social media monitoring basics

What grade did you get in calculus at university? What about stats?

Manually tabulating and analyzing everything people say about you or an article you wrote on social media is tedious and analyzing it from scratch requires statistical know-how that many of us writers don’t have.


More than voyeurs – silent readers still share on social media.

SMM tools record what people say about you or your articles automatically and present it in an easy-to-understand form for those of us who aren’t mathematically inclined. They do some of the analysis for you so that you don’t have to manually go through every Tweet or Facebook post to find out whether someone is talking about your article in a positive or negative light. They also segment data by source for you so that you can see whether people are talking about your articles on Twitter, Facebook, or somewhere else.

How can I apply this to silent audiences?

SMM tools also tabulate each and every tweet and Facebook post about your article. You can reach out to these people on an individual basis and try to turn silent readers into people who actively participate in the conversations on your site. This can help draw the conversation back from social media to your own Internet property.

Perhaps more importantly, you can listen to how people feel about you and your writing. Looking at who writes comments on your blog can tell you who your most avid readers are and what they think, but it leaves out everyone else. By analyzing how all of your readers feel about your articles, you get a better sample size and it is not weighted toward people who comment on your blog.

Want to dive deeper into the world of social media for business? This post was adapted from the white paper Learn Social Media Monitoring in Fifteen Minutes by Murray Newlands. Download the white paper for free!

About Murray Newlands

Please welcome guest contributor, Murray Newlands. Murray is the CEO and Founder of Influence People, a San Francisco-based online marketing and blogger outreach consulting firm. Jim Kukral and Murray Newlands recently wrote What is Personal Branding? How to Create a Memorable & Powerful Brand that Sells YOU! to help people learn how to market themselves.


  1. “Monitoring Social Media to Listen to Silent Audiences”

    I noticed that my blog posts receive a lot of ‘stumbles’ on StumbleUpon. This took me by surprise as I’m still trying to figure out StumbleUpon.

    I agree that it’s important to read comments to gauge what your audience is feeling and what posts they’re drawn too. It’s a great way to know what types of posts will keep readers coming back for more.
    Amandah recently posted..Comment on Affirmations for Writers by | How to Reach Your Writing Goals without Much Effort, No StressMy Profile

    • Amandah, thanks for stopping by and sharing. I get a LOT of visits from StumbleUpon, especially on Medtopicwriter. Once (earlier this year), I got 21,000 views in one day all from StumbleUpon. And that was just the biggest day in a two week flood of views from SU. But the story they were all interested in got precious few comments compared to views. However, I happen to be friends with a female celebrity (can’t say her name out loud here for privacy reasons) and she shared the article to her own SU profile. I think that’s why it got so many views. I think Murray is trying to encourage us to try out some of the new social media monitoring tools developed and adapted especially for writers. I just might have to do that! xo

  2. Murray makes an excellent point, not everyone that comes to your site or blog will comment. Probably only 10% or less actually do. I love going over stats and sometimes am amazed at places people come from to my blogs or sites. Digg still shows up and Pinterest adds in new ones. Stumble Upon always has a high count – though sometimes with a higher bounce rate. Different niches seem to have different social networks that people use more than others. So what works for one business may not work as well for another.
    I’m going to download his white paper too – thanks for sharing Samantha and Murray!
    Lisa recently posted..Why You Should Join Her Social NetworkMy Profile

    • I agree, Lisa. Looking over the stats and analytics really does help people like you and me determine the direction of our content. And if there’s anything I’ve learned, so far, in 2012, it’s that what works for one biz doesn’t necessarily work for another (even within the same niche). I’m glad you’re downloading the white paper. Murray is so generous to share it with our readers here.

  3. Very good points here. I have some co-workers who admit to “stalking” me online but never commenting. This made me wonder how many others also do the same. Many times, non-commenters “like” a post or retweet, but often, I have no way to tell who’s reading without commenting and how many of those people are interested. I can track visitor information using stat plugins for WordPress (including Google Analytics), but is there anything else I could be using?
    Laura@Catharsis recently posted..The Female Politician’s Guide to Not Saying Vagina (*explicit*)My Profile

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