Comparing how posts perform with different readerships

We have some general guidelines about what fits on each Offbeat Empire blog, but there's definitely some overlap and wiggle room. Newlywed stuff generally goes on Home & Life (but sometimes goes on Bride), reproductive health generally goes on Families (but sometimes goes on Home & Life), and child-free stuff generally goes on Families (even though it's very much about NOT having children). Anything meta (business, community, tech) goes here on Offbeat Empire, but sometimes we also post on the sites related to the meta-issue.

But sometimes there are some posts that stump us. The post that went up on Offbeat Home yesterday, What a photo shoot taught me about being human and feeling beautiful, was mostly just about body image. Now, Offbeat Families' top post of all time is about body image, so we know those readers like to chew over these issues… but this specific post wasn't about postpartum body image, so it felt weird to stick it on Families. We published it on Offbeat Home & Life yesterday, and it did… meh. A couple comments. A few likes on Facebook.

Then, on a whim, I linked the post on Offbeat Families last night. The result was immediate:

homevsfamiliesshare

So we've got 5 likes/1 comment from Home & Life readers — as compared to 44 likes/15 shares from Families readers in half the time. (And that time was mostly overnight.) WOW.

Now, perhaps the issue was as simple as the lead photo — there was a baby in it, so maybe Home & Life readers weren't interested? (The lead image was debated, and Megan decided this was her best option.) But the issue may also just be a readership tone thing. Offbeat Families' editor, Stephanie, has cultivated a site that's much more emotional. She's fostered a community that can be more emotionally fragile than the other sites… and that's saying something, since Offbeat Brides are notoriously stressed and testy. Maybe even though this post was a better content fit for Home & Life, tone-wise, it was a better fit for the community that reads Offbeat Families. It's fascinating!

(Also, this is yet another lesson in how many people use Facebook as their primary way to follow posts on our blogs. I've written about it before, but it still baffles me that people trust Facebook to deliver their reading to them.)

  1. i think the facebook thing is more about convenience than trust. most people are on facebook anyway, so if they only have time to check one social networking thing (including blog sites they follow), it'll be facebook. i've been guilty of it myself. :\

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    • I guess the issue there is that if you distrust Facebook as some of us do, no amount of convenience feels worth it… for me, if I'm following a blog, I want to see every post every time. (Which is why I love RSS so hard.)

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      • This totally jives with me. I am obsessive about switching my FB wall over to "recent" rather than "top." And I use RSS like a CHAMP. I want to see every single new thing my fave writers are publishing, not just what other folks think is funny/emotional/etc.

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        • Switching over to "recent" only takes care of not missing friend postings; it won't take care of missing things from pages and groups because FB will only post those to a certain percentage of people who follow or like the page/group.

  2. That's fascinating! I love that because of the connection and yet seperation between the various communities you can track that sort of thing.

    Also, I would NEVER trust facebook either. If it doesn't come into my inbox, I don't guarantee I see it, and I make a point of reading, or at least skimming EVERY OBH and OBF post.

    I keep meaning to write up and submit something but I have such a hard time nailing down a topic. Maybe this summer when I go off birthcontrol and dive into the ocean of maybe-parenthood I'll be more inspired.

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  3. You know what always stands out to me whenever you do these type of analysis?
    That there are people who, unlike me, don't follow every branch of OBE. (I mean, doesn't everybody do exactly what I do? LOL… )

    It's like – "Blah blah numbers blah blah likes blah blah… wait — why are there Family readers who aren't following Home & Life?? Aren't they afraid they're missing out if they don't subscribe to ALL of it?!? OMG they ARE missing out! Do they know they're missing out?? I don't think they know! Maybe across-the-board subscriptions should be compulsory … Oh look a kitty…"

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    • LOL, I absolutely get you. I always tend to think, "Oh, yeah, I guess people who only visit Offbeat Families WOULDN'T have seen that badass dinosaur party article! Meanwhile, I have already read and loved!"

      Crap, I still enjoy Offbeat Bride immensely, and I've been married for almost 4 years. ๐Ÿ˜›

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      • My morning routine before work: eat cereal while going from OBB, to OBH, to OBF. My evening routine after work: eat dinner while going from OBB, to OBH, to OBF. I never miss a post and similarly am confused when others don't read every site… they are just all too amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • You and I have the same routine! Breakfast and dinner are my "alone" meals so I get my tablet out and blammo OBE FTW!

    • I used to religiously read them all, but in the end, I mostly just read OBH. It really is a tone thing. OBB is great, but if I read too much wedding stuff, I just start getting panicky about my own. And given the nature of the beast, a lot of the posts are about stress and drama, even if it's just how to have less. OBF is interesting, but most of the posts feel very deep and the ones that aren't deep are "Babies are cute! Aren't babies cute?" Which… I don't have any kids at all.

      But OBH, everything is about how to lead an awesome life, how to make my home feel more awesome, or how to have an awesome time with friends. And well, I want all of the above.

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  4. With facebook for me it's not about trusting it, it's just a matter of seeing it there first since I happen to be on facebook a few times a day. I check into the empire to see what I've missed every other day or so, but if I'm on fb and see an interesting article, I'll read it right away.

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  5. Please to have RSS reader suggestions. Since Google reader is gone I have been typing the web address in every day to read my favorite blogs!

    (I try to keep email just for correspondence and I don't follow anything on Facebook, partly b/c I don't want my friends, aunt, random acquaintances seeing what blogs I read).

  6. Just speaking for myself here, but the picture IS what made me skip it (initially – I ended up circling back to it), for two reasons:

    1) Nudity. Barely, I know, but I read from work and am pretty conservative about what I look at on my work computer.

    2) Baby. Not my jam, and I definitely assumed that the article was going to be about motherhood and body image, even though the title didn't suggest that at all. Interesting how powerful the image was to my thinking about the content!

    I wonder if the nudity issue was significant for other folks. Perhaps there are more people reading Families from home computers and more Home and Lifers reading at work?

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    • Yeah, this may just be a failure of the lead image. I was on the side of "don't use this baby image," so I'll chalk this up as a win for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Yeah that was my reason why I didn't read the article at first either, although I did read it later. The baby image was so imprinted on my mind that I even read the entire article thinking about a body image-and-motherhood context, and not just body image!

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  7. I'm not sure if this really makes any difference in the long run, but I make a point to read Offbeat Home every day before I go check Offbeat Families. I do this mostly because I felt like OBH fit my lifestyle perfectly, and even though now I'm pregnant and the things on OBF have become more within my interests and concerns, I definitely try and comment on OBH more. I still feel like it ALL applies to me now, so I really enjoy both in the end. And I think Offbeat Home deserves more love than it gets.

    The thing is, the two could technically be one site. Pretty much everything at OBH can be of interest to the Families crowd, and I think it also works in the reverse – there's such a variety of what defines 'family' with OBF. But I know the choice to separate them is deliberate, and I really, really appreciate it. I know for me, having spent years trying to get pregnant, I had to avoid OBF at times just because I couldn't handle seeing babies or hearing about pregnant women. But I still had Offbeat Home, and it made me really happy that I had somewhere to go after I was no longer an Offbeat Bride. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In regards to the particular article – I think the main reason it did so much better on OBF was due to it being about body image. Man oh man, do I now understand the relationship between being pregnant and having body image issues. I think it's a super sensitive topic for lots of moms, and so it just flourished on Offbeat Families.

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  8. For me, I barely noticed the baby in the picture – but I did immediately notice the baby-made stretch marks on the tum. And from there, I guess my mind leapt to "Oh, it's one of those articles about being proud of body changes after birth." And then I did skim the article, but the emotional tone was just not for me, not today – I was more in the mood for light decorating ideas and interesting gadgets, you know? Whereas I look to Offbeat Families for heavier stuff, like contemplating having children or my relationship with my parents.

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    • That's what hit me. Baby and stretch marks and how I learned to love my body and I just skimmed it. I read the sponsor post about Sexy Boudoir pictures though (http://offbeathome.com/2013/04/boudoir-photography-portland), which had nearly the same message, and enjoyed it. Heck, I might have been more likely to read the same article with the pictures from the other one. Which I suppose is odd. I just don't generally read OBH&L looking for deeply introspective posts.

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  9. I love that you are doing a psychological analogy of your sites. I will admit that I didn't read the article on Home because of the picture. I get tired of posts telling me to love my postpartum body. Now that I actually went back and read it (because of this post), I realize that I would have missed out. It is well writen and relateable. Unfortunately, that is the nature of blogs. In our busy lifestyles, we rely on the title and photo to relay the message before we take the time to click. Since I was working, I made the assumption that [based on the picture of a baby and stretchmarks] this was another parenting article. Once you break it all down, it's fascinating the way this all played out.

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  10. I personally didn't get around to reading it yet for lack of time hello 4 day weekend for me and thusly busy busy at work.

    And also seriously why wouldn't OBF people just automatically read OBH. Why must people do things not like me?

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