I received an interesting little reminder about the concept of ‘relevant content’ in the form of an email notification about a subscriber.
What makes the content you post to your blog relevant content? Why is your blog important? Who gets to decide what you should and shouldn’t post?
The answer to the last question is easy: you, the blogger, gets to make that choice.
If you’re lucky, the choices you make as a blogger resonate with your readers. Those readers come back for more and you build an audience.
If you’re very lucky, you find that after more than a decade, there are still people who’ll come back to read what you have to say.
Then I received a subscriber notification.
I receive emails whenever someone subscribes to this blog. I also receive them when someone cancels their subscription.
Subscriptions, incidentally, are free.
When someone decides to cancel, they’re asked to provide a reason for their decision. In this case, the reason was “01 — Content no longer relevant.”
It bothered me far more than it should have.
For one thing, that response is the first to select from. It’s possible the person didn’t even read the possibilities and just chose the first one on the list.
For another, even if that’s what she selected intentionally, it might not be true. Sometimes, people find other ways to read the blog, like feed readers. Even though there’s an option along the lines of that (at least, I think there is), if you no reading in a different way, the email does become someone obsolete.
But is my content itself still relevant content? A few years ago, I narrowed the topics of this multi-topic blog to a handful. (Check out the main menu and you’ll see those topics.) I haven’t strayed from those topics and the same primary topics I focused on remain the primary topics.
In other words, I didn’t make any major change to the kind of content I post about.
So, I told myself, if my content was ever relevant, it should still be relevant.
But what’s relevant content now won’t always be.
As I attempted to console myself over something that shouldn’t have bothered me so much, another thought hit me.
Our tastes change over time. Things we might be fervently interested in one year may be of far less interest years later. Topics that were of paramount importance five years ago may have waned completely off your radar today.
It’s not just what’s important to me that determines whether my content is relevant content. Let’s face it: what’s important to me now may not even matter to me down the road. I can’t expect you to share every interest I have for as long as I do.
Or vice versa.
This reader may simply have tired of what I had to say, even if it was a topic that mattered to her.
Or, the topic itself may have been one she was no longer as concerned about.
As bloggers, we have to realize that we’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. More than that, we have to recognize that our readers will fall in and out of love with the topics we cover.
That’s not a mark against us. It’s just human nature.
As bloggers, the best we can do is to be true to ourselves, then hope that others who share our interests and concerns will join us.