This week’s column from Dan Ariely may offer the key to how to get more people to read your blog.
The only way I can get my kids to eat fruits and vegetables is to reward them for it, usually with screen time. My sister allows my nieces to eat as much fruit as they want, whenever they want. In fact, her family refers to fruit as “nature’s candy” (but trust me, her kids know the difference between a grape and a lollipop). So far, neither of these methods is working for my family particularly well, but does one sound more promising to you? —Louisa
And here was Dan’s response:
Many parents use rewards to get children to do things they would otherwise resist, such as eating healthy foods. This approach might work in the short term, but over time it may cause children to resist fruits and vegetables even more, because they will view eating those foods only as means to a reward.
When it comes to framing fruit as candy, your sister is onto something. I might not go quite that far, but a related approach could be to limit fruit consumption in the same general way as candy consumption. A series of studies found that when children were told that they could have only a limited amount of a certain food, such as carrots, the kids not only preferred carrots to a more bountiful snack option but ate more carrots and enjoyed them more than kids who chose carrots over a snack in equal supply.
Studies with young children are tricky, so there could be many reasons behind these behaviors, but it seems that the fear of missing out is one important driver that gets us all to partake of items that are in short supply.
The part in bold offers a technique that may help get your kids to eat their fruits and veggie, but it seems like it may also offer advice for bloggers.
Looking for more followers or more comments? Maybe you don’t have to offer them a reward after all.
Maybe all you have to do is somehow create a fear of missing out.
Tell your readers that the current post can only be viewed by a certain number of non-followers, and once that number is hit, only followers of the blog will be able to read it. The readers will not want to feel like they might miss out on something, so they will happily become a follower. Of course, no need to let anyone know that there is no such limit on the number of non-followers who can read your post.
And if you’re looking for more comments, let the readers know that you have created a filter that only accepts high-quality comments; all others will be rejected. Since everyone thinks that everything they write is of high quality, they will want to test the filter, and lo and behold, their comment gets published. This will make them feel all warm and fuzzy and confirm their high opinion of themselves. And they will be forever grateful to your blog for confirmation of their greatness and will become loyal followers and commenters.
I realize that this way of gaining followers and comments may seem a little deceptive, but so is the way Dan suggests for getting kids to eat carrots. And besides, no harm no foul.
So if you want to guarantee your ability to read more of my blather, just become a follower.
And if you want to measure your ability to leave brilliant comments, just write one. And if it gets posted, congratulations on your brilliance…