What Does It Mean to Have an Engaged Audience, and Why Does It Matter?


how to make readers more engaged

Engagement. It’s a buzz word in both blogging and publishing, but what does it actually mean? Is it the next “synergy”–my favorite marketingspeak word that I love to hate?

As I wrote about here, a lot of my process of sorting through potential clients involves looking at hard numbers—traffic stats, social media followers, subscribers, etc. But in reality, what I’m looking for underneath all of that is simply engagement. Does the potential author have a highly engaged audience? Do they already have a large group of fans who would fork over their hard-earned cash for a book?

This could be an audience of millions, in which 10% of the people are engaged enough to make a purchase, or it could be an audience of 50,000, where every last person would gladly exchange $21.95 for your book. The size of the total audience matters to a certain extent, but when it comes down to it, it’s really the conversion rate that means the difference between a bestseller and a flop. (I wrote more about the “stickiness” factor of engagement and conversion rates here.)

Conversion rate can sound like more empty marketingspeak (one of my writing pet peeves!), but it’s really a simple concept that boils down to this: how close are you to your audience? Think of this closeness like you’d think of your real-life social circles, where you have varying levels of familiarity with everyone from your spouse to your mailman. Here’s what that usually looks like:

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