Where is Everybody? The 90-9-1 Rule Explains Where Your Blog Audience Hides

Where is Everybody? The 90-9-1 Rule Explains Where Your Blog Audience Hides

As a brand you inevitably want your audience to react; comment on, interact with and discuss your content. Upcoming trends in content marketing is moving towards the blogosphere; catching the attention of powerful influencers that can spread your content to thousands of followers in one online share.

Does this sound familiar?

Your blogger influencer has thousands of followers, but only a handful favorite, comment or share your post.

So what’s happening?!

Remember, the thousands of followers you see on the blog are certainly not all commenting or liking posts; they read daily and share outside of conventional measures. This is the interaction that is essential for brands to understand, analytics won’t help you here.

Reactions and interactions also give you the data you need to report back to the ‘higher ups’ in the company and show them what’s working and what’s not. With new understandings of a dark social, brands need to be more open minded and creative to get ahead of the game. The key to marketing success is relating to your silent audience and knowing why.

Who is the silent audience?

The 1 percent rule or otherwise known as the 90-9-1, coined by Ben McConnell and Jacke Huba, essentially answers this question. Take a sample of 100 people and break it down.

  • 1 person; this is essentially you, the content creator.
  • 9 people will engage with you, by commenting, liking or sharing.
  • 90 people will be the silent, but attentive readers.

So what are those 90 people doing? Few will ignore, some will come back to it later. Many are now known as lurkers and dark social sharers – this is the transactions your content is having outside of analytical reach, for example in emails and IM. In whatever category those 90 people fall into, they all are influenced somehow.

As a brand you can make big mistakes by assuming that your silent audience is not connecting with your content just because you don’t see reactions. However, take a step back and remember that throughout marketing history consumers have always been the listeners; in newspapers, radio, TV and mobiles. Christopher Allen illustrates really well the 90-9-1 rule, the majority are readers or lurkers, but not immediate engagers.

3 ways in which bloggers help you reach your silent audience

1. Making you visible

Bloggers are an excellent way of getting your content out to your audience and making it stay visible. On social media your content is released and is the most visible at the moment when you publish it. Whereas if you have a blogger influencer writing content about your product or brand, their work will be permanently visible in search engines and allow time for their followers to catch up, share and comment. It can take months for a good piece of content to start generating discussion and your silent audience can be a shy bunch.

2. Advertising is expensive

There is no other way to go about advertising but to pay for it. However, by using a distribution service to bloggers you can get your content seen by thousands of bloggers in your industry. The bloggers can take your content and publish it on their blog,  which is a lot more affordable than paid advertising.

3. Sharing is not just online

We have gotten so used to the ‘share’ button on our screens we forget to acknowledge all the sharing that is done outside of the virtual world.

Whether over a coffee date with another mom, a late night discussion at a tech society or during a sports match, silent readers online become not so silent offline. By providing bloggers with rich, thought provoking content, your campaigns stick in your reader’s minds who then present you to others on their blog or in their daily lives. This is often the most influential type of marketing; translated in their own words and in a way that they know will appeal to whoever they are speaking to.


This article was first published on SalesForce.