Recent ups and downs in my RSS subscriber numbers are making me curious. I’m wondering if there is an unmet need for information that would help bloggers who combine “green” or cause marketing with the usual WordPress-and-content stuff.
Early in the morning on April 22nd I published Cre8Green: Small Steps for Big Causes, my Earth Day post. At the end of the day my FeedBurner stats showed a 48% jump in my RSS subscribers, taking this blog to an all time high. I’ve had a few 20% subscriber ups and downs, but nothing larger. 48% is an anomaly.
I followed up with a post I’d been working on about my user statistics, and some of my own attitudes about goal setting and benchmarks. My Bouncing Baby Benchmarks seemed like a safe (and fun) bet. Let’s face it – I happen to know that are a few of you have a high likelihood to be stat-curious.
The day of my stats post, my subscriber number went back down to exactly where I was the day before my Earth Day post. I’ve returned to my previous gradual building, with occasional fluctuations in line with previous my history.
Pure Green Hunger Speculation
Now, statistics are crazy. Any change in a smaller readership looks more important than it is, as a matter of scale. A one-time 48% jump in the subscriber number of a relatively new blog is not as statistically relevant as a trend at a more established blog. The people behind that 48% could have subscribed and unsubscribed for 101 different reasons completely unrelated to each other, or my benchmark thoughts post, or the Earth Day thing.
However, if a demographic slice of blogging greenies are roving around looking for web nerd marketing blogs with a green focus, I’d like to know.
I think that cause marketing has some special challenges and opportunities. Though you could make a case for a cause being just another Unique Selling Position, in cause marketing there is also perhaps a deeper tension around trust. Causes need supporters. Support is in theory altruistic, given freely and linked strongly to trust.
Though the urge to support something good is strong, the backfire can be just as strong if trust is broken.
Cause-related sites that push their issues in an unbalanced way can lose credibility. On the other side of the equation, posturing to seem more attractive to cause evangelists is especially repugnant, and a disappointed evangelist is a force to be reckoned with.
You can be punished for doing wrong, just as much as you could be rewarded for doing what’s right. My intuition is that this would be more intense with cause-related marketing.
Do Cause Marketers Have Special Web Needs?
I wonder if budding “cause” bloggers need extra support, as they deal with both the cause related stuff and the need to learn about what makes a Search Engine friendly site.
I want to walk up to each and every one of the 48% who unsubscribed and ask them what they wish I’d said next. If you happen to be one of them, walk right up to my comments form and tell me and my readers all about it.
Speaking of which, this is a good time to tell me what you want, especially if web dev type blog theme tweaks are part of your needs. I am mapping out the game plan for a series of posts documenting a WordPress theme re-design, using the WordPress Default theme as a base. I will learn from you, with you and for you.
When my theme re-design series is completed it will be available for purchase as an ebook, screen shots and code and all.
This is also a good time to subscribe. The first week of the series, May 11-17, RSS subscribers will receive a special link where they can register to get the ebook for free.