I was at a local business get-together recently and someone asked me who my audience was, expecting me to say, “Women, 30-55, 2.1 children, works full time, etc.” You know the drill with the 30-second elevator speech.
At this point the group scene was like a cartoon with about 8 people who’d been in other conversations whipping their heads around to hear what the old broad had to say. Business people love to hear what someone else is doing just to make sure they’re doing it too, or to laugh with disdain so I wasn’t surprised at their looks — but they were surprised when I answered:
“My audience is the person who’s reading my blog right this minute. One person at a time. Sure, you can put demographics on it and most of my readers will be women but I don’t write FOR a demographic. My audience IS my audience because of our relationship. They know what to expect from me. Sometimes I’m a little off center, most of the time I have fantastic recipes, sometimes I’m a little irreverent and sometimes I know what I’m talking about. It’s the relationship vibe we have. We understand one another.”
At this, a man about 40 feet tall with the biggest feet I’ve ever seen (I’m built very close to the sidewalk so I get a good view of feet) began to talk down to me about why I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I should know all my metrics and write to that one universal woman who fit the metrics. Then that one magical woman would come to my blog and buy lots of “things.” Well look around, there ain’t nothin’ for sale. That might change but for right now, it’s all about the stories.
I will admit that when I told the tall bloke that I didn’t make much money off my blog he rolled his eyes and mumbled something under his breath about “why? she’s got a better site than mine and she doesn’t take advantage of it,” and he wandered off saying he needed another drink.
Food bloggers / food writers like telling stories almost as much as we like buying food, prepping and cooking it, stepping back and oohing and ahhing before we start clicking the shutter. There’s no vaseline to make the tomatoes glisten and no glue or cardboard on anything to make the food look more appetizing. What you see on my plates is what goes down the gullet.
In the blog world we have to be quick because I’ve only got your attention for a few seconds. If I’m not interesting or at the very least, provocative, you’ll take off to someone who is.
Unless you’re reading on a phone or tablet, reading a blog isn’t the same as curling up in a comfy chair with a book and a glass of wine. We’re not cozy in the same way but importantly, in some ways a blog can be better than a book because a blog has two way communication. I can expound at leisure and you can tell me I’m full of crap or give advice to me or other readers. Fairsies. I’ve learned an immense amount from my readers in the comments section.
So my audience of one – that would be you who’s reading this right this minute — it’s nearly the weekend and it’s still warm enough to walk on the beach barefoot but it won’t last much longer so that’s where I can be found. I value your friendship more than I can tell you. Enjoy your weekend and if you get bored, try making these little mock pecan pies. If you like pecan pie but can’t be bothered with making crust or want something in a hurry, these are PERFECT.
Don’t think that I made a mistake and left out self-rising flour or baking powder — the recipe I was given called them muffins but there’s NO rising agent and they DO taste just like a pecan pie. Life’s good like that.
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- ⅔ cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 180C /350 F
- Grease mini or regular muffin cups generously. Grease them well or they will stick.
- In a medium sized bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and pecans and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and eggs together until well combined.
- Stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
- Divide batter into 12 standard size muffin cups about ⅔ full.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes for mini muffins or 15-17 minutes for regular size muffins.
- Run a knife around the edge of each muffin and pop it out.
Coffee and Crumpets says
Right now I am your audience of one! Great post Maureen and what you said at your business thingy is spot on! I don’t write for a demographic and I don’t think many of us do. We do it because we love to cook and share and we love it because we make friends like you along the way. We also get great recipes like these mini pecan pies…yum! They look delicious!
I think we might be surprised at the number of people who DO write for their metrics. It’s just good that most food blogs are written from passion.
The Café Sucre Farine says
No one would know these weren’t supposed to be pies but I love how real you are Maureen! And your audience is way more than one at any given time!
I think we both keep our “realness” Chris, that’s why I love you!
Gourmet Getaways says
Thank you for our chat this morning, I wish I was sharing this pecan muffin and a coffee with you right now. The reason your blog is so good is because it is personal and individual and it is like we know each other. Unlike buying a magazine or reading a cookbook 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
Aww, that’s how I feel when I think of you. This fancy interweb thing is just the best.
Gourmet Getaways says
Oh and I am pinning the recipe so I don’t forget to make it YUM!
Christine (Food Wine Travel) says
Maureen, these pecan ‘pies’ sound so good and I’m very happy to be your audience of one right now!
Oh Christine, you are the best and I’m thrilled you’re my audience! 🙂
Lovely post thanks Maureen. Like you, I don’t use my analytics to work out my demographic so I can market to them -in part, to be honest, because I don’t really understand them. And like you, I don’t sell anything. I just enjoy the food, finding out the information that I share, meeting the producers that I write about and the relationship I subsequently build with my reader.
Of course, I also enjoy eating and I will enjoy eating these. I think I’ve made something similar a few years back and loved them to bits. I think it’s because of all that wicked butter. 😉
yes, wicked butter. I just made bacon egg and cheese biscuits like they have in the states. I’m on butter overload this Saturday morning. 🙂
Thank you for writing for me. I never check my demographics – if I look to see where my readers live it is out of curiosity and awe – and I, like you, write for whoever is reading and myself. I write very personal blog posts but always hope that what I write about and the emotions it evokes are universal. I get no greater pleasure than comments left that tell me they understand, they’ve been their, they know how I feel because they have experienced the same and felt the same way. And share their own similar stories. Funny, I never thought about it as you describe it – we write novels that are interactive. I love that.
And I love these mini pecan treats. Love them.
LOL Jamie. When I started my blog I did as most everyone does and I wrote what could be best described as a wikipedia post. One day a marketing person I’m friends with said she liked me blog but she didn’t love it. “I don’t see you in there at all, not the Maureen I know. Put yourself in there and your blog will take off.” From that day to this, I write from my heart, just as you do.
Sue | My Korean Kitchen says
Lovely post, Maureen! I love reading your blog. Your story is interesting, engaging and sometimes provocative. And I love this recipe. Looks easy to make and at the same time tasty! Have a great weekend.
Simple as can be to make 🙂 Thanks for coming by.
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Dear Maureen, lovely post! I don’t understand or worry about demographics and analytics too much. I find it simply heartwarming to receive emails and comments from my friends who are sharing their thoughts and experience in relation to my posts. I do what I do because I love sharing good things. Love reading your blog, curled up on a chair… thank you for being you!
We understand each other completely! I know people who have a website ONLY to sell products MUST write to their ideal customer but that’s not what we’re all about.
I’m happy to be part of your audience even though, other than being female, I don’t hit any of your other demographic points. I love your fake pecan tarts and would love to make a batch one day. Right after the chocolate roulade/sponge roll, Hungarian kremes, magic coconut pie, shortbread cookies, braided butter cookies and the umpteen OTHER dessert recipes the bloggers I subscribe to keep tempting me with. 🙂 I have a package of pecans in my freezer though. I think that’s a good start.
I love being part of your audience and think you do a SMASHING job. 🙂 These are such cute little mouthfuls of goodness. No nut says “America” to me like pecans. I haven’t seen them in my part of Queensland yet, but I’ll keep looking. 🙂
Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul says
Well said Maureen! I love your take on the whole thing. I’m here right now, enjoying the pecan “pies”…and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Peter, I love you to bits. I learn so much from you with every visit to your blog.
Great perspective! And, thanks for sharing these tasty bites!
Thanks so much for coming by and I hope you have a terrific weekend.
You tell ’em Maureen!!!
Those pecan pies look and sound so good and easy I might have to break down and bake them.
The recipe only makes 12. Next time I’m going to make mini ones and freeze them.
Great post. I write my blog first to amuse myself, and secondly my wife. And of course I want people to read it – writing is work, and photography even more, and I do put more time into each post than I want to admit to myself. It’d be a drag if no one read my posts, and thank goodness they do get read — I’m grateful for those that take time to read. But I have little clue who actually reads. I do have Google Analytics, but I only pay attention to overall traffic, and several times a year look to see from which countries that traffic is coming and which are the most popular posts. I’m not writing my blog for commercial reasons, thank goodness, because I’d be awful at it. I know what SEO is all about, but don’t care. I hadn’t thought about it before, but in a way I’m writing for the one person who’s currently reading my blog, too. I write about what interests me, and hope I can write about it in a way that let others know why I find it interesting, and why I think they might, too. Maybe when I grow up I’ll be a real blogger, but I doubt it. 😉 Anyway, lovely recipe. Looks like pie to me!
It IS work, that’s for sure. From shopping, to prepping to cooking to styling to photography and editing before even one word is written. I love it.
Denise Browning@From Brazil To You says
Maureen: I am your audience of one too. Like you, I like to tell people stories — mostly from the wonderful place that I am from, my Brazil, and its one-of-a-kind food. My blog is , on a certain way, how I cope with the distance from my home and people. It’s also a legacy to my U.S. born children– so they can see through my eyes and learn to love their other country. So my audience is whoever has any interest in something new, especially great food. I take pride on cooking — not only because I am a trained chef– but because I have always loved food. I keep writing and cooking despite having no profit. To say the truth, I have a deficit. 🙂
Keep writing, Maureen! I’ll keep coming. Wishing a great weekend.
Thank you, Denise, we both understand what it’s like to be in a different environment from family and old friends.
Bam's Kitchen says
Maureen, Thanks for writing this lovely post and I think it sums up how most of us feel about writing. I love being part of your audience as I know you are writing just because you are passionate about food. I would really love to snuggle up to my Ipad with a little cup of tea and one of these mock pecan pies and read all of your old posts.
What a great idea!
Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb says
ok… So I know what you are talking about. First I never thought of checking who my readers were. Then I used google anayltics, learned more about my blog but still didn’t see it all and all of a sudden I was surprised by feed back from people all over the world. I mean men women who have somehow a connection with what I am writing. None of them fits in a particular age group or working group whatever. They read what I write because they enjoy it. So I am not going to dig deeper why that is, but I guess we are just sitting on the same boat and have similar point of views. if a person would ask what “group” that would be, maybe I should answer the masalaherbers. lol
I am a reader of yours Maureen and I enjoy visiting your blog not just because I like you but because it entertains me. If I was bored I wouldn’t even read the first sentence, in the contrary I enjoy your wit and humor and your little food stories. =) And now I d like to get some pecan to make this quick treat.
Thank you for a wonderful comment. You’re good for my self confidence 🙂
Barn @ Profiteroles & Ponytails says
It is hard for some business people to see past money and metrics. In this day and age it is all about authenticity so I think your one reader at a time approach is bang on because it reflects you and who you are. I can see myself making these pecan pies very soon. I love the simplicity of them. Yum!
Very well put!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
From this reader – I am so glad you do take that stance. I think it makes a world of difference. It can feel a bit cozy reading some blogs, but not all blogs are like that, and the ones that are – they keep you coming back.
This recipe is also going to have me coming back because it is one I absolutely must make!
You’ll like these little muffiny pies 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
That man is just silly. If I heard your answer I’d immediately want to know more from you because it was the perfect and yet unexpected answer! I love writing to my readers, I think I may know who they are but they’re all different.
I’ll admit that once he walked away we did have a nice conversation and sharing about our audiences and most of the people said something like “no wonder he doesn’t have a following.” I hadn’t thought that at first because I didn’t know how much he had but I won’t listen to anyone telling me to be something different from me.
I’ve loved pecan pie since I was a boy but find it a bit too sweet for me now. These muffins might very well be the solution to my dilemma, Maureen, bringing the all of the flavor a pie without being too sweet. This audience of one is very pleased. 🙂
This is sweet but not as sweet as the pecan pie you can’t eat without whipped cream 🙂
suzanne Perazzini says
I love what you’ve written here. I sometimes think about who my audience is but I also have no clue. I wouldn’t even know how to get the metrics or whatever that gentleman said. I just write and hope someone likes what I write, so I am with you. We just keep on doing our thing and what happens, happens.
I have the metrics because some brands require it but I can only write from my own voice and hopefully I’ll find people who have the same mindset.
Maureen I love your writing! Even more, I love your heart! You are authentic and real. There’s nothing better! As for those who claim you should write for a demographic…They obviously just don’t get those of us in the Foodie Family. We are in love…with food…and the beautiful feelings and memories created around the food we share and make. And like anyone in love, true foodies want to tell the world! Forget the blooming advertising, I’d pay to receive your blogs any day!
I think I’m in love with you, Sharon! What a funny comment and one I treasure. 🙂
Hotly Spiced says
These little pecan pie ‘muffins’ look so good, Maureen. Great original recipe. I know exactly where you’re coming from. I blog for those who come to my blog, not write specifically to a genre that may or not be a genre xx
I thought of you the night that guy questioned me and I also thought of Lorraine. You both have such strong voices that you couldn’t be anything other than yourselves. I love you both and wouldn’t miss a post.
Rachel Cotterill says
I love pecan pies and these look wonderful. I also don’t write for a “demographic” – I write because I love to chat to my readers, build relationships, drop in for coffee when I’m visiting half way round the world… this is what blogging means to me and it’s worth SO much more than money. Sure, I make a few quid and get a few freebies to try out, but that’s just an added bonus. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s excellent 🙂
Hi Rachel – now when will you be dropping by for coffee and I’ll make sure I have one of these pecan pies with your name on it 🙂 Thanks for a nice comment.
Thank you for this!
I agree 100% about writing to “an audience of one.” There’s blogs I visit that just turn me off because I feel like they’re trying to sell me something, even without actual items for sale. They’re just a little too funny, or too cute, or too.. something… and it just feels inauthentic.
If I feel like I’m following bait that was set so that someone will make an extra buck off my visit to their site, I’m not likely to return. I want to be a reader, not a customer. Give me authenticity, the real you, that snapshot of what you’re doing and thinking *at that moment* and I’ll come back again and again. But if every post feels like a copy and paste of the last 100, just with different recipes, I start to feel like I’m not a person, but a number. And when your readers feel like numbers, your *actual* numbers are likely to go down. At least, that’s my philosophy.
I couldn’t agree more! Thanks so much for the comment.
No rising agent and taste like pecan pie? Sounds like the best thing I have heard all day, this looks fantastic!
Yep this one’s a winner
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
I’ve never thought of it like that, but you stated things so well… now I’ll be pondering the audience of one :). Love these delicious muffins!
Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen says
I love your take on this Maureen. Obviously, you are doing something right which is evident by the number of people who follow your site!
I’m fascinated by these muffins. So few ingredients and they look so lovely!
Thank you for the kind comment, Valerie. The pecan pies are really good.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog says
Maureen I’m fairly new to the blog world, blogging online for only a month now and It really is a wonderful place to be. I’ve converted from being a book by the bed reader, to taking my laptop and catching up on my ‘reader’. I must admit I do get stupidly excited when I view the ‘by country’ stats on my blog and see someone from Ghana, Bahrain, Portugal or some other far away country view my site. It really is a novelty to see!
Your Pecan Pies look great! I can see myself making them for the whole family but polishing at least half off myself 😉
Only a month, Lisa?? I’m very impressed with your blog!
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
‘Built close to the sidewalk,’ oh you crack me up Maureen! What an odd man to say that to you. I think that’s a brilliant response. I am honoured to be your only reader right this very second (even though I’m probably not the only one!).
Hope you had a lovely weekend.
Pecan pies without the crust?! Oh how I would love these. I might have to make these for my sis. She’s not a big sweet eater but she loved the pecan pie I made a year ago.
Perhaps I should have said footpath. 🙂 I love having you as a reader.
Kristi Rimkus says
What a terrific blog post, and such a wonderful reminder to me as a food blogger about what’s important and why I started blogging in the first place. I’m a horrible pie maker, but I’ll bet I can handle these little babies. Love the automatic portion control too. It’s perfect for us weight watching folks. I hope you enjoyed your walk. 🙂
I should pass along my no-fail pie crust recipe, Kristi. You know, for those days when you don’t care that you’re eating pie. 🙂 These little pecan doozies ARE pretty terrific.
Interesting points. My husband and I had a discussion about food blogs about a week back where he told me that in order for me to get more visits to my site I should put the recipes at the top of the post and the stories on the bottom. My point to him was that a food blog is more about the stories than about the recipes. I argued that if I wanted simply the recipe, I’d go to Cook’s Illustrated or any of the cookbooks I own. We’d all like at least one person to visit and maybe comment but the point is not about writing for an audience (at least not for me). My blog is not even a food blog in the typical sense. It’s a journal with photographs, stories, and recipes I’ve developed and chosen to share. Everyone has their own story. Thanks for the recipe!
That’s a lovely comment and thanks so much for coming by. It’s not about the comments, you’re certainly right about that, but it’s in the comments that we make friends. Not sure if that makes sense 🙂 I went to your blog and I loved your post about your audience. I would have left a comment but I rarely join something so I can leave a comment. My apologies.
I recently upgraded my website platform. Is my site asking you to join in a different way than other sites do (by submitting name/email/website)? If it is, I need to fix that.
yeah, it asked me to join whatever is in order to leave a comment. log out, go to your blog and try to leave a comment as a stranger. 🙂 I didn’t have an option to leave my name or URL
I just tested it using another browser. If you select Guest, you need only to enter your name and click on Post Comment. Email and website are optional. No need to create an account.
all sorted and comment left 🙂
Dearest Maureen, I always tell you in my comments that I feel you are talking to me. This is what you tried to convey to this tall, big footed bloke! You communication beautifully with your “audience”. Though as I do, you feel the people who come to visit are more than an “audience” we are friends, usually with many miles between us, but technology and delicious food as made the world a bit “smaller”.
The pecan pies sound wonderful.
Stay well my friend. Blessings, Catherine xo
What a lovely thing to say. You are right though – we ARE friends. All of us. 🙂
I hate the fake blogs that feel like they are a character trying to sell me something. You seem very real and genuine and that is why I enjoy reading your blog.
I call those “wikipedia” blogs. I can’t be bothered 🙂
Glamorous Glutton says
I thought a successful blog was about finding your voice, an interesting way of telling your story. How right you are, your explanation was perfect and so true. I write what I think will interest someone else not hit a specific ‘group’. That’s why I read your blog. GG
I think food writers are a very special kind of people 🙂
Barb Bamber | justasmidgen says
Well, now, didn’t you just tell that guy with the big feet! Sadly, I bet he still doesn’t “get it”. I know a website developer that “doesn’t get it”. He kept asking me what the purpose of my blog was, lol! I thought, heck, if you don’t know, I’m not gonna tell ya’.. this is just between me and my buddies:D
ps.. Love the look of those little mock pies.. dangerous looking little bits, eh?
Yes, I’ve been asked what the point of my blog is if I don’t sell something or advertising.
You have raised so very valid points about blog audiences. I believe first and foremost as bloggers, we need to establish WHY we are blogging because that always becomes our guiding principle for the content that follows and audiences who likes that content will stick around and those that don’t will move on and that is fine by us too.
I started out very wikipedia-ish and I’m never going back. Nobody could mistake my blog for anyone else’s even if I changed my name 🙂 That’s exactly how I want it. Your blog is the same.
Kim Beaulieu says
I love this Maureen. Someone once told me to “write like no one is reading”. It has stuck with me all this time. I just write without worrying who is reading. Probably not the way to do it but if I think about it I get blocked and serious. Which is so not me. I like the idea of writing on a personal level, writing for metrics just doesn’t seem conducive to artistic expression.
Love these little pecan pies. Every time I make something with pecans I end up popping half the jar of pecans in my mouth while baking. They are just so yummy!
I love that line in Notting Hill….
you know what they say about big feet…
Your so right about the relationships, I really like the relationships I have with others and I do my recipes and blog for me and whoever decides they like me and my very bad grammar :). You can tell what mood I’m in when I write or how long I write. I love your stories and recipes and writing style!
I’ll admit that if a blog has really bad spelling or horrid grammar it hurts my eyes. I don’t ever see that on your blog. 🙂
Kimby | a little lunch says
Maureen, I treasure your friendship, too — and your blog! Your stories appeal to me because they’re “real” and your food appeals to me because it’s “what goes down the gullet” (to quote you.) 🙂 After reading your posts, I feel like we’ve just spent a delightful time together.
It’s been interesting to see the changes in blogs over the past couple of years. Some of them have incorporated advertising successfully and subtly. (Nothin’ wrong with making a buck at home!) But, I wonder how many bloggers would still be at it if they weren’t getting paid to do it? Your Audience of One approach is wonderful.
My gosh, I am so glad I came back to read this post, which I left for later and then.. life got in the way
well, I cannot agree more with you! A few days ago I stumbled on a site explaining how to optimize your food blog posts to reach “the highest levels of exposure”
it went on and on about how to list the ingredients, how to repeat over and over the name of the recipe, everything geared to get search engines to find you and list your blog post ahead of others. I smiled. I have no need for exposure or bigger audiences. And I am very proud of NOT making any money off my site. It’s simply not my goal.
wok with ray says
Pecan pie is one of my favorites. Okay, I am your audience of one. Unless I switch back and forth with my other personalities, then you got an audience of two or maybe. . . more? Haha, just want to make you smile, Maureen. This is a nice post! I love it and you really handled that guy well! I’m proud of you. 🙂
Iron Chef Shellie says
OMG people like that annoy me! I, like you,blog for myself. I do what I want, when I want it, and well if you don’t like it, then frankly you don’t have to read it!! haha
Keep it up girlfriend! x
I think it’s important to be yourself and those who really like you will find you and stay 🙂
I wouldn’t know whether to take it as a complement that your site was better than his or be insulted at the thought of one universal woman!
I love the idea of mock pecan pies – as always I wonder why I didn’t think of that….
I didn’t take anything that guy said as a compliment. I thought he was an idiot thinking that by writing crap to a universal person he’d make money. 🙂
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
I’ve been enjoying your posts and very happy to be your audience of one! I wish I always wish I can write better to engage my readers (like how you do it). It’s something I need to work on. I don’t have much time to check on stats and if I do see the result, I may not be able to write as myself… thinking too much. 😉 I love when you talk about blogging. We can all relate the experience. 🙂 Yummy mock pecan pies. I LOVE pecan pies….
I love pecan pies too and these are pecan pies without the worry or mess. 🙂 Thanks for the comments about my blogging talk. I should do that again one day soon.
I don’t know, I think it’s definitely important to figure out at least “roughly” who your target audience is… or rather who you want them to be. For example, I hope my real-life friends don’t think I’m a completely opinionated jackass, but I certainly go to some efforts to avoid certain subjects, and tone down my language (I have a bit of a potty mouth :p) because I don’t want to offend people. Many of the people who read my site tend to be of a certain demographic and I’m not in the habit of getting peoples’ backs up “just for the sake of it”.
That said – ultimately, a blog is a blog. It’s your personal space. Many people are writing for themselves. The fact we meet and get to know new people is often secondary.
Oh I think we all know who are audience is just by reading and keeping up with our comments, don’t you think, Charles?
Yeah, for sure, it’s always a good indicator!
Oh I’m so glad I came back and read this post! What a great post Maureen! Like many of the others, I don’t use my demographics to help with the direction of my writing. You have to write from the heart and love what you are writing about – just like you did with the post about your grandparents (the one I just read). There are always people like me that can relate to it and walk away with a smile. 🙂 Now for those “muffins”. I want one! Pecan pie is the best pie on earth so a muffin that taste like a pecan pie – I’m in heaven! Pinning! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!
The weekend is gorgeous here.. sunny and warm. Perfect for getting out and about before the winter sets in.
Cass @foodmyfriend says
Maybe we connect because we are both vertically challenged? 😛 Hehe I don’t know what I would tell people that my audience is!
I look up to everyone, Cass.