Authors want to be read, and to influence their readers.
One crude measurement of readership and influence is of course the number of times one’s article has been cited.
A more general one is the citation record of the journal one gets published in. ROLSI‘s is pretty good at the moment – about 2.4. That means that within the last two years of the count (2011-2013) each article in the journal was cited about twice on average. It doesn’t sound a lot when you put it that way, but social science citation impacts tend to be at around the 1 mark. In Sociology, the top journal (American Sociological Review) is currently at 4.3, and we’re 6th; in the field of Communications, we’re the second highest (see the image below).