Whether you refer to it as your target market or your blog audience, the people who read, watch, or listen to your content are the most important people in your blog world.
These blog readers are your advocates, your supporters, and hopefully your customers, so it’s important that you pick the right blog readers. That’s right– I said “pick”.
You might think your blog audience chooses you, but do you know you can choose your blog audience?
No, I don’t mean you can go out into the Internet and tell specific people that they have to be in your readership. You can’t actually make people read your blog. Pretty sure that would have the exact opposite effect.
What I mean by “choosing your blog audience” could also be described as fostering or nurturing a blog reader through a journey. It’s about whittling down a huge group of people to a targeted blog audience, because if you want a successful blog, you need the right audience.
That right blog audience is going to be different for everyone, but in general it needs to be a niched-down, loyal, dedicated, and excited group of readers.
Two reasons why the right blog audience is important
Most people think “the bigger the better”, right? Wouldn’t a bigger blog audience automatically mean more sales, more social shares, and a more successful blog? It absolutely would, but only if you have the right audience.
It wouldn’t matter how many views or hits you have on your site if no one is taking any action. Same for you email list. If you have 10,000 email subscribers but only 150 of them are active, would you call that a success?
You can do better, and the first step to doing better is understanding why the right blog reader is important in the first place. There are two main reasons why choosing the right audience for your blog is important.
Reason #1: Choosing the right readers helps you know what kind of content to create. Defining your ideal blog reader is a major step in narrowing down your topic and creating super targeted content just for them. After all, how can you begin creating content before you know who your blog audience is? And the more targeted your audience and content are, the easier it will be to create the kind of content that establishes you as an authority on your topic.
Reason #2: Choosing the right readers means an increase in your conversions. Again, thousands on thousands of page views don’t mean much if you aren’t making sales. A small handful of invested blog readers can be more powerful than a huge list of lukewarm visitors.
Once you’ve decided what kind of audience you’re going after, you can create the targeted content that speaks to their goals and ambitions. It’s in that space that you build the kind of trust and authority that leads to sales.
But you can’t build your blog and expect the readers to flock. There’s no honing siren that vibrates pulses of content energy to the right blog readers. You need to go looking for them.
How to choose your blog audience
First things first, how to choose your blog audience begins with knowing what type of person you’re going after. Now you might expect me to teach some kind of avatar exercise to define your perfect audience member. While I do think it’s a great practice, you can read about creating avatars everywhere. It’s been talked about enough. Instead, I want to talk about real people you already know.
When you put your ideal blog reader in terms of someone you know, everything changes. You likely already know their goals and ambitions for their life. You’ve probably talked about things like what they want to learn to grow in their career, who influences their work, or their favorite social media channels. With that info it’s as if the clouds part and blog ideas just starting free-falling from the sky.
So how do you figure out who represents your ideal blog reader? Here’s four steps to make it happen.
Step 1 – Make a list of people
Open a word document or grab a sheet of paper and write down the names of at least 10 people you already know (ideally 25 or more) who you would love to have as readers and customers.
Step 2 – Make a list of attributes you want in a blog reader
These attributes should describe your ideal reader, the person who would most benefit from learning about your topic. Why would they care about your topic? What are their struggles related to your topic? What inspires them about your topic? What motivates them to learn more about the topic?
Step 3 – Compare the lists
Who on your first list has at least some of the attributes on your second list? If you don’t know for sure, who on your first list is likely to have at least some of the attributes on your second list?
Step 4 – Pick a name.
We need at least one name, but if you have more that’s great. If you don’t have one real name, then look through your contacts in your phone, Facebook friends, and LinkedIn connections until you find at least one person who fits the bill.
That one person now represents your ideal reader. Everything you write and create for your blog should be with this one human being in mind. By focusing on one specific person to start, you’ll eventually find the universal content that matters most to what will be your now narrowed down blog audience.
I promise that if there is at least one reader like this, there will be many more just like them. It’s like when your teacher would tell you not to be afraid to ask a question because most likely one of your classmates has the very same question. That one person you narrowed down in this exercise is not alone in their goals and ambitions.
It’s possible to have thousands upon tens of thousands of other blog browsers interested in that same niched content. It’s just a matter of finding them.
Where do you find your ideal blog reader in real life?
Now that you’ve picked your ideal reader for your blog, it’s time to go into the Internet (and sometimes real life), find them, and connect.
Identify your potential readers’ hangouts
If you want to meet someone, you need to be where they’re hanging out. What social media channels do they use? Are they in any Facebook groups or Slack communities?
And it doesn't need to be all virtual. Check out the local meetups in your area, attend conferences, or if you have the means, host your own meetup. Those face-to-face connections are powerful and should never be overlooked even though you’re running an online business.
Join in on the conversation
But it takes more than just showing up. Once you know where your potential blog audience is, get involved. You have to put your networking hat on and jump in the conversation. Lend your advice in forums (like Quora) and online communities. Spark up new conversation that gets people interested (but don't walk in guns blazing by promoting yourself and your new blog nonstop).
Doing this is also a great way to start coming up with blog topics. Ask your new community friends what problems they’re facing in the industry and what they want to learn more about. It’s like getting the results of a survey without having to actually send out a survey.
Think outside the box
Every point of contact doesn’t need to spring from your core topic. When you’re looking for your ideal readers, think about other topics that correlate to yours that would draw similar people. For example, if your topic is about creating wedding cakes, you could also look through communities that focus on pastry baking or cake decorating.
Who will be your blog audience?
Choosing your blog audience and then reaching out to grow your readership takes time. Stay persistent, keep reaching out, and get involved. The more you do and the more authentic and honest you are, the more your ideal reader will naturally be drawn to you and your work. Basically, keep being your smart, thoughtful, creative, helpful self– and do it in public.
Take time today and do Steps 1- 4 to start dreaming up your ideal reader. What attributes are you looking for in your blog reader? And where do you think you’ll start looking for them?