In this issue
  1. How to Choose a Blog Topic You Love 8 min read
  2. Did You Know You Can Choose Your Blog Audience? 8 min read
  3. How to Choose the Best Blogging Platform for You 10 min read
  4. How to Design Your Blog Home Page for Focus and Clarity 6 min read
  5. How to Create a Year-long Content Strategy 14 min read
  6. This is the Process We Use to Create High-Quality Blog Content 12 min read
  7. How to Create a Visual Identity for Your Blog 8 min read
  8. Writer’s Block is Not an Excuse. How to Get Your Work Done 6 min read
  9. Why Email Subscribers are Important and How to Get Them with Incentives 7 min read
  10. 100 High-Quality Blogs to Look to for Inspiration This Year 4 min read

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Issue #3 • March 2017

Did You Know You Can Choose Your Blog Audience?

Build Your Audience

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.

find blog readers where they hang outIdentify 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.

find blog readers by joining their conversations onlineJoin 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.

find blog readers by thinking outside the boxThink 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 and let me know how it goes. What attributes are you looking for in your blog reader? And where do you think you’ll start looking for them? Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s discuss!

Dani Stewart

As a daughter of an entrepreneur, the wife of an entrepreneur, and an entrepreneur herself, Dani has lived and learned all sides of creating and growing businesses. She is excited to bring all that life experience as well as a decade of crafting content to the ConvertKit community. She is a part-time baker, dinner-party planner, and lover of good bourbon living the simple life in Nashville with her husband, Sean.

Experience this issue your way

Download this issue of Tradecraft as a PDF to read and reference at your own pace.

  • Sanbai

    Such a great article! My realization is not so great though. My ideal reader is my sister, who had a blow up with me last summer and hasn’t spoken to me or my mother since. I want to heal the breach, but she is kind of super emotional and blocked me on every media channel – I can’t even apologize. *sigh* Ah well, this exercise was good anyhow, and I’ve identified a few other folks who might be more interested in discussing a few things about their tastes and ambitions.

    • Can’t you connect with your sister offline, in the real world?

      • Sanbai

        My, such extraordinary advice. -_- In the /real/ world she lives several thousand miles away and won’t return calls.

      • Thanks Dettmann I solved my problem!

  • Lesley Rice

    I’m a writer (of fiction) and I’m told I need a website/blog to promote myself and my books, the problem is, I don’t know what to write about. My ideal reader is just that, a reader, not a writer. The wisdom on creating a writers platform seems to be to tell readers about yourself, and I can see this working when you have fans, but right at the start, when no-one has ever heard of you, what do you say? I can offer a free short story or add-on to my book in the hope they will be interested enough to join an email list, but how can I sustain a blog?

    • Hi Lesley. This might not be appropriate for you, so feel free to ignore. I see this a lot with my friends and peers – the comment: “I’ve been told I need to…”. And then stress and confusion follow, because it doesn’t come from our heart/isn’t something we really want to do. In terms of social media, the way I see it is: if you LOVE Instagram, set up an Instagram account… If you only EVER use Facebook for social media, then maybe a Facebook page is best (etc). I.e. don’t worry about trying to be on every channel because you think you “should”.

      What purpose do you want for your blog? If it’s purely/only to promote your work, why would people read it? (I don’t mean that rudely, I just mean that most people will only do something if it benefits THEM… think about the newsletters you subscribe to – do you do it to be kind to the writer, or because you get value from it?) Maybe writing guests posts on other websites, or writing articles for magazines might be another way to promote your work? I don’t know anything about selling a book so forgive me for throwing in my two cents, but I wonder if a blog is the right forum for you (at this time)? How do other fiction writers you know promote their work? (And if you don’t know any, that could be a great place to start!) Sending you well wishes, Claire

      • Lesley Rice

        Claire, when it comes to social media, I’m afraid to say its not a case of being on every channel, but in trying to work out why I would want to be on any channel. I do not LOVE social media of any kind, or really see the point in it. Why would people read my blog? I agree with you, I can think of no reason at all. I used to enjoy twitter but now it seems to be either political or trying to sell me something.
        As for Facebook, it seems to be a place to post where you went on vacation or pictures of children who all seem to be studying martial arts.
        You make a very good point – why would the reader read? The newsletters I subscribe to myself are typically informative, teaching me something I’ll find useful. Finding a subject that would be useful to my readers is my problem.

        • Hi Lesley – a helpful quote someone told me for finding my niche/what to write about was: “Let your mess become your message”. I.e whatever you are struggling with, you can help other people with it. For you this might be your journey of how to promote your book. You could write about the struggle of being a writer, or how you find the time to write – something to help or encourage other aspiring writers. The thing I’ve learned from my own blogs is that my topic/direction changed the more I wrote, because I was able to narrow it down/learn as I went. For now, why not just enjoy the process of writing and creating something that’s all yours – don’t worry about stats or why people would read it… just write from the heart about your struggles, learnings or goals. Clarity comes from action, rather than the other way round. Good luck! 🙂

    • Jenni Ivins

      Hi Lesley,
      Some suggestions for what to write about for your readers who follow your blog:
      Behind the scenes glimpses such as writing processes such as
      * how and why you developed your characters/setting (time as well as place) /genre/themes * your thoughts in making certain plot turns and twists
      * real life influences in your story development
      * readers are often interested in how a writer writes and what it’s like to be a writer. If you’ve ever been to author talks and book launches, you probably know, the most asked question is “Where do you get your ideas?”
      If you write for younger audiences, you could write as one of your characters.
      Your blog audience may be readers, but readers are interested in many of the same things that writers discuss when workshopping with their writing groups.
      And in your initial call to action at the end of your blog posts, you could invite your readers to ask their own questions for you to answer.
      Remember to include a link to your books in your profile, too.
      I hope this sparks some ideas for you.

      • Lesley Rice

        Thanks Jenni, that was helpful, I suppose part of the problem is just that I can’t imagine why anyone would find my thought processes interesting unless as Claire suggest there is a purpose in it. I enjoy writing, otherwise I wouldn’t do it, and of course I could talk for hours about why things are the way they are in the world of my books. Thanks once again for your suggestions.

  • This is a great article! Thanks Dani. I found it super helpful. I’ve identified two people that (for me) are clearly on both lists, and I love the idea of writing just for them. I also like the steps you gave afterwards on how to actually meet your ideal reader. Thanks! 🙂

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      That’s awesome, @disqus_JP9edVmD9e:disqus! Having those two people in mind will definitely help you going forward.

  • Jenni Ivins

    Thanks for this article, Dani. I love the thoughtful approach. Very logical.

    • Dani Stewart (ConvertKit)

      So glad you liked it @jenniivins:disqus

  • Elizabeth Smith

    Loved your article on finding the right persons Dani! Thank you! I straight away have a lady in Australia in mind (miles away from Berlin where I live) – she fits it pretty well… I’ll be writing with her in mind the next time and see if it makes a difference.

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