Whether you blog to inform, to entertain, to persuade or to provoke controversy, to have a successful blog you must identify your target audience and Let Your Audience’s Interests Guide Your Content Strategy.
Visitors who find what they came for in your blog become subscribers, who will share links to posts with like-minded friends. The increase in traffic will send your stats on an upward climb.
Locating high quality similar sites is an important step to becoming a better blogger. But It’s also logical to assume that those who read your blog now are among your target audience.
1. Who is reading your blog?
Begin your research by taking a look at the blogs of those followers who comment most frequently on your blog posts. Then take a close look at the other blogs they comment on and social media sites they interact on before you search for similar sites.
You can do the same with frequent like button clickers. Check out their Gravatar accounts to determine what their range of interests may be, where they blog and comment, and which social networks they are active on.
Use your blog stats including your shares, Quantcast and Alexa to look closely at reader stats and demographics to learn what you can about your audience from the Gender, Age, Income, Education, Ethnicity, Geographic location (Countries and Cities), Browsing location (home, school, work) data.
- Stats Wrangling I: Digging in to Your Data
- Stats Wrangling II: Days, Weeks, and Months
- Stats Wrangling III: Top Posts and Pages
2. Who is your target audience?
Identifying who your target audience is, what they already know, what they need to know, and the best way to deliver your message is critical to success.
Investing some time into creating brief character profiles of the kinds readers you want to locate your blog and subscribe to it will provide clarity.
Ken McArthur published The Top 10 Ways to Find Your Audience that provides guidelines for starting your research.
Consider demographics, hobbies, professions, needs, wants, issues, knowledge, perceptions, and common goals. How old are they, where do they work and live, what are their preferences, attitudes and lifestyles?
3. Where can your target audience be found?
Consider where your target audience can be found online and how can you connect with them there. Then check out social networks, online groups, newsletters, chat rooms, forums, etc.
Which social networks are they most likely to be active in?
In Social Strategy: How to understand your social media target market, Kimbe MacMaster explains identifying who your target audience the first step, and the next step is understanding four main areas about your target audience before you develop a social networking strategy.
- What they use: What platforms does your target frequent?
- How they use it: What methods does the target use to access social?
- When they use it: What time of day does the target visit?
- Why they use it: What is the purpose of these social platforms?
4. Who influences your target audience?
“Influence is the ability to drive action, such as sharing a picture that triggers comments and likes, or tweeting about a great restaurant and causing your followers to go try it for themselves. Social actions are a signal that friends and peers in your social networks have been influenced by your content. “
“Digital Natives are people who take naturally to online communication. They can come from any of the generations. … You really have to pay attention to Digital Natives as they’re the biggest influencers today. … They have the biggest online reach.” Do You Know Where Your Digital Natives Are?
5. What does your target audience want and need to know?
Connecting with your current readers and putting yourself in the place of your target audience will help you determine:
- what your target audience writes about
- where your common ground is found
- how and where they engage with their audience.
Using tools such as Google Adwords Keyword Tool will give you a better understanding of words and phrases that your target audience searches for.
6. Make social media sharing easy.
The best way to get your message across is to define it clearly and structure your posts to hold reader interest from the beginning to the end. The best way to get your message out is to have your friends promote it. Insuring your WordPress.com blog’s accessibility and share-ability can be easily done in several ways.
“On one hand, in-depth knowledge of the topic you are writing on will make your blogging easier. On the other, no matter how much knowledge you have muddling along without expressing your blog’s purpose can lead reader confusion and blogger burn-out. From the outset you need to be able to describe your blog’s purpose by expressing what you intend to blog about in as few words as possible.” — Creating an Effective Blog Description
The February 2013 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report shows that young adults are more likely than others to use major social media. At the same time, other groups are interested in different sites and services.
Internet users under 50 are particularly likely to use a social networking site of any kind, and those 18-29 are the most likely of any demographic cohort to do so (83%).
Women are more likely than men to be on these sites. Those living in urban settings are also significantly more likely than rural internet users to use social networking. To view a breakdown of social networking site use by age group, over time, please visit the social networking summary page.
In the July 2013 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report 6% of Online Adults are reddit Users it’s reported that young men are especially likely to visit the “front page of the internet .” Some 15% of male internet users ages 18-29 say that they use reddit, compared with 5% of women in the same age range and 8% of men ages 30-49. View Online or Download
In the August 2013 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project report titled 72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users the researchers also studied online adults’ use of Twitter. The percentage of internet users who are on Twitter has more than doubled since November 2010, currently at 18%. Internet users ages 18-29 are the most likely to use Twitter—30% of them now do so.
This research found that both teens and adults use Facebook the most of all social networking sites — 94 percent of teens and 67 percent of adults. However, it’s adults that are more active on Pinterest and Instragram, while teens are more active on Twitter. View Online or Download
In Social Media: Do You Know Where Your Target Audience Is? Heidi Cohen provides an overview of social media user data. Just over half of Twitter users are 35 or older, nearly 80% of LinkedIn users are 35 or older. Facebook and Twitter have more female users as only 40% are male, and 80% of Pinterest users are female.
Your primary focus as a blogger is publishing original content targeted to appeal to a specific audience and presenting it in a manner that makes it readily and easily available through search engines.
If you don’t have a clear vision of who you are blogging for and where you want your blog to be, then it won’t be a success and you won’t be able to take your blog to the next level. That’s why knowing who your target audience is and knowing what your purpose is, are key to your blog’s success.
Write for your readers. Know who your audience is and what they want to know, then give them what they want.
Social Media and Social Networking Plain and Simple
Mastering Shameless Blog Promotion
WordPress Followers, Likes and Stats
WordPress.com: Who Follows Who?
WordPress.com Top Posts and Pages