What’s the point of writing articles your audience isn’t interested in? You’ll spend just as much time, energy and research on a post no one reads, as you’ll spend on one that goes viral in your circles.
Why not save yourself the time and heartache and get it right the first time. Write an article for your ideal audience, build your profile, enhance your credibility and create value for your brand and your readers – something they’ll be willing to share on their social networking sites and comment on or discuss.
This advice is all well and good. You realise that in order to build a better, more user friendly blog you need to cater for your audience. However, first of all you need to know who these people are. That part isn’t so easy. This is why I’ve put together this article to give you some sound tips on finding your ideal audience.
Know your ideal audience’s profile and demographics
You can get full audience demographics for free – for any site – at Alexa.com. There are lots of other paid sites that provide this information, but Alexa.com will show you quite a lot of information for nothing.
Go to Alexa.com and click on the heading, ‘site info’. You can then type in your site’s url to see some comprehensive metrics and important information about your blog. To get to the audience demographics, click on the ‘audience’ tab. You’ll see the age of your audience, their gender, if they have kids or not, their education and browsing location. There’s more information to access if you download the Alexa toolbar, but what I can see without the bar is good enough for me. The decision to download the bar or not is yours.
You can also consider your audience’s needs, wants, goals or troubles (based on their comments and your popular posts) to decide just what to give them – now you know who they are.
Use surveys to find your ideal audience
It’s a great idea to hold surveys on your blog to find out what your current audience wants to read or get from your blog. You can also find out what problems they have. One of the best ways to cater for your ideal audience is to fix their troubles. Millions of people search on the internet daily. They’re looking for ways to fix problems, answers to questions, and fulfilment of needs.
If you run a relationship blog and find that your ideal audience is looking for ways to find lasting love, then your articles should be geared to answering this question in several different ways. For example if your audience average age is 35-50, you’ll do well to address subjects like: ‘finding love after divorce’, ‘dating in your 40s’, ‘how to introduce your kids to your new date’ etc. You see, finding the right topic for your ideal audience engages them even more, adds value to your site and your brand, and encourages the people who read your articles to do all the hard work in sharing them for you.
Know what your ideal audience is doing on the web
In order to find out exactly what your ideal audience wants (and how to cater for that need) you have to know what they’re getting up to when they’re not on your blog. Research what’s been said about your niche on social networking sites.
- What’s been discussed in the big Facebook groups within your niche.
- What’s trending on Twitter within your niche.
- What questions are being asked on Quora within your niche.
Gain a strong and powerful place within your niche by researching how your potential (and current) ideal audiences are engaging with each other on these big sites. What are they writing about and more importantly, what do they want to know (what questions are they asking there). When you know this you can address it on your blog.
Engage with your ideal audience – potential and current
Don’t just stay on your blog. Go out to other blogs within your niche and read what they’re saying about the topics you have in common. If you find a question on a blog you can answer, do so carefully and completely. Provide interesting points-of-view and leave insightful comments. Remember that other bloggers who blog on topics within your niche are already interested in the things you have in common. You don’t have to win them over to your side, they’re already there. If they like what you’re saying on their site, they’ll visit yours. And if they visit yours, so will their audience – eventually.
This is not the only point I want to make on this element of engagement. You see, once you build up a rapport with other bloggers within your niche, you can ask them to allow you to write for them. Guest blogging, as you know, is one of the best ways to gain more ideal audiences – providing you’re writing for blogs in your specific niche.
Use your own past work to identify your ideal audience
A lot of the work has already been done for you – by you. You can easily check your most popular posts or your articles with most comments. These say two things respectively. 1. You hit the nail right on the head where addressing your audience’s needs is concerned. Your post was viewed – and most likely shared – because it answered a question or addressed a particular concern your ideal audience had. 2. People engaged with your post because it struck a chord, it dealt with a concern, it was published at the right time, the right people saw it etc.
Either way, these two types of articles will show you exactly what you need to concentrate on again. You may want to view the popular-posts topics from a different perspective, you may want to create a part 2, or you may want to craft a top ten list with posts that address that particular issue.
Your most-commented posts will definitely give you more material because invariably, there will be questions, concerns and comments (on those posts) which you can address to build several spanking new articles.
Use search terms to see how your ideal audience is finding you
This one is short and sweet. Use your Webmaster Tools to find out how people are finding you. What terms are they using to find articles on your site – or your site as a whole. Once you find this out, use these terms to build new articles to keep those ideal audiences coming back for more.
The above tips will definitely help you plan your articles strategically – no guess work involved. Each time you write an article you’ll be crafting something your audience is actually interested in and can surely benefit from. Your blog will be a powerful tool in helping them solve their problems and when they have a need, they’ll come to you looking for answers. You’ll foster their involvement and loyalty with your site.
Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, blogger, editor and freelance writers. You can find her on her ‘How To Build Confidence’ Blog where she writes about confidence-building and finding your true self at http://getconfidence.net