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How to Find Your Ideal Audience

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 

23 Comments on "How to Find Your Ideal Audience"

  1. Love this post — I actually just recently did a survey of members in my Freelance Writers Den community. Got GREAT info I’ll be using to implement changes to make it more useful!

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Thanks, Carol. Yes, doing a survey is one of the best ways to find out what your ideal audience wants from you. I hope that the answers you got will give you and your site a great boost.

  2. LIz says:

    Hi Anne,

    All great ways to find your ideal audience. I even like posting direct questions on social sites like Twitter and FB. I’ve gotten so really eye opening answers.

    Thanks for the tips 🙂

    Blessings,
    Liz

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      HI Liz, I should’ve added that one. That’s a great point to consider too. You’ll get short and to-the-point answers telling you exactly what people want when you post on social sites. This is one point not to be overlooked.

      • Amit says:

        First of all, I would like to thank Anne for such a great post with deep research and I completely agree to Liz about posting that questioning strategy on Social Media sites.

        The best thing about social media sites, I like most is those discussions where someone post a question and to the extent of my surprise the answers vary generally with number of contributors and while answering every one has their different perspective and a writer can get a great amount of ideas about the topic they can develop from those answers to help readers with the solutions. I generally prefer LinkedIn and Facebook groups.

        • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

          Hi Amit,

          Do you think that people are able to express themselves better on these two sites, or are these sites the ones on which you’re most active?

          • Yes Anne, so far my presence is concerned, I mostly remain active on those sites as I have mentioned on my comment that I generally prefer Linkedin and Facebook ((even if I am not asking or answering everything all the time but I keep browsing for interesting stuffs there).

            But there are lot of social sites on the web and believe me that group members are really comfortable asking their peers lots of questions and to the extent of surprise different people with different thinking and perspective posts different answers or solutions to those queries.

            And if you are searching for some topic than there could be no better place than any those group of such social site that you prefer to dig for that.

  3. Kalen says:

    Finding your ideal audience is the essential first step Anne. I was once working with a web designer publisher and one of the questions one of the other writers asked was “who are you people we are writing for? I know they are web designers but I can’t write great content for them without knowing more.” This was a question that was never answered for us and I think it is one of the reasons we never got as much engagement with our customers as we could have. Thanks for the post!

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Thanks for your input, Kalen. It’s good to know the story from the other side of the coin too. Thanks for pointing out what happens when we don’t know who our ideal audience is.

    • Kalen, I am really impressed about daring to ask such questions on your site and expecting genuine answers. I have noticed one thing that most genuine comment posters are more interested to post comments related to their niche and they only are found to introduce themselves on various forums and discussion groups.

      I would rather suggest you to post that question on Web Designer Forums and I would like to tell you that you will be surprised to know that most of the answers you will received from experienced web designers (and few from freshers) who are more interested to network with you for sharping up their skills by sharing ideas.

  4. Great post Anne.

    I believe a lot of writers ignore the research part, specially what their web analytics have to offer.

    You can get great insights on your audience by analyzing your monthly web stats and traffic trends.

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Hi Jawad, thanks for stopping by. What platform do you use to analyse your blog’s stats?

  5. Edson Hale says:

    Not only finding real audience is damned difficult but to keep them engaging with you is equally heck of the task; for that you have to accurately serve their needs related to your niche; it is an old saying achieve success is so easy but maintaining your success is a tough job. Very good article with purely practical approach without any philosophical cliches; keep it up buddy

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Thank you Edson. I recently heard an ad that asks the question – which is more difficult, making your first hit album or your second hit album? Frankly, I think the second is more difficult because you’ve got to extend and better your first. Imagine how much effort a first hit would take! In the same way (as you said) maintaining your success is indeed a very tough job. Keeping your ideal audience happy is quite a balancing act.

  6. This was was a very elaborate article and it looks like you’ve done tremendous research! Thank you for posting, Anne!

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      You’re welcome, Alvin. As long as I could help bring something new to the ‘drawing board’, I’m happy.

  7. Khushboo says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for sharing the astounding post Anne.Yes i do agree with you,it is undoubtedly the most important task to find your ideal audience.Worth mentioning your post is very impressive.

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      Thank you, Khushboo, I appreciate your kind comment.

  8. Using surveys to capture the interest of your target audience can help you know what they truly want. I like your post – it’s informative and well-researched.

    • Anne Lyken-Garner says:

      HI Michael, have you ever used surveys? If so, what changes have they brought about on your blog?

      • No, I haven’t used surveys in my blog, but a friend of mine have. The result was an increase in engagement and trust from his ideal customers.

  9. The survey idea is really great, particularly if you ran it on a localised front as you’d then get a good understanding of what local people expect from you. As a small business this would be vital information. Innit.

  10. Elisa Wong says:

    Knowing one’s target audience definitely is integral to online success. We have to know their profile, demographics and the keywords that they use to search for a particular product or service via the search engines. All of these and writing quality content will ensure that they keep coming back for more! 😉

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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