It’s the beginning of the new year and a fresh start for us all. Whether you’ve been blogging for a while or you’re just getting started, it’s a great time to reconsider your blog’s focus and get started on the right foot as you head into 2013. What are you blogging about exactly and who are you blogging for? With a strategy in place, it makes content planning much much easier for you. Plus, with a focus, your readers know how to identify with you. They know to come to your blog for ____. This is how you’ll build that initial audience of very engaged readers who will share your stuff. Once you have that nailed down, you can expand beyond that.
We’ll give you the reasons why writing for your target audience first and foremost is the best way to stand out from the crowd, plus we’ll give you our free guide to help you brainstorm blog posts for your target reader.
Let’s dive in.
You Need to Cut Through The Noise
Social media and blogging aren’t all that new anymore. Just showing up doesn’t cut it. Google announced it processed 1 trillion unique URLs worldwide – and that was back in 2008! There are now 1 billion Facebook users and according to Twitter itself, there are about 1 billion Tweets sent every 2 and a half days. This all means that there’s a lot of content and a ton of noise, so bloggers have to do more to stand out.
Say you’re a food blogger. You probably aren’t the first person to publish a red velvet cupcake recipe, but you can cut through the noise with your own unique angle. Instead of being just another run-of-the-mill red velvet cupcake recipe, yours could stand out by offering a vegan version of the traditional thing. Or perhaps your post could guide readers as they shopped for ingredients by providing tips on budget-friendly yet high quality brands of ingredients to check out. But selecting a unique angle for each post without an overall mission or focus isn’t a long-term solution, either. That is why you need to have a solid grasp of who the reader is that you are uniquely angling your content to.
Don’t Pick a Topic to Write About, Pick a Person To Write For
First and foremost, identify the target audience you are writing for and allow the needs of your audience drive your entire content idea-generating process. The keywords you should target, social platforms you promote your content on and even the blog design you present to the world will all fall into place if you understand the audience you’re going after.
You likely already have an engaged audience that enjoys the content you’re putting out there. Get to know them better using the Top Sharers and Top Content reports in Shareaholic Analytics. The Top Content report shows you the top performing posts that drive the most repeat traffic, while the Top Sharers report reveals the readers who share your content the most. The Top Content report will let you know what content your readers want to see on your blog.
The Top Sharers report will let you dive in a little deeper to understand your audience that much more. You can click on the social media links to dig a little deeper and learn more. See what they Tweet. See who they Tweet with. Do they have a blog? If so, check it out.
Bringing It All Together
With Shareaholic Analytics as your guide, gather your thoughts around who your target reader is with our handy Blog Audience Planning Sheet. The questions you’ll want to ask yourself are:
- Who is my target reader? ASL – age, sex, location, you bet. If possible, think of a few real-life examples either from your Top Sharers report or some people you recognize from your blog comments to make this especially real for you.
- What can I teach them? You know what your expertise is, but what will your unique angle be?
- What other blogs do they read? Where else are they learning what they want to know? What aren’t they learning from these blogs that you could teach?
- What are their day-to-day concerns? Don’t limit this to just problems that are directly related to the main theme of your blog. Keep the big picture in mind and you’ll broaden the possibilities for content that is useful for your audience.
From there, consider blog topics and blog post ideas under those general topics that are a fit for your target audience. Download the Blog Audience Planning Guide here and get started achieving focus on your blog today.
Do you think you’ve achieved focus for your blog? Who is your target audience and how did you discover it? Let us know in the comments!