It’s a new year, when we think about resolutions, dropping bad habits and starting good ones. As bloggers, it’s a good time to re-evaluate our blogging habits, too. Today starts a new series posting each Monday in January that focuses on a different blog habit. So let’s get after it.
Blog Habit #1: Define Your Audience
As new bloggers we can get so excited about getting our voice our there that we may not be thinking about who is listening. You want to connect with those who find what you have to say valuable, not make an empty echo in the blogosphere, so you need to define your audience. Even after some blogging experience under your belt, you should periodically examine who your audience is because your blog is an organism; changing, growing and reshaping as you yourself change and grow in your interests and writing skills. Your target audience can change as your blogging mission changes. You can write better blog posts by defining your audience because when you target the person/people you are writing to, your blog posts are going to have more clarity and connection with your readers.
4 Ways to Define Your Audience:
1. Think about demographics
Things like age, sex, education, interests, career, level of technical skill with computers and social media, etc. This is not to limit people but to better serve the audience you have. Not every thing is going to appeal to everyone, we all have different tastes and different life experience. For example, I feel my target audience is people like me. I am not a guru or an expert. We’re travelers on this journey together. I try to share what I discover on my journey to help others on theirs. Although I may have many types of readers, I imagine my target reader as: a writer later in life or as a second career, someone discovering social media and looking to learn and connect with others, and people who can connect with the foibles of life, have a chuckle and say “Yep, I did that, too. I’m glad I’m not the only one.” Picture your specific reader and write like you’re having a conversation with them.
2. Discover your quality quotient
Your reader is your ‘customer’. Give good customer service by offering content that is of value, whether it’s educational, informational or entertainment. Don’t talk over your audience’s heads but don’t dumb it down either. Trust your readers’ intelligence. The Bookshelf Muse says “Blogging is all about adding value. People come to your blog for something – it’s your job to know what and provide it. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask what you would like to see.” Read the entire post “Blogging Tip: Know Your Audience”.
3. Travel in potential audience circles
For example, if you are a historical fiction writer who writes a blog about historical topics, seek out Twitter hashtags on historical fiction, join historical fiction groups on Facebook and GoodReads and visit other historical fiction blogs. See what people are talking about. Are they talking about subjects you talk about on your blog? Be friendly and meet those in your target audience. Invite them back home (your blog) for coffee and conversation (quality content). Avoid being spammy and badgering people.
4. Write a tagline that sums up your blog
A tagline is a short phrase, usually after the title of your blog that gives the reader an idea of what your blog is about or hopes to offer the reader. This will help you focus your content, which helps your readers know what to expect from you. Judy Dunn compares blog taglines to movie taglines and gives one of the best definitions I’ve heard of a good tagline: “Your tagline is your blog’s main message. If you have one it usually goes right below the blog’s name in your header. It is your goal, your promise, your brand. It should tell your visitors instantly what your blog is all about. Because they are click-happy and unless they can see some value in sticking around, they are outta there.” Read ‘How To Write Your Blog’s Tagline‘ (It’s such a good post I’m rethinking my tagline!) Need more help to define your audience? Read these great posts:
- 5 Surprising Secrets You Must Know About Your Blogging Audience from Martha Giffen
- Who Are You Writing For? Define Your Audience First at Better Writing Habits
- 4 Ways To Better Understand Your Blog Audience