If you’re a beginner blogger, chances are you’ve heard the term “target audience” thrown around when researching this exciting field. Defining it is the first step in setting up a blog, because the answer to the question “Who is my target readers?” helps you to create content that resonates.
And you know very well that creation of effective content is one of the most important goals for your new blog.
Think about your ideal readers. Who are the individuals you need as readers to achieve your goal as a blogger? What do they do? What interests do they have?
By knowing who your target audience is, you’ll increase the chance that you engage them more effectively through better content.
On the other hand, lacking the knowledge about people who will find its content useful will have you targeting abstract people.
To prevent that, here are 3 tips for you to ensure that your blog targets specific readers from the very beginning and you have all the chances to convert them into loyal customers.
1. Define the Goal of Your Blog
To give yourself a clearer vision of your ideal readers, you must also determine the goal of your blog. For example, many bloggers select a combination of the following goals to justify their effort:
- Become an industry/niche expert
- Generate interest around something
- Build trust
- Raise awareness of something or someone
- Increase website traffic
- Sell products or services.
Selecting one or multiple goals like the ones above allows to make subtle decisions as you build a long-term content strategy for your blog.
For example, if you want to become an industry expert, you’ll write about the latest developments in that industry and give predictions about the future. On the other hand, if your goal is to sell products and services, you’ll focus on addressing the pain points of your target audience. And so on.
Here are a couple of examples of blogs displaying their goals (or at least some version of them) as headlines on the homepage. They play the role of a promise to their readers.
The Wine Wankers Blog (this one adds a little bit of humor)
Goal of this blog: provide wine reviews and news and promote other wine brands.
Natalie MacLean blog (a simple statement of the goal)
Natalie MacLean’s blog’s goal: she seeks to establish her image as the voice of the industry and sell her services such as wine courses.
2. Create Content Persona
A content persona is a tool for describing your ideal reader using a specific set of information that’s extremely important to the success of your blog.
For example, according to the 2016 Benchmark Study by Cintell, 71 percent of companies “who exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas.
Source: 2016 Benchmark Study, Cintell
Bloggers and content marketers create content personas to ensure that they can reach their readers on a personal level and help them to meet specific needs, such as helpful information to achieve their professional and personal goals.
In other words, a content persona will help you to ensure that your writing has a super-focused message.
In addition to defining who the target reader is, a well-researched content persona for your blog will also help you to identify:
- What information your readers are often looking for online
- The sources they are using to find that information
- What issues prevent them from achieving their professional and/or personal goals
- What challenges they face on a daily basis
- Their short- and long-term professional and personal goals
- How they typically research information you’re providing or products/services you’re selling
- Why and how your blog is uniquely positioned to benefit them.
To create a content persona for your blog, you’ll have to identify the following points (they depend on your blog and can be added by more points):
- Demographics: age, gender
- Location: city, state, urban, rural etc.
- Profession, income
- Marital status, children (if any)
- Interests and activities they like to do in their free time
- Their favorite online sources of information
- Problems they face that you can help to solve.
For example, here’s an example of a content persona created according to the points above for a cooking blog:
- Sylvia, a 32-year-old woman
- Lives in a city in North Carolina
- Sylvia is a stay-at-home mom
- Sylvia has two children
- Sylvia loves cooking and often looks for recipes online
- Their favorite online sources of information include social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest
- Your cooking blog can become Sylvia’s go-to source of information such as recipes, news, tutorials, and information related to cooking.
When your blog generates some appreciable traffic, it’s time to automate the task of identifying blog demographics. A perfect tool for that is good old Google Analytics. It allows to keep track of your blog analytics without spending a penny out of your pocket, which is important if you’re a beginner blogger.
To get valuable audience insights using Google Analytics, login to your account, click on Account, then select the website that you’ve connected for analysis, next click on Audience and find the needed details under Demographics tab. There, you’ll discover such information as language, location, browser used, devices used to access your blog, and more.
Feel free to use this data to update your content persona.
3. Get Content Ideas
Having a content persona, however, doesn’t mean that your research of the target audience is completed. The next step is to research more pain points of your ideal readers to get some specific ideas for blog topics.
The sources of such information depend on your niche but often include authoritative websites in your industry or niche, Facebook groups, competitor bloggers, review sites like Yelp, top essay writing services, and question-and-answer websites like Quora.
Another good way to find good ideas for your new blog is to use free content discovery tools. For example, BuzzSumo is one of the most widely used ones. It allows to locate the best-performing content on the Internet using the keywords pertaining to your blog’s goal.
For example, let’s suppose you’re running a cooking blog for vegans. You’re typing “easy vegan recipes” in BuzzSumo and here are the results.
As you can see, you can get some pretty good ideas and inspire yourself to write on similar topics.
Don’t be lazy to do all this research because it can provide you with the precious information you’ll use to build your audience!
The Bottom Line
Researching your target audience is something you absolutely have to do to maximize the chance that your blog will be popular. Hopefully this article provided you with some valuable insights into this process and inspired you to go out there and do your homework as a beginner blogger.
Remember, people will become your loyal readers only when they feel like you’re speaking to them and their problems, so the more you know about them, the better!
Steven is an experienced blogger who is passionate about sharing his expertise with beginner bloggers and help them build audiences. His portfolio includes numerous well-researched and personality-packed guides on different topics related to blogging. Steven currently works as an editor at Grabmyessay and Topessaywriting but frequently contributes to websites that offer blogging and writing advice.