Imagine that you’re a grief counselor and a support group asks you to speak to a group of people who have recently lost loved ones. You don’t have much experience with public speaking, so you read a few books and brush up on your skills.
On the day of the speech, you stand up in front of your audience and start with a joke to warm up the room. Your audience stares back at you, horrified, instead of responding with the anticipated laughter.
What went wrong? In short: You didn’t get to know your audience before you wrote and delivered your speech. This same problem can plague your blog.
1. Meet Them In Their Element
Speakers frequently meet the audience before they step foot on stage. They greet them at the door or mingle with them in the common areas before the event.
As a blogger, find out where your ideal audience hangs out online. Maybe they frequent message boards or subscribe to popular blogs. Find their hang-out spots on the Internet and spend some time in their element. Listen to what they say and which questions they ask.
2. Follow Them On Social Media
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and others provide excellent resource material for bloggers. Use keywords (words or phrases) associated with your blog to find people who are interested in the things you want to discuss on your blog.
For example, if you write a blog about dog training, you might search for new dog owners or other dog trainers on social media. Follow their profiles and pay attention to what they post.
3. Ask Them What They Think
Social media also proves useful before your blog gains an audience of its own. Since you might not receive feedback in the comments section of your blog right away, connect with people on social media through questions.
Ask them what they think about germane issues or topics. In the dog training blog example, you might ask questions like “Which high-profile dog trainers have worked for your pets?” or “What breed of dog do you own?”
4. Measure Their Responses To Posts
As you build your blog, pay attention to the posts that attract the most attention. Which receive the most comments? Which get Tweeted or Facebooked by readers?
This tells you what your audience cares about. Just as a speaker must pay attention to the feedback he or she receives from audiences at different events, you must consider the response you receive to the articles or essays you post.
5. Identify Their Perceptions
Think about the audience you want to attract, then identify the ways in which they perceive the world. For example, an expert dog trainer views the industry differently than a first-time dog owner who just wants his or her Golden retriever to stop tearing up the furniture.
In the first example, the audience consists of industry professional; in the second, it’s comprised of amateurs. Blog posts written for the first camp will differ significantly from those written for the second.
6. Guess Their Ages
A blog post written for an octogenarian retiree will read much differently than one written for a recent college grad. You can’t know the ages of every member of your audience, but pick a target age range based on your blog’s topic and content.
For example, of the top blogs in existence today, the average reader age is 41, according to Pingdom. However, your readers might be much older or younger depending on what you post.
Defining your blog audience is essential for promoting and growing your blog, but you can’t tackle those issues until you get your own blog. Start a risk-free trial with BlogPress to put these tips to good use.