Find The Right Target Audience, And Make Writing Easy
Who is our target audience? It can be easy to believe that we are writing for everyone. The internet makes the entire world our audience.
Well, maybe not.
The best bloggers and content marketing pros learn that it is actually better to target a specific audience with their writing. There are several benefits to this approach.
Less Audience Is A Better Audience
Believe it or not, writing for a few is actually easier than writing for many. Without a target audience it can be difficult to keep our topics and blog post ideas on track. What’s to stop us from writing about cars one day and business another? When we find and understand our target audience, we narrow our focus and make topic selection easier. If our audience is auto mechanics, which topic are you going to choose?
Narrowing our audience instantly makes us more strategic. Audiences have needs and preferences that are unique to them. If we are still targeting auto mechanics not only do we know that we need to write about cars, but specifically fixing them. This could lead us to articles about certain car accessories, repair methods, and insider news that matters to them. Even within a niche subject, there is plenty to write about.
Focusing on an audience will actually make our writing easier. It will also help us grow traffic faster because it will become more ‘viral’ within our niche group of readers. Now is the time to choose our audience wisely.
How To Choose A Target Audience
If we haven’t already selected a target audience, then we may need to do some research to understand who’s already listening to us. While it may not seem obvious, our audience is likely following us for a reason. Is it because of the advice that we give? Is it because they are in a similar situation as we are? Whatever the reason is, we need to learn why it is they stick around:
- Conducting a short survey using Google Docs or SurveyMonkey – These simple tools of the trade have been around for ages, but they still work. We can use them to ask our users why they follow us in the first place, and dig deeper from there.
- Interview a handful of key customers – If we have an already functioning business, we can take some time to interview a few of our key customers. What would they enjoy reading about? What topics are important to them? We might be surprised about what we can learn from them if we simply “get out of the building.”
- Hand-pick a key audience for growth – A more decisive method could include choosing an audience that we want to target for strategic or business reasons. Is there a key customer segment that we are dying to reach?
How To (Really) Understand Our Target Audience
Once you have selected a target audience, we need to learn how to reach them. No matter who our target audience is, we should be able to answer a few simple questions about them.
- What types of things are they interested in?
- What topics do they think about the most?
- What are their common problems that need solving?
- What keeps them up at night?
If we don’t know the answers to these questions, our job should be figuring them out.
Another great way to understand our audience is through some basic research. What other blogs does our audience read? Can we find any similarities? In order to understand our target audience, we must follow along with what they do by following them on Twitter, or reading the same blogs they read. We have to know where they are coming from.
Once of my favorite tools for training new bloggers is through the use of personality profiles. These simple fill-in-the-blank forms force new writers to think about some of the most important aspects of their audience. While some of the questions may seem silly, they can provide vital clues in helping us understand our target audience.
How To Adjust Your Writing For A Target Audience
Once we’ve selected an audience, talked to them, and developed an understanding of who they are and what they want to hear from us, we actually need to apply it to our writing. This goes beyond the topics and categories that we select; it should be embedded directly into the words that we put on the page.
A simple way to do this is to simply imagine that we are writing our post directly to one of the people outlined in our personality profiles. Rather than writing to all auto mechanics, we may now be writing to Bill, the auto mechanic that likes servicing foreign cars.
The benefit of this technique is that it provides a simple way for us to cross-check our writing with our target audience. As humans, we are naturally relational and have instincts in this area. This writing method simply takes advantage of this natural tendency. It’s easy for us, and great for our target audience.
Selecting the right target audience is hard work, and may take us a couple of tries. It is important to stick with it, and realize that with any audience, it may take some time to build traction. There is no harm in reviewing our target audience every few months just to make sure we still agree with our earlier decisions. Also, we should never miss an opportunity to ask our readers a few questions. You never know what we may find out.