Theoretically, starting a blog is a manageable task for anybody. Once registered on a blogging platform, you are just a few clicks away from sharing your first entries. Those looking to operate a professional blog with the goal of making a profit are advised to invest a bit more time and money into their electronic enterprises. Deciding to self-host a blog allows users to exercise greater control...Free blogging service or hosting on your own?
Site visitors and traffic are generally desirable for every blog. But the mark of a truly successful blog isn’t just to attract lots of visitors; it’s to convert this traffic into interested parties, readers, and even fans. After all, when it comes to blog traffic, quality is just as important as quantity. The final part of our blogger series focuses on the target audience. Because only by knowing your target group and tailoring suitable blog topics to their needs can you build a successful blog with a dedicated readership and high viewing figures.
The basis: define the offer
In part 2 of our blogging series, we discussed how to find the right topic for your blog. This is the most important basis, because you have to know your main topic, strengths, and expertise in order to narrow down your target market. You should imagine the nucleus topic as being a kind of offer or service. Just like a craftsman needs to know what he can offer his customers, you need to know as an author what information you offer your readers. The motto is as follows: Know your offer, and – if possible – be an expert in your topic. Without an exact definition of the offer, it’s impossible to define your target market.
Find and analyze your target audience
The purpose of a target group analysis is to gather as much information as possible about the potential reader, which then allows you to tailor all content and even the form of communication to them directly. The formula is simple: The more precisely you define this group, the more accurately you can fit your blog content to your target market’s needs, and so the higher your chances are of achieving a successful blog.
In general, the target group is defined based on the following factors:
- Sociodemographic characteristics like age, marital status, or geographical location
- Socioeconomic characteristics like level of education, occupation, or disposable income
- Psychographic characteristics like attitude, consumer behavior, or method of communication
Much of this data simply isn’t available for bloggers from the outset. And these characteristics often aren’t narrow enough, meaning that it’s possible for you to miss your target market entirely. If you don’t have exact data to help determine your target group, or find the values above too abstract or broad, then the concept of concrete personas can help you learn more about your reader.
In the marketing world, most experts don’t speak about a whole target market anymore. Instead, they refer to personas. These personas (also known as buyer personas) are fictitious characters designed to help marketers direct a variety of marketing measures at their customers or subscribers. If you want to run a successful blog, you should try to aim your content at these fictitious personalities.
Example: fashion blog
Let’s assume we’re running a fashion blog for a target group of ‘single females, aged 18 to 25’. This target market definition is still very broad. A buyer persona for this same blog could be a 19 year old high school graduate, undergoing a training program in industry and with a disposable income of $XY. This person is quite conservative and is online to find ways to dress herself professionally and fashionably at work for a low budget. She spends an average of $XY a month on fashion and cosmetics, her frequently visited fashion stores are A, B, and C. The channels she uses most are Facebook and Instagram. It’s now much clearer to work out how to reach this buyer persona than it was when all we knew was that they were a ‘single female, aged 18 to 25’.
Stay true to the persona
Through as detailed a description as possible, a persona can help you to generate better content and reach potential readers through relevant channels. You should refrain from addressing a really wide target audience, focusing instead on niche groups. In this instance, you should use several individual personas. Once you’ve decided upon your approach, it’s important to stick with the defined personas. Every article, picture, and headline should be aimed at these niche target groups. To discover more about buyer personas and how to implement them, see our article ‘Buyer personas for optimal targeting’.
Find benefits for the target market
Once you know your offer and have defined your buyer personas, it’s necessary to find the benefits for the target audience. Ask yourself: Why would a reader read my blog? What does my blog have that makes it required reading for buyer persona A, B, or C? USPs (unique selling points) aren’t exclusively reserved for products and services; blogs have them as well. What makes your blog unique, why should readers keep coming back?
- Practical tips for daily life
- Solutions in the form of tutorials or step-by-step instructions
- Discussions to address complex issues
- Inspiration through image galleries or videos
- Advice and research with results
- Interviews with other experts
- Background knowledge and know-how
Familiar surroundings and familiar style
Your writing style and approach has to fit to the expectations of your target group if you are to run a successful blog. It’s also important to make sure of continuity and remain true to your chosen style. When readers visit a blog regularly, they expect familiar surroundings and a blogger’s recognizable style. So it’s sensible to form a few ground rules and stick to these for every post.
Often, the topic dictates the style of the blog – but it doesn’t always have to in the classical sense. Finance and insurance, for example, are very dry topics that are typically discussed more neutrally and businesslike. So the USP of a successful blog could be to tackle dry topics like these in laid-back fashion, with humorous anecdotes and a friendly approach. It’s important to make sure you stay true to the style you choose.
Keep a dialogue with the target audience
There are two ways to get to know your target market better and understand what they like. One way is to employ analysis tools to discover which entries are clicked on most often and so are most popular with readers. When analyzing this indirect feedback, remember to consider: It isn’t just the topic of the entry that draws people towards it; optical aspects and the structure and length of the text are relevant too. The second, more direct method to get to know your target group is through dialog. For example, using social media networks like Facebook or Twitter, you can ask your readers which articles they enjoyed the most and which topics they’d like you to tackle next. Social networks are a great place to learn more about the desires of the reader and to find out what they want to read, what interests them, and what moves them. You can quickly and easily link your blog with social media channels, creating the ideal platform for an open dialog with your readers.