It’s approaching the holidays, and many of us are looking for extra ways to boost the income from our blog. Over the next ten days I’m going to share posts on how I’m boosting my blogging income. Care to join me?
Day One – Appraisal – where are you?
This post is a quick assessment or appraisal of where you are at with your blogging – we’ll start by revisiting the basics
Blogging for Your Target Market
Have you ever read a blog post and thought, wow, the writer totally gets me. This blogger knows the secrets of my soul, she’s answered the questions that I’ve pondered upon and now I’ll subscribe as I want to know more…
Knowing your reader or your prospect inside out is the key to a successful blog.
It’s easy to forgot that you don’t write what you want or for yourself, that you write your content exclusively for your prospect. We’ve all done it, you are not alone. From time to time we’ve chosen to write about our favourite TV program over what our readers really want. In order to write the type of content that appeals to them you have to know their likes, interests, concerns (what keeps them awake at night) and other details that enable you to build a profile of them.
Let’s be honest with each other here if you’re not getting the level of engagement that you want out of your blog, it might be time to reassess your target market and make a few tweaks to your content until you make the connection.
When you have been blogging for over 6 months, it’s easy to veer off track, you’ve lost some of that initial enthusiasm. You can get back on track fast enough by making sure you are blogging for your target market.
Why Target Market Matters
Understanding your target market and why it matter is important for two reasons. One is that a good blog builds relationships. Blogs are a form of social media (and often the home base of all your social media activity) and you want your readers to feel connected to you. If you look at any blog with comments, shares, and other signs of engagement, you’ll see that the writer has a strong bond with their audience.
The second reason is that when you start monetizing your blog, this deep connection will help you select the right offers. You need to understand at an instinctive level what your readers want before you can offer the products or services they need. Furthermore, when you have a strong connection to your readers, your recommendations to them won’t look like selling and creating desire for your own products will be come much easier.
How to Reassess Your Marketplace
I’ve lost count of the times that Linda Mattacks has sat down with me and reassessed our marketplaces. At first I found it painful; I didn’t like to be wrong, and I didn’t like admitting I’d targeted the wrong market. It’s one of those pitfalls of working for your own business – you don’t have a marketing department to give you this information.
There are a few easy ways to reassess your market. One is to look at your feedback. There is more to feedback than comments and emails. Feedback includes everything a visitor does (or doesn’t do) on your blog. If there’s little reader activity this means you’re not engaging them. If your analytics tell you that people are hitting your site and then bouncing off immediately, this means you’re not speaking to them in their language, you are not capturing their attention.
The writer Suzan St Maur often says that a blogger’s second paragraph is stronger than their first, and if that’s the case delete that first paragraph. If that opening sentence doesn’t make you want to read the next sentence and then the one after, and the one after, then deleting it is the best option.
Lack of engagement could indicate that your blog has quality issues, your content could be all froth and no substance. Your reader has thousands of blog posts competing for their attention – light content just won’t cut it. You may think you are offering value but if there is no meat to your post, if there is nothing to captivate your reader, then you are in trouble. Lack of engagement could also tell you that you’re offering the wrong kind of content for your market. 63% of people love visuals, that means 37% are happy to read posts – work out what your ideal reader prefers and provide it.
Another common blogging problem is that you may be casting your net too wide. Blogs that try to please everyone rarely do and hardly ever achieve the same level of engagement as those that are laser-targeted to a specific audience. You may focus on a broad niche but each post must talk directly to one segment of that niche.
Your Target Market Profile
In order to reach their audience effectively, marketers create a target market profile. This is a specific description of the individual that they are targeting. You should do this as well, create a profile of your perfect reader. Include demographic information, likes and dislikes, feelings, concerns, and anything else you need to know about them. See the orange box at the bottom, by sharing this post you’ll be able to download a worksheet to help you with this.
When you choose topics, write with this single person in mind. When you write for a specific audience, they feel that they belong there on your blog. When you’re target is too broad, your readers won’t feel any connection to you or your other readers. A laser-targeted blog is like an intimate coffee shop. A blog that’s too wide-ranging is like Heathrow airport. From your own experiences where do you feel most comfortable? Which one suits you and your needs best?
Tweaks Are Your Friend
After reassessing your target market, you may feel that tweaks need to be made and change needs to happen. But this is easier said than done, it doesn’t always seem easy or feel comfortable to do.
Many bloggers steer clear from making dramatic changes because they know they’ll lose a portion of their audience. This is a good thing. You’ll keep the readers who you want to keep and lose the ones who were never going to listen or buy from you in the first place.
Reassessment may take a little time, but you’ll build a new audience that’s more in tune with what you’re writing and sharing, and they’ll be engaged and interested in you, your business and your offers. I know what I’d prefer, what about you?