Having a clear idea of who the ideal reader is for your blog’s content might be just what you need to take your blog up a notch. If your blog is new, I know you might be thinking I’ll take anybody I can get! But hear me out. Read through the whole post, and then decide for yourself if you think the idea has merit. It works for me, and I think it can work for you, too. What’s the secret? I’ve created a Profile of my ideal reader.
In business and marketing, it’s common (although not as common as it should be) to focus marketing and sales efforts on a particular group of people based on demographic information about them. Demographics are data such as a person’s age, sex, region, education level, employment status, marriage status, parent status (kids or no kids), income levels, and so forth. For the internet, we also include the kind of information that our visitor tracking software gives us: operating system, browser, and monitor resolution.
You can’t please everybody
There are many different kinds of people in the world–far too many for you to please everybody. Consider focusing on just one group. This is really the “other side” of having a niche subject matter. You have a niche target audience. It’s easier to make one very specific group of people happy with your blog’s content. How do you do this? By creating a profile of your ideal reader.
Create a profile of your ideal reader
A profile is a fictional dossier of “facts” and traits that represent an ideal. In the case of your blog, this ideal is your ideal reader. The profile is going to be made of all the demographic data I mentioned above, plus the “techno-graphic” data. But there is more. You may also want to consider:
- religious views (or lack thereof)
- political views
- environmental consciousness
- how much of a “do it yourself” person they are
- what kind of learner they are: do they prefer text, audio, video, or interaction?
- what kinds of products or services they’re likely to buy online, if you’re monetizing your blog through ads or affiliate sales
- how they feel about love and romance
How are you going to know all of this? You’re not! What? Here is the secret of how this works: You pick and choose what you want them to be. How can this possibly work? Let me ask you a couple quick questions: have you ever been to a blog that you didn’t “connect” with? Did you stay or did you leave? Probably, you left quickly! Have you ever been to a blog where you feel as though they were speaking right to you? Not only did you stay, you probably subscribed and commented. And you would also be more trusting of them if they recommended products or services.
It was probably a happy accident you came across that blog. But it doesn’t have to be just a happy accident. It could happen because the blog author is deliberately writing content designed to appeal to you.
You want to write up a profile of your ideal reader, and then constantly write to that “person.” The result is that you’re going to attract similar people to your blog. You can even go so far as to give that person a name and a picture! Just find a picture of someone online that fits your image of your ideal reader.
The long tail of people
Doesn’t this mean that a lot of people will not like your blog? Yes! And that, believe it or not, is the point! You don’t want everybody to like your blog, you want the right people to like it. Especially if you’re selling something or monetizing your blog, because that means that the ads or products on your blog are extremely relevant. High relevancy means high click-through rates. This is a variation on the idea of the long tail. Across the whole world, there are probably plenty of people who match your ideal reader. Enough to give you a decent audience.
How to create a profile of your ideal reader
Your challenge is to create a profile of your ideal reader, and then blog just for that “person.” Here’s how:
- Using the demographic and technographic categories listed above, write out the “statistics” and facts about your ideal reader.
- Write out additional information using the second list of views and personality traits.
- Give your ideal reader a name and find a picture that seems typical for the person you just created.
- Study the information until you know it well.
- Write a test post just to this “person” and see how it goes. Did it feel natural and confident? Keep trying until it does, then begin writing to your ideal reader on your blog.
Okay, now I understand that this idea may seem strange and counterintuitive. And it’s a risky strategy, too. But like I said, there’s no way you will appeal to everybody. And the web is nearly as big as the whole world–there are thousands of people who will match your ideal reader profile. All you need is enough of them to make it to your blog so that your writing has a chance to speak to them. But that’s where your normal traffic-generating advice comes in.