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6 Steps to Truly Understand Your Audience

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understand your audience

Do you know your target audience well enough?

To really create content that will resonate with your audience — understanding your audience is very crucial.

It gets better when you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and create content with empathy that’s tailored towards improving their lives.

In a recent study, 90% of customers find custom content very useful and according to Custom Content Council — 61% of consumers feel happy with it.

 

 

It’s only when you know your audience that you can engage them with your content, and convert them to happy paying customers.

Here are 6 proven steps you can take to truly understand your target audience.

1.  Conduct exclusive market research

This is by far one of the most important steps to understanding your audience.

Whether you are a small business owner or you run a large firm, it’s very important that you conduct a research before you ever start any marketing campaign.

In a recent research by Responsys, 34% of 2,000 US adults surveyed left a brand because they were receiving irrelevant marketing messages from them.

Oops! What a great lost.

This can only happen when a company ignores market research or fail to do it the right way.

I’m sure you don’t want to have the same experience — that’s why I wrote this article to guide you.

Here are the four simple ways to carry out this research:

1).  Use Google Alerts or Social Mention tool

Google Alerts can be a very vital tool in following trends and people in your niche.

You can set alerts for similar products in your niche, follow updates, check out articles written by your competitors, and also check out the comments by your prospects. As you’re aware, mobile  usage has surpassed that of desktop — so you need to study and understand user’s mobile behaviors as well.

You’ll have insights about topics, events, and people that your ideal customers care about. Researching the long-tail keywords that your target audience is using to search for information about your business/product is equally important. Unfortunately, Google Keyword Planner  might not help you here — I like to use Ferzy Keyword Tool or KeywordTool.io

More so, you can also use Mention or Social Mention tools to monitor content and people from social media, forums and other social channels. Yes, you may have to invest in SEO, PPC, or even native ads to be able to reach your target audience, but it begins with a market research.

These services can help you know when a new research has been published about the specific keyword or phrase you are concerned about.

2).  Interview Your Current Customers

Interviewing your current customers can be a great way to get first-hand information about your ideal customers.

It will not only help your customers, but it will allow you to gather case studies and metrics which are integral factors for building your personal brand and gaining traction online.

3).  Study Your Web Analytics

Your web analytics can help you a great deal.

Are you really making use of the data available to you through your web analytics?

Your web analytics can help you answer the following questions:

  • Where did your website visitors come from?

  • What keyword or phrase did they use to find you?

  • How long did they stay on your website?

  • What content format are the most popular?

  • Where are the locations of your audience?

  • Where do they go from your site?

  • What are the patterns of your visitor’s behavior?

  • Are these patterns giving you information about the position your prospects are on your buyer’s journey?

When you are able to get answers to this questions you’ll begin to get a better understanding of your audience.

4).  Use Professional Social Networks

Use professional social networks like Quora and LinkedIn to uncover what groups your potential customers are and what they’re discussing.

Great, you’re on the right track.

So far, we’ve discussed how you can leverage some of the resources that are available to research your target audience. Now let’s put them together to create a customer persona

2.  Create Your Customer Persona

After gathering all the required information about your customer from your research, you need to now create a fictional customer that exhibits all the characteristics.

No matter what you call it, a customer persona or marketing persona, we’re referring to the same thing.

According to Ardath Albee – “A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.”

I love this definition of buyers persona by Ardath Albee.

Your buyer’s persona can help you provide actionable solutions to the challenges that your audience is facing.

And it should contain core characteristics that answers the following questions:

  • What is the buyer’s role in the company?

  • What type of company does the buyer work for?

  • What level of education has the buyer achieved?

  • What does the buyer like to do for fun?

  • What is the buyer’s gender?

  • What is the buyer’s age?

  • What is the buyer’s household income?

  • How does the buyer define success in the workplace?

  • What are the buyer’s career goals?

Here’s a typical example of how your buyer’s persona should look like:

Source: Single Grain

Once you know all of this, the marketing content you’ll create will be of great value to your target audience — they would feel involved and will stick to your brand.

4.  Monitor Comments And Engagement

As you know, one of the reasons Neil Patel is so successful at blogging is that he interacts with his audience via comments on his posts.

I think he replies almost every comment and in the process, he understands how his audience thinks and will most likely find new content idea during the conversation.

You can also do the same and hopefully, you’ll be able to understand your client well enough.

5.  Look at Your Competitors

Look at successful brands that share similar goals as yours. Look at what they’re doing. Evaluate their content marketing strategy, try to find out what they do differently, find out why they are using some terms consistently.

Truth is, a brand might not fully understand what they’re really doing, but a careful study will reveal to you what works and what doesn’t.

6.  Learn from third-party resources

You can also leverage on the research done by other marketers with respect to your target audience. Study them very well and extract the necessary data.

Learn from case studies and psychological analysis conducted by more advanced marketers in your industry. For example, if you’re a digital marketer you can learn a lot from Moz, Content Marketing Institute, QuickSprout, and other credible digital marketing blogs.

Stay away from assumptions. Why?

Because, often times, your assumptions about your customer could be wrong. Yes, it’s acceptable to make intelligent guesses, however, that shouldn’t inform your decision making process.

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Michael Chibuzor is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder and CEO of Content Marketing Up. If you want to grow your blog, drive targeted traffic and make more money, hire Michael to write for you.

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Do You Need to Make a Huge Blogging Shift?

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Sometimes, you get bogged down with your blogging routine. Routines feel comfortable, right?

But blogging is a feeling game like life is a feeling game. All flows based on your emotions. If you feel really good – first – then you take good feeling blogging actions and over time, with patience and trust, see good feeling blogging results.

Unfortunately, most humans give almost zero thought to their emotions before diving in to a blogging routine. Bloggers believe you need to do something or follow a set routine to succeed, to drive traffic, and to make money. Day after day, year after year, most bloggers follow a routine without giving zero thought to how they are feeling, if they enjoy blogging, if they have fun following the routine, and if they feel detached, patient and trusting in the process.

This is the only reason why as of about 7 years ago, 80% of bloggers never made more than $100 during their blogging careers. If 8 out of 10 humans can not make $100 through blogging over 1, 2, 5 or 10 years, 8 out of 10 bloggers clearly give zero thought to their feelings BEFORE blogging. Feel bad, and you see no money. But those 2 out of 10 bloggers who feel really good make lots of money over the long haul.

Shift

Maybe it is time to make a shift, guys.

2-3 months ago I made one shift. 1 month ago I made an even bigger shift; quite huge, for me. But what I did differently made almost zero difference. How I chose to feel marked the big shift, then, I moved into different blogging actions.

For example, I faced some deep fears, felt the fears, and instantly, after feeling pretty crappy for a short time, I felt better and better. Choosing to face fear, clear it, and feel better, helped me see things clearly. I tired of my blogging schedule, my social sharing groups, blog commenting and heavy cross promotion. In truth, I hated it. I did have some fun with each for a while but the passion long left me. Since how you feel before and while you blog means everything, my mindset-feeling shift told me I’d have so much fun guest posting. So as of about 3-4 weeks ago – maybe less – all I do is guest posting because I have fun guest posting and guest posting comes easily to me.

Making the shift involved facing deep fears of failure, loss and struggle. I had to feel the fear of letting go lifeless activities for me – at the time – to clear out the fear, and properly release these strategies, and to move forward so I could feel good, then, decide what blogging actions would feel fun and easy and enjoyable to me.

All shifts happen emotionally first, by your choice. After feeling some muck and then feeling better, you clearly and intuitively feel through the next fun-feeling, enjoyable step.

What About You?

Do you need to make any shifts with your blogging campaign? Or do you need to make one big, sweeping, all-encompassing shift?

Getting caught up in blogging routines feels comfortable, familiar and safe, sometimes. But do you feel good before you begin the routine? Do you feel good working the routine? Do you feel detached, relaxed, trusting and like you are cared for, and prospering, while following your blogging routine?

Be honest to make a necessary shift. If you love following your routine, cool. Proceed. But most humans are taught – me included – to follow some routine (no matter how you feel) to get something, specifically money, so you can avoid failure, struggle, poverty, going hungry, illness, and embarrassment. This is exactly why most humans work jobs. Follow a routine to get money even if you feel really bad or terrible following the work-routine; aka, even if you hate your job and it feels lifeless, or soul-less.

May be time for a big shift guys.

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Why Comedians Teach You a Powerful Blogging Lesson

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Last night I saw a funny comedian perform in Atlantic City.

Chris Delia charmed the audience with his silly, somewhat absurd, level of humor.

He also explained how comedians need thick skin to become successful. Humor is a very personal, subjective topic. Some people find some comedians hysterical but never laugh at other comedians. As you imagine, bombing feels terrible to most comedians. At least until they develop a thick skin.

I once read how Kevin Hart often waited until 1 AM to work an open mic. Sometimes he waited until 1 AM and the place closed down so he never got the chance to do his set. Imagine how thick-skinned you need to be to not let that bother you? Is it any wonder why he is now worth $150 million? He became immune to criticism, failure and rejection. As a matter of fact, after developing a thick skin, he likely did not see criticism, failure or rejection.

All those evenings of 1 AM sets in front of 1-2 lifeless people or all those nights of being told to go home at 1 AM after waiting for hours to do his act purged the fear of criticism, failure and rejection from his being. Void of these fears, he rose up to being one of the most famous, wealthy and powerful comedians on earth.

Bloggers Need Thick Skin

I once promoted a course to the tune of 8000 page views before I sold one copy. Did I quit promoting the course? No. I developed a thick skin during the process. I did not see 8000 rejections. I only saw meeting and helping more human beings through my blog. Even during moments when I felt like giving up I trusted in myself and believed in the blogging process. Quitting and failure were no options for me. But in the same vein, I needed to be thick skinned to see through criticism, rejection and failure.

I needed to be aware of opportunity amid the appearance of nobody reading my blog. Toss in being patient and persistent in helping folks during my most trying times and you have a pretty thick-skinned individual.

Do Not Care What People Think

Chris Delia shared how he could care less what people thought about him. He dressed down a few hecklers during the show.

Comedians succeed because they care less about what people think of their acts; being heckled, ignored or criticized had nothing to do with their belief in self and their belief in their comedic style.

As a blogger, give no thought to what people think of you. Guess what? You cannot control your reputation. No matter how long and hard you work in life to maintain a positive reputation, you can never physically control what people think of you. I am largely a nice guy 99.99% of the time yet some people genuinely hate me. I cannot control their demons. Plus I know we see the world as we see ourselves so if someone hates themselves I cannot do anything about that self-loathing.

Focus on yourself. Focus on what you think about yourself because this is the only thing that matters. Being comfortable in your own skin aligns you with loving, loyal followers who appreciate you for who you are. Let go everybody else. Critics form an energetic yoke if you care about their thoughts but dissolve into thin air when you could care less about what they think of you.

Bloggers become successful because these few folks who have thick skins shine brightly in a world of thin-skinned bloggers who fear criticism, judgment and rejection. The few who step it up do wonders because we all want a piece of free spirits who march to the beat of their own drum without caring what people think, say or do, in response or reaction to them simply being themselves.

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Do You Have an Exit Plan for Your Blog?

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This past week I ceased sharing posts in blogging tribes.

I finally got it; I joined tribes because I feared unless I shared other blogger content, nobody would read my content. I feared if nobody shared my content, nobody reads my content, and I needed to share other blogger content to effectively influence bloggers and people to share mine. Ouch.

As you can imagine, I put in many long, hard hours working a job, NEEDING to be online to succeed with my blog. Rewind. Working a job. Did you see this phrase? I worked a job. I needed to be online to succeed. Largely, at least. Does that sound like a business owner to you? Does that sound like leveraging? Sure I drive some passive traffic and profits to my blog but being honest, I largely worked a job and had a job for much of my 10 years online, and I did not have a pure business so I could step away from my blog and business for months, at a time. Or, forever.

Exit Plan

I have more of an exit plan now. I have a blogging business. I am writing my tail off to be in as many spots as possible without relying on sharing tribes and other groups that require me to be online, to social share posts, so other people can social share my posts, so I get traffic and profits. I began to think; what am I doing? I mean, if you love joining social sharing tribes, do it. Nice friendship builder. But you need to have some exit plan with your business and need to see how you can step away one day so it is about a 100% passive income machine – or, so you can sell it at a tidy profit – in order for you to be a free entrepreneur, versus a bound employee.

Think Leveraging

I am having so much fun writing blog posts and guest posts daily. Plus it is easy peasy. Every piece of content is forever, unless all these blogs vanish or get closed out by all these bloggers. Fat chance. Plus I can drive to Atlantic City today with my wife and enjoy a show this afternoon into evening and my business will still grow from a heavy passive element. Even though I am online writing this morning, all my blog posts and guest posts serve as a passive promotional army for the Blogging From Paradise blog and brand.

Imagine me trying to social share other blogger posts as I am driving down the Parkway? Not happening.

Networking Rocks

Network. Have fun making friends. Build a rock solid foundation for your blog. But eventually, evolve into someone who leverages your presence so you work a business, not a job. Any strategy 100% dependent on you being online, sharing blogger content so other bloggers share your content and boost your success, is a job, not a business, because you are tied to the online world and have no exit strategy, and a light passive element to your blogging business.

Gradually place less emphasis on networking online. Focus on purely passive elements, like writing more blog posts and guest posts, which last forever. Humans change, quit, fail, change tastes; you never want to be at the mercy of the fickle human beast. Unless all blogs close down, all of those blog posts and guest posts you wrote are pretty much forever.

Focusing a bit more on things – things helping people – helps you leverage your blog and business powerfully so you can make an exit plan and step away from your blogging business for 1, 2 or 3 months. I know bloggers who take vacations for months; everything keeps growing money-wise because they leverage, and are not dependent on people for cash flow, because their system creates the cash flow.

Trust in the process plays a big role too.

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