Note – This is a continuation to the last post where we discussed about Buyer Personas.
Just go out there and publish a post every week..
Isn’t that the advice you generally get, when you are just starting to blog?
It isn’t a wrong advice but can you just go out there and publish a post without knowing who your audience is?
In fact, this is a mistake a lot of us do, I am no different.
When I started off blogging, that is just what I did.
But over a period of time, I realized that I was missing the connect with my audience.
Because I wasn’t really writing for my audience.
In fact, I didn’t know my audience and so I was writing for some general audience. This wasn’t really something my audience was expecting.
So, I lost that confidence and connect with my audience over a period of time. And I could see this in the decreasing email open rates and decreasing readership for the blog.
After having spent a few weeks and after I put together a reader profile, my posts were extremely targeted and gradually the response rate started going up.
But, the big question here is, how do I know who my audience is, when I am just starting off?
It’s an absolutely valid question.
And I am sure, that a lot of you guys starting off out there would have this question..
So, in this episode, I am going to tell you about 3 simple steps in which you can create a reader profile for your blog.
How to Create a Reader Profile in 3 Easy Steps
We will keep the entire process of creating a reader profile absolutely simple. That’s a promise. But keep in mind that “Simple things are at times the most difficult and the easiest to ignore”.
So, you’ll need to promise that you will implement every single one of these steps.
So, Let’s start out.
Research your competitors
Your competitors are your biggest source of information and what you can learn from them is extremely valuable.
We tend to often ignore them, just because they are our competitors.
That’s one mindset that you need to change. Some of the best things (I mean in terms of returns) I have implemented, are things I learnt from my competitors.
So, what exactly do I mean when I say “competitors”?
Competitors are the blogs that are operating in the same niche as yours and are targeting the same audience as yours.
At this point, there could be 2 obvious questions
- What if I don’t have any competitors? – Then you are in the wrong niche. If there is no competitor, then it esentially means that the niche is not something you would want to get in because it is very likely that there isn’t an audience in the niche.
- How do I know if they are my competitors? – Just browse through their blog and check if the content they are publishing is something you too are planning to publish. That would mean that they are your competitors.
Now that both of these obvious questions have been answered, let us look at the not so obvious question.
Where do I find my competitors?
This is something that we will be discussing in this first step.
There are a ton of blog aggregators out there and it is one of the best points to start off.
I would recommend Alltop as the go-to point because they are probably the best aggregator around. The blogs are grouped according to topics, so it is easy to find blogs in the same nice as yours.
There are a few others sites, which too are extremely good resources to find competitors in your niche –
Blogarama – They call themselves the oldest blog directory and so far as I know, it is true. They have been around since ages now and at least I have seen them since the time I started blogging in 2006.
They too aggregate content based on topics, so it is easy to find blogs in your niche. But the website isn’t maintained as well as it should be and I have come across some minor issues while browsing through it.
There are other directories like BlogCatalog and Blog Engage. While Blog Catalog isn’t updated for quite some time and looks like being phased out, Blog Engage continues to provide good collection of blogs categorized based on topics.
Whatever is the directory you prefer, the objective is to note down at least 8-10 blogs in the same niche (topics for the ease of discussion as yours)
Find the demographics for your Competitors’ Audience
The next step is to find the audience for your competitors. This is a slightly difficult activity but you don’t need to pull your hair off in this.
Remember our promise that we will keep in simple. 🙂
Visit Alexa.com. They provide the best demographics. You can check the demographics for each of the competitor URL you captured in the earlier step and note it down in a notepad.
While the amount of information you get is limited at these sites, primarily because they restrict that information to their pro members, there is still some decent information that you can gather from these sites.
Some of the key demographic information you might want to note down are –
Collect information on Choices and Preferences
It is now time to gather more information about the audience you just mapped, so that you can build out their persona.
These information will primarily be based on –
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- What are the social media channels that they are frequently seen on?
- What websites do they frequently visit?
- What are the blogs that they read?
- Do they have other interests and hobbies and what are they?
- What are their aspirations?
- What are the problems that they face?
Some of these information will be available in Alexa or, Similarweb but that wouldn’t be enough to map out your audience.
Hence you will have to spend some time to gather this information.
The easiest way you can do this is by running a quick survey on Facebook and collate the information based on the response you receive.
I would recommend spending about $15.00 on Facebook ads to put together an ad asking people to take a quick survey and in turn enter them into a giveaway.
There are 2 benefits to it. You will be able to build a small initial list that you can then market to and at the same time gather more information about your audience.
Here is how you can do it –
- Design an ad asking people to take a survey and enter them into a giveaway for an Amazon gift card which is the easiest gift.
- Design a giveaway with the Amazon Gift Card using something like Kingsumo. Kingsumo helps make your giveaway viral and thereby get more audience than what you would be spending for in Facebook ads.
- Design a survey with surveymonkey and put that link out on the ad. Do ensure to include all relevant questions that can gather the required information from your audience. The points that we discussed above should be your guideline.
This way you will be able to gather all required information about your audience.
At the end of the survey page tell the users to visit the Kingsumo giveaway link and enter the giveaway.
It is here that you will be able to capture their email address.
Designing a giveaway with Kingsumo is a very simple process and you should be up and running in less than 10 minutes.
Check out the below screenshot to see a typical Kingsumo giveaway setup.
Now, keep one thing in mind. A lot of people shy away from this last step because there is some money that you need to spend in this last step.
But the fact is that, these few dollars that you spend will save you a lot more dollars in due course. You will be many steps ahead of your competitors and will be marketing to the right audience thereby increasing conversions.
Additional Optional Steps
There are other additional steps you can take like joining relevant Facebook groups and searching them for what people are posting about.
You can search to find out what are the kind of questions people are asking. This will give you an idea of the different kind of problems people are facing.
You can also use a site like Quora.com to research questions that people are frequently asking, problems that people are facing etc.
You can use these questions in your surveys, to see if they are really relevant to your audience. This way you will be able to vet out the information you have gathered.
Final Step – Create Your Reader Profile (Persona)
Once you have all the required information, you should be able to develop a decent persona for your blog readers.
And when you write for these persona, your content will be much more targeted and effective.
You will develop that connect with your audience because they will feel as if the post was written for them.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Here are the resources mentioned in this Episode. Please note that some of these could be affiliate links. (Affiliate Disclaimer here)
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