Know your Audience
20 January 2016 | 6:10 pm

 

“This is the second of a series of three articles on qualitative audience research”

In writing and blogging for that matter, knowing your audience is the key to delivering your content efficiently and ensuring returning visitors! You can choose to write about what you like and with time build an audience of like-minded readers or target your audience by writing content they are searching for.

Firstly let’s define what a blog is.

A blog is a truncated word derived from weblog. The term was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999. This caused a snowball effect leading to the worldwide adoption of the term blog. The emergence and growth of blogs in the late 1990s coincided with the advent of web publishing tools that facilitated the posting of content by non-technical users. (Previously, a knowledge of such technologies as HTML and FTP had been required to publish content on the Web.)

Blogs come in multiple forms, ranging from microblogs to aggregated and corporate blogs but one thing is true for all:

Content-is-king

Content is King!

This axiom encompasses all. Today’s currency is  information and the ability to inform efficiently is what makes readers return, which makes your blog more successful witch will bring more readers and so on. But, in order for this to happen, you need to ask yourself a series of questions:

     1. Who am I writing this for?

When writing emails the answer may be obvious but when writing advertising copy or a blog article, the answer is not so clear. When designing a blog, your aim is to make your audience feel comfortable and focus on their interests.

     2. How much content do they consume about my topics?

If your audience wants multiple posts a day, you may choose a different blog layout than someone who posts twice weekly. A perfect example would be a deal blogger whose readers expect to know about the latest sales and coupons

     3. What answers are they seeking?

Your audience’s content preferences can help you decide how often to write about a certain topic. You can also build a popular topic into your blog design. If your audience likes your video tutorials, you might design a blog page just for those. If your audience wants basics about sewing, create a sidebar image that links to a page dedicated to sewing for beginners.

     4. What platforms or communities they belong to?

 If your audience heavily uses Pinterest, you want the functionality in your blog design to be Pinterest-friendly. That means good image titles and easily visible PinIt buttons. If they are big Twitter users, you might consider a widget that shows your latest tweets.

     5. What are my demographics? 

If your audience is mostly males in their 20s, your site design should look a lot different than a blog whose audience is women in their 50s. While you can assume you know your audience, you might be surprised by the results.

     6. Are they reading from a phone or a desktop? 

Do your readers have smart phones, tablets, or the latest gadgets? Or do they use their computers just for web surfing and e-mail? If most of your readers aren’t bloggers, maybe you don’t need the CommentLuv plug-in that automatically pulls that commenter’s latest blog post. It might be confusing and inhibit someone from leaving a comment.

If your blog readers are heavy smartphone users, they’ll appreciate a mobile version of your site or even a special mobile phone app.

Resist the urge to think that your blog is for anyone and everyone. Without a target audience, you water down your writing and make it harder to have a successful blog.

 

“Previous article: Understanding Digital Behaviors

 

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