Recently I published this blog post where I talked about how I turned my hobby blog into a true business. One of the tips I shared was about narrowing down your target blog reader, and many of you had questions! Since this is an area where just about every blogger struggles at one point or another, it’s one I knew I wanted to cover! It’s amazing the transformation your blog traffic can see when you discover your ideal blog reader and learn how to speak directly to them. It’s been a serious game-changer for me! Here are some steps to determine who your ideal blog reader is, determine who your actual blog reader is, and finally, learn to speak your ideal blog reader.
Discovering Your Current Blog Audience
When it comes to figuring out who is already reading your blog, there are a few steps I like to take. The first is to check my analytics on Google, Facebook, and Pinterest. For Google and Facebook, I find out basic information about my readers such as gender, age, and location. Those statistics aren’t too surprising. The bulk of my audience is female, though there are definitely men reading my blog as well! The bulk of my audience is also in the age range of 25-34, with 18-24 following closely behind. This is good news because these are the demographics I’m targeting!
Now that we’ve figured out who our audience is, let’s see if we can discover what they’re into. A great way to do this is through Google Analytics! It’s super easy to pull up your most visited blog posts. Chances are, you’ll notice a trend in that many of those posts are on a similar topic or of a similar style. Those posts are your sweet spot! Another great way to figure out what your audience is interested in is through Pinterest Analytics (you must have a business profile to use this, but it’s free and super easy to set up!) First of all, you can check which pins are getting the most repins, both your own pins and the ones you’ve repinned onto your boards. You can also learn more about your audience by checking out the tab labeled “people you reach”. Here you’ll find more demographic information about your audience. But even more exciting, you’ll be able to see what their interests are, which boards of theirs have a lot of your pins, and which businesses they’re into. You can learn a lot here! I’ve found Pinterest Analytics to be incredibly useful, and check in a few times a year and take a ton of notes. Since the bulk of my audience is coming from Pinterest, I want to make sure my Pinterest profile is as effective as possible.
Finally, let’s talk about what I think is the most effective way to figure out who is reading your blog: a reader survey! I’ve done two reader surveys for my blog and have loved the insight I got from both. The second was even better because I felt like I really had a handle on the best questions to get the information I needed. To see some example questions, you can check out my most recent reader survey here. I already knew the demographics of my readers, but I really wanted to know more. I asked a lot more open-ended questions this time and it worked beautifully because so many people opened up about what they’re struggling with in their lives and what I can help them with! I also discovered which posts my readers love to read (blogging and productivity) and which they could do without (marriage.) Sometimes the results can sting, but it’s important not to take it personally!
Targeting Your Ideal Blog Audience
Alright, so we’ve figured out who is currently reading your blog. And while that might be exactly the type of person you were trying to target, that’s not always the case!
Let’s say you’re a college beauty blogger wanting to target other college students who love beauty. If you write a lot about high-end beauty products, you might be disappointed to learn from the steps above that most of your readers are outside of your target demographic. And you might be confused because you feel like your blog is perfect for college students. But here’s the thing. While you might have the budget for high-end beauty products, your average college student doesn’t. Your average college student is paying for textbooks and ramen noodles and buying their makeup at Target.
It’s a mistake that so many of us make, especially early on in blogging.
When I first started blogging, for at least the first year, I was all over the place. I didn’t know what I wanted my blog to be. I would share an outfit, I would share my daily makeup routine, I would write a post about anxiety and personal development, and then I would write about my weekend. I didn’t have a target audience, I didn’t have a vision, I didn’t have an ultimate goal. Now, I’m not saying you have to choose a niche for your blog. I firmly believe it’s not necessary to niche down super specifically. However, I do think it’s necessary to narrow down your target blog reader, at least if you want to make money with your blog.
When you’re trying to figure out who your target blog reader is, get specific! Are they male or female? How old are they? Are they in college, set in their career, or are full-time homemakers? Are they bloggers? Finally, and most importantly, what are you going to help them with? If you blog about beauty and fashion for college students and want to help your audience feel beautiful about themselves and learn to do gorgeous makeup, it doesn’t benefit your blog to write a blog post about your favorite slow cooker dinner. That’s not what your audience comes to you to learn about, and you’re going to end up pulling in people with that post who don’t care at all about the rest of your blog. And sometimes, that can be a pricey mistake.
For the first year of blogging, I wrote a lot about wedding planning because I was planning my own wedding. That’s what I was excited about that the time. I have a ton of wedding planning posts that drive in a lot of traffic. And I made a pretty extensive lead magnet for my email list that consisted of the ultimate wedding planning checklist. And for a long time after, I still paid for people on my email list who signed up for that list and haven’t opened an email since. Having those people on my email list simply didn’t benefit me because they’re never going to buy what I’m selling, and I eventually ended up purging my list of those who weren’t opening my emails.
Basically, writing content that isn’t focused on your target blog reader is a waste of your time and your money. You might be building up your blog traffic, but it’s useless traffic. Just because you’re attracting an audience doesn’t mean you’re attracting the right audience.
You guys, I know this can be confusing. It’s especially confusing when you do write about a lot of things on your blog (which is totally fine!) Just focus on writing content that is insanely valuable to your target reader. Finding balance can be tricky, especially for lifestyle bloggers. But you know what? There are plenty of “lifestyle” bloggers out there who write about a lot of topics and still have a target reader and still provide insanely valuable content to those readers.
As frustrating as it can be, narrowing down your target reader, and no longer writing for those who aren’t your target reader, will do nothing but benefit your blog and allow you to grow your traffic, grow a more loyal, engaged following, and make more money in the long run!