Bloggers must walk a delicate tightrope.
On one hand, you started blogging because you had something important to say. Your blog topics must feel relevant to you and tied in to what you care about the most. Otherwise, you won’t want to keep writing.
On the other hand, you want your blog to connect with an audience -if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be sharing your writing with the world. And if you want that connection, you need to write content that your audience craves.
So…how do you do both?
1. Get clear on your values and your superpowers.
First, look inward.
What do you care about?
This is something that’s woven through your life like a vibrant thread. You can look back and see it stitched into all different parts of your life.
Ask these questions:
- What do people always come to me for that I also love helping them with?
- What can I do for hours and not even notice the time passing?
- What commonality ties together some of my best memories?
- What would I stay up until the wee hours of the night doing?
- If someone introduced you with, This is my friend. She’s amazing at _____, what would go in the blank?
Write what comes up and DO NOT judge it. Do not let yourself think, Yeah, but everyone is good at that. or Yeah, but that’s not a good idea to focus on. Or, Yeah, but everyone is writing about that.
Or, think those thoughts. And then let them go. Because they aren’t true.
Half the battle is figuring out what you have to offer, and the other half is feeling that you’re worthy to offer it.
2. Define your audience.
Your audience isn’t everyone.
Your audience isn’t even 50% of the population. (Sorry if you are thinking, My audience is women.)
Your audience are just the people that you would absolutely LOVE to hang out with.
If you’re still not convinced, think about your high school cafeteria. (If you’re thinking, Aww, really, do I have to? I totally get it.)
How many of the people in that cafeteria would you want to hang out with? Probably not that many.Think of your blog as your table at the cafeteria. Who do you want to sit with you?Click To Tweet
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re not going to be hanging out with your audience; that they’re just going to be reading your blog. Because to create content your audience truly loves, you need to get to know them as well as your BFF. And that means you’ll be spending a LOT of time with them.
So imagine the people you want sitting at your table now (because let’s be real, you might not want to sit with the same people you sat with in high school).
Here are some audience-defining questions for you:
Imagine you’re going out for a drink with your audience member.
- What kind of place does she suggest you go to?
- What is she wearing when she meets you?
- What is she drinking? Eating?
- What kind of jokes does she crack?
- What is she obsessing about right now?
- What does she ask you for help with?
- When you offer help, what is her reaction?
- What is she going to do when she leaves?
- What are her weekend plans?
Get as clear as you can about who she is and what she cares about.
3. Get to know your audience.
Once you’ve defined your audience as clearly as you can, it’s time to get to know them and see what they want to read about.
Here’s the process I recommend for learning deeply about your audience:
- Survey them.
- Interview them.
- Find meaningful themes in their responses.
A few tips as you go through this process:
1. Make sure to only survey/interview people who are truly in your ideal audience.
If you let anyone take your survey, you will end up with results that don’t reflect what your audience actually wants to read about.
Also, if you give your survey to people you wouldn’t want to hang out with, you will feel like you have to start creating content you also wouldn’t be that excited about. Don’t fall into that trap.
2. The purpose of this process is to get to know your audience well.
Ask them open ended questions. Don’t give them multiple choice questions.
Asking multiple choice questions where you have preselected the answers is like asking a friend if they like you better in the red dress or the black one. It’s still about you, not them.
So frame your questions in a way that gets them to open up about what they care about.
3. Actually interview them.
Yes, I know the survey is easier. And less scary. But the only way to get to know your audience members is to talk to them. You wouldn’t email your BFF a survey to ask for her in-depth opinion on something, so don’t stop there with your audience, either.
4. Create a content plan based on what you’ve learned about yourself and your audience.
Now that you know what you care about, who is in your audience, and what they care about, it’s time to create a content plan.
Please, please, (for the love of all that is good in the world), do not base your content plan on posts that you think people want to read but that you’re not that excited about.
Take your survey results and your notes from your interviews, and then pull out common themes and struggles. Break them down and identify how you can help your readers accomplish small wins in the different areas.
Audience: Busy moms of young kids who want to get fit and love the outdoors.
Common theme: Wanting to get outside and exercise regularly but not having the time to do it.
Possible blog post ideas:
- How to work out with your kids without them driving you crazy.
- How to fit exercise in when you have no time.
- Why taking time to exercise isn’t selfish – it’s a gift to your family.
5. Write irresistible content.
Write your blog posts.
Add drool-worthy blog graphics.
Format your posts so that they are super-readable by busy people. (Because we’re all busy when we’re online.)
Want more on how to do this? Check out The Blog Makeover.
To recap, to write content both you and your audience love…
- Know yourself
- Identify your audience
- Get to know your audience as well as you know your BFF
- Create a content plan
- Write irresistible blog posts
What do you do to get to know your audience better? Share in the comments below.