Content is king, but engagement is queen and the lady rules the house.
Imagine you are the chef of a restaurant. What will you put on your menu if you don’t know who your guests are and what their favorite dishes are? Blogging is also similar to running a restaurant. All the delicious blog posts you cook up will go to waste if they don’t relate to your audience preferences.
Every blogger, be it on an enterprise level or an individual level needs to understand their blog audience in the right hand. The benefits are obvious. Better engagement with the audience which leads to repeat visits and perhaps more revenue creation through ad monetization facilities like Google AdSense.
So, how does one understand blog audience? Be informed that there is no shortcut to. However, it is not a search in the dark either. There are specific ways that help understand your blog audience and make informed content decisions. That forms the theme of today’s blog.
Read further if you want to learn how to understand your blog audience and create blogs that will connect with them.
#1 Create reader personas
Directors create movie characters. Authors create book characters. Bloggers create reader personas. A reader persona is the best and accurate description of who your ideal reader is and their essential traits. A reader persona can be crafted using characteristics like age, topics of interest, location, search patterns, etc.
Do you know what kind of personality traits your audience share? A reader persona can help identify such traits. A reader persona, in short, is a summary of all the common features of your reader, their aspirations, their pain areas and their expectations from your blog.
Remember, although you are writing on the Internet, you are writing for a single person – your reader.
Creating a reader persona for your blog is the first step towards understanding your blog audience. It helps you point out whether your blog will reach out to college students, working professionals, stay at home fathers, expectant mothers, web marketers, or anyone. The reader persona will help narrow down on the type of readers who will read what you publish on your blog.
You can create a reader persona by analyzing:
- What – the reader wants to read on your blog?
- Why – is he/she visiting your blog to read it?
- When – do they most visit your website?
- Where – do they see your posts mostly?
Answering these questions will help you know your readers better and craft content that will make them dwell on your blog for long.
#2 Look into your blog performance
To know what your audience likes and what they dislike, start looking at the metrics of your blog itself. Are there any blogs that went viral? What kind of topic did it cover? Was there anything specific about the writing style, the details involved or the takeaways that made it go viral?
Examine your top blogs from multiple angles like these. It would understand what your customers prefer reading more on your blog.
Also, examine the metric of your blog performance. Which had maximum click-throughs? Which blog had the lead bounce rate? What blogs have the maximum dwell time?
All these metrics can throw light on your top performing blogs. You can replicate similar blogs to attract and engage your blog audience.
To evaluate your blog performance you need Google Analytics. Google Analytics might feel a bit overwhelming for a beginner. Google collects so much of information from its customers and users. The vast amount of data can be staggering to use for a content marketer.
Nevertheless, you can use it to unearth some vital performance indicators about your blogs. It takes away the guesswork in planning future blog topics, zeroing in on blogs that have broken links or errors or handpick blogs that may not be performing at their best.
#3 Conduct surveys and polls
What if you are unable to create elaborate reader personas? Well, then ask them straight away. Conduct surveys and polls asking what topics do they prefer reading the most when do they prefer reading it, what pain areas do they wish to be addressed, and how they wish the blog to be presented.
You can even shoot an email containing the survey form if bringing people to your website and making them take the poll is difficult.
Want to have a specific genre of blog followers? Interview them on their topics of interest and finds out knowledge gaps that your blog can fix. Most often, readers already know what you are writing your blog. But, they need someone to put it in words to feel reassured about their knowledge. If your blog can give that reassurance, your blog will soon be a traffic magnet.
#4 Analyze Facebook Insights
As a blogger, you must be already knowing the importance of social sharing. In today’s millennial generation, rarely do we come across anyone who does not use Facebook or Twitter on a daily basis. So sharing your blogs on social media is a surefire way to maximize blog traffic.
Every published blog gets most of the visits through social sharing. If you have been sharing your blogs consistently, you have a powerful tool in your hands to understand your audience better – Facebook Insights.
Facebook Insights allows you to see the demographic traits of your users as well as what kind of topics they relate to the most. In fact, Facebook even gives detailed analytics like gender composition of your followers, their age distribution among many others. This granular level information of your blog visitors can help create targeted blog posts that will reach well.
This information should help you craft the exact form of content that will resonate with your audience better. You can also replicate the same strategy across all social media handles including Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
The only point of difference is the kind of content being created. In Pinterest, you can create pins of your blog banner image or featured images through which traffic can pour in. You can use Instagram stories or posts with links in bios to bring in traffic. These tactics also help establish a strong brand presence for your blog.
In fact, we suggest exploring the insights and analytic offerings of other social media platforms also. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram all have inbuilt reporting dashboards. You can know a lot about how each of your blog posts is performing in the social space. The response and audience demographics put together must help you understand your blog audience better.
#5 Observe your competitors
If you are trying to do more or less the same thing as your competition, you are very unlikely to succeed. Individuals and businesses can taste success only if they do things differently than their competition. To do things better than the competition you need to do an extensive competitor analysis.
Competitor analysis is inevitable in any form of business including blogging. Competitor analysis helps you gain insights into who your prospective audience is and how they are being engaged by competitors.
While doing competitor analysis be careful not to follow the same strategy that they are following. Craft your own strategy customized to your audience. Innovation and making a difference in content is to key to beating the competition.
For example, if you are running a web security agency, explain the many ways how customers can safeguard themselves from various forms of cybersecurity threats. Explain how individuals and companies can select the best product that can encrypt the information that they are exchanging online. Write blogs in a way that relate and strike a chord with readers. Not just a copy-paste of another blog from your competitor.
Such tailor-made topics should help your audience thus nurturing them as loyal users for a foreseeable future. You can also analyze the top performing content of your clients using tools like BuzzSumo.
#6 Follow the keyword
The Internet runs on search engines. In fact, a lion share of website traffic comes from organic traffic sourced from online searches. And, keywords are the tiny bits of iron that search engines crawl and pick up like magnets. So, following the keyword is a must-have blogging strategy.
If you follow the keyword trends related to your blog’s domain, you are sure to detect patterns in the most common keywords that your blog audience use. You might also stumble upon several common or generic keywords which you have to stay clear of. Focus on the right keywords and your blog has all chances of winning the big traffic numbers.
Google Keywords Planner, Uber Suggest, and several other tools can help you narrow down the exact keywords that your target audience could be using.
Based on the keywords, you can plan for paid campaigns, create blogs infused with keywords that will rank higher in search engines and drive organic traffic. In a way, this is one of the best ways to understand your audience. Nothing better than search phrases can give away most of their pain areas and their wants explicitly.
#7 Read through your blog comments
There is a reason why every blog ever created comes with a commenting system. Readers who feel an urge to voice their opinion or appreciation for the blog must have a space for that. And comments pave the perfect way for that.
If you have not been reading through the comments your blog has been receiving, it is high time you start doing it. Comments showcase the exact opinions and feelings of your readers. There is no better way to understand your blog audience.
Of course, you have to respond to those comments too. Just don’t leave a ‘Thank You’ or ‘Cool’. It may hurt the commenter who took time to write down insights after reading your entire blog. Also, do answer any specific questions or doubts that your audience might forth. After all, getting value is the primary reason why they have come to your blog.
Understanding your blog audience is a tedious process. Each segment of customer would have a separate set of interests, expectations, and preferences. It is not possible to understand them all together. You have to listen as much as you publish your blogs.
One thing you have to remember is that assumptions do not hold any place in the process. Don’t let assumptions and common misconceptions lead you to make wrong decisions. Don’t get trapped into the herd mentality. Do some background search and ensure that all your assumptions are proven right or dispelled as myths.
Do proper research, create reader personas and craft content that resonates with your audience. Don’t forget to find out what kind of keywords your audience uses the most. Well-chosen keywords will help your blog get maximum organic traffic.
And, observe your competitors, but do not copy them. As Jack Ma – the founder of Alibaba says, “You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”
Have you any more tactics that you think will help you understand blog audience better? Sharing is caring. Feel free to share your wisdom with us.
(This is a guest post.)