When you’re researching how to monetize your blog, one of the big pieces of advice that’s shouted at you through a megaphone is the importance of identifying a target audience.
All of the experts will assure you that finding your target audience is one of those important early steps you need to think about if you want to have online success.
And, tempting as it is to ignore, it makes sense. Did you know that on any day, the average American is exposed to anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages that are all calling for their attention? Yikes. Most people don’t want to see these ads and most of these ads are random messages that are in no way relevant to the person exposed to them.
Intro To Identifying A Target Audience
If you want to have a shot at standing out in this virtual bombardment, you need to actively work at attracting the attention of a select group of people. Only by really speaking to a well-defined audience do you have a chance of standing out. In fact, it is targeted messaging that will make your audience choose you over your competition.
You should have the right expectations, though: identifying your target audience will not necessarily result in more traffic. Instead, tailoring your content to your audience will help them connect with you and your brand. As a result, they are more likely to trust you and to eventually buy from you. In other words, the better you know who you’re writing for, the more likely your audience is to turn into clients.
Defining your audience is not just a matter of envisioning a person, though. Although some creativity will be required on your end, it is primarily a matter of looking at both your current and future content. You actually have a lot of data available to sift through.
In this blog post, let’s take a dive into how you can find your target audience and how you can use that knowledge to boost conversions. Let’s look at 5 steps you can take to ultimately define your target persona. Armed with this knowledge, you can create killer content that will ultimately lead to a loyal audience.
A Simplified Approach To Identifying A Target Audience
There are all kinds of equations, prompts and exercises that you’ll see suggested online, but a common-sense approach to identifying a target audience can will wonders.
Step 1: Start With Your Current Content
This may sound counter-intuitive, but even though your ideal client is fictional, you cannot just make someone up. The first step is to look at your current content or, if you’re thinking of starting a business, your future content. If you already have a blog or business, your current content will determine who this is for.
Paradoxically, you can find who to write for by looking at who you’ve already written for. Take a look at your current content and ask yourself who would benefit most from what I already have? That should give you a very clear idea of where to start.
The same holds true for anyone who hasn’t started yet. Think about what you see yourself generating content about. Then ask yourself the same question: who will be most likely to benefit from what I share?
Try to fill out the blanks in the following statement and be as concise as you possibly can:
With my content, I help __________(target group) succeed with _______(task).
You are likely to come up with someone who is trying to accomplish something, which leads us nicely into the next step.
Step 2: Identify Goals That Your Target Audience Might Have
According to Forbes, people tend to connect to brands on an emotional level. They like brands that share their dreams, ambitions and values. In order to convert a stranger into a client, you have to give them the feeling that you *get* them.
So, let’s dive a little deeper into the people who might benefit from your content. Now that you have someone in mind who would benefit, think about their end goal. Imagine the journey they’re on; what are they trying to accomplish?
In other words, what does success look like for them?
The benefit of this step is fairly straightforward. Understanding what your audience is trying to achieve enables you to create resources that they need. If you know where your audience is trying to get to, you can generate content that will be extremely useful to them in all the different stages of their journey.
For example, Writing From Nowhere caters to anyone who dreams of escaping the rat race. Whether you’re still at your cubicle dreaming of the freedom that an online business could bring or you have this idea but you’re not sure what to do with it, Writing From Nowhere has your back! Here, you will find all kinds of helpful advice and inspiration in order to successfully launch an online business.
By providing your people with content that is relevant, you create an audience that returns to your brand again and again.
Step 3: Identify Pain Points They Might Have
Understanding where your audience is trying to get to is vital. Besides inspiring you to create relevant content, understanding their journey also enables you to identify, and provide solutions to, potential problems your audience might experience along the way.
People normally interact with blogs because they’re looking for the solution to a problem they have. That is why post formats such as how-tos and step-by-step guides etc continue to get so much traffic. As bloggers, understanding the journey your audience is on presents an opportunity to show our expertise and thereby our trustworthiness.
Just imagine receiving a sales pitch from a brand you have seen but not necessarily interacted with. Would you buy their product? Probably not, right? Now imagine receiving a sales pitch from someone you have been following for a while.
In the past, you have used some of their tips and you have seen tangible improvements. You may even have attended one of their webinars. I think it is safe to assume that when they pitch their services to you, the least you will do is hear them out and listen to what they have to offer.
Simply put, people buy from people that they know, like and trust. Of these three, trust is especially important. This is why no one pays for a service without checking the testimonials, or buys a bamboo toilet brush without checking the Amazon reviews.
Once you have an idea of what your target audience is trying to accomplish, you can anticipate some of the pain points they encounter. By providing solutions to these problems, you present your brand as the go-to place for anyone who is on that journey.
Step 4: Learn About Your Current Audience
You might be surprised by who your current audience is. Since most bloggers are women and I write a lot about blogging, I always thought Writing From Nowhere would attract primarily women. Imagine my surprise when I found out that just over 50% of my audience is male. Cheers to you guys! I never pictured men reading this website.
When it comes to analyzing your existing audience, Google Analytics is your friend. Through it, you can find out the make-up of your current audience.
That’s a bit, isn’t it? Besides learning some basic stuff like their location and demographics, Google Analytics also shows you some unexpected details, for example, what your audience’s primary interests are.
These interests come in super handy when it comes to tone and branding in general. You can use it to speak to your audience even more. For example, let’s say your audience consists mainly of millennials. Some quick research might show that they tend to be more interested in sustainability than the other generations. By stressing that specific angle a bit more, you can make your content stand out a little more. Likewise, if it turns out your audience is interested in travel, you can tailor your content by using dreamy images of exotic locations. You have all this information at your fingertips, why not use it?
Step 5: Develop A Target Persona
Understanding your audience’s demographic make-up alone is not enough to stand out from your competition. If you really want to turn your audience into clients, you have to speak to them on a personal level. Envisioning your ideal client as an actual person will help tremendously with this. So far, we have been discussing your target audience demographic. This ends now.
Finally, we can do the thing we have been waiting for. We can flesh out the rest of the characteristics that define our target persona, or in other words, our ideal client.
You should now have a clear idea of your target demographic. After all, Google Analytics has provided you with insight into your current audience and you have spent some time coming up with their goals and pain points. You should have an idea of age, location, and gender, etc. Now, let’s look at some additional characteristics that define
What does this person like or dislike? It may sound silly to think about this but hear me out. Think of the process of identifying your target persona as if you’re trying to buy a perfect present for someone. The more you know about the person, the more likely you are to come up with a gift that they really like.
What are their favorite channels and how do they consume information? This one determines the best way to reach your target persona. They might prefer blogs over social media which makes running a blog the way to go. Maybe they are into social media and therefore the best way to reach them might be through Instagram or Facebook.
What is their level of education? This one makes a big difference in the form of content that you create. For example, do they like to read long, in-depth articles or are they more interested in short, pointy articles with a lot of images and video? Are they familiar with some of the lingo that is used in your niche?
What are some of the frustrations your target persona has to deal with on a daily basis? We have spent some time on the obstacles on the road to success but there is more. There are also daily problems that are only relevant to your target persona. Think about basic things like time management, budget restrictions or lack of organization.
Coming up with a detailed description of your ideal client is essential. It will help you write content that is specific to their situation and that has the highest chance of converting them into actual customers.
Final Thoughts On Identifying a Target Audience
When it comes to identifying a target audience, don’t rely on your imagination alone. Use the data that is available to you to get a clear picture of who wants to connect with your brand.
So, do you have a clear idea of who your content is for? I hope you do after following these steps!
As always, I am here at Writing From Nowhere rooting for you,