One of the greatest challenges in running a blog well is making sure that it reaches the right audience and elicits the desired response from them. How do we create content that resonates with our intended audience?
In this month’s Blog Rescue, we take a look at It’s Just Lunch, from blog from a dating service for busy executives. Blog writer Niki Payne tells us that their top issue is they are having trouble connecting with their desired audience of C-suite level professionals.
Today, we want to discuss the 3 key facets of building a blog tailored to your audience.
Get to Know Your Audience
The best friendships are built upon mutual interests and support, shared experiences, and a sense of camaraderie. (tweet this)
The best blogs have the foundation for a great friendship and are engaging to your audience. We don’t jump into friendships assuming we know what our new acquaintances like. We ask them questions. We get to know them.
Similarly, it’s important to get to know your audience. I (Zontee) am particularly passionate about getting to know your target, as I teach a whole graduate course on consumer behavior at the City College of New York (quick shout out to my students!).
In addition to understanding basic demographics of age, geography, income, and education (which you can pull from Google analytics, your social media dashboards, and third party services), you should also spend some time getting to know the psychographics of your intended readers.
In its most simple form, this research can be as basic as speaking to your current clients and understanding why they read your blog (or don’t read it) or how they feel about the topic you want their attention on.
Do research into papers and articles that delve into current hot-button topics for your audience. If you want to go deeper, implement surveys on your website, informal social media polls, or conduct social listening to understand the issues and questions your intended audience may face.
Some organizations find it useful to build personas – fleshed out characters who embody the attributes of each target segment – but truthfully, segmentation done based on behaviors, usage (how the target purchases and uses the product/service), and lifestyle can be beneficial to identify on their own.
Create Content That’s Useful
For It’s Just Lunch, Niki tells us that their desired audience is composed of professionals, presumably both male and female.
We know based on IJL’s website that these are executives who are too busy for dating. Therefore it’s doubtful that they have much time for long blog posts about dating, which is currently much of the content on the IJL blog. Therefore, we recommend that IJL retool its content calendar to pack more of a punch in each post.
Keep it Visual
In order to appeal to these on-the-go masters of the universe, IJL should focus on shorter form content that’s easy to digest. Think about those “listicles” that are popular right now featuring great places to meet new people. Also consider slide shows featuring success stories from former IJL clients. These type of blog posts are great for the CEO on the move.
Furthermore, we’d guess that these same busy individuals are mostly on mobile, it’s probably worth investing in optimizing the blog’s design for mobile devices as well as for RSS readers.
Make it Relevant
Current content on the blog includes date ideas and tips, but what good are these tips to people whom IJL has already established are too busy to date?
Instead, maybe give them tips on maintaining contact with potential partners when they have a busy schedule or tips on how to make time for their personal lives. Perhaps IJL could even work with an expert to have a regular column on easy-to-implement tools for work-life balance.
This is another area where having done research comes in handy. We often make assumptions about the kind of content that will be interesting and/or helpful to our audience, and we often assume wrong. This is when we use a misguided voice or write posts intended for an older audience with a tone like we are talking to young women in their 20s.
Have Some Fun
If you’re a professional with a lot on his/her plate, you may not be looking for one more thing to read or keep up with. To combat this, IJL may want to consider making it’s content more fun and light-hearted – a respite from the other things that these individuals are reading online.
IJL could think about having a series on the “funniest/worst date” that people have had, work with a cartoonist to include a weekly comic, or even have an ongoing series of “5 conversation starters to try this week.”
As we often say here at Convince & Convert, IJL needs to make the story bigger than just people who need its services. By making its blog a resource for people who are dating in general, as well as a source of entertainment for those who just like laughing about dating, it gives the brand an opportunity to reach a broader audience, one that will hopefully reach out to (or refer) IJL when the need arises.
Market Your Marketing
You’ve done your research. You know your intended audience and what makes them tick better than ever. You have a new list of post ideas and are super pumped to create them. You have plans to make your content more visual and easier to consume for your on-the-go target.
Before you go any further, pause and put together a marketing plan for your blog. In this age of abundant information, you have to market your marketing.
Cover the Basics
First on your list: make sure your blog has appropriate visibility on your website. Look for home page real estate that can be used to promote your blog.
Does it make sense to promote it on interior pages? Find all of those opportunities and work to give the blog more visibility, but be sure to strike that balance (that some times difficult balance) of not being overly promotional and a nuisance to the user.
Next, make sharing as easy as you possibly can. Experiment with the positioning of your share widget. IJL currently has one at the bottom of each post. Consider a floating widget that follows the reader’s position on the page and acts as a visual queue to share the post at any time. Not all readers make it to the bottom of a blog post.
Another basic that you should cover is to make sure you’re promoting your blog through your social channels. Work your blog posts into your editorial calendars for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re reviewing posts to see what has resonated, there’s no rule against re-promoting posts that are top-performers. We always recommend you do this at a later time – days or even a couple of weeks out.
Budget for Advertising
Set aside a budget to advertise your blog, or, at the very least, boost social posts that promote the blog.
Specific to the IJL blog, look into options on LinkedIn and Facebook, both of which have great targeting options. Get started with small buys and work your way up, taking note of what works and helps you accomplish your goals.
We Want to Rescue Your Blog
Can your blog benefit from some advice from Convince & Convert? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us:
- Where to find your blog,
- What you believe your issues are, and
- Your goals
We’ll select submissions* and will share our thoughts in future editions of “Blog Rescue.”
*Please note that a submission does not guarantee that your blog will be selected for an audit. If you are selected, we will contact you; please do NOT email us to follow up on submissions. You must be authorized by the entity, whose blog you submit, to contact Convince & Convert on its behalf. By submitting, you agree to cooperate with Convince & Convert and to have us publically audit the corporate blog submitted and to share our findings on convinceandconvert.com. You also agree to allow us to reproduce the original submission email in part or in full on convinceandconvert.com.