Audience Above All: A Can’t-Miss Tip for Blogging and Content Writing
It’s a muggy Friday night. Looking for a laugh, you shuffle into a packed comedy club as the lights dim and a silhouetted figure takes the stage. A spotlight suddenly floods the stage, revealing…wait…is that? Yes, that’s Dr. Phil, here to discuss the dangers of repressed anger in long-term relationships.
This is not what you signed up for. How do you feel? Probably a mix of shock and anger (the non-repressed kind) at not getting what you wanted or came for. Understandable, right? Yet many people still risk this reaction by not understanding their audience.
This is especially true in the case of content writing. So, before you ever put pen to pad or fingers to keyboard, do your research and know your audience.
Simply stated, if you’re not writing to a specific audience, you are writing something made for no one. Your content may connect with someone but not as deeply as it could if you had written to a specific audience. That allows your content to be more concise and, ultimately, more helpful and valuable. Blog posts, web copy, social media posts and any other content you produce can all be improved by knowing who it’s for before deciding how you will write it.
Your audience informs you of everything from your tone (casual or professional) to your vocabulary (verbose or simple). Though you certainly have creative license to craft your messaging, it is wise to know who wants to read your work, as well as their preferences, expectations, wants and needs.
Break down your audience into personas. For example, a dog walker may have target audiences that include 1) people who already use other dog walking services, 2) those who walk their own dogs regularly and 3) those who want a dog but don’t think they can adopt one without a dog walking service. Would you write tips for dog owners for someone who doesn’t own a dog yet? I’d think not. Would you write about the big benefits that come with using a service like yours to someone who already uses a dog walker? That may be overkill, so probably no—they already know how dog walkers are helpful.
Categorize these audiences into buckets that specify who they are, what they care about and what their pain points are. Then, you can accurately tell if your story is one they need and want to hear, told how they want to hear it.
In Practice: The Bagel Shop Scenario
Using the above information, let’s map an example based on a personal joy of mine: bagels.
You own a hip bagel shop, The Bagel Bae, in a high-foot-traffic, metropolitan area known for its high-end shopping and dining. Your bagels may be a bit pricier than others, but they’re also made by hand every morning with only the freshest, locally sourced and organic ingredients. It’s time to, at long last, begin your bagel blog.
Where do you start?
Choose your target audience: Being in a relatively high-end part of town and offering quality, organic ingredients over affordability, you can safely presume your audience is:
- Middle-to-upper class
- Conscious of food sourcing
- Interested in breakfast/lunch
Much more can be sussed out based on a deep dive of who you’re serving, your local demographics and overall marketing plan—all of which should also be considered. These details about your audience should be well-realized at the inception of your brand (or re-brand), so your responsibility will primarily be in deciding which of these pre-identified audiences you want to target.
Question your content: You have a vision for a blog post, which is great, but that idea needs to pass the usefulness test. Let’s say you choose the target audience of “Young Professionals.” This demo is 25-35 years old, may live in the city or commute from nearby suburbs and is extremely busy, trying to make a mark in their new careers. They may be health conscious, so your proposed blog post on “The 5 Ways Bagels Make for a Surprisingly Healthy Breakfast” should be spot-on.
Write with intent: Knowing that your topic is suitably useful and interesting to your target audience, you can move on to writing. As you write, be sure to do so while keeping your audience in mind. Perhaps within this blog post you can mention the benefits an early carbohydrate load in your day can give you energy in the workplace.
Always remember: Your brand has its own unique persona and voice, but it should be malleable enough to speak directly to each subsect of your audience base. By choosing a target audience, ensuring your topics and content are valuable to that audience and writing with clear intent, your content can be dramatically improved. In other words, with some focused and strategic thinking, you can make sure your content doesn’t end up a Dr. Phil at a comedy club.