Know Your Audience: Blog For Someone, Not About Something
By: Taylor Davies

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Do me a favor and close your eyes (well not yet, but when you finish reading this): Picture your blog on a computer screen, with someone scrolling and clicking and leaving comments. Who is this person? Who are you blogging for?

I was really struck by a statement in a recent article from ProBlogger about blogging for your niche: “don’t write about something, write for someone.”

What he means is that even if you pick a specific topic to blog about, you may not be reaching your maximum potential for growth and success if you aren’t targeting your content towards a specific audience.

For example, you might want to write a blog that’s all about shoes. That’s a specific niche without a clear reader. Is your ideal reader a male or female? Is this person on a budget or obsessed with luxury goods? Does your reader enjoy editorials from magazines featuring designer shoes, or expert fit and shopping tips for comfortable footwear?

The next time you sit down to write a post, picture your ideal reader in your mind first. Maybe write down a description of this person that you can look at and remind yourself from time to time. Maybe start with “This is a blog for…” and go from there. Be as specific as you can.

Think about what this person would want to read, what kinds of images would appeal to them, and how they use the Internet. Maybe that person is you, maybe it’s a mixture of someone like you and someone you aspire to be, or maybe it’s a particular demographic you want to reach.

Clothing companies do this all the time with the way they merchandise their catalogs and lookbooks. Think about the styling, the settings they shoot in, the models they choose. The companies make clothes, but they sell a lifestyle, to you, hopefully. It’s the way they present the items and the context they display them in that makes you want to have them, don’t you think?

Naturally, not all of your readers will fit into this description, but the more you tailor your content to reach a core customer, the higher your potential to build a loyal, engaged following.

Who do you blog for?

Comments

  1. Oof, Taylor. You + IFB are hitting all the spots I need this week! I think over the years I’ve definitely lost my sense of who I’m writing for (other than myself). What age, what income, straight-size or plus, what personality type– and I think that my lack of growth & engagement SHOWS it.

    This has been something that’s been on my mind while I work on shaping up my blog, so thank you!

  2. Blogging for someone makes my post so much easier to write. I usually write to my sisters or my blogger friends.

    xxx
    Nina
    http://trendsurvivor.com

  3. Avatar of
    Akvile says:

    …for young fashion professionals! Or fashion wannabes.
    http://doc-fashion.blogspot.com/

  4. Avatar of Shevon Miller

    Sorry but I don’t really agree with this. I much rather write about what I like and believe in. Or else my blog wouldn’t be a personal style blog, it would be like a magazine. I don’t try to target people because that isn’t why I started my blog in the 1st place. The point of my blog is to share my views and personal style with the world. Not to conform to a demographic ad write what people like to here. if thats the case they can go read a magazine. Put this is just my views on the topic.
    My blog will always be about something.
    -Shevon
    http://www.trashingfashion.com

  5. Avatar of Take only Memories

    Shouldn’t you yourself be your ideal reader? I mean, I am my target audience. And I’m hoping there are other girls (boys?) like me out there who find the things interesting that I am interested in.

    Take only Memories

    • Avatar of taylordavies
      taylordavies says:

      You can definitely be your ideal reader – it’s totally up to you! Some bloggers use themselves as their pillar, and some think a little more broadly. It’s all about finding the happy medium of what makes you happy and what takes your blog where you want it to go. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. – Taylor

  6. Kory says:

    I think this is a really interesting point. When you ask more established bloggers advice, this is something that many of them point out. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but I also don’t think you need a super specific group of people to target. For example, my blog is design + lifestyle. The main group I shoot to is young women, but I think guys would enjoy it too.

  7. Avatar of Yazmina from Girl with a Banjo

    I defined my niche about two months ago and it improved my statistics so much! It also helped me to create a dialogue with some of the regular readers who follow my blog every day.
    It was the best decision ever made. But I must admit that selecting a niche has been one of the most challenging things to do since http://www.girlwithabanjo.com was created.

  8. Avatar of Nasreen
    Nasreen says:

    this is challenging but i don’t totally agree. Obviously it’s good to have a target audience but I don’t think it should center fully around that.

    http://lazyobsession.blogspot.com

  9. Avatar of Flightsetfancies

    I disagree and agree with the post although you need a audience and good amounts of traffic to be considered a good blogger because people will be coming back for your content. I feel you do not need to blog for your audience, but blog about the influence you want your sense of style and perception of fashion to inspire people and thats why they keep coming because they admire your point of view, opinions and visual’s on fashion/style.

    flightsetfancies.com

  10. The VALS survey is also helpful. We learned about demographics in my Marketing class. VALS™ segments US adults into eight distinct types—or mindsets—using a specific set of psychological traits and key demographics that drive consumer behavior. http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/presurvey.shtml

    PRIZM is also another good resource. Nielsen’s consumer lifestyle segmentation offers consumer behavioral information for shopping, financial and technology preferences, and media habits.
    http://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp

    Kathleen

  11. Avatar of Z
    Z says:

    I kind of agree – it’s important not to alienate your audience by writing something too irrelevant, but at the same time, it’s not convincing to your readers if it’s obvious that it is contrived so that they approve. I feel like this about quite a few of the blogs I have come across recently.
    That’s not to say that you should disregard your readers completely, just make sure you get the balance right between passion and enthusiasm about the subject and what you think people want to see.

    Happy Sunday Afternoon!
    Z
    http://www.are-we-on-time.com

  12. Avatar of Lauren - Slowburn Fastburn

    I agree with some of the comments that people are making here – I blog mostly for myself. In a way, that is kind of blogging for someone, but that someone would be just like me. I love going through my blog and seeing post after post of things that I enjoy and appreciate, and I hope that others will too, but my readership is not based solely off of that, and I don’t let it influence what I do.

    x lauren
    http://slowburnfastburn.com

  13. Avatar of taylordavies
    taylordavies says:

    Ahhh, I am so inspired and interested by all of your comments. Even at IFB we battle this debate almost daily: Do we post what our readers respond to the most, or what we want to talk about that week? For us, its about balance. We’ve talked about this balance between pleasing your readers and pleasing yourself before:

    http://heartifb.com/2012/11/06/finding-balance-pleasing-your-readers-vs-pleasing-yourself/

    Please keep the discussion going, I’m so intrigued by all of your feedback. – Taylor

  14. Avatar of Bree
    Bree says:

    Though I think it’s good to write for your audience to a degree, I also think you need to write what you want. I suppose it depends what you want your blog to be, my blog is still my personal space and I want it to stay as authentic to me as possible.
    http://www.theurbanumbrella.com

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