When it comes to your blog, it helps to know who you're talking to. The people you're actually reaching are your audience. But the people you want to reach? Those are your target audience. In a perfect, the people reading your blog and the people you want to read it are one and the same. But sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Today's article is all about making sure your demographics aren't an accident. Because it's not about speaking to every reader. It's about speaking to the right reader.
1. Start by taking a look at your stats.
I really like Quantcast for this purpose as it digs deep into reader-level stats. What you're trying to do now is determine if the people reading the blog are the people you want reading (i.e. are you talking to who you think you're talking to?). That might sound a bit strange at first. After all, isn't any reader a ‘good' reader?. But if you think you're talking to an American audience of women in their late 20's and it turns out you're actually talking to a German audience of women in their late 30's (purely hypothetical example), that's useful information to have.
2. Now that you know who's actually reading your blog, be specific about who you want to read it.
The “specific” part is key here. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's easier to write a blog post for one person than it is to write a blog post for 1,000 people. Getting hyper-focused on the kind of people you want to talk to is critical for knowing and reaching your target audience. Many bloggers go wrong here by making their target audience of people they want to reach way too broad. “Women,” for example, is not a target audience. Neither is “people who love fashion.” The reason is because both those categories are so broad they're almost meaningless. Think about it… people who shop at Bergdorf's and people who shop at Forever21 are probably women who love fashion. But the types of articles either group of shoppers wants to read is likely to very different. Ask yourself if your readers are high school students, college students, or post-grads. Are they fast fashion focused or do they prefer eco-friendly fashion and sustainable goods? Are they city dwellers, suburban, or rural? Are they fashion newbies or fashion veterans? You want your readers to feel like you get them…because you do. And all these questions help you get who your target audience is. One quick note. You don't have to decide all of this all at once. Take as much as time as you need.
3. Feeling stuck? Use fashion magazines as inspiration.
Every magazine represents a different target audience. Are you a Vogue or a Seventeen? A Glamour or a Lulu? A Bust or an Elle? All of these magazines cover similar and often overlapping topics (specifically in the areas fashion, beauty, and lifestyle), but they do it in different ways because they're all talking to slightly different audiences. Just as important (because we all know fashion magazines don't represent everyone), think about what periodicals you wish you could read but that aren't available. Would you like if there was a petite fashion magazine? How about a fashion mag just for women sized 20 and above? Use your imagination to help you figure out your core group of readers.
4. Double check that your target audience is a good fit for you.
It can be glamorous and exciting chasing trends for a little bit, but after awhile it stops being fun. That's when burnout happens. And if you've already developed an audience by then, you can start feeling trapped into your content. That's a bad thing because if your blog isn't inspiring you anymore, why do it? Be honest about what you're passionate about and what you want to talk about. Again, specificity is good. Not every blog has to be a style blog; going after a niche audience is great too. If you love jewelry, write a jewelry blog. If hairstyles are your thing, focus on that. If it's all handbags, all the time…great. Any subject you love can provide endless topic ideas. There's also value in being a subject matter expert, especially in the increasingly-crowded field of fashion blogging. Basically, make sure you'll never grow tired of talking about this particular topic to your audience.
5. Be careful of borrowing too heavily from other fashion bloggers.
Someone else's target audience does not have to be your target audience. In fact, it shouldn't be. Susie Bubble…Man Repeller…BryanBoy, these are all great bloggers, but don't make the mistake of going after the exact same target audience they are. Ask what can people get from you that they can get from nowhere else. Give your readers a reason to come to you in particular. There's always room for another unique voice in fashion blogging. You just have to be confident enough to find it your own.
Finally (and this doesn't quite fit into anything else above), be okay with change. As you grow and develop and mature – both as an adult and as a fashion blogger – it makes sense that your target audience will grow and develop and mature as well. That's a good thing, and it's one of the perks of fashion blogging. Instead of being trapped into one audience like a fashion mag, bloggers can change audiences as they themselves change. It's not unusual for a long-lived blog to tweak it's target audience every few years. Being dynamic and responsive is part of being a great fashion blogger.
How did you find your target audience? Do you have any other advice for bloggers trying to find theirs? Let's talk about it in the comments.
Visit Cora at her blog: The Lingerie Addict
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