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Build the Perfect Blog Audience for You

This guest post is by David Risley of DavidRisley.com.

If you could hand-pick your ideal blog reader, who would they be? What are they like? What do they look like?

Have you ever even thought about it?

See, all too often, a blogger sets up a blog and just starts posting with their fingers crossed, hoping somebody will come by. In those days, you don’t really think too much about the people you attract. It is all about those numbers and getting traffic up. After all, seeing some positive numbers in your Analytics at least means somebody is listening, right?

As somebody who has been in this blogging thing for over a decade, I’m here to tell you that numbers don’t mean that much. When it comes down to making a full-time business out of blogging, the kinds of people you attract is more important than quantity.

I’d rather have an audience of 1,000 people who I really “click” well with than 10,000 people I don’t. I’ll make more money with the smaller audience any time.

For this to enter the realm of common sense, let’s look at real life, shall we?

Oil and water; peas and carrots

I’ve said before that blogging is a people business. Understand people and you’ll understand blogging as a business model. So, with that in mind, let’s just think about things we’ve observed in that little thing called “real life”.

Have you ever had to deal with somebody who you just don’t get along with – at all? Perhaps you have a sense of humor, but this other person has none and ends up taking all your jokes seriously (or, worse, gets offended). Perhaps you’re the responsible type and this other person is just a model of irresponsibility. Perhaps you guys simply share no interests whatsoever. You guys are like oil and water.

On the flip side, other people are just really easy to get along with. Perhaps they share the same goals and you end up working together. Perhaps you both have a similar sense of humor and crack each other up. Perhaps you meet that special person and experience “love at first sight”. Call it chemistry or whatever you wish. As Forrest Gump would have said it, you guys get along like peas and carrots.

Now, to throw a fancy word at you, what I’m talking about is congruence. If you were to arbitrarily try to symbolize that person in a series of vectors, all your vectors would more or less point in the same direction. You have congruence or alignment.

Understanding reader “congruence”

It’s been said many times, but a very important part of making money as a blogger is building a solid relationship with your audience. You want them to know, like and trust you.

If we delve just a little bit deeper than that, it comes down to attracting the kinds of people who you “click” with. People you have congruence with.

Your ideal reader would be somebody who shares certain goals with you (after all, that’s what makes them part of your market to begin with). Beyond that, however, they should also share certain characteristics with you so that they “click” with your style and your personality.

These are people with congruent personalities. These are the people who will form the strongest bond with you, who will love what you produce, and who will be much more likely to buy your stuff or what you recommend. They will feel as if they know you. They will like you and trust you. They will be fans.

Now, the way you portray your online brand is very important to attracting congruent personalities. You play up the characteristics that “jive” with your audience, and play down the others. Essentially, you are creating a brand avatar for yourself. Ideally, that brand avatar should be representative of where your audience wants to be.

If you’re at all familiar with the world of Internet marketing, then perhaps you know who Frank Kern is. Kern is a master of this brand avatar. His ideal customer is interested in making money. Money usually means freedom of time and location. People often associate the beach with freedom. So, what is Frank’s brand? A surfer bum who lives on the beach in San Diego and turns everything into huge piles of money just by touching it. He openly exhibits a sense of humor.

What has Frank done? He has played up those aspects of himself which are congruent with his audience. He is a brand avatar for where they want to be.

An exercise for you

The purpose of this post is simply to get you thinking about your blog’s brand avatar.

In short, it comes down to being natural, but also strategic. Be yourself on your blog while also being somewhat strategic about the type of online brand you portray and, thus, the type of people you attract. And when somebody who simply doesn’t click with you rolls along, let them unsubscribe. Because the relationship is more important than that extra pixel on your analytics graph.

To get you started, I recommend that you write a “Wanted” ad for your ideal customer or reader. If you were to write such an ad, what would you write?

Here’s an example, if I were to write one for the ideal audience of my blog:

WANTED: Motivated blogger who wants to turn their passion into a full-time effort. Must be an action taker willing to work while having fun.

It’s short and concise, yet it spells out the kinds of qualities I want. I’m not saying you’re going to go out and post this anywhere. This is just an exercise to get you thinking about your brand avatar, and your audience.

Lastly, as you create this ad, think about how you portray yourself on your blog and what kinds of people it will attract. Do your brand avatar and your audience line up?

David Risley shows bloggers how to find the intersection between blogging and marketing, and finally start making money with your blog. You can follow is escapades on Twitter at @davidrisley.

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Comments

  1. Wow. I never thought to position my readers this way. It’s an interesting exercise that will probably have an effect on the sort of content I put up, knowing who it might attract.

    Thanks for changing my perspective on blogging anf blog audiences!

    - CK

  2. Hi David,
    I have been slowly and steadily creating an online audience with people who at least appear to be actively reading my work. So they are attracted to whom I am as a person online which is who I am in reality. A person who likes to help other people grow their wellness biz.

    I particularly like your idea of a Wanted ad this could work great on a blog to help visitors recognize if the blog is for them.

    Thank you for the suggestion,
    David

  3. This is solid advice. Reminds me of a mission statement. What are you trying to achieve?

  4. Kate says:

    Thanks for the advice, David. Visualizing the type of reader I want to attract is helpful. Is it bad to think they’re all locked up in the asylum?

  5. Jackie Lee says:

    Great exercise David. I have little by little been letting more of my “real” self hang out and realize the people who unsubscribe probably just aren’t congruent and that’s ok.

    I’ve got a bit of picture of my “right people” but I look forward to taking on your exercise and getting really clear about it. I’ve noticed the more clear I get about what I want, and who I want the easier it is to move forward!

  6. jason says:

    So, my ideal reader would be severely intelligent, but also have a warped enough sense of humor to deal with my rants. Great concept for a post!

  7. Hmm… definitely food for thought. Nice post.

    With the blog I’m about to “launch” I did in fact have an ideal blog reader in mind, it kinda came naturally. Reading this made me realise, though, that I probably haven’t put enough effort into shaping my “avatar” or branding to fit that demographic.

    Thanks for giving me even more work to do! Heh…

  8. Vernon says:

    That is some fantastic advice. It follows the idea of building a group of true fans, aiming for a core readership that you have loyalty for.

    The flip side, I guess, is the idea that you can’t please everyone. Rather aim for a core that supports you and helps your business grow.

    The 80/20 principal.

  9. fit4thabo says:

    Great share. I learn something new everyday and it just goes on. We always have a gut sense of what it is we are trying to achieve and battle to put it into words, making it hard to put it into effect. This so covers it. Love this article David as it just brings back the congruence of me, my thoughts and my purpose. I so agree with your sentiment of “I’d rather have an audience of 1,000 people who I really “click” well with than 10,000 people I don’t.”.

  10. Jarlin Paul says:

    Thanks for the advice, David. This really helps…

  11. Sathishkumar says:

    Hi thanks for this solid piece of advice. In my blog, I am trying to satisfy all the readers by posting useful contents. But still some people were not satisfied which shows that there is no way anyone can satisfy all the people in the world. Anyways, Thanks again for this useful post.

  12. ElizOF says:

    Hi David,
    Good to see you here! I have struggled with this topic for a while and have had to re-evaluate my message.
    I am still a work in progress and even though I blog on positive motivational topics, I am eclectic in nature and always blog posts with a positive spin.
    I would say my ad would invite adventurous, eclectic readers who have a spiritual bent, an aesthetic sensibility, and a compassionate, caring heart.
    One thing I know for sure is that I’m not giving up!
    Ciao,
    Elizabeth

  13. From my 13+ years online, I’ve seen readers run the gauntlet (I’ve tackled many niches in the past) but now methinks I’m focusing on people who want:

    To teach themselves (so they aren’t shackled by the middleman)

    To make money (so they can meet their family’s needs)

    To have fun (because life is just too darned short to be miserable!).

    Will now ensure that’s evident from my site….

  14. Carolee says:

    Wow- if you don’t mind, I may post my “wanted” on a blog post…I would of course mention your post here and link to it.

    BTW- I try to be me when I blog. I have always felt that while I wish everyone liked my writing style, some may not and choose to click away.

    That is ok with me- I do believe devoted readers are best :-)

  15. Troy Roark says:

    I personally have to be super-conscious of avatar branding, because a ton of my blogging is done with video. I can’t afford to look bad. But this article is going to get me thinking about the “scenes” where I shoot my blog. I answer Real Estate questions submitted from my followers, but I’ve been doing it all from my house. I need to be more strategic about my shooting locations. Thanks a lot for the eye-opening article.

  16. I think the relationship part you talked about is the key..I have an good relationship with my audience and they love the crap I write..why because I’m myself and give them what they want.

    People but from people they trust…

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  17. So quality is still better than quantity. This principle works like a charm in life. I like your idea of wanted ads to find readers who share your interests. These are people who are ready to listen to whatever you have to say. Have you ever talked to someone but it seems like they didn’t even hear one word? It’s like that. When you talk to an uninterested audience, your efforts are wasted.

  18. Well honestly I hadn’t thought about that but now you give me ideas

  19. Thanks for reminding me of why I got into blogging. It wasn’t to play the SEO games, but to connect with real people. It’s good to stay reminded of this.

    BTW, your use of the word “Jive” should be replaced with “jibe”. Check all the definitions for both words:))

  20. Will Marlow says:

    This is a great post. I’m a big believer in explaining why we do things (why we write about certain topics, and not others; why we post at a particular frequency; why we use certain social media platforms and not others, etc.), and I think writing a section about who specifically a blog is written for fits perfectly in line with that. Thanks.

  21. This is a really great idea, David. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Paul Swaney says:

    This may be slightly off topic, but when it comes to audience, how do people feel about bragging about traffic, or using your blog traffic numbers to attract more numbers? I sent out an email recently because we were approaching a new all-time high in one day (and I really like setting new milestones), so I asked people to come by the site…is that a false positive in a sense? Just wondered about your take…

  23. When I did this exercise I realized I had two audiences: art buyers and art learners and that the learners were leading in the most visitors category by far. Having to analyze this made me realize that I could blog about how to paint digital watercolours until I was forced to stop for economic reasons, you’ve heard of starving artists…well, that can still happen, or I can realize the value of my teaching skills and experience and sell that too!
    I have more and more fellow artists telling me that my tutorials and demonstrations are useful and helpful to them all the time. Your post today on “your ideal audience” made me realize the opportunities I am losing by not having the courage to make the leap from giving free advice and help, to asking people to pay for it!
    Thanks for helping me focus on what my goals in this direction are!

  24. dee oneal says:

    What a great post indeed! I’ve learned something from this post, “simplicity is still the best among the rest”. In offering what you’ve to the readers is one of the great challenge in blogging but if you motivate them and encourage them then most likely you can have a very large followers in the future. No matter how intelligent you are if you don’t know how to apply come strategy to your audience then it’s nothing.

  25. The exercise “Write an ad for your ideal audience,” made me realize that I had two different audiences for my online gallery/art blog website. I always knew that I did, but believed attracting visitors to my website would ultimately help me sell more art. What started out as a journal of my journey as a beginning artist has grown into a blog focusing mainly on teaching my painting tips and techniques. People looking for information on how to paint with the digital watercolour and watercolour variants in Corel Painter are my primary visitors. Many of my visitors have visited lots of times, so there must be something of value there for them. I am passionate about discovering ways to paint digital watercolours with visually authentic language and sharing them with others who love the challenge and appearance of watercolour. Defining my ideal audience made me realize that purpose of my blog had changed and I’d better get with it and make the leap from giving free advice and help to asking people to pay for it. I will likely always maintain the journal aspect of blogging about what I am learning as an artist and a blogger, but now I feel more confident that I do have something of value to sell…besides my art! :)

  26. Sorry about that folks. I thought the first comment was lost, because it said that page didn’t exist anymore after I hit the submit button. Oh well???

  27. Angela says:

    I also have the query put forward by Paul Swancy, and i’m here coz his words.

  28. Jana Rade says:

    Very important point. Fortunately this has been clear to me from the start. Advantage of blogger on a mission :-)

  29. This is a great idea to say the least. I like the idea of a “Wanted Ad” for readers. I am actually thinking of doing one just to see if it will attract readers :) Thanks so much.

  30. Sutekh says:

    Thanks Dave for sharing your experience. Being “friends” and having an open and accessible vibe about yourself makes people like you and come back in my opinion. I think it’s equally about you as it is the content.

  31. Elias says:

    David

    quality audience will help you monetize your blog at a much higher return as opposed to quantity and in the long run this can have enormous impact. You will be the source for quality product suggestions.

    Great post

  32. Tannap says:

    Love this! Just wrote my wanted ad and I can almost see her walking down the street shopping bags in hand! This was the best “Target Market” definition excercise I’ve ever done. Thank you!!!

  33. Makes total sense, of course David is know for cutting to the chase. People are fickle, some will love you and some will hate you and more will even be critical of you. Just the nature of the game, However, get them to “trust” you (regardless of whether they like you or not) and you got sales.

    - Marc

  34. moneyglue says:

    WANTED: All ladies & gents who are keen to learn how to grow their wealth through shares, property and business. Must have a sense of humour and be willing to learn from their mistakes. Love it David, great post!

  35. I should imagine all my potential readers are wandering around in the desert. No internet connection there though.

  36. Sleepless says:

    To push it to an extreme, can I please have an audience of one that buys my blog for five gazillion dollars… please?

    Just kiddind, this would be a bit boring, and while it’s very true that money plays an important role, building a profile and getting recognition are highly motivating as well. These are not only a way to money, but benefits by themselves.

    Offline for a nap now ;)

  37. LPC says:

    Great post. Highly useful. And I’ve read a lot of this stuff.

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  1. [...] Build the Perfect Blog Audience for You If you’re a business and you have a blog, you should be keeping it fresh, updated, and relevant to your clients/readers. Here’s some tips that are often easily forgotten when it comes to blogging. Share and Enjoy: [...]