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. 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?