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How Do You Tailor Content to Different User Levels?

Today on ProBlogger, we’re publishing the first in a little two-part series of posts on WordPress themes. The first is on choosing a theme, and the second is on installing themes.

Now, some ProBlogger readers might wonder if professional bloggers need this kind of information. Of course there will always be pro bloggers who haven’t ever installed a theme, and the articles may be helpful to them. But is that our key target audience here?

Understanding reader segments

The census we conducted earlier this year revealed a lot about ProBlogger readers—enough that we could break you up into different categories or audience sub-segments.

This is a useful exercise for any established blog, as it allows you to get a clearer picture of the different user types your content attracts. It can also help you to identify content gaps that you need to fill.

That’s exactly what our census did—it showed us that although many of our readers were blogging happily, and making money from their efforts, many were apprehensive about technology. There was also a specific sub-segment of bloggers who weren’t pro bloggers, but wanted to become so, and couldn’t without developing their technical skills.

“Pro” doesn’t translate to readers having professional or high-level skills in every aspect of blogging. So we need to cater to a range of skills levels in every topic we cover.

Translating needs into content

Having identified the need among this audience segment for helpful, approachable articles on WordPress basics, we were able to approach experts to write guest posts covering those topics.

As well as being technically and factually accurate, and useful for those among us who want to go out and, for example, install their first WordPress theme, the content serves other purposes, too.

It helps to show those who are just starting out blogging that ProBlogger can take them on the journey from would-be-blogger to blogging professional. And it supports the friendly, helpful and professional ProBlogger brand—which is helpful in continuing loyalty among all our readers.

Undermining “pro” positioning?

Some would argue that publishing anything other than high-level content that assumes readers have a professional level of skill with every key aspect of blogging risks undermining the “pro” positioning of my blog.

I disagree. As I mentioned above, even the most experienced bloggers are less-skilled in some aspects of the field. We all need extra help in different areas.

Also, those pros who are, for example, comfortable with choosing and installing WordPress themes may well do nothing more than notice or glance over today’s and tomorrow’s articles. But unconsciously, they may be more likely to recommend the blog to a blogging friend who’s not as skilled with the technology, or to search here for the topics that they themselves know they lack skills in.

Scheduling for maximum impact

One of the key elements of avoiding undermining a particular brand position when you offer content that suits a sub-segment of readers who are at a different level than your main readership is to consider how you’ll present and publish that content.

As an example, the pieces we’ll be publishing have the following characteristics:

  • They acknowledge in their introductions that the content is probably known by a lot of readers—but will defnitely be helpful to a targeted sub-segment.
  • They follow one after another, to keep the continuity of the message strong. This also can help lessen the potential for diffusion of brand value, since the two parts are published consecutively. High-level, loyal ProBlogger readers who aren’t interested won’t feel like they “keep seeing” low-level content in their ProBlogger feeds or lists: we expect they’re more likely to read, say, this post, then understand that the next two posts that are coming won’t be for them. But after that, they know to expect that we’ll resume programming as usual.
  • They’re expert pieces, so they’re well-written and are more likely to include information that may surprise even experienced bloggers.
  • They’re scheduled to published in “off-peak” timeslots during the ProBlogger week. We leave “on-peak” days for content that meets the needs of the majority of our primary audience. Using this approach, we can get valuable, needed content onto the site (and into the search engines), meeting the needs of a valuable sub-segment of readers, without distracting the majority of readers from our core content.
  • As I mentioned above, they’re supported by this post, which is targeted to high-level ProBlogger readers of the type who already know the information that’s explained in the two posts that will follow. This post gives those two context, clearly supports the “pro” in the ProBlogger branding, and ensures that our core readership gets value even as a result of posts that aren’t targeted to them.

How do you tailor posts to different audience segments?

This basic outline should shed some light on the approach we take to publishing content for users who are at different stages of their problogging journey. But we’d love to hear how you meet the needs of different sub-segments of your blog’s audience.

Do you do this consciously? Is it an ongoing part of your posting approach? Share your advice with us in the comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. HTNMMO says:

    Most sites don’t have the luxury of having such a wide array of levels :)

    What I’ve done on other sites that have this type of issue is a section that helps people get up to speed so they could get more of the general content of the site.

    You can’t post a “how to do something simple” article all the time. You have to hope that people that are looking for that information find it through search, or you could create a directory of those topics to link to from within more complex posts when appropriate.

    At some point you have to try and not be everything to everybody because that just dilutes the quality of your other postings. How far do you go? Some people want to blog in English but don’t speak it. Should you start posting language instruction?

    In this day and age you don’t need to have many technical skills to be a good blogger. The important stuff is creating good content, presenting it well, and finding ways to promote your site and make money off of your traffic.

  2. Dwayne@TWC says:

    I never really thought about tailoring posts for different readers. I always assumed that the people who read my blog were all looking for ways to make their lives a little better but never really tried to make posts for each type of reader. This will help me make my blog better.

  3. Gene says:

    I revamped my blog to incorporate different segments by publishing specific types of articles on specific days. Many of my readers enjoy both types of articles, but for those who don’t, they know when to log in and when not to.

  4. Shekhar says:

    I am a newbie and still trying out different designs and trying to understand the audience. Well this post has given a in depth thought on tailoring content specifically for specific audience. Thanks a lot.

  5. I’ve started doing that as well to see if I can attract new readers. Nice to hear that it’s an establish strategy :)

  6. A post’s language says a lot about which type of audience it targets. For example, content written for and by experts would include certain terminologies and jargon that the average reader isn’t familiar with. Content written for a larger audience would be conveyed in simpler, less technical language.

  7. anyone have any info?