Make your blog stand out by focusing on the right readers
When I started my first WordPress.com blog (Success Network Recipes) in 2007, I knew I just wanted to write for business women. And before long, my blog became a multifaceted resource with guest contributions from Alice Elliott and other women in the network I used to run. How to make my blog stand out wasn’t something I had to give much thought to!
But that was then. The blog’s popularity and reach was largely down to luck and good timing. Not that surprising when you consider that in 2007 there were ‘only’ 61 million blogs on the internet, compared to an estimated 505 million in 2018!
So my somewhat random approach to business blogging only worked because I had less competition on the internet. I didn’t have to think much about SEO or having a defined niche. WordPress.com would send me lots of traffic anyway.
Blogging on my own hosted site a few years later was a completely different story though. (I kept both running side by side which turned into quite an interesting experiment.)
On my hosted site I was having to work quite hard to market my blog and attract new readers - no longer could I take traffic from Google or WordPress for granted.
Readers matter when you want your blog to stand out!
I didn't focus on my ideal reader at first, and my results were therefore a bit hit and miss. Of course your readers are always out there and you may be able to attract them with individual posts. There's always a chance that you find someone who is like you, and who will relate to everything you write about.
But in recent years the blogging world has grown so much that it has become much harder to attract the right readers with an unfocused blog. The saying ‘when you write for everyone, you write for no one’ is very true.
When you write for everyone many readers will feel that you don’t speak to them. Not seeing enough content that’s relevant to you, makes you not want to stick around.
Many blog writers avoid thinking about this. That’s at least until they reach a point when they get really frustrated with their blog. And sadly, many writers give up at this point.
What you may not realise is that narrowing your audience is a very rewarding solution. It beats blogging with a scattergun approach every time.
Isn't narrowing your audience risky?
The problem is that specialising doesn’t feel like an intuitive option. Even I resisted for a while thinking that I had so much to offer to so many women. Therefore, narrowing my focus seemed completely counterintuitive!
Can you relate to any of these concerns?
- That narrowing your focus might stifle your creativity?
- Or that you might not be authentic and true to yourself?
- Or even that you would run out of things to write about?
Jean and I know that’s how many other blog writers feel too. But please don’t worry!
Focusing on fewer but more specific readers, will not mean fewer results, less creativity or authenticity. The opposite will happen.
When there is both ‘method and madness’ in your writing, your readers will love you more. It will be so much easier for them to see how your blog fits into their life.
Did you know that 68% of consumers are likely to spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in? (Source: the-cma.com)
Who is your own special reader?
Imagine your own special readers, who they are and how you want them to feel when they read your blog.
When you understand your reader, you can tell her (just imagine one person) your story as if she is your only reader. There is nothing better than receiving a message from someone thanking you for a post she feels was written for her!
The more you understand your reader, the easier and clearer your message will be. Your blog purpose will be clear too so your reader will find you and your blog a perfect fit. And this makes her far more likely to engage with you, subscribe to your newsletter or buy your book.
You will stand out so much more from the crowd of blog writers. An important point, considering that in 2018 over 4 million blog posts were published every day on the internet! (Source hostingfacts.com)
Do you focus on your ideal reader? Please share in the comments how this works for you.