Everybody has something to say. And a blog is one place to say it. The problem to overcome is that readers have short attention spans, and the internet is brimming with so many competing websites. No one wants to waste time writing a blog that falls like a tree in the wilderness, unheard and unnoticed. Here are some ideas to ponder when deciding on the right subject matter for your blog.
Identify Your Reader
I have started and restarted blogs several times. My hesitation, I suppose, is that I’m not sure who might want to read them. That may be because I was more focused on myself than on my reader. A lone tree in the wilderness can do all kinds of things — sprout or shed leaves, grow toward the sky, or fall over dead — without ever caring if anybody saw or heard it. Trees probably don’t need anybody to validate their existence. But you and I need valid reasons for spending valuable time and effort churning out blog posts.
The first thing to clarify when starting or restarting a blog is the identity of your target audience. To whom, exactly, are you writing? If your blog is nothing more than a journal, then you, my friend, are your own target reader. If you are writing about the history of Europe, you might want to focus on European history buffs. If your interests are commercial, then you need to figure out who makes the buying decisions that will add to your bottom dollar.
Reaching potential customers with your blog articles can serve to gain trust and develop positive relationships. You must always be careful to create content that appeals to your readers. But how do you really know what interests them?
Get to Know Your Reader
Once you figure out the target reader for your blog, then you might find it helpful to get to know him better. Experts suggest that you think of your audience in the singular. Who is your ideal reader and what is he like? In digital marketing speak, you need to create and describe what is called a buyer persona.
According to Hubspot, “A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” HubSpot has a lot of good educational material on content marketing, so I would highly recommend digging around their site to learn more.
“When creating your buyer persona(s),” they write, “consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.” The more you know about your ideal reader, the better you’ll be able to write for them. Developing a buyer persona will not only help you with your content decisions, it will guide you in all your marketing efforts.
Focus Your Content
Remember how fun it was to play with binoculars when you were a kid? Turn the focus dial one way and you can clearly see things far away. Turn it another, and you can get a broad scope of the scenery. To decide on the best content for your blog, you need to both expand and narrow your focus.
Just as a book is segmented by chapters, your blog is broken down into individual posts with specific topics. The whole blog should have a particular theme, and each post should elaborate on a narrow topic.
Now let’s take it further. What is it that you want your reader to see? Try to look at it from their perspective. What can your reader gain from what you are writing?
Voltaire wrote that a bore is someone who tells all that he knows. It’s not enough to be an expert on a particular topic if you end up overwhelming your readers. You might want to avoid a huge data download if your goal is to grab the reader’s attention. It’s a wonderful thing to immerse yourself in deep reading, but that’s generally not the point of a blog post. Better to give them a few tidbits, and entice them to come back for more.
When you are brainstorming topics for your blog, look for common threads to hold your posts together. Can you tie a series of blog posts to an upcoming event, a weeks-long marketing campaign, or a product launch? Would you like to do a string of posts on an important subject, then later cobble them together into an ebook? What is your long-term content marketing strategy?
Use the Tools Available
Marketing is a psychological game. You want to get inside the mind of your potential client. What drives them? What are they thinking? And of utmost importance for digital marketing, what are they searching for on the internet?
The go-to tool for divining the browsing habits of your target readers is the Google keyword planner. Sure, the tool is made for coming up with terms for search engine optimization (SEO). But what better way to come up with topics for your blog? Just figure out what everybody is already searching for, then focus your blog posts on these topics. See this tutorial to learn more.
Of course, you should also use Google Analytics and other tools to measure the success of the content that you’ve already published. What worked for you in the past? Do more of it!
I’ll leave it to you to figure out which tools work best. Here are a few links to guide you on your way:
Content Marketing Tools: The Ultimate List
45 Insanely Useful Content Marketing Tools To Skyrocket Engagement
15 Content Marketing Tools You Can’t Live Without
11 Tools to Help Launch Your First Content Marketing Campaign
There is no one way to blog. In fact, you may find that your unique approach will bring in more traffic than the same-ole digital marketing practices of your competitors. But the truth is that you’re sure to fail if you fail to set any blog content goals at all. Knowing your reader and tailoring it to their interests is the key to increasing traffic and drawing in clients. But you’ll need to consistently put out blog posts that will eventually create a two-way line of communication between you and the potential buyer. Get to know your reader, give them what they want — and keep them wanting for more.