One of the things that make or break a blog is the understanding, or the lack thereof, of who your blog readers are.
First of all, as I have repeatedly mentioned (because that’s just how important I think this is), you need a blog that serves and fulfills yourself first, before it can consistently and effectively serve other people.
So yes, your blog for YOU. Your creative freedom. Your artistic expression. Your livelihood. (Later on, you’ll realize that YOU are your blog’s #1 reader and fan!)
BUT you can’t stop there.
Obviously, a blog written solely for yourself is just a diary if others won’t read it, can’t relate to it, or don’t benefit from it.
You want to create content that will add value to other people’s lives and, if you want to monetize your content, to reach as many of these people—your people—as you can possibly reach.
We’re talking about those people God places in your heart. Your readers, your community, your potential customers.
The people you want to serve, help, and inspire.
This basic understanding of who your readers are—their challenges, their dreams, their values, their personality, their questions that you know the answers to—is foundational to the type of content you want to create, the visuals you want to use, the stories you want to share.
And this is why identifying your PEOPLE is the final piece of the Purpose Formula for Blogging.
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Let’s go back to the Purpose Formula for Blogging
More than just identifying WHO your target readers are, you want to be able to answer the questions: What do they need that you have? What are their questions that you have answers to? What are the types of content that will make their lives better?
Get to know your target readers
1. Profile your target blog readers by profiling yourself.
This is a tricky balance—to create a blog for yourself but not really about yourself.
Ever heard of the saying “you attract who you are?” Chances are, you want to reach people who are just like you, whether they’re in the same season as you are or they’re just a couple of steps behind.
Sometimes your target reader is your younger self. You have a wealth of knowledge to impart to these people because you just went through what they’re going through, and you can answer their oh-so-familiar questions.
The point is, don’t go too far. You want to blog with authenticity and honesty, sometimes even vulnerability, which means you have to reference your own experiences and tell your own story to drive a point. And more often than not, your message (your stories, your illustrations, even your jokes!) will resonate most with your kind of people.
2. Think about where to find them online.
Be on full stalker mode and find more about your people!
I mean, don’t be creepy but you know what I’m talking about. Consider what blogs and websites they frequent, what kind of content they share in their social media pages, where they hang out online.
You’ll need this information when you’re researching your content and when you’re promoting your content later on.
3. Consider purchase intent.
What would your readers naturally purchase online or willingly invest in?
As you go on your blogging journey, you’ll learn that blog monetization is really about selling something—whether it’s your own products, other brands’ products, a lifestyle, a story, an idea.
Think of these when you profile your target readers because this is how you can strategically plan out your blog income streams.
Identifying a Reader Persona
Here are some guide questions in creating your reader persona:
- What’s their gender?
- How old are they?
- What do they do for a living?
- What is their marital status?
- Do they have kids?
- What are their hobbies?
- What are their dreams?
- What are their passions?
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What are the things that make them happy?
- What’s their personality like?
- What’s their current season in life?
- What could be their problems, questions and daily challenges?
- What do you think are the key phrases they search in Google?
- What do you think prevents them from pursuing their purpose in life?
- Social and Online Behaviors.
- Which social media do they frequent?
- What are the usual blogs they read?
- What are the usual stuff they buy online?
- Are there specific online forums or groups they’re part of?
- What are the types of content they post on their social media feeds?
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Sample Blog Reader Persona
In Marketing, identifying buyer personas is a must. As marketers, we imagine a certain persona and give him/her a name, and we want to apply this same principle in identifying a blog reader persona.
As we try to identify this persona, we begin to come up with topics and ideas for him/her. This is how our content becomes intentional and relatable.
For example, I’m thinking of a certain person we shall call Pam—
Say hello to Passionate Pam.
She’s in her mid-20s, a creative who loves expressing herself in written words and has big dreams to chase.
She has a corporate job that she enjoys in the meantime, but she also dreams of resigning someday so she can focus all of her creative energy into her passion project.
She dreams of seeing the world, writing a book, and making an impact. But even as she embraces her full-time job, she blogs part-time, writing whenever she could and making strategic steps towards turning her passion project into her livelihood.
She’s not really interested in having a multi-million dollar business, she just wants to live comfortably, go places, and make a living doing what she loves.
She’s a forward thinker, able to grasp the idea that she can make her dreams happen with the internet and a website as her weapon, wherever God places her. She loves her family and would do everything for them. Her ideal work life balance is one where she can work smarter rather than harder, so she can focus on the things and the people in her life that matter most.
She mostly hangs out on Instagram and Twitter, and spends a lot of time scrolling Pinterest. She doesn’t like Facebook so much, finding it a little bit too noisy for her taste, but she uses it anyway for business purposes and to connect with friends.
Coffee runs through her veins. She has Harry Styles music blasting through her earphones but wouldn’t admit that to anyone. She loves watching romantic comedies, has seen all seasons of FRIENDS a dozen times and thinks Monica and Chandler are the greatest couple of all time.
Online, she loves reading She Reads Truth, The Darling Magazine, IF Gathering, and Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her bookshelf is filled with books written by inspiring women of faith and she hopes to see her name on the cover of a book someday too.
I can go on and on describing this person because I know her so well! Can you tell that Passionate Pam here is basically me?
Chances are, YOU represent your target readers.
Maybe they’re going through the same season as you are, or maybe you’re just a couple of steps ahead. They like the same things you like, hang out in the same places as you, and quite possibly struggling to find answers to the same questions you struggled with yourself.
Sometimes your reader persona is your younger self.
Personally, throughout all these years blogging, I have created content for readers who are just a few steps behind me in their journey. For example, after I got married, I had a lot of thoughts and ideas about weddings and being newly married. My blog posts weren’t exactly targeted to married women like myself but to single women who are hoping to find the right person, plan the dream wedding, get married, and settle down. Catch the drift?
Profiling yourself is a good place to start, although there are instances where you might want to target a totally different type of people. The point is, don’t go too far. Blogging with purpose requires authenticity, which means you have to reference your own experiences to validate your knowledge about your chosen blog topics.
In that sense, you need to draw inspiration from your own life.
Now, your job as a blogger is to:
- Let your blog readers know that they’re not alone,
- Guide them through solving their problems and challenges
- Inspire them in their own journey, and
- Show them how you can help.
The best part in this process of finding your people is realizing that you’re not alone in this journey, that there are a lot of people in the world who are just like you! And when you find them, I hope you take your best shot at contributing something valuable to their lives and serving them well.