February 10, 2015
Almost every business, big or small, is trying to establish an online presence. For businesses that want to do more than merely survive online; this often involves blogging to build your audience.
The purpose of a blog is to impress your potential customers using your expertise and professionalism. The key is providing value to fulfill their needs.
The problem, however, is that when writing, you may be unwittingly reaching out to the wrong audience.
Trust me, this is much easier to do than you might think and I’ll even make an example of myself. When I first started publishing content, my goal was to reach potential clients. Being a designer, writing about design seemed to make the most sense.
I could not have been more wrong. It turns out that I had been targeting my fellow designers and excluding potential customers completely.
Where did I go wrong?
I had been writing to generate content quickly focusing on topics that would be easier for me to cover. But even when those articles brought in traffic it was all the wrong kind of traffic.
Just like me, far too many businesses have lost touch with the very purpose of creating a blog; which is to help communicate with your audience. Writing content that doesn’t help solve a problem for your audience often means you’re writing to your peers.
Here are a few tips to keep your writing on the right track:
Who Is It For?
One way to keep your focus is to remember for whom you are writing.
1. Ask the Right Questions – Your customers have a lot of different questions. Knowing what kind of questions will help them become a customer is the key.
What do I mean by this? I’ll use myself as an example again… I provide design solutions and that is why my customers seek my services, but design questions are NOT the kind of questions that are going to land them as customers. My potential customers have questions that are much more important to them such as:
- How do I bring a product to market?
- How do I trademark my brand?
- How do I generate ROI on my initial investment and how long will that take?
The list could go on and on, but the point I’m trying to make is that by answering some of these questions I have a much better opportunity of landing them as clients for the services I provide.
2. Avoid Making Assumptions – Don’t assume that your audience already understands the fundamentals involved in the lesson you’re trying to teach.
For example, if you’re writing about how to drive a new type of car, don’t assume that the audience already understands the basic fundamentals involved. It is best to give step-by-step instructions to make sure all readers completely understand.
Why Are You Writing It?
What is the purpose of your blog. Ideally, you’re writing your blog to share your knowledge and to have an exchange of ideas about your particular industry with those who are less knowledgeable than you. When you factor in this one fact it can literally change the entire focus of your blog.
You have to realize that your readers are coming to you because of your expertise, but you have to communicate as a peer, as an equal. This is an easily forgotten rule that can cause your audience to quickly lose interest and you will have defeated your purpose for the blog in the first place.
- Never talk down to your readers.
- Provide expert insight, but don’t write over their heads.
Will They Understand It?
By remembering your audience and your purpose for writing to them, it will help you to make sure your content is appropriate for your readers. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing your blog content:
- Avoid being too technical: Remember, your readers will not be as knowledgeable as you are on your topic so they may not be able to fully understand you when you use technical terminology that the average layman will not be able to grasp. Plus technical jargon is boring to read.
- Give step-by-step instructions: No matter how simple you may think something is, your readers may not feel the same way. Break things into clear bite-sized chunks that are easy to follow.
- Write as if you’re speaking to one person: Think about the reader as you write and imagine that you are sitting face-to-face when you’re sharing information. Don’t think of the hundreds or thousands of readers that may click on your blog but the one person who probably opened up your blog, alone, to get his question answered. By thinking of your reader in this way, it will help you to make your writing more personal and find a way to connect with him.
It’s a common mistake that an online blog will get you noticed but if you want your blog to bring you business, you need to make sure you’re writing to the right audience. It’s easy to think that as a professional, (especially after writing for a while) that your readers already know the basics. However, keep in mind that your blog is probably attracting new people all the time. In order for you to keep the content relevant remember that you are talking to those who are seeking to learn from you. While a certain topic may be too easy for you, it may not be easy for your readers.
Learning how to keep your content relevant will be an important step in increasing the value of your site in the eyes of many of your readers. The more value they see in the information you give, the more likely they will become a customer and support your business.
Take a look at your blog, if you’re like me, you will probably find that there are plenty of great posts that target the wrong audience.
I’d love to hear your tips on how you keep your blog fresh while answering the questions that your customers really want to hear — just comment below.