Who are you Blogging to? Part 1 of 5…

Who, What.....jpgThis is the first in a series of 5 blog post we will be doing. We are looking at answering 5 questions you should be asking yourself when you are looking at your business or professional service firm’s blog. Who are you blogging too? Why are you blogging? What are you blogging about. When should I be blogging? And finally, what tools can I use to accomplish what I want to accomplish? Or in other words, how to I do it?

Have you considered that question? Have you stepped back and taken a look at who is reading your blog? If you haven’t, you are lost. I am serious. You really don’t have a clue who you are blogging too, nor where you are going with your blog.

For those of you who have not started your blog yet, stop right where you are at. Don’t publish your blog until you consider this; who are you blogging to?

Know your readers:

If you are just starting out and don’t have any traffic stats to speak of, decide right now who your target is going to be. When I first started my law practice blog, I decided right from the start who I wanted to blog too. It was the general public. Those looking for information and/or help with a problem or issue. Those with “personal plight” is one of the best ways to describe my target audience. More specific, those looking for help with a problem concerning a divorce or other family law matter. (Working as a lawyer is in my former life. I am a soon to be “recovering attorney.”).

I made it a point to write to them and not to my colleagues. And the same applies to what ever business or service you are blogging about. Don’t write as if you are writing an academic paper or article. Unless of course, that is your target audience. Write so anyone can understand what you are writing about. The one group of bloggers I see violate this practice more than anyone are professional service providers, such as attorneys. You are not writing a law review article and to be “frank” those with “personal plight” don’t give a care if you can.

A recent post by Liz over at Successful and Outstanding Bloggers touches on this issue. While Liz’s main premise in her blog post is how a business can connect to customers in the offline world. Her post provided a great breakdown of three different types of vistors you will get to your blog. And building on her example, we can use it as a way to get to know our own readers.

Liz points our Traffic, Readers, Colleagues — Are They Customers?

“When you look at the people who visit your blog, what do they do and how long do they stay?”

  • Traffic - If they come in swarms following a link or bookmark and leave in a few seconds flat, its traffic. As Liz states, they are like people visiting a store because they were downtown to watch a parade.
  • Readers – “If each visitor looks at 1.5 pages or more, you’re building a community of readers.” In my view, you are building that crowd you can start to have a conversation with. The same ones you hope to build a relationship with. The same ones you hope to make customers and/or clients.
  • Colleagues – “Being helpful and solving problems can convert readers into customers. But look closely at your audience. Are they potential customers? If you run a “trade” blog — one that discusses the ideas, trends, and people in your industry — your discussions might be with an audience of colleagues not potential customers. Colleagues are unlikely to buy your products and services, at least not long enough for your business to thrive.”
  • You need to know which one of the three above make up your traffic so you know if you are on the right track. Your goal should be to convert as many of them as you can to regular readers. And than as many as you can to customers or clients. The “readers” who are coming to your blog regularly, aren’t going to care about ads on your blog. They are there to get answers to questions or problems they have. Running ads on a business or professional practice blog is something I don’t recommend. But that is for another blog post all together.

    How do you know your readers?

    Once you start blogging, you will start to build some stats which will come in very useful to you in getting to know your readers. First of all, look at how long your readers are staying on your blog. And you can do this by using some of the tools available. (Again, this is a topic I will cover in a future post. But for now, rest assured you can get these stats and they are easy to get.)

    Look at the time your visitors are staying on your blog and where the traffic came from. If the visitors stay for a short period of time, such as a few seconds, they are just traffic as Liz suggests. And if they are coming from bookmarking services or social media, they may also only be short time visitors. These type of visitors most likely will not become readers that you can build a relationship with. We want to focus on the ones which are staying and viewing more than one page. Please don’t take me the wrong way. The traffic you get from social media or social networking sources can be and for the most part is excellent traffic. These are individuals you may be building a relationship with by using these other tools.

    The “readers”, those staying and looking around most likely came there from a search engine. They most likely were looking for answers to a question or problem. You can find out what they are looking for by looking at your stats. (This will be part of the future post I discussed above). Once you know what they are looking for, you can talk about what they are looking for. Answer their questions if you are not already. Expand on those post if you are. First of all, give them something for FREE to answer their questions. Provide them with information and you will start to grow a relationship with them. And once you start to build that relationship and than communicate with them, you are in a better position to eventually turn them into a customer or client.

    You really can work toward that goal by getting to know your readers, by using the tools which we will explain to you in a future post in this series. However, until you have built up the traffic to know what they are looking for, use your experiences in dealing with clients and/or customers. Take those questions from those you already know in the offline world and answer them on your blog. Chances are, those are the same questions your readers are looking for answers too. You will be well on your way in reaching your goals for your blog. Providing answers and information to your target or niche.

    What are we saying in a nutshell?

    Whether you know it or not, you most likely already know who your “readers” are or will be. They are the same type of people asking for the same kind of help or service you are getting now in the offline world. Take what you know about your offline clients and/or customers and use that knowledge to know those who are visiting your online world, your blog.

    The next post in this series will be “Why are you blogging?” In the meantime, please leave your comments and/or questions. My goal has always been to develop a relationship with the readers of Blog for Profit so we can continue a conversation about the topic of blogging for your business or professional service firm. Don’t be shy. Even if you disagree with me, post your comments. We learn from disagreements.

    About The Author
    Grant Griffiths is founder of Blog For Profit and co-founder of Headway, the first Drag and Drop WordPress Theme Framework. You can follow Grant on twitter at @grantgriffiths
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