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After 3 years of blogging, I can not stress enough the importance of creating your ideal blog visitor/reader persona.
This article was first published here in November 2015. 2 years on, I am updating and republishing it again in November 2017.
You can’t write for everyone.
The world of blogging and online publishing is too big.
The problem with writing for everyone is that your message is not laser-focused. It sounds thin and there is a greater chance that it will not resonate with your blog reader.
With fragile attention spans and heaps of options, it won’t take long for your potential blog follower to hit the back button.
And as a blogger for you and me, this is not a good news.
The good ol’ rule applies – define your ideal blog reader and keep them in your mind every time you write something.
In other words, write for a few.
“Or I would go as far as saying, write for one person only. And that person is your ideal blog reader for that topic.”
I am going to share with you in this article why this is crucial and how can you build the ideal blog reader persona. I am also going to share the 3 “blog audience profiles” that I have developed for my blog to give you a few examples.
Effective blogging (and writing) is a strategic activity which goes beyond the ordinary effort put forward by many bloggers in today’s blogosphere.
It is based on long term relationships, creating trust with your readers and establishing your brand identity.
And it is not possible if you don’t have an idea about the audience or the readers you are writing for. You need to have clarity about your targeted audience.
Your blog visitors, readers and eventually, customers.
Without this clarity, you are stabbing in the dark.
Of course you don’t meet all of your readers in person and you are not going to talk to every one of them either. However, over the period of time and through different methods, it should be your aim to have as much details as possible about them. To know more about them.
Surveys, feedback forms, emails, personal conversations, commenting, forum chats, community boards, social media, face to face discussions or whatever. Start building a bank of information about them and get more clarity in your mind about your readers.
This will help you to define them in more detail, know about their needs and understand their pain points. This in turn will assist you to write with more clarity, precision and focus.
“The end result is improved engagement, increased trust and loyal readership.”
I believe that at the core of every blogger’s dream is this objective.
With me so far?
Next step is to write it down.
Because writing anything down is more effective than keeping it in your head. Make it one of your priorities to document your ideal reader’s persona in your blog marketing plan or somewhere where it is easier to find and regularly visit.
It took me nearly 18 months to understand the importance of this concept.
I procrastinated for over an year on this matter and never formally documented these profiles. I want you to learn from my mistake. Appreciate how important is the “persona building” and start working on it from today.
If you are new to blogging, the image of your reader in your mind will be unclear and vague in early days.
This is normal.
Start writing it down and keep refining it on a regular basis. Keep adding more detail to it based on your best guess, judgement and opinion. Trust your gut feel. Listen to your heart. There is no right or wrong here.
Write creatively and build an imaginary “reader profile” on paper for your blog.
You may have only one profile if you write in a narrow niche. You may have two, three or more. Only you can decide how many audience profiles you need to cover your blog traffic. Meera Kothand wrote this excellent guest post on Smartblogger explaining the process involved in creating an ideal reader profile.
Further Reading – Kevan Lee from Buffer Blog has written a detailed beginner’s guide on this subject and Darren Rowse of Problogger also wrote about how to create reader profiles/personas to inspire and inform your blogging.
I am now going to share the 3 personas that I have created for my readers here at REASONTOUSE.
The niche I cover is wide and I have categorised it into 3 main streams. Each with its own ideal reader.
John is from London and 34 years old.
He is an architect and works in a busy office from 9 to 5. His hobbies include outdoor sports, socialising, surfing internet and everything Android. He is married and has two kids.
He is a die-hard Android fan.
He converted from Apple two years back and since then has never looked back. He enjoys his top-end Android flagships and likes to change them every 6 to 12 months to try new models and features. He is always on a hunt to explore new trends in Android.
He stumbled on my reviews through Google Search a couple of times and since then, he gradually became a regular visitor on my blog for Android related articles and reviews.
He likes reading my articles for two purposes.
First, he wants to keep him informed about the latest flagship models and their real-life feedback from someone who has personally tried and tested them.
Second and more importantly, my articles help him to decide about his next mobile phone. They help him to know about a particular phone model in case if he is planning to get one or just comparing it to a different model. There are a few important considerations for him such as camera quality, design and battery life etc. which he believes my reviews generally cover in detail.
He trusts me that I write real-life feedback and express my opinion with honesty and without any bias.
He is a silent reader and admirer of my blog and writing. He has never contacted me however, he occasionally shares my articles on his Twitter account.
Chris works with an IT firm in Austin, Texas.
He is in his mid forties and lives with his wife and 3 kids in the outskirts of the city. He likes active lifestyle and loves travelling and exploring different places.
His companionship with computers is over 25 years old from the days when he was doing his degree in networking and systems.
He has been a faithful Windows user for a long time before he tried his first Chromebook as a casual secondary device. This was aimed for his travelling and mobile use. He never knew that he will like them so much that today, most of his computing needs are covered by his Chromebook.
Chris is a fan of everything Google.
He is quick to learn and open to new ideas and innovation. The ChromeOS, its simplicity and intuitiveness have made him a regular user of this device. Two of his kids use Chromebooks in their school and more recently, his wife has shown interest in getting a Chromebook for herself as well.
He likes reading my articles on Chromebooks and Chrome operating system in general. He is not shy to share it with others as he believes that it is something which has a potential to change the way personal computing will be done in the future. He likes knowing about the latest Chromebooks and options in the market.
He is not very regular on my blog because he thinks that the amount of information in the “Chromebooks” section is limited. Sometimes he feels that I am not producing enough information for him to consume.
However, more recently, his emphasis has shifted from hardware to software within the Chrome world. He loves reading about the quality software and services one can use and enjoy on Chromebooks. He believes that cloud is the future and he is not shy to try any software or service that is cloud-based and can be used from your browser’s window.
Emma (22) lives in Brisbane Australia.
She is currently finishing her degree in Human Sciences with a special interest in psychology.
Writing is in her blood and she enjoys expressing her thoughts through writing on various platforms.
Last year she registered her own domain and started her personal blog on WordPress. Inspired from her friend and something that started as a casual hobby, soon turned into a full blazing passion.
She now considers her blog to be a valuable repository of her learning, experience and skills – shared with her readers.
WordPress is still a significant learning curve for her. She is in constant search of best techniques and tips to improve her blog and get the maximum benefit from the WordPress software. She wants to hack the growth.
She is normally in search of real life feedback and lessons learnt from bloggers and this is how she found me while searching on Google.
She is now a regular reader at my blog and loves my direct and conversational style of writing. She thinks that the real-life insights that I share are valuable and she can relate to them. She is not after superficial and thin content, she likes reading detailed and insightful articles related to blogging and WordPress.
Emma has big plans.
She sees herself as a famous writer and blogger. She wants to be unique and influencing. She wants to use my experience through my writing to increase her own knowledge and awareness.
She is thinking about sending me a request to write for my blog. She considers herself as a shy and silent member of the REASONTOUSE community and wants to contribute via her articles.
You have got a flavour of how I see my readers as.
I intend to keep this as a live document for the rest of my blogging career.
The more I know about you, the more I will refine the characteristics of my ideal blog reader persona. I believe that with the passage of time, this sketch will become clearer.
The aim is to know you and help you.
I want you to carry out this exercise too.
Write your “audience personas” and focus your writing further every time you publish a blog post. You will see a gradual increase in user engagement and readership.
Do you agree that every blogger needs to do this exercise and make an effort to know their readers with more clarity?
Or do you believe in writing for many?
Share your personal feedback and experience with us if you have ever tried to document your blog reader personas?