Step 1: Get Clear on Who You’re Writing For
When you have clear vision and perfect focus, you have a much better chance of hitting your target. For an extreme example, imagine you are about to throw a piece of refuse into a trashcan or garbage bin. Do you close your eyes, spin around three times, and then take your best shot? Or do you walk up to the bin as close as possible, open the lid and carefully place the garbage into the trashcan?
You know the answer to those two questions. This illustrates why you must know everything possible about who you are blogging for. This is true whether you have a video blog, your blog is connected to a podcast, or you make infographics and memes to get your message across. Whether you are using text to communicate, or some other form of media, you should make the following considerations when formulating your content strategy.
The Importance of Knowing Your Niche Intimately
There once was a man named Bob. He had a passion for pizza. He was an excellent chef, and his friends were always telling him he should open a pizza parlor. Bob’s specialty was pizzas with meat as the primary ingredients. Bob quits his job, opens up Bob’s Meatzas, and waits for the inevitable onslaught of customers.
The only problem is, while Bob knows everything about making delicious pizzas with meaty ingredients, he didn’t do any market research. Bob opened a meat pizza restaurant in a fashionable section of Los Angeles, California. A few seconds of research on Google would have shown him that Los Angeles has the second largest number of vegetarian restaurants, and therefore vegetarian-minded diners, in the entire United States.
You must know your market or your niche intimately.
Had Bob opened his meat-based pizza operation in Madison, Wisconsin, where cheese is king and there are many fewer vegetarian restaurants per capita than Los Angeles, he may have been an overnight success. This may seem contrary to logic. In a place like Madison, Bob will likely be up against other pizza places that serve meat-based entrées.
However, the reason why there are fewer vegetarian and vegan places to eat in Madison than Los Angeles is because the market is simply not there for plant eaters. Understand the market you are targeting before you enter it, and get to know your niche better than your competitors.
What Is Your Actual, Deep-Down, Target Audience?
If you want to start a weight loss blog, are you really going after the weight loss crowd? If so, you may as well get to love your current job, because you may not ever develop a real presence in that massive, broad marketplace. If you want to help people lose weight and become healthier, focus on a smaller niche. If you are a 45-year-old male who is a husband, a father, and works construction for a living, why not target men like yourself?
It is easier to hit a target when it is incredibly specific. If someone stumbles across your blog and it only says you want to help people lose weight, that person is not going to stay around long. However, when other male construction workers who are married and have children come across your blog, and they are in their 40s or 50s and having trouble losing weight and becoming healthy, you have a good chance of making real deep connections that create followers and customers for life.
Niche down from a broad category to find your true target audience, and reaching them will be much easier.
Have You Done Keyword Research?
What words and phrases are important to your industry? What longtail keywords, terms and phrases of more than 3 words, are your prospects typing into search engines right now? These are the powerful tools you are going to use in your content to help search engines understand what your blog is about, and additionally, to help web surfers find you when they are looking for just that information.
Here are a few excellent keyword research tools.
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Adwords
- KW Finder
- The Moz Keyword Explorer
With these free and paid applications and websites, you can quickly identify the most popular keywords and phrases in your niche. Include these in all forms of the content you create, for more qualified, free traffic, and happier followers once they make it to your blog.
What are The Biggest Problems in the Minds of Your Audience?
Why do people want to lose weight? One person may be very egotistical, and simply want to lose weight and develop a ripped, shredded body so he can stare at himself in the mirror for hours on end. If you were addressing this individual, you would have to stroke his ego. Another person may desire to lose weight because she is tired of not having any energy, and her doctor says she is headed to a heart attack or stroke if she doesn’t lose some weight as soon as possible.
These two people have to be approached in very different ways.
Their problems regarding your market, in their minds, are vastly different. The idea here is to understand the biggest problems and most concerning questions your target audience has. What literally keeps your prospects up at night, as they lay in bed, praying for sleep that never comes, because their mind is constantly worrying and concerned about a question or problem related to your niche? Figure out what these problems are, solve them, and your content strategy, as well as your business, will benefit greatly.