If you don’t know who you’re talking to, then how do you know what to say?
Even though you already know who your target market is (oh, God, I certainly hope you do), did you know you are still writing for three distinct audiences? What I’d like to do today is explain these three audiences to you and give you tips for how to write for each one. That way, your blog posts will reach the right people and have a greater impact on them (and on your bottom line).
It doesn’t matter who you think you’re helping with your blog posts, there are 3 different kinds of audience members. You’re writing to at least one type with every post, but sometimes it’s two. Rarely, it’s all of them. Right now, you’re probably thinking, well one of them has got to be customers, right?
Absolutely, but that’s not all. I’m going to start with another group: clients.
Clients are the people you help directly with your time and energy. Perhaps through consulting, coaching, or freelance work such as design or writing.
Clients are the ones for whom process stories and client success stories have a lot of meaning. Clients want to know why they should hire you, and will appreciate content that helps them decide that. Clients will want to see the “real you” in your posts because they have to decide if they’d like to hire you.
But clients don’t want to work with a nobody.
That’s why the next audience you have is so important: your peers.
Customers want to work with a leader, a winner. They want a thought leader. You show that by engaging and interacting with your peers. You want to show that you know your niche, you know who’s who and you are one of the who’s who (is there an owl in here?).
You are constantly learning new things from others who do what you do, and they like to learn from you, as well. In today’s social web, it would seem absurd that you have no public interactions with your peers.
Now we get to customers. Customers differ from clients in that they are the do-it-yourself-ers in your audience. Clients want you to do things for them. Customers want to do things for themselves and learn how to do it from you. Customers, along with peers, will appreciate your “how-to” and your tips & tricks posts.
Chances are they could learn what they want easily from other sources. Why should they learn it from you? Answer that question and you’ll have loyal customers who buy your books, guides, training programs, or software.
Who are you writing for today?
In your never-ending quest to figure out “what am I going to blog about,” you can begin by asking yourself which audience your post is for. It’s possible to write for all three (which is the case with this very post), or two out of three. But you’ll probably find the biggest returns come from helping one specific group.
Another tip is after you’ve jotted down a great idea or if you have some drafts sitting around, ask yourself what audience they’re for. Determining audience is hardly ever the starting point. It’s something you determine after you’ve decided to put words to your inspiration. You already know who your market is, but these three audiences exist within your market.
Outside of your blog
These three types of audience also exist outside your blog (Of course, right? Call me Captain Obvious!). You will also find them on social media and subscribed to your email list. You’ll find them naturally segmented into Facebook and LinkedIn groups and Twitter lists and Google+ communities.
These divisions in your audience are not mutually exclusive. They’re not walled off from each other, there’s definitely overlap. A customer can easily become a client and many of your clients are also customers. Some of your peers are also customers and in some cases, even clients (I have been a blog consultant for other blog consultants).
This is worth remembering, because a real thought leader in a niche will be of help to others in the same niche. Getting customers to cross over into becoming clients may earn you more money since your personal services are likely to cost more than your products. Getting clients to become customers augments their client experience and makes you even more money. They are probably your most loyal customers because of their previous experience with you.
What’s Your Audience Ratio?
You can take a look at your interactions in your blog comments and on social media to roughly see what percentage of each audience you have. You can look at your previously published posts to see which audience you were writing for in each one.
One trap that many business bloggers fall into is creating too much content for peers and not enough for the other two audiences. You may need to make a conscious effort to create more content for customers and clients.
So take a look at your ratio of client/customer/peer content. If you find your marketing is out of balance, make an effort to adjust. Plan out your upcoming content accordingly.