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Try to know and understand your target audience

If your site covers specific topics and your goal is to have people read your blog, then one would assume you have a target audience. Do you know who your target audience is?

I often see writers decide they want to write about something (for example, technology) because he or she is passionate on the topic. That’s great. They look at the competition and make their plans. The problem is usually they do not decide who their target audience is. They write then pray traffic will eventually come.

I have a similar situation with Ping Six. As Community Director (actually this started when I was a member) I can no longer do what I’ve always done – talk about writing and writers. That leaves me with a problem – what the heck do I write about over there? For months I debated the issue (which is why there are a lack of updates) but there is a bigger problem: the site has an audience so if I write something way off topic I could irk those readers. The dilemma: do what I want or do what they want? Well, if you know me at all you know how that’s going to go. 🙂

I decided I’m going to do something very different. I’m going to do series of articles on business related topics specifically geared towards online sites/companies. This gives me the opportunity to give 9rules members some additional exposure. Not too far off topic because I am still talking about online “stuff” and technology. Having answered the “what” part, let’s answer the rest:

Who: 25-50, mostly male (that’s the way it’s always been for me), most likely geeky but would like to introduce newbies to these topics to foster online growth.
Why: They want to learn about (and strategies for) online ventures.
When: Updated a couple of times a week. No promises for daily updates.

What purpose did this serve:

1) Knowing my audience will be mostly male, don’t have a site that is too “girly” looking.
2) Again, mostly male audience so I need to write things that balance the mostly male audience with my female ways.
3) Age group: let’s me narrow down topics and make sure I’m covering things of interest for the age range.

Get my point? There are many things that can be drawn by this but knowing your target audience helps you fill their needs. Of course you’ll have readers that do not fit your target audience and you may notice you missed your target audience completely so depending on the nature of the site, you might have to revisit that. Knowing my target audience I can also set goals (try to gain more female readers).

Before you go there, yes, there will be times when you don’t care who the target audience is. For example, when I relaunch my personal site the goal is not to gain traffic but for me to articulate my thoughts. No one has to read it…as long as I’m pleased with what I write, I’m happy. 🙂 However, if you want to monetize your site then you should definitely have a target audience.