I have both written and read many blogs in my time about how you should tailor your blog posts to your ideal customer, the idea being that you research thoroughly who your core customer base is and then envisage a single customer who embodies all the characteristics of that customer base. Kind of like what the politicians do – talk to ‘Middle England’.
Trying to Please the Masses
My advice in the past has always been to write your blog posts to one specific member of your ideal audience, as attempting to pitch your blog posts to a multitude of people just results in general writing that loses its potency and meaning. I do still believe in that; trying to please everyone all at the same time is ultimately counter-productive; as the old adage goes, you can’t please all the people all of the time but you can please some of the people some of the time.
Of course, there’s nothing to say that you always have to write all of your blog posts to the same ideal audience member every time, you can juggle it around and write to several well-chosen members of your customer base with each post, possibly by putting them on rotation, thereby making your writing varied and giving you an increased chance of engaging with your readership.
Hence, in every blog post I’ve written in the past, I’ve advised my perfect customer to write to their perfect customer. Unfortunately, there’s a massive flaw in this argument that everyone so far seems to have missed or, at least, not owned up to.
The Purpose of Writing
Putting aside, just for a moment, the fact that a great website needs to create vast quantities of content in order to rank on the SERPs (search engine results pages), the ultimate goal of writing a blog, particularly from my standpoint as a Freelance SEO Consultant, is to get more traffic to your website. To that end, you want – nay, need – people to be actually reading your blog posts, otherwise, what’s the point in writing them?!
I have not only written incredibly helpful blog posts in the past that were designed to help the reader get more traffic to their website, but I have also put time and effort into creating useful slides, diagrams, infographics and even step-by-step guides that walk my ideal client through promoting their blog and getting more and more people to read it.
As SEO Consultants, our focus at GrowTraffic has always been to advise our clients to write a blog, then promote it in all the right places (Networked Blogs, Fuel My Blog, Bloglovin etc.) and, hey presto, hundreds of readers will miraculously appear and your website will soar in the rankings.
The Problem with this Advice
Unfortunately, the fatal flaw here is that not a lot of ordinary people actually take the time to read blogs. If you take GrowTraffic’s blog as an example; we spend hours each week penning interesting blog posts that are well written, informative and engaging. As an SEO Consultancy business, our core customer base is small to medium business owners who need our advice on how to increase their website’s traffic and then need a bit of education and guidance so that they can carry those changes on and optimize their own websites going forward.
As such, our blog is pitched at said small to medium business owners who either want or need to educate themselves about SEO so that they are empowered to create great websites that rank highly. The problem is that your average small to medium business owner is already very busy running their own little empire and they don’t actually want to read through all of our blog posts to learn about how SEO works; what they want is for us to lay the foundations for them and then tell them the bare minimum they need to keep up the momentum.
In short, we’re writing to the wrong people.
So Who Does Read Blogs?
If we look at this problem from the other side and ask ourselves ‘who reads blogs?’, then the real answer is probably ‘people who write blogs’. Because I like to practice what I preach, I am a member of almost every blogging website or community that you can think of and the GrowTraffic blog is circulated on all of them.
Just a few minutes of exploring these websites, however, will quickly show that practically every other member on there has a blog that they are also frantically promoting. Likewise, every time I tweet my latest blog post on Twitter, the only people who ‘favourite’ or re-tweet it are other SEO or marketing agencies, or organisations along the same lines.
Only a handful of times in the history of our blog has anyone ever commented on, shared or ‘liked’ one of our posts, who was a genuine small to medium business owner looking for a bit of helpful advice on how to SEO their website. It just doesn’t happen.
Does It Matter Who’s Reading Your Blog?
It’s a tricky point; basically, you’re writing to someone who isn’t actually reading your blog post but, on the other hand, people who you’re not writing to are reading your blog, so it’s being read, which is probably the main thing. The big question is though, would more people read your blog if you stopped writing it to your ideal customer and started writing it to other people in your industry or business sector who also blog about similar things? It’s an interesting theory and one that, I think, I may just have to research using a little trial and error experimentation.
To return to the point I briefly touched upon earlier, however, – that of the never-ending need for content creation in this crazy drive to please the search engines – you could argue that it doesn’t matter whether or not anyone is reading your blog, as the simple fact that you are uploading lashings of lovely copy to your website is probably sufficient to get it to rise up the rankings.
So Who Should You Write To?
Unfortunately, I can’t give you a cut and dried answer on this one. To some extent, it depends on who your audience is and what business sector you’re in. If you exist in a world that functions mainly online, is primarily concerned with anything digital or more likely than not confuses the hell out of your average punter, then you’re probably best writing to other bloggers who will understand what the heck you’re on about.
On the other hand, if you’re writing for a sector that interests a wide range of people or that is likely to engage the public, such as the news, entertainment or posts about celebrities, then writing to your ideal customer is still more often than not your best bet. Yes, other bloggers will read it, but a post about Kate Middleton’s new coat from Jaeger is more likely to be read by your average member of the great British public than a post about Google’s latest Penguin algorithm update (despite its appeal to us boring geeks).
Just Keep On Blogging
At the end of the day though, the best advice I can give you is to just keep on writing and creating as much content as you can and eventually your hard work will pay dividends in SERP rankings.
What’s more, although it may take you a year or even two – plus a lot of hard promotion – and as long as you make your writing interesting and diverse whilst still appealing to Joe Public, your readership will eventually grow and your hours of toil will be rewarded. Just make sure you stay in touch with your audience, maintain a dialogue, keep them under review and (to a certain extent) give them what they want and you’ll end up with a loyal band of followers, whether they be other bloggers or mere normal folk.
Get In Touch
If you have a theory about who you should be writing your blogs to, or if you’ve actually done a bit of research yourself and have some hard facts on the subject, then I’d love to hear from you. Please either leave me a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you.