This is a subject that I could literally write pages and pages on. Which is why I’ve had to split this post into a few easily digestible chunks. So sit down with a coffee and some biscuits and read and reread it as many times as you need. :)
And there’s a cool little challenge for you at the end!
Start from the beginning.
Whether you are selling a product, or are just blogging for fun, you can make your content go much further when you know who it is that you’re talking to.
But what does this even mean? Who are these elusive target readers we are trying to reach out to?
For me, the ‘target audience’ has always been this wishy washy demographic that always reminded me of secondary school english lessons, when we would have to write posters and ‘magazine articles’ about healthy eating or the dangers of crossing the road incorrectly.
Does anyone else remember this? When you would write in a particularly zany and cringey way to appeal to a younger demographic, or write in an unnecessarily formal tone to appeal to the ‘older audience’.
If only it was that easy!
But there’s no need to fear, I have found your solution! First off, you’re going to need to wash away all preconceived ideas about what a target audience is. Everything we’ve been taught in school has been a lie.
Who Are My Target Audience?
The truth is, that they aren’t faceless grey people made up of age groups and genders, they’re real, tangible relationships waiting to be made. Thinking about them as a generic demographic can be dangerous because it makes us distance ourselves from our reader/customer.
A much better exercise for you is to create a few select profiles of your audience members and use them as a guideline for the kind of content you want to put out there.
It sounds silly, but you have to really make these people real.
And when it’s done right, you will find when you explain to others who your target reader is, many people will know someone who is exactly like that.
In an episode of one of my all time favourite (seriously, it’s like being taught business skills by one of your best friends) podcasts Elise Get’s Crafty, Megan Auman briefly touches on customer profiles and how she targets her pinterest towards specific people instead of large demographics. One of her ideal customers she has named, (which I totally recommend you do!) Bernise, “a hip grandma with a grey white bob and awesome red glasses,”.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but do we not all know a Bernise in our lives?
This is a great example of how to start building your customer profile. Give them names! Give them job titles! Give them favourite movies, hobbies, colours and styles! Do they rent? What is their monthly income? What are their hopes and dreams? What are they struggling with?
Make them real people, because that’s exactly who they are.
Create Good Content.
Once you have all of this information, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what it is that they need and produce it for them.
A good example of this is Kat Lee and her ebook Maximize Your Mornings. She was able to identify that her ideal readers were busy mothers with young children and found a solution for a problem that she felt they may have had.
You see how this works? Find your reader, then solve their problems! That’s the basic foundation of how you will be able to reach your target audience.
If you’re still unsure about who your audience is, then the best place to start is with yourself. Chances are, you are your target audience.
That’s right – the answer has literally been under your nose this whole time!
Jokes aside, you wouldn’t be writing this stuff if you didn’t find it interesting, right? Well that’s a brilliant place to begin.
Start by considering the content that you already put out, whether its a product, an awesome tutorial or an instagram post. Now you must ask yourself the toughest question of them all.
Would you care?
If you, yourself were surfing the internet, and you came across your post; would you stop to read it? If the answer is no then you may have to rethink what you’re producing, and how it can appeal to your target audience. (you!)
Become an Expert
Another way to use yourself in your customer profile, is to think about your own struggles. It may seem very daunting giving advice/value to someone you’ve never met, but I heard an awesome quote somewhere (probably from this podcast again, seriously I love it!) that ‘an expert is just someone who is one step ahead.’.
Think about yourself and how much you’ve learnt, lets say, in the past year. You’ve learnt an awful lot of things am I right? If you were to write a post right now about lets say – pinterest strategies, but last year you knew nothing about pinterest strategies, I bet that last year you would have found the information from that article very useful.
By using obstacles you’ve overcome and struggles you’ve faced, you can also create a customer profile that has so much more depth, than your run of the mill ‘woman between the ages of 20-30 that enjoys crafts’. You’ll also find that when creating profiles, you are really able to understand the problems that need solving, because they could be problems that you, yourself, have faced.
Creating a character profile adds a level of accountability to your work. For example, my customer profiles are all women, who are at similar points in their lives as I am. Their hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities are all spliced up into different variations of my own.
When I reread their profiles, it gives me such immense motivation to write something for them, because I am writing to them, the words that I myself needed to hear at certain points in my life.
I am solving a problem that I have already found a solution to, and by doing this, I feel as though it makes me work so much harder to produce quality because I know what it feels like to doubt yourself, or to feel overwhelmed by business and social media.
By treating your profiles as your friends, and using them as a sort of, quality control for your content, (would they like this?) you will find that directing content towards them will feel much more organic. Your writing and your purpose will feel much more authentic, because you ARE authentic.
Call to Action.
Now, I know that this is a very long post (thanks for sticking with me!), but I would like to leave you with one last call to action.
I challenge you to create 3 customer/reader profiles.
I want you to flesh out these profiles until you feel 100% accountable for improving their lives.
Include things like:
- Their Name
- Renting or Owning?
- Job title
- Daily Routines
- Stress levels
- What inspires them?
- What do they need in their lives?
- What are they working towards?
- How can you help them achieve this?
You don’t have to include all of these, and you can add more of their personality and likes/dislikes or anything else that I may have forgotten to mention.
So go! Run wild!
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this and please let me know if you found it helpful, or if you feel that there was anything I missed. If there are any other topics you wanted me to post about, let me know in the comments!
Also do you guys also prefer long or shorter posts? I was originally going to split this post into 3, but I decided to take the plunge and write it all into one big post. What are your thoughts?
And Finally – just out of curiosity, what are you guys like? Who reads this blog? I’d love to know how my audience compare with my target audience! I’ll let you in on a little secret.. My target audience profiles are called Laura, Elsie and Crystal. If any of you actually have those names, please get in touch! I’m curious, haha! :D