If you write a personal blog, then as long as you’re getting readers who enjoy what you’re posting and are coming back for more, you probably don’t mind who they are. With business blogging, though, it’s different. You’ve got an objective, and that means you need to attract an audience who are going to help you achieve that objective.
Start with customer insight
It may be gratifying if your blog is getting a lot of attention from athletics coaches or chefs, but if you’re selling managed data centre services then it’s plain that these people aren’t your target audience. It doesn’t matter if some readers aren’t your core audience — and you never know, the junior executives, students or stay-at-home mums reading your blog today may be the IT buyers of tomorrow — but if the majority of your audience aren’t the people who are going to buy your products and services (or who may influence your buyers), you’ll never reach the goals you’ve set for your blog.
That’s why good business blogging starts with customer insight. It’s a bit like dating: you know what you’re looking for; assuming that some good matches are out there, you need to find out what they’re looking for, so that you know what to say. What will make them laugh? What will make them walk away? The more knowledge of your target audience you can bring to your blogging, the better chance you stand of building lasting relationships with them.
If you’re looking for ideas about where and how to gather customer insight, you might enjoy our customer insight ebook.
Your blog as a source of customer insight
As long as you’re reasonably certain that your blog readership matches your target audience, you can use your blog’s analytics to learn more about them and finetune your blogging approach. Which posts attract the most readership (and which the least)? Can you spot patterns that might point to which topics your audience prefers, or to other blog characteristics that are proving to be particularly attractive (short or long copy, for example, or different responses to video vs text)?
If you don’t know which social media platforms your blog readers prefer (or whether they’re using them at all), analytics can help by showing you where your blog readers are coming from. But remember – analytics on existing readers can’t tell you if there’s a massive reservoir of potential customers on a platform or forum where you have no presence; only independent customer research can do that.
Depending on the analytics platform you use, you may also be able to get data on the age, gender and interests of some of your audience (you may need to add code to your blog pages to achieve this). This information can help you confirm that you’re connecting with your target demographic, or even identify a target market for your products and services that you weren’t aware of.
By combining insight about your blog readership with your other customer insight activities, you’ll get a clearer picture of your audience that will help you create content that’s more valuable, relevant and engaging for them. In our next post we’ll get down to the nuts and bolts of blog content creation. In the meantime, if you’ve got any questions about anything we’ve covered in our blogs, feel free to ask them in the comments, tweet us, or message us on LinkedIn — the links are all at the bottom of the page.