It’s time to find out more about your readers and commenters. Or be strategic: Whom do you want as your audience, and can you attract those readers?
Once you know who they are and what they like, targeted readers can be a source of inspiration for future posts, help you shape your posts, and help you build a bigger audience (by RTing your posts on Twitter, for example). Here are five tips on how to assess and build your readership:
1. Analyze your readers by using demographic criteria relevant to your blog posts. The more you know about your audience, the more you can write to them directly. Puzzle out such demographic details as:
- Percentage of male to female. If you know that most of your readers are mothers, for example, it could shape a percentage of your topics
- Age. This could affect the cultural references and language you use in your posts
- Where they live. Geography helps you determine whether to write seasonally, locally, or about topics that people in other countries don’t know about
2. Your readers’ personality, values and interests are sometimes more valuable in social media than demographics. Assess, through comments and the popularity of individual posts, how your readers feel about food and what’s important to them, such as:
- How often do they cook?
- What kind of recipes do they like best?
- Do they go out to restaurants?
- Are they interested in the latest food fads?
3. Analyze your readers based on what or whom they read, and get to know your circle. Do they have favorite websites or bloggers that are in the same niche as you? If so, get to know those sites and bloggers, and comment. Use analytics software such as Google Analytics to see where your referring traffic comes from, or search on similar themes to yours to see what else interests your potential readers.
4. Decide whether the audience you want is the audience you have. Ask yourself some hard questions, such as
- What do you offer and who needs it?
- What do readers want from you?
- Are you reaching the readers who matter most?
5. Write up a profile of your target reader. This might be a real person, or someone you want to read your blog in the future. How much specific info can you come up with? Details might include:
- Which magazines they read
- Which cooking shows they watch
- How many times a week they cook
- What kinds of food celebrities interests them
- Whether they buy cookbooks.
These tips will help you connect with your current audience and build an bigger audience for the future. If you have more tips based on what has worked for you, I’d love to read them.