In order for your site to compete in an abundant online landscape, you need to know who your audience is and tailor your writing for them. Draw your reader in quickly with information that fulfills a need they have and leave them feeling a little smarter than they arrived.
Who Do You Want?
If you haven't started building your brand yet, begin by envisioning the people you would ideally like to engage. Write for them.
Some questions to think about to get you started:
- What do they care about?
- What needs can you help them fill?
- What would make them intrigued about your content?
- What type of voice sets them at ease?
For established content, keep an eye on what gets traction and what does not. Use Google Analytics and other data mining tools (like AtomicWriter) to examine the habits of your visitors. Conduct user surveys to find out why they started reading your article, what they want from you, and what they like (and hate) about your content. Be responsive to what you find and track how it shifts your user engagement metrics.
Talk Visitors Up
Engage directly with your audience. Get to know them. Invite discussion through email, comments, and social media. Reply to everything. The more you interact with your audience, the more they will tell you about their needs. Direct engagement is one of the best ways to generate a clear picture of what your audience wants from you and what questions they need answered.
Fill the Need
You know who your audience is, you've seen where they are coming from and what drove them to you, you've even talked to them and gotten direct feedback about their needs. Now, your job is to answer those questions. Make your content easy to read. Use language accessible to your guests. Be constructive - if your content doesn't enlighten, entertain, educate, or engage on some level then don't bother writing it. Give your audience something to do. Encourage them to discuss their own experiences, ask questions, or share their accomplishments.
Finding your audience and being responsive to their needs is more of an art than a science. When done well, the process is a bit of a moving target. You observe and react to shifting needs as they come. Every content creator has their own unique experiences and tricks for getting the most out of their writing.
Please leave a comment and share with us your favorite ways to reveal and engage with your audience!