It all comes down to the audience. I wish I took it more seriously when I started.
Over the last 3 weeks, I decided to start to take this whole blogging thing more seriously. And I started out realizing I suck. My stat’s were terrible, no one cared and I felt like I could never compete with the more well established and prolific writers out there. In short, I felt beaten.
However, my resilience training kicked in and instead of asking why do the machines hate me, why does no one care and why can’t I go viral? I decided to control the one and only thing I could control — the writing.
I turned a big microscope on my work and I started asking the question: What am I doing wrong? What do I need? What am I missing.
The answer to everything:
It’s all about the audience.
I don’t know who my audience is. And, most of my writing was about my experiences and what I wanted to learn and my opinions.
I very quickly realized, no one cares about me or my particular opinions.
My audience, whoever they are, care about themselves, their lives, their problems, dreams, aspirations and the people they love. Not me.
Do you know who your audience is?
All writing is about communication. We are writing to get our ideas to an audience. But the big secret is, our writing can never go out and find our audience. Our audience must find our writing! And they won’t find our writing unless we write about what they are looking for.
So the golden rule is give your audience what they want.
And if you want the fortune and fame — you need to find the biggest audience you can and write directly to their wants and needs. (Or more likely their fears and desires.)
So effectively, you won’t find your audience, you need them to find you. So you need to know what they are looking for and what they want.
So, do you really know your audience?
1) Who is your audience?
Let’s assume you don’t know who your audience is. Well then ask yourself the question and force yourself to answer.
- Who are the people that you want to reach?
- Who are the people that will listen to you?
- Who are your natural customers?
Just start asking questions like these and your subconscious will give you answers.
My questions answered:
For me, I am writing for people who want to find success in their lives. They want to know the secrets that will get them success and they want to chase after their dreams and get a great life. (Those are people like me and that’s what I want to know about.)
So, if I think about the types of people in real life that I’ve actually met who fit the bill — and I mean real people from my life — then I’m talking about a select group of people.
For one example, my students
For me, as a teacher, the people who fit my ideal audience, and I’ve seen in real life, are the 5% of my students who want to know more than the rest. These are a select group of students; I can picture them right now, I know who they are and I know they like me as a teacher and I could teach them what I know very well. There may be more than 5% and I can add a few more names to the list, but my core is those 5%.
They are both male and female, though slightly more male, and they are driven to success. They are not necessarily the super brainy, really academic students. Those students ‘know’ if they follow the system they’ll get everything they want. They trust the system, and they’re not likely to think sideways. But there are still some that are academically successful, but they also want more of a real life, business approach that school doesn’t really cater too.
Also, I have noticed I have a real appeal to the struggling students at school. The ‘sweathogs’ as my colleague likes to call them. They are not the driven students that go after success, but they like my style. They are mostly male, down to earth, and like my sense of humor.
So, part of my audience could be high school kids with this pool of character types.
Another example, work colleagues
My audience could also be the people I used to work with. I worked with them in the supermarket. I understand them — I have felt their pain being stuck in the rut, working for the man, and wanting more. These were mostly male, semi educated and semi ambitious. I can see them now and I know I can sell to them -because I’ve tried and I have.
They want to get a ladder to the dream life, they believe it’s possible, but they don’t want to die doing it. They also, like my “sweat-hogs”, don’t really believe they can have success in the regular system, and this is why they tend to like me — I never judge people because of their abilities, but I offer positive support, belief and friendly humor that feels inclusive. (At least I think so.)
Also, I can see the types of people who go after the similar types of products and experiences I want. I see the types of people in the YouTube videos following Tony Robbins and those other gurus. These are people chasing success. They want to get ahead and they want to find the secret to being successful in their lives.
These are a mix of both male and female, generally in their late twenties to thirties, some in their 40s or above, but generally they are people looking to take the big step to make their life better.
So, now I’ve thought about my possible tribe. I can see it covers a wide range, but if I average it out I get an age range from high school students around 16 up to middle age around 40. Somewhere in there I can start to narrow down further. They are mostly working class or lower-middle class professionals, moderately well educated and semi ambitious. They are both male and female, but probably more male than female.
My ideal client
There I have my audience. Let’s make it more specific. My ideal customer is a bit of an average Joe. As in he probably doesn’t stand out from the crowd. He’s around 25. He’s high school and possibly university educated. He’s in a job where he feels he could be doing more. Or he feels like he wants more and he doesn’t really have the belief system or the support system to truly believe he can have more than he’s got. But he wants more.
From here we can extrapolate on needs, wants, fears and desires.
But for now, let’s see how we go with this.
So where do we find our audience.
You need to think:
- Where do my people work?
- Where do my people live?
- What do they do for fun?
- Where do they go in their free time?
- But most importantly, where are they online? What do they search? What do they read? What activities do they do, in this market place that I want to reach them in.
These people are generally found in school, university, through to working class settings, specifically in service roles, and semi professional careers. Now, I’m not going to be able to just go rushing into these places and proclaim I’m the savior, start following me.
So where do I go to be found by these people -my tribe?
- In the real world
How can you find your audience in the real world?
In my real world, I can find ways around my job that can start to target my audience. I can work out which students would be interested in my writing and sample some of it with my writing group. I could provide an afterschool class teaching the lessons I have learned to that specific group. Then building on these, I could learn to network better and use word of mouth to spread the word and develop a local audience, in the real world.
(Great idea — shame about Coronavirus and the whole social distancing thing — but I can prepare and wait.)
Where can you find your audience out and about?
I’m not likely to go around to people’s workplaces or to universities handing out flyers, though that could be an approach for the future. But for now, I could start to look for social events where my key demographic would congregate and put in some effort to mingle and establish some contacts and then see where that takes me.
(Great idea, again too bad about the whole ban on social gathering right now.)
3. Where can you meet your audience online?
Online they will probably be on social media — places like Medium, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and so on.
I’m no expert here, so my next step is to start to really understand these platforms and learn how to use them properly to find my audience.
So, where does my 25 year old Average Joe spend his time on line? I need to start doing my homework.
3. What does your audience want?
You need to know what your audience wants. Not what you think they want. And not the obvious answer to their needs. You need to know the want that is in their head on a daily basis.
I might think my audience wants success. I might know the best answer to their lives is self-improvement. And maybe I’m right. But if I go out offering that to my audience, when they are thinking: ‘I want money, money, money, girls, parties, a great body, and fast cars and money, money, money’, then they’ll never find me and I’ll never get to them.
So what is my audience looking for?
As stated above, I’m guessing my audience isn’t going around asking how they become successful. That would be too easy. And I’m pretty sure, they’re not sitting their thinking, ‘damn I’d love to work harder and improve myself’.
So, what are they actually thinking?
I’m assuming, most of them are thinking, life sucks, it’s not fair, why do those rich people have it so easy? Where’s my fancy car? Why do the popular guys get the hot girls? Or why am I still single? How do I get people to love me? Why do we have to work for a living? How do I get out of this?
I’m assuming, so I still have more work to do to get more specific. However, I’m pretty sure these are some of the questions I used to ask. I didn’t ask how do I get out of this? But I asked a lot of why me questions. And why them and not me questions. And why can’t I questions.
I’ll need to do more research. But for now, I have something to work with.
So if they’re asking these questions, what answers are they looking for.
And here’s the problem.
They’re not searching these questions. No, they’re probably not online searching why can’t I have it all? or Why am I a loser? or Why do I have to work? They’re not even searching for the answers to these questions. They’re not asking; how do I become a winner? How can I have it all? How do I free myself from work?
Well maybe sometimes. But more likely than not, they’re going from 0–100 and asking how to get their incredible fantasies. They figure the answer to their problems is become rich, become a millionaire, learn the secret language of the opposite sex and fool them into loving you, and learn how to get rich quick … and well you get the idea.
So this tells me what my audience wants.
They want their desires met. They want to know the map to their perceived solution; i.e. how do I become a millionaire?
What is your audience’s desire?
So this is how we find them. We know what they are searching for, and we work out where they are and learn how to package the message so they are actually looking for us and they click on us.
But to go further: What do they really want?
Now I know what you’re thinking. That all sounds very much like ‘click bait’ to me too.
But if that’s what my audience is looking for, then maybe I need to find a way, without being ‘click-baity’.
I guess the key is to target what they’re looking for, but give them what they really need.
The real thing they want is not the money, fortune and fame, or all those perceived answers. I mean, they’ll search for ‘how to chat up hot chicks’, but they don’t really want to be able to “chat-up” hot chicks, that’s difficult work. No, they want the love, the connection, or the significance they are missing.
In short, they want what is missing.
They want their dream life. They feel stuck and they want so much more. They’re not sure they can have it, but they want the cure. Just like everyone. They want the answer to make their life better. They want the formula to follow. They want the cure to their fears — the fear they are not enough, the fear they will not have enough… and so on.
And so they want not just the answers, but they also want the feelings and the message of certainty.
So that is what I need to try to give to my audience.
And this tells me what I need to write.
I need to write about the things they desire, or what they believe they need to fulfil their desires, and then while doing it, lead them to what they really need and also pacify their fears. I need to offer them the solutions and the formulas that will get them where they want to go. Furthermore, I need to give them the hope and anticipation they want to feel and the support when they feel the fear.
So, how do I put that all together?
4. How to help your audience?
This will take a while. And in fact I’ve already taken way too long.
For the mechanics, check back next week.
For the theory, here we go, as fast as we can go:
Marketing —We need to know exactly where our audience is and at what time. We need to think of exactly what they want, actually what they think they want, what they are actually looking for. And then we need to select the perfect images and headlines that call on what they want. And we need to start doing that consistently.
Sales — we need to develop a clear message for our audience. We need to be the voice that gives them what they need. It needs to offer the hope that their desires will be met. And it needs to speak to the fears they have of not accomplishing their dreams. But more, it needs to be more than just about them. A great sales trick is to know people are not selfish. People buy for others, we look for ideas we can share with others, we are driven by a need to contribute. So, if we can make our message something for their family, their friends, for their community, their children, even their future fiancée, child, or friends, it has a much better chance of selling.
Business — we need to develop a consistent message, delivered at a consistent time, regularly enough so they feel the support there everyday, or whenever they need it. It needs to be regular and secure, but have enough variety to be exciting and it needs to deliver to their needs and wants.
So, building on that — a regular blog, a product and/or a service that gives your audience what they want — the formula, the secret, the cure, the answers.
Then we can envision much more.
So that’s it for now.
Blogging is all about the audience
If you want to have success, you need to find that audience right now.
And now I feel I know what I’ve been doing wrong. And I know what I’ve been doing right.
Look out next week, were I look at the actual mechanics of putting all this into a proper blog post.
Lets learn together and go on a journey to success.
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