Before we delve into the first lesson of this Blogging Mini Course, let’s go over what we learned from our article on how to set up a blog.
We went over:
- Determining Your Purpose
- Finding Your Niche
- Choosing a Blog Name
- Picking a Blogging Platform
- Setting up Google Analytics on your site
- Mood Board + Designing a Logo
- Creating Social Media Accounts
- Choosing Your Website Design
- Creating Essential Blog Pages
- Making an Email Opt-In
- Writing your first blog post
- Sharing for Optimal Reach
- Backwards Planning for Success
If you haven’t read this article, start there! We want you to get as much out of this bootcamp as possible, and there is a lot that won’t make sense until you’ve read that article.
Trust me, it will be well worth your while and it will walk you through the exact steps to setting up a blog for success. Don’t worry – it’s not a super basic “how to” article. We’re sharing the super important pieces that most other bloggers don’t tell you.
The Next Step…
Now, the next thing you NEED to do is to find your audience. Many blogging courses don’t focus on this, as it isn’t necessary before you press “publish”. Google doesn’t require you submit a description of who your reader is. So often times, this step is ignored.
But trust me when I tell you that if you fail to pinpoint your audience, your success will be stunted.
Connecting with an audience is the difference between a blogger who makes 6 figures, and one who pulls in a couple hundred dollars each month.
Which one do you want to be? I think I may have an idea of which you’d choose, so we’re going to share exactly how to pinpoint who your audience is and how write for them.
We’re also going over our top tip for honing in your blogging voice and getting your audience to really connect with you and trust you.
How to Find Your Audience
First of all: Why is finding your audience important?
True, Google doesn’t have an algorithm that determines you “really know your audience” and thus rank you higher. Having a grasp of your audience isn’t going to suddenly drive traffic to your site. So why does it even matter?
Taking the time to find your audience is going to be what makes people connect with you. There are thousands of other blogs out there, so people really need to feel like you’re speaking directly to them. If you know how to do that, it is going to change everything. It is going to make them want to come back. It is going to make them trust you and tell your friends to check out your site. It is going to cultivate loyal fans. This simple step is going to make writing more meaningful because you know who it is you’re writing for.
Alright, let’s get started…
At this point in the game, you should have an idea of your niche and what types of articles you will be writing on your blog.
Now take a moment to think about all of the types of people who will be interested in reading this content. Maybe it is someone just like you. Maybe not.
Step #1. Write a list
Write down everyone who you think might come to your website. Don’t hold back.
For us, it looked something like this when we started:
People interested in…
term travel (1 month+)
cultural and authentic experiences
Let’s dig deeper into what “people” means. How do they travel (in pairs, solo, as a group)?, how old are they? Where are they from?
For us, this included:
Solo female travelers
Solo male travelers
18-40 years old
Make sure you write down a similar list for your audience.
Now that you have your list, consider this:
What you’ve just written down is likely incredibly broad. And truthfully, you will have a diverse range of people reading your blog.
Step #2. Narrow it Down
However, the best in the business have shown time and time again that you will be infinitely more successful if you write for one person instead of trying to write for the masses.
The saying goes:
Write for everyone, connect with no one. Write for one, connect with many.
It is going to be so difficult for anyone to relate to you when you are writing for a single 18-year old guy and a married 40-year-old couple at the same time.
So in this next step, you’re going to narrow down one reader you want to target. Think through all of the things you have written above, and circle the ones that you can connect with most.
For us, it looked like this:
Couples who are 24-32 years old (typically it will be a woman reading our articles)
From the USA
term travel (more than 2 weeks)
adventures and authentic experiences
Your Assignment: Write an Audience Bio
Now, write down the description of ONE PERSON based off your narrowed down list. Make it sound like a character in a book. Get in their head.
How do they plan their trips? What websites or forums do they use?
Where are they interested in traveling? Why?
What is their life like?
Where are they from?
What types of accommodations do they stay in?
What experiences are they looking for?
Read Our example…
Sarah is 26 years old and engaged to be married to her fiancé, Nate, next fall. They are from Chicago, and have college degrees. While they have full-time jobs, their schedule is decently flexible, which allows them to take longer trips than most. And they prioritize travel, taking 2 international trips a year.
When traveling, they like to get off the beaten path, experience culture and have adventures along the way. They like trying new things, and are becoming more aware about traveling consciously (though they don’t know very much at the moment.) They pack light, and stay at modest hostels and guesthouses.
Sarah does most of the trip planning for the couple , so she reads lots of blogs and is an active member of travel-related Facebook groups, like Girls Love Travel, where she occasionally seeks out advice.
Since Sarah and Nate are planning for their wedding, they try to stick to a budget. However, they’re not super strict, as they don’t stay in many dorm rooms and they like to splurge on special experiences.
Right now, they are planning their honeymoon. They don’t want to do the typical week at an all-inclusive resort. Instead, they are looking for unique and non-traditional places to travel together and have meaningful experiences. Neither of them have been to Southeast Asia, so they are hoping to plan an epic honeymoon through Thailand, Vietnam and Bali.
After you’ve written your Audience bio…
Now that you have someone down on paper, read it over again and again.
This is the person you are writing for. You can always come back to this when you need motivation or focus.
When I write, I think of “Sarah”.
And while I can still connect with others – older and younger people, solo travelers, and those planning trips with their friends – my voice is consistent.
Honestly, “Sarah” has changed along with us over the past 5 years. (Just like a real person would change over the course of time.)
Our travel style has evolved, and our writing has evolved as well.
“Sarah” is now married and while they still love to travel, they take shorter trips. Nate and Sarah now have a bigger budget, and they seek out unique accommodation and splurge more frequently.
Know that it is okay for your audience to grow and change. People are not static, and your writing shouldn’t be either. But you need to start somewhere.
Consider your tone
You have your audience in mind now, and I want you to think of them as a friend. How would you talk to you friend?
You probably wouldn’t have a formal, business tone. And you certainly wouldn’t sound sales-y.
You would be 100% honest. Maybe even funny or sassy. You might use slang every once in a while.
This was hard for me at first because I went to school for journalism and was more concerned about correct grammar than honing in my voice.
But I eventually found it, and it made things SO.MUCH.EASIER. Words flowed more freely, and writing became — dare I say — fun!
Wanna know my secret for finding my voice?
Treat your audience like a friend.
This is a biggie. I see a lot of new bloggers writing as if it’s for a class assignment. Like they’re trying to sell the place they are writing about.
When people come to a blog, they want to CONNECT. They want to trust you. They want to feel like they know you.
If they want a sales-y pitch about how beautiful Italy’s architecture is, they’ll look in a guidebook. They’re coming to you for the REAL stuff. And if you don’t give it to them, they’ll leave and find someone who does.
For us, one of the best parts of blogging is the connections we make with people all over the world. People write to us simply to say “thank you” for helping them plan their vacation or teach them something new. Those connections are the reason why we started blogging in the first place. And we think they’ll be a super powerful piece of it for you, too.
Takeaway from Today’s Lesson:
The main takeaway I want you to get from this lesson is that writing for ONE person is going to connect with your readers and make them want to come back to your site (again and again). And envisioning them as a friend is going to help you find your blogging voice. With practice, it will become second nature.
What did you think of this assignment?
Have you thought about honing in your voice and writing for ONE PERSON?
If you are having trouble or have questions about this step, please respond to today’s email and we’ll do our best to help you out.
Tomorrow’s Lesson: The Anatomy of an Article
In tomorrow’s lesson, we’re going to talk about something that we didn’t fully grasp until a couple years into blogging.
Even if you’re the best writer in the world, Google will not rank your articles if you don’t write with the search engine in mind. We’re going to break down how to write articles that Google actually likes.
Get ready, because it is an information-packed lesson!