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Friday, August 10, 2012

Develop Your Audience with Logo
Write Relevant Articles with a Persona in Mind
Buckle up. We've got a in-depth, audience-targeting strategy that you've got to try.
Understanding your audience is one of the key elements of success. Not only will it encourage new audience participation, it will help you discover changing patterns in your niche. It will also help you understand the current conditions that affect your audience's participation now and later. As a result, you will be able to write quality, informative content targeting your reader's needs and wants.
One audience-targeting strategy: creating personas. Personas represent segments of your audience to help you view your platform from your reader's perspective as well as align with their likes and dislikes. Here's how!
Who Are Your Current Readers?
The first step to audience development is recognizing your readers are approaching you, your articles, and your platform for different reasons. Talk, survey, observe, and gather data on your current audience via clients, customers, etc. Who are they and how invested are they in your niche?
Next, profile your readers. Begin by breaking your readership down into groups of readers, competitors, and publishers. Break these groups down even further, e.g. Readers = frequent readers, occasional readers, and infrequent readers. Use labels to help differentiate each group. Also, consider what their points-of-entry were, what maintains their connection to you (i.e. their point-of-interest), and barriers preventing them from becoming frequent readers. Record this information as well as any other pertinent information you gather into a profile summary.
Gather the above information before creating personas! Assumptions can be deadly to your success. Confirm your theories before putting them into practice.
Creating Your Audience Personas
Now for a little imagination! Using the profile summaries, construct personas or characters by defining the following characteristics:
  • Name and Age
  • Personality or Intelligence Type (e.g. extrovert, intrapersonal, etc.)
  • Field of Study or Occupation (i.e. what they know)
  • Point-of-Entry and Point-of-Interest
  • Barriers (i.e. actual and perceived)
  • Attitude and Expectations
  • Other Personal Characteristics
Using Personas to Write Quality Articles
Now you can put your personas into action. Consider a scenario or topic relevant to your niche. Then consider the persona's approach using the following four phases as a guide:
  1. Introductory - No previous knowledge of the topic.
  2. Intermediate - Some knowledge the topic; however, perceptions of topic may be skewed.
  3. Advanced - Knowledge of the topic and implemented principles of the topic.
  4. Expert - Firsthand, professional insights into the topic.
For example: Let's say I'm an expert on coffee who manages a small coffee shop. I have identified at least 9 personas, but for brevity's sake, we'll just take a look at Susie Hipster.
Susie Hipster, age 22, is an extrovert studying literature and has always wanted to host live music events. She was introduced to my coffee shop via word-of-mouth because a local band was playing. What keeps Susie coming back is the lively discussion with other hipsters who frequently drink coffee for 3-4 hours after 4:00 PM as well as seeking out musicians on music nights. Susie will not come in the morning because she fears older generations and believes mornings are for "conservative tyrants." Susie also believes all of the products in my store should be organic and free trade, but leather couches would be "hot."
Organizing bridge games for morning coffee-goers will not be relevant to Susie Hipster, but what will be? Music. What do I know about music? Organizing music nights. Using the previously mentioned phases, I can develop at least 4 articles targeting my Susie Hipster audience:
  1. Tips to Organizing a Live Music Event
  2. How to Book a Musician for a Live Music Event
  3. Pricing Strategies for a Live Music Event
  4. Evaluating the Success of Your Live Music Event
Isn't creating and writing for personas fun?! Bear in mind, people's attitudes and situations change. Revisit your personas from time-to-time to ensure they are still valid profiles of your audience and keep an eye of out for trends to be the first to address them with your audience. Above all, get more out of your article writing efforts by first targeting and then growing your audience with quality, relevant articles using personas.
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