If you want your book or your blog—or your business—to succeed, the answer to this question should have little to do with you. Instead, it should have everything to do with your audience, or your potential readers.
The Organizing Principle
During New Media Expo in Las Vegas in January, consumer behavior specialist Tom Webster explained that every blog needs an organizing principle. “That principle is not about a ‘what’ but about a ‘why,’” he said.
That means you must figure out the reason people would read your blog or your book.
I’ve always stressed that before you begin blogging or writing a book, you have to know your market. That also means knowing your ideal reader. However, a book, or a blog, could have several markets. According to Webster, “You might have several groups with different ‘whys’ but somewhere there is a joint ‘why.’”
You have to find the place where all the segments of your potential audience converge and determine the reason they would want to read your blog or your book, or, ultimately, to purchase anything from you. “You have to know why people buy or don’t buy your brand,” Webster said.
As an author and a blogger, you are a brand.
Your Content Strategy
There’s lots of talk in the blogosphere about content strategy. Bloggers and those who sell anything online, including coaches, authors and speakers, don’t like to talk about internet marketing anymore; instead they talk about content marketing. If you want to sell something—even a book—from your blog, you are supposed to have a “content strategy.”
Kristina Halvorson, the author of Content Strategy for the Web and the founder of the Confab content strategy conference defines content strategy a “planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.”
Indeed, every blog and blogger needs a content strategy. And that strategy must focus on the ‘why.’ Why would anyone want to read your blog? Why would anyone want to buy (i.e. read) your book? Why would anyone want to purchase your products and services?
Your Audience Strategy
Your content strategy must reflect your audience strategy. “Audience strategy supersedes content strategy,” said Webster. This is how you plan to target that audience, how you plan to answer the “why” for them in everything you do, including through the content you produce. And your content strategy must be “audience focused” rather than “buyer focused.”
Stop putting your attention simply on getting your ideal readers or customers to purchase. Instead, to accomplish this end goal, Webster suggested first focusing on the values, beliefs, attitudes, personality, interests, needs, wants, and desires of the people in your audience—your ideal readers and customers. Then, he said, plan for “the creation, delivery and governance of exceptional” audience-driven content that does one of three things:
- Challenges your readers
- Entertains you readers
- Is based upon your expertise, and, therefore, showcases your authority in a subject area
If you do this while addressing the “why,” you’ll gain more readers—potential buyers—each time you publish a post.
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