If you want to have a blog that makes a difference in the lives of those who read it, I would highly recommend getting clarity around these three simple (yet powerful) questions:
- Who are your readers?
- What do they need?
- How will they change as a result of reading your blog?
Previously I wrote very briefly about these questions and suggested that they might be a great way to come up with a purpose statement for a blog.
Since that time I’ve had conversations with four ProBlogger readers who took these questions and applied them to their own blogs – and in doing so saw marked improvements in their blogging.
So today I want to emphasise them again.
Let’s tackle the first two together and then look at the third.
Who Are Your Readers? And What Do They Need?
Understanding who reads your blog (or at least who you want to read your blog) and what their needs are is so important because it will inform:
- what kind of content you should create (topics, style of writing etc)
- how to attract readers to your blog
- how you can engage with your readers and build community on your blog
- how you monetise your blog (if this is a goal for you)
Understanding your reader also informs things like design, what social media networks you should be engaging in, what subscription methods you should use, how frequently you should publish, and much more.
I’ve previously published an exercise in building a reader profile or persona to help you get clarity around this. And if you’re a ProBlogger Member (it’s FREE to join) I’ve got a worksheet that steps you through the process of how to create a reader avatar for your blog.
Ultimately – knowing who is reading enables you to take a big step towards producing a useful blog.
Without this clarity you’ll be stumbling around in the dark!
How will your reader change as a result of reading your blog?
Over the years I’d focused very heavily upon understanding readers needs, but it has only been the last year that I’ve taken things to the next step and doing thinking about how to ‘change‘ readers.
Knowing who is reading is one thing, but if you want to build a blog that is epic, your blog needs to leave an impact upon people.
I recently spoke about this idea at a conference and shared the following slide. While I didn’t spend a heap of time unpacking the idea, this was the most tweeted quote of the talk I gave.
Blogs that change people are blogs that those people will keep returning to.
Blogs that change people are blogs that build trust and relationship with their readership.
Blogs that change people are blogs that their readers share with their networks.
I’ve always know this – it’s not really rocket science – but for some reason I never actually identified the change I wanted to bring to my readers!
As a result, some of my blog posts hit the mark with readers – but many did not.
Why leave it to chance as to what change we want to bring to our readers? Why not define where they are and where we want to take them?
Name the Change and Then Break It Down
Let’s take a look at my main blog, Digital Photography School, as an example.
My answers to the above three questions are not really that complicated:
- My readers are camera-owners
- My readers are not using their cameras to their full potential
- My readers will gain creative control over their cameras as a result of reading dPS
I know if dPS can give camera owners creative control over their cameras, they will start taking images that help create amazing memories for their families, start capturing magical moments in the trips they take, and that they’ll start creating art and ways to express themselves creatively.
These are tangible benefits and outcomes of reading our site and enhance the lives of our readers.
So once we’ve defined the change we want to bring to readers, then we can begin to make more informed decisions about the content we create by simply breaking that down.
What does having creative control over a camera look like? There are many parts of bringing about that change. Some would include:
Obviously this is just a few of the things a camera owner needs to grasp, but you can see here that we’ve already identified a number of topics to explore that help to bring about the overarching goal of the site.
By doing this exercise, we end up with a content and community strategy that is much more intentional that simply sitting at the keyboard each day and asking what we feel like writing about.
By being intentional, we’re creating content that moves people through a process and takes them to an outcome that changes their life in some tangible way.
So What Change do You Want to Bring?
My challenge today is to answer the three questions above, and then to begin to break down the change that you’re wanting to bring.
- Who are your readers?
- What do they need?
- How will they change as a result of reading your blog?
If you’re serious about building an audience for your blog and want to supercharge your traffic ProBlogger’s Find Readers Course will give you the roadmap and guide you through 6 clear steps to find readers.
This article was first published on June 20, 2014 and updated June 30, 2022.
Great article! Understanding your readers is important when it comes to blogging and increasing your returning visitor percentage!
The most common thing which effect the reader base is Every green niches. Mostly all blog who are based on Heatlh, and Tech impact the visitor attention on content. Overall nice helpfull post about user attention
Always love returning to ProBlogger when it’s time to freshen up the finer ends of blogging. Definitely a topic I’m trying to reinforce into my blog so that when people take the time to read a post, they have that moment of Wow and stick around to keep reading what’s new :)
Exactly what I was just thinking Tim. I haven’t been back in years but this post has encouraged me to start coming back more frequently
nice tips, thank for sharing sir….
very useful for newbie like me
Awesome, Darren. If we can answer these three questions judiciously, we will not only pull the readers to our blogs, we can also retain them. Thanks!
You have nailed it DPS readership, i have a camera, just bought in jest, and till now i am not able to click good photos and my brother do it pretty easily.
Clarity makes it all happen. Clearly answer each question to make an impact. Thanks Darren!
Perhaps one of the reasons why a blogger decides to blog is to help people in different ways, in where he can make a change or difference to those who will going to read his content. Well, it would surely be a success to know that you have reached this goal.
I must agree with the insights you’ve shared above. A blog that change people is a blog which keeps readers returning to, a blog that builds trust and relationship and a blog in which its readers share with their network.
If you want to successfully leverage through your blog, just answer the question given above. You must know who your readers are, what do they need and how will they change by just reading your blog.
Thanks for the post! I’ve indeed learned a lot.
By the way, I found this post shared on Kingged.com
That is all one need to grow their blog. Initial readers are the silver gem, but the repeating readers are the golden gem. One needs to provide the readers their need to keep them coming.
We as a blogger, need to define our goals and keep the benefit to readers in mind while sculpting each blog post. They need us, we need them, it should be a two way process.
We should help them to grow better, and they should help us to grow monetarily better.
Yet another great post, I found it on kingged.
Maybe making a phrase that answers all of these questions in one statement would be good to market over the website, so that it gets ingrained in all those reading it. For example, “Digital Photography School – helping camera owners gain creative control to use their cameras to their full potential”
It is rightly said that creating a blog is not so difficult but to create impact from it is damned difficult.
You can become a blogger with a few clicks but to become a successful blogger you need to have patience, consistency and will to work hard till you achieve your targets.
There is another secret to create long lasting impact on readers. If you create just another blog post no one will remember you. If you give value to your readers in each of your posts then people will not only remember you but will come back to see anything new at your blog. This is called impact which makes you a successful and eventually a rich blogger
What a fabulous point – what change to we want to bring to our readers? I’ve developed a persona and have done a lot of work on 1 & 2, which has already improved my blogging. I’ll get started on defining #3. Thank you.
Really great post Darren. The main goal a blogger should have, I think, is clearly reading the reader’s mind, so that he can create contents what his readers are hungry of. Feeding a fed is hard, while feeding a hungry is damn easy. Anyway thanks a lot for these tips.
Their is brilliant advice here. My favorite quote from Michael Dunlop is so important: Entrepreneurship is about solving the problems of society, not starting a business for one’s own sake.
It all boils down in giving the right value, to the right people with the right approach. No matter how far your dreams for your blog, the fundamentals are your key to unlock the door of a road heading to the success.
One takeaway I will keep in mind is “if you want to build a blog that is epic, your blog needs to leave an impact upon people.”
A blog should share readers thought, you should share an informative and useful ideas that will push them to do better, to change or whatever your purpose is.
I couldn’t agree more with your opinion and the shared insight above. To wrap it up, the article is full of knowledge.
I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social bookmarking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.
i think Niche is one the important factor which effect the Readers. Years ago i create a Niche site on workouts and exercise and due to high use Great content on that i get Readers rather than user. overall nice explanation
Great article.What i love about what you are saying it is that blogging is a business and we must plan everything upfront as a real business should be planned.Thank you for this wonderful article.
Great post Darren
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out my USP and how I can help readers. I hadn’t quite considered how I can change them yet. I’ll put my thinking cap on.
WOW. Great article, i really appreciate the insight. Being a recent college grad, and new to the business world, i enjoy reading blogs like this to enlighten and educate myself on real world skills. @Ryan Biddulph i agree
Holy smokes, what a great post, Darren! It has taught me so much. Thank you!
Now I only have one small problem: My blog can’t fulfill the topmost desire of my readers.
I’m a voice teacher and blog about the voice and stuff from a professional perspective. Most people who focus on singing want to know how to sing better but that is something that a blog, a mere string of words, can’t explain. It’s something that has to be taught 1-on-1 in interaction. Sure, I can give tips on how to train, warm up, choose literature, excel at a concert, be a better singer / musician allround but I can’t make them sing better.
Maybe some blogs should come with a warning, what I can’t do for readers.
Great post Darren, thank you for sharing this.
Wow, awesome stuff and very useful to me so thanks for sharing with us sir.
Have a nice day.
Awesome blog. It’s rare to find a blog that consistently has good content and leaves an impression, but it is essential to create such content to retain your followers as well as acquire new ones.
Nice article. Blogger should know about the audience they want to target
I have interviewed many successful bloggers and many of them started as a hobby. I agree that if you start today with so much competition, you have to be much more systematic if you are going to succeed.