Where’s my audience?

A dog searching for his crowd among sheep, wondering where's my audience?

You’re posting great content regularly, you’re enthusiastically promoting your site on all the top social channels, while diligently reading and following all the How to Blog Like a Rock Star articles and checklists you can find and yet…. your emails have low open rates, even lower click-through rates. Your list ought to be growing – but you can’t be sure as you seem to be losing subscribers as quickly as you gain them, and there’s not a lot of social sharing happening for your posts or emails.

This cycle can leave you feeling exhausted, defeated, and wondering if any of this is even working! You begin to doubt yourself as a leading figure in your craft, an expert in your field, perhaps even your basic knowledge on the subject. Nobody seems to care. You’re casting such a wide net and doing everything under the sun possible, how could things not be going better than they are?

Breathe. Pause for a moment, because there is your answer – you’re casting such a wide net. You’re not trying to reach your audience; you’re trying to reach everyone’s audience.

Speaking to Someone, Not Just Anyone

This is a common misstep when it comes content marketing and blogging, believing that trying to reach as many people as earthly possibly and relating your content, service or product to anyone who could possibly be reading is the best way to grow.

Take a step back and look at what is truly happening when casting such a wide net:

  1. Your content is filled with generic terms and language to appeal to everyone.
  2. Your time is divided between a plethora of social channels trying to promote everywhere possible.
  3. You’re building a list of subscribers ranging from semi-interested to somewhat-interested to possibly super-interested (but you aren’t quite sure), instead of a list of people who are expressly interested in your scope of content.

Imagine creating content as if you were speaking directly to your ideal reader or client. You need not worry about everyone and everything else as you’re able to block them from your thoughts and focus on only that one person. You would be more genuine and authentic, your language would be better defined, your subscriber list would be full of people interested in what you have to say, and your email metrics would improve as a result.

This way of thinking can be an adjustment, but the transition is not impossible. Start by finding your audience, then adjust the net you’re casting. Everything else? Just noise. Junk it.

Finding Your Audience

Once you decide to speak to your people, you’ll begin to see open rates, subscription rates, and click-through rates increase. Your content will be more focused, and your language will match that which they speak. To get started in finding your audience, ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I know about my ideal reader? Write out everything you can about them. Their estimated age, occupation, relationship status, what their possible hobbies are, what are their annoyances, what do they get excited about, and so on. Make note of anything you can think about your reader. This is called developing your reader (or client) persona. Some sites will be extremely specific and have 1-2 personas, while others may have 3-4 personas (we at FeedBlitz have 4 core personas, in case you’re wondering).

  • Where else on the internet do my readers hang out? Once you have a clear picture of who your ideal reader or client is, you’ll be able to find out where else on the internet they spend their time. What websites do they follow? Could you offer a guest post to one of these websites? Are they active on forums? If so, which ones? Create an account and participate in the discussions, offering answers and insight.

  • What social channels are they using the most? This can be a HUGE time saver for you. If it turns out your audience is more focused on LinkedIn and Facebook, focus more time and energy here as opposed to Snapchat or Pinterest. Knowing this can also show you which channels you need to invest more knowledge into learning, instead of expending so much energy trying to cover your bases on every.single.social.channel.

These questions are a starting point for you to find your audience. Once you know where they are, you can then focus on ways to promote your content directly to these individuals in the manner which they prefer most.

Bonus Tip: Start by surveying your current readership and subscribers. Draft a simple online survey with some of the questions above and ask your readers to complete it. This will give you a good look at who is currently interested in your content, and offer a starting point for seeking out new subscribers in your audience.

*Offering an incentive for completing the survey such as a discount code or free pdf download is a great way to encourage subscribers and readers to answer your questions.

Focusing on What Matters

Don’t worry about casting the largest net, concern yourself with casting the right net and watch your metrics start to increase. No more wondering if your content marketing and blogging are working. Rest easy knowing your focus is on those who are already interested in your content to start, focus on creating high-quality, valuable content which provides a solution to their problems, sit back and watch your metrics rise to new heights.

If you have questions on finding your target audience or anything else related to email marketing, simply send our team an email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

Stressing over what to write next? There’s a solution for that.

Calendar with various colored pins, noting different posts on different days.

It’s 9 o’clock the night before your readers are expecting your latest post to arrive in their inboxes, promptly at 9 AM tomorrow, and you find yourself staring at a blank screen. The blinking cursor is a reminder words are waiting, seemingly impatiently, to fill the screen in front of you, and you’re drawing a blank. You have no idea – or maybe too many ideas – about what you’re going to write for tomorrow’s blog post, but all you know is you have to deliver something. The pressure is on, and the clock is ticking away.

Pause for a moment, take a deep breath and know that nearly every single blogger on the internet (including the one writing this post) has been in your position at some point in their journey.

Stress over not knowing what to write, the feeling of dread as a deadline is inching closer and closer, and let’s not forget feeling disorganized and not having it all together. We survived and you will too! Whether you are a lifestyle, craft, small business or even an experienced full-time blogger, sometimes we all find ourselves at a loss of what content to create.

What would happen if you sat down at your computer and instead of staring at a blinking cursor, drawing a blank, you knew exactly what to write, when to write it, and didn’t waste any time second-guessing yourself over it? Dream scenario, right? Completely! However, it’s not as far-fetched as it may at first seem.

Multitudes of people turn that dream into a reality each week by using a Content Calendar. This isn’t a tool reserved for large corporations or professional bloggers who have a team of writing professionals behind them; a content calendar is used by bloggers, writers, small business owners, marketers and more across the globe.

Can a Content Calendar really make my life easier?

Simple answer: Yes. This is more than a list of ideas tossed around on sticky notes and random pieces of paper, or posts you’d like to write someday. Not to be confused with an editorial calendar which often only highlights monthly or quarterly themes for publication, a content calendar is a compiled list highlighting the topic of your next post, expected post date, working title, any running notes you may have for it, and whatever else information you deem necessary.

These are just a few of the benefits you’ll reap from having a content calendar:

  1. Organize your thoughts, ensure your posts are on-topic and relevant and have one space to track any notes, research links, ideas and even image thoughts you have.  A content calendar takes all the scrap pieces of papers, sticky notes scattered about, or random ideas floating in your mind and houses the information in one place.

  1. Eliminate hesitations or questions over what to write about. Late night idea searching and blank pages, be gone! Open your content calendar, scroll down, see what’s next, and get to writing. The cursor won’t know what happened.

  1. Easily group or ungroup your posts. Some bloggers prefer to have monthly themes while others prefer to intertwine different themes throughout the year. Use your content calendar, identify post themes then group or disperse as preferred, allowing your content to easily flow from one post to the next. It’s seeing the bigger picture of where you want to take your blog right there on your computer screen!

  1. Post quality content, consistently. No more procrastinating because you don’t know what to post. No more throwing in an off-topic post because you’re all out of ideas and pressed to hit publish on something. Your content calendar outlines what needs to be written and when which allows you to focus on producing quality content consistently. Not only does this boost your peace of mind, but your readers greatly appreciate the consistency, too!

  1. Connect your social media and email marketing to your content calendar and Boom! everything is working cohesively together. Blogging, social media, and email marketing should be collectively moving you forward towards achieving your goals. This allows you to see an even grander view of the direction you’re taking yourself and your business.

Tools to help you get clear and get organized.

The beauty of a content calendar is you can create one to fit your exact writing style and editing needs. It can contain as much (post title, theme, reference links, image notes, post date, status, etc.) or as little (a working post title and target post date) information as you’d like.

If you’re looking to keep it simple and flexible, check out Google Sheets or even Google Calendar. Use as many columns and tabs as needed in your Sheet, or simply create an event with notes and a reminder in your Calendar. Here at FeedBlitz, we use Google Sheets for our content calendar, with our posts carefully lined out with extensive details and an extra tab for additional post ideas.

Should your content go through a series of individuals before it’s published, look into an online service such as Trello or Asana. This task and project management software applications allow you to easily track the progress of your content and see what is coming down the pipeline next.

Regardless of how you choose to create and maintain your content calendar, the most important point is to make this year the year you get down to business and implement one! By doing a bulk of the brainstorming and planning up-front, you’re able to create a clear action plan of where your content will take you over the next 6-12 months. Are you looking to offer additional mailings to your subscribers, create a sales funnel or even begin selling your first digital product? Working with your content calendar will help to free time to focus on taking the next step of your blogging adventure. Channel that time once spent stressing, worrying and dreading over not knowing what to post into brainstorming new content or building your targeted list.

Still not sure if a content calendar is worth it? Picture it this way; it’s 9 pm the night before your post is set to be sent to your email subscribers tomorrow morning at 9 am. Instead of staring at a blank screen and taunting cursor, you’re laughing with friends, relaxing with family, or even knee-deep into a Netflix binge. You’re not stressed, though, you can totally do whatever you choose, because you followed your content calendar and finished your post over an hour ago.

Now we don’t know about you, but that’s a trade we’d take any day.

If you have questions on creating a content calendar or anything else related to email marketing, simply send our team an email to support@feedblitz.com. You can also chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.

You Don’t Always Have to Email Each Post

Using Exclude Tags  to Refrain from Sending Posts

We understand there are times you would like to post an item to your website without having it sent to your mailing list. Exclude tags are a simple way to do this in FeedBlitz.

Have you missed a tip or two? Catch up on all of our Quick Tips here!

You can find exclude tags in the Settings of your Mailing List. Look for the line “FeedBlitz sends All New Posts,” and click this to trigger the dialogue box below.

Here you are able to enter any tag you wish to use to exclude a post from your mailing.

The tags used here must be used in the exact same format as on your website. It is important to remember exclude tags are case, spacing and punctuation sensitive. Any posts published on your site tagged with your exclude tag in the FeedBlitz settings will prevent the post from being mailed to your subscribers.

Pro Tip: If you prefer using categories instead of tags, that’s no problem as tags and categories are treated the same by FeedBlitz!

A scenario for using exclude tags, other than for individual posts, can include sending category-specific posts, such as our Quick Tips posts. Both our main blog post mailing list and our Quick Tips mailing list are powered by the same RSS feed. For this, we exclude all posts tagged ‘quick tips’ from our main mailing list and only include posts with this tag for our Quick Tips mailing list. This prevents subscribers from receiving two emails, should they be on both lists.

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If you have any questions, send our Support Team an email at support@feedblitz.com, or you can chat or give us a call 1.877.692.5489 Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. We also have plenty of great support available 24/7 in our online Help Forum and YouTube channel!

If You Have a Blog, Do You Really Need an Email Newsletter?

newsletterBy Bob Dunn

Developing rich, useful online content is hard work.

If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, often that task falls squarely on your shoulders.

But, you say, I only have so much time.

You may have decided you can manage a blog or a newsletter, but not both.

Let’s look closer at these two options. [Read more...]

Your Headline Sucks (and Four Other Reasons No One Reads Your Blog)

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Over time, I’ve developed an eye for some of the things that work, and some of the things that don’t.

And as I look around the blogosphere, I see a lot of the things that don’t work.

Here’s a look at a few of the mistakes I see bloggers making over and over again: [Read more...]

The Best Practices of Blogging

bloggingBy Stacey Hood

Blogging today is no different than it was it experienced its first surge of popularity a few years ago.

You must know your audience, write in a tight and concise manner, and pay attention to design, search engine optimization, and of course, choose the right voice of your brand.

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community

By Sarah Mock

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From time to time, I escape to my kitchen or craft table to create, photograph, and occasionally royally mess up a blog post.

Sharing drinks and conversation with real breathing people face-to-face is a rarity for me, and blogging from behind a screen can be, well, lonely.

There are opportunities to solidify personal relationships at conferences and other industry events, but they are hardly an everyday occurrence.

For many bloggers, social media isn’t just a way to promote our latest blog posts.

It’s an opportunity to forge meaningful personal relationships with other bloggers, support one another in learning, and build community.

Here are some of my tips for building community online with other bloggers using some of the most popular social media platforms. [Read more...]

Content: Feed Your Blog First

ContentAre you spending time week after week researching and compiling valuable content, then only using it for your newsletters?

Stop doing that, and consider doing this.

Publish that content in the form of a blog post. It will then be archived on your blog, the keywords used would help you to rise in Google rankings and increase your chances of being found online, and you would potentially influence a much wider audience than your newsletter subscribers alone.

So, instead of a newsletter, experiment by creating a weekly wrap up on your blog – perhaps on weekends when things are more quiet. Consistently tag / categorize it “Weekly Wrap” or “Newsletter.”

@CopyBlogger does this each and every week; it’s a great way to summarize your week in a single post, and to add extra editorial and have a little fun if you want. If it’s good enough for Brian Clark and his hundreds of thousands of subscribers, it’s good enough for you! [Read more...]

Why Work for Free? Because it Works

work for freeI read a particularly irksome blog post recently, where the writer took umbrage with unpaid internships. Admittedly, that’s a big kettle of fish, with pros and cons, and differing opinions. But what really irked me was this concept that people shouldn’t work for free.

Are you kidding me? What world do you live in – because it certainly isn’t the same one I am occupying at the moment.

People work for free all the time. [Read more...]

What is the ROI of Blogging?

The ROI of BloggingWhen I started blogging seven years ago, it was a complete disaster.

There was no such thing as WordPress or Blogger. No such thing as FeedBlitz or email subscriptions. No such thing as social share buttons or Livefyre.

It was just a blank screen, some incomplete thoughts, and a publish button.

Fast forward four years when we actually put some goals in place for Spin Sucks and it was things such as, “Increase visitors by 36 percent” and “Add one guest blogger every day.” What we were missing, though, was the return-on-investment, in terms of actually getting clients from all of the work we were doing.

Tom Elgar, the CEO of passle, recently wrote a blog post called “The Unremarked Death of Another Business Blog.” In it, he describes how difficult it is to not only start and maintain a blog, but to grow it and to keep it alive.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, producing content, producing engaging content, and producing a variety of content are the biggest challenges for content marketers. But 33 percent also said they have the inability to measure its effectiveness. [Read more...]