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.

Safeguarding your SEO: Google and Pop-Ups

Closing out an ad on a mobile phone.

As a blogger or website owner, you know what happens when Google makes an announcement and how it can adversely impact your site’s rankings. In August of 2016, the big G announced it will begin penalizing websites for “intrusive interstitials” (aka pop-ups) on mobile sites in January of 2017.

Google has stated that sites with too many or aggressive pop-ups on mobile platforms will be penalized in search results. We agree with his sentiment, we’ve long suggested the use of respectful pop-ups that allow for your readers to engage with your content before asking for a subscription. This move by Google is to reduce the number of pop-ups your readers will need to go through when viewing the mobile version of your site. Removal of these pop-ups, whether they be ads or subscription forms, will improve the reader’s experience of your site on a mobile device.

To protect your site and its rankings, FeedBlitz HQ has implemented a code change to accommodate this update from Google. This code change will prevent your pop-ups from appearing at all when your site is in mobile view. (Don’t worry, it won’t affect your pop-ups on a desktop or laptop device!) An automatic update for new pop-ups moving forward, you can take action now to address and update the current pop-ups.

How to Update your Pop-up

To do this you’ll simply need to complete the following steps:

  • Navigate to your lists SmartForm Editor. You can find your SmartForms in the dashboard of your list by clicking the “I want to button” and selecting “Subscription Forms & links”. Select the form you would like to work with, then click the green Design button in the upper right. This will take you to your SmartForm Editor.
  • Look at the top of the left pane and click the Code tab, then select Popup.
  • Adjust the pop-up’s settings to your preference and copy the code. Remember, we recommend letting your reader engage with your content before firing the pop-up. Click Update Pop-Up Code and copy it to your clipboard.
  • Replace the current pop-up code on your site with the new code. Usually, your current pop-up code is in a text widget at the bottom of your sidebar or if you have a widgetized footer, it could be there.  Don’t forget to click save after replacing your old code with the new.

 

And that’s it! You’ll be in line to protect your site from possible interstitial penalizing by Google.

If not a pop-up though, what else can you do?

Consider adding a subscription form in a sidebar or the footer of your website. These forms will still be present and non-intrusive when viewed in mobile. Another option is to work with a top bar through one of our integrated apps such as SumoMe from AppSumo or OptinMonster. This will place a subscription form bar at the top of your website, and will be in prime view for new readers.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Support Team via 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.

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Easy enough for a blogger to set up in seconds, powerful enough for sophisticated corporate email campaigns, FeedBlitz is an RSS, Email and Social Automation Tool to take your email marketing to the next level. Visit us online to learn more or start your 30 Day Free Trial!

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...]

CASL: The New Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

CASLBy Hessie Jones

What’s going to turn the communications industry upside down in Canada and beyond?

CASL: The New Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation that takes effect July 1, 2014.

I’ve worked in the direct marketing industry since the early 90′s so I am aware of proper list building, proper opt-in, and disclosure on owned lists as well as purchased lists.

Then when email came along, permission marketing brought yet another level of complexity that marketers had to adhere to. [Read more...]

Email Marketing: A Street Level Analysis

email marketingBy Clay Morgan

When I served as publisher of a newspaper, we used email marketing, in the form of newsletters, to help highlight key stories and drive traffic.

The “top 5 stories” newsletter was our most popular.

It was sent out daily and contained the five most popular links of the day.

We also had email newsletters for sports, lifestyles, real estate, food, and a number of other topics. [Read more...]

Five Tips for Developing a Successful Email Newsletter

emailBy Jess Ostroff

Despite the advent of the “always-on” mentality that social media has instilled in us, email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience, especially for small business.

The reasons in favor of using email newsletters as part of your marketing mix far outweigh the reasons not to, however many businesses are worried that their email marketing won’t be up to snuff.

Here are five simple ways to ensure your emails will be opened, read, and, most importantly, convert into web visits or sales. [Read more...]

Advanced Email Marketing: Landing Page Monetization, Pt.2

email marketingIn last Thursday’s post, we went over landing pages and how to easily monetize them.

Before I wrap up with the FeedBlitz “how-to” however, one point I didn’t emphasize last week is this: You should monetize the landing pages, true, but not the interactions that lead up to them.

By which I mean, don’t bling up the subscription form with lots of offers and competing links. You want to draw the subscriber in closer, so make it clear what you want them to do. Don’t distract them before they even start the process.

Similarly, you should keep the activation email down to one call to action: Activate your subscription. By all means brand it, but, again, don’t add other competing links, distractions and bright shiny objects. You want them to finish the play, so make that’s the first, obvious, and only choice they have. [Read more...]

Advanced Email Marketing: Landing Page Monetization

email marketingTuesday, you saw a great example of one organization’s email marketing campaign, and how it succeeded in snaring a trial.

Today, let’s dig further, and talk about monetizing your landing pages.

There are three landing pages on everyone’s web site that are typically ignored or forgotten about from a monetization perspective.

They are the landing pages that appear in an email list’s dual opt-in transaction cycle:

  • The “Check your inbox now” landing page
  • The “Thank you for joining the list” landing page
  • The “You have been unsubscribed” landing page

Here’s what you can do to help boost earnings without messing up each page’s core purpose. [Read more...]

How to Nail an Email Campaign in Five Easy Steps

Email CampaignToday, I want to share an example of a really great email campaign, interesting enough and pitched in such a way that I actually clicked on it.

I say “really great” for a number of reasons:

1. It was a blind send – that is, I had never (to the best of my knowledge, anyhow) signed up to receive email or any other type of contact from this company. But I still opened it.

2. It was beautifully designed, with an eye catching visual at the top. It was Christmas themed – brave, in this politically correct time where most corporations stick with the generic “Holiday” mentions – and they used a corresponding bold red font right off the top.

3. The writing was brilliant. Very human. Very casual. And while I knew it was a mass email that went out to thousands of people, I felt as if the writer was speaking directly to me.

4. And they used the magic word: FREE! [Read more...]