Get to Know Your Readers Like a Boss.
Even if your niche topic is narrow enough, your audience will always be interested in certain topics over others.
If this is the case, how can you get to know your readers? Knowing exactly what your audience is interested in can make a huge difference in the way you blog, thus allowing you to spend less time guessing.
Here are some basic, but effective ways to deliver exactly what your readers are looking for — every single time.
Replicate Popular Topics
Let’s start with the basics…
Even if your blog is fairly new with limited content, chances are there is one article that tends to stick out with more average traffic.
Ask yourself, what is the topic about? What other information can I provide on this subject? There are almost always several ways to skin a cat.
Be sure to incorporate some of the same keywords from your previous topic(s) along with new variations for maximum SEO benefits.
You can find the most viewed articles by setting up your blog with Google Analytics, or even by using plugins like Jetpack as an alternative (though Analytics is highly recommended for this).
Which Topics Have Generated the Most Comments?
While raw comment count is not a definite indicator of subjects your readers may want, this is still a sign of content that triggers an emotion or reaction.
What subjects have evoked any type of conversation on your blog? Have those been generally positive or negative?
If your blog is a bit lacking in the comments department, study similar blogs in your niche to see how people are reacting to your ideal topics. What questions (if any) and patterns are emerging from each topic?
Study a series of new and ongoing conversations, then address them in a new article for your blog.
Survey Your Readers
Surveying readers is a bit sensitive to many bloggers. For starters, they don’t always want to “bother” people with questions. Some also have a deep fear of failure and rejection, questioning whether anyone would even answer any of the questions at hand.
Remember: Many will happily participate in surveys that are of high interest to them because they are, after all, your target audience.
Grab all available resources (including your active newsletter readers, social media followers, and general website visitors). Ask them a series of questions that would easily expose their needs and wants.
For example, let’s say that your main purpose is to teach everyone the ins and outs of WordPress:
What is your proficiency level? What areas do you seem to struggle with? What was your biggest technical problem regarding the CMS? What do you feel other tutorials are missing?
If you don’t yet have a social media/newsletter following, you can (and should) still get to know your readers through general social networks such as Reddit and niche forums. Users in such places are always willing to post their two cents as a means of elevating their status – giving you all the answers in the process.
Analyze Content with BuzzSumo
Simply put, BuzzSumo helps you identify the most shared content across a wide variety of social networks. Other features enable you to connect with influencers in your niche and see the backlinks pointing back to any given website.
What can you do with this information? Easy: Search for niche keywords or topics, assess the most popular ones, and write an article for your blog.
But don’t just write any article. Use Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique to compose a much bigger version of anything that’s already available.
Not only will you blow away your existing audience, you will also bring thousands of new readers to your blog over time.
The free version on BuzzSumo allows for very limited searches, but you can start a 14-day free trial and see how useful it is for your particular needs.
There are many other ways to know what your blog readers are looking for, such as following Twitter niche hashtags and analyzing common questions on community forums.
How do you get to know your readers? How are you personally delivering quality content to your target audience on a regular basis?