When choosing a topic for your next blog post, you want to consider what your target market is and the players in that market. Many times a post will be written with the silent intention of impressing your peers out there in the blogosphere. This may score you some bragging rights when swapping late-night comments on each others’ blogs, but it often will do little to help your readership.
What Captures Their Attention?
Your readership has a limited attention span and increasingly even more limited time available to read blog posts, RSS feeds, tweets, Facebook comments, etc. There are just too many new streams of information flowing constantly 24/7 for a person to keep up with.
What Are Your Readers Looking For?
Readers are mostly looking for a way to cut through the clutter that is the constant stream of information. They are seeking a clear voice and guidance in the form of informative posts that directly assist them with their goals.
How Can You Help Them?
Rather than focusing content on impressing your peers, you should instead focus new posts on your readers who visit your blog for ideas, guidance, and assistance with their tasks. Take some time to put yourself in their shoes and ask the question:
What Do My Readers Need Help With?
Once you know the answer to that question, you can start to plan posts that will directly answer nagging questions that are present in the mind of your readership. You can plan out a series of posts that will cover a more complex subject, breaking them down into bite-sized digestible chunks.
This kind of series can bring one-time visitors back to your site to read the next post in the series, especially if you have a mailing list set up and can send out email reminders when a new post is added.
If you do not know what questions your readers need answering, then it is time to set up a survey on your site or to add a post directly asking your readers to post comments with their feedback. Armed with this information, you can plan future posts from the most repeated requests that came in.
Try to avoid using jargon or technical terms, unless you explain them clearly, and do so in a polite way.
People have been found to scan articles rather than read them thoroughly, so try to break your post down with subheadings, numbered lists, or bullet points, where possible. It is also helpful to use a theme design with a good amount of white space, so the look of the site is clean and not cluttered; a cluttered look can be overwhelming to first-time visitors.
Think in terms of personas when thinking about who you are writing for. Aiming content at everyone is likely to make the content too generalized and it will lack impact. Instead, pick your audience carefully for each post and target content specifically.
Obviously, then vary who your posts are aiming at so that each segment of your audience can find some content that will appeal to them.
For this reason, it is useful to try to get as much information about your readership as possible, so that you can begin to build a detailed picture of how your readership is segmented.