In my post, “You Want Followers, But You NEED Fans” we had some GREAT discussion on the importance of taking a breath and realizing it’s going to take some time to cultivate a meaningful following of rabid fans (as opposed to dozens of un-engaged faceless numbers.) As writers it’s really important that we understand that quality is greater than quantity during the process of building your fanbase.
However, in discussing this with many of you here and on Twitter, we kept coming back to the topic of developing your target market or persona. More and more I realize, in talking with fellow authors, that one constant seems to be true among us: it’s easier to write blogs that attract our fellow authors… but are THEY really our target market? And, if not, how the heck do we get our would-be-readers here?!?
Follow me down the rabbit hole kids – we’re gonna dig into the concept of knowing your fanbase!
In short, I’ll say that it’s GREAT having authors following me. I love writers because writers are my tribe. They are my people they get me and YES, writers are readers too. It’s perfectly fine and encouraged to have other authors following you on your blog/social networks. ***BUT*** at the end of the day, an author wants to be reaching out to potential readers and so this is where you need to sit down and do the one thing for your blog you might not have done yet: Define who you’re writing for.
Let me put it another way so I’m sure you’re with me: A romance author knows that traditionally their readers expect, boy meets girl, something comes between them and threatens their life together, book resolves in happily ever after. If you don’t have these elements (in one form or another) chances are good that your career in romance writing may be short lived (with a few notable an remarkable exceptions – please accept this is a broad generalization for the purposes of my example.)
Likewise, your blog needs to contain the things which your would-be-readers are going to be interested in reading about. If you’re going to be putting out romance novels… a blog about the trials and tribulations of an author might not catch your reader base’s attention. You can have that in there too (readers love to see behind the curtain into an author’s life) but you need to include some things which your would-be-readers are actually typing into google RIGHT NOW.
So – take a moment and imagine your would-be-reader.
Let’s go with our romance writer idea (since I’m working on a romance now…) I know my readers are typically going to be 18-50 years of age. Wide age range, but romance fans are really in all age groups. They are typically women. Many of them are mothers and housewives. That right there starts to paint a picture of the woman who I hope to attract to my blog and who ideally will read my books. I want to put content on my blog that she’s going to actually be using Google to find.
You might talk about romance in marriage topics, romance with kids in the picture, and it might sound cheesy or over done by every women’s magazine on the planet (and there’s a reason why… HINT:it sells magazines) but even love advice, quizes, polls etc! Now, if I was writing romantic thrillers – I might consider putting blog content that relates to TV Shows, Movies, and YES even other books that are going to be like mine. WHY? Why under heaven would I review or talk about books written by other authors who my would-be-readers might go off and buy instead of me… well, the idea is they come here for the content they know and love… but, they stay because they like you, they like your writing style and they might (we hope) read your books too!
So go look at your blog right now. Take a look at what content gets the most likes, shares, and comments. Is it directly related to the product (books) you’re selling? Could you better define or add to your “profile” of your would-be-reader? Chances are good you have some work to do. Your market could be evolving all the time, developing new interests and things they search the internet for and share with other would-be-readers. You should revise your profile often to make sure you’re getting the very most out of every blog you write.
Pro-Tip: Make a list of things that your would-be-reader thinks about every single day. Make a list of their biggest likes and dislikes. What makes them really happy and what seriously pisses them off. These things are all hot beds of future blog ideas for you!