This is a post by Steve Brodsky of The World Is My Office.
There is an old saying in the blogging world, “You should spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% promoting it.”
Truer words have never been said. You can create the most epic, incredible content ever made, but if no one ever sees it then whats the point?!
Your audience is out there, somewhere in the insanely expansive internet your target audience is congregating, discussing and looking for answers to their questions.
You’ve worked really hard to create incredible content, now it’s just a matter of finding where your target audience is congregating online and connecting with them.
But before that we need to define exactly who your target audience is.
Defining Your Target Audience
When I first started The World Is My Office I thought long and hard about who my target audience was.
I knew I wanted to target people who wanted to create a location independent business, but that was way to broad to be called a “targeted audience”.
So I drilled down and started looking at the specific types of people I wanted to connect with.
After brainstorming for awhile I came up with 3 specific types of people I want to target:
- People who are new to Internet Marketing and want to become location independent
- Bloggers who want too learn how to monetize their blogs from anywhere
- Veteran Internet Marketers who want to setup sustainable online businesses and go location independent
Now these are what I call “targeted audiences”!
Each of these groups of people are going to have different priorities.
The person that is brand new to IM probably doesn’t have a lot of money to invest in his new business and wants a ton of information about a bunch of different subjects.
While the the blogger who wants to learn how to monetize his blog has a very specific goal.
Learning and identifying your different audiences types within your market is absolutely essential.
Do you see how knowing exactly what types of audiences you are targeting you are able to adjust and create content to serve their specific needs?
This is such an important step that helps you not only find your audience but to connect with them and make them loyal, raving fans.
Before we can find where our new target audience(s) are online, we need to understand them…
Understanding Your Target Audience
Before you can figure out where your target audience lives online you have to understand them.
Now you might already understand your target market.
A lot of us create blogs/online businesses in niches that we are a part of ourselves.
If this is the case and you already know how your target audience thinks and what questions they have then move on down to the next section “Finding and Connecting”.
If you don’t understand your target audience yet, then keep reading. 🙂
So how exactly do you come to understand your audience?
I like to do this by using the power of forums.
I will talk more about how to find forums that your target audience is on later, but in the mean time let me explain how I use them to understand my target audience.
When I enter a new niche and need to get a sneak peek into the minds of my target audience I always do the same thing.
I spend 3-4 hours going through all the different forums that are in my niche looking for a couple specific things:
- Commonly asked questions
- Commonly asked questions that receive bad or wrong answers
- Main issues/problems people are continually having
After several hours of reading forums in your niche you’ll start seeing the exact same questions, issues and sticking points popping up over and over again.
By doing this your able to take a sneak peek into the minds of your target audience and you’ll know exactly what troubles, problems and sticking points people in your target audience are facing.
So now you have identified your exact target audience, you have gotten into the mind of your new target audience its time to go find where they hang out and to connect with them!
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
Finding and Connecting
The good news is that there are a TON of places that you can find your target audience hanging out online! So lets get started with forums…
There is a forum for everything, literally… In fact the other day I stumbled upon a forum for people talking about the color of airport carpets (I wish I was kidding).
So odds are there is not just one, but several forums dedicated to your niche that your target audience is on.
The best way to find them is to use FindaForum.
This is a site that has pretty much all the forums on the internet indexed.
You can search in the categories or you can type in your niche (or related keyword) in the top right hand search bar.
Keep in mind that sometimes (especially if you have drilled down deep into a market) there might not be a forum exclusively dedicated to just your niche.
Your niche might be a specific sub forum on a forum that targets the entire market.
For example if your niche is “healthy eating while on a diet” odds are there probably isn't a whole forum dedicated to just that.
Instead you could probably find sub forums on larger forums about weightless or working out that are talking about it.
Also if for whatever reason you can’t find a forum that fits on FindAForum then just do a quick google search for “niche keyword + forum” and you’ll find some 🙂
Connecting on Forums
Forums are an incredible place to connect with your target audience, however you have to do it correctly.
Your audience is already on there discussing, sharing stuff and asking questions, you just need to insert yourself into the conversation.
The trick is not to do it in a spammy way.
I connect with my target audience using 2 different methods:
I start threads that give a long, thorough, detailed answer to a question that I see continually popping up in the forum.
These are the types of posts that get “stickied” and get a absolute ton of views as well as establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of everyone on the forum.
I join the conversation, answering peoples questions very thoroughly and detailed while sprinkling links (when appropriate!) to not only my blog, but others in my niche as well.
This keeps you from looking spammy by only promoting your blog posts as well helps with blogger outreach (you can tweet/email the blogger you linked too and give them a heads up you did).
Those are the 2 ways I connect with my target audience on blogs and it works wonderfully!
Some of the highest engaged blog readers I have come from forums.
Question and Answer sites are also a great way to connect with your audience.
By again providing very detailed and thorough answers to peoples questions (with links back to your blog).
The best part of answering your audiences questions on Q&A sites is that google loves them!
More often than not when I type in a question into google one of the Q&A sites is on the first page.
This can drive massive traffic back to your blog.
There are 2 main Q&A sites out there.
The first is Yahoo Answers.
Simply type in a niche keyword and a long list of people asking questions will come up.
Now go through each one and provide a week thought out answer to it with links back to your relevant content.
If you can get selected as the “featured answer”, meaning that the person who posted the question thought you had the best answer, it can drive a lot of traffic to your site.
Especially if its a question that gets asked by a lot of people in your niche!
The other big Q&A site is Quora.
It works the same way as Yahoo Answers accept that the best (and most viewed) answer is voted on by everyone and not just selected by the person who asked the question.
Again search for common questions in your niche and write well thought out, detailed answers with links back to relevant content on your blog.
Done correctly you can drive big traffic doing this as well as directly talk to your target audience.
Next up we have Twitter. Twitter is a fabulous place to quickly connect with your target audience because it is so easy for them to share your stuff!
I use HootSuite to monitor Twitter for different keywords (usually commonly asked questions) related to my niche and whenever one is mentioned I jump in and provide a link to content on my blog that answers their question. Simple as that!
You can use the free version of HootSuite to do this as well.
Once you have created an account and logged in, click on “add stream” then fill in a common question in your niche in the “keyword” tab and off you go!
I do this once a day and twitter is the second largest traffic source for my blog!
Facebook Groups are one of the best places to find and connect with your target audience.
There area huge amount of Facebook groups out there on every possible subject and Facebook makes it very easy to find them.
Head over to Facebook and type in “groups about YourNiche” into the search bar.
This will bring up all of the groups on Facebook about your niche. Join the larger ones and enter the conversation!
Remember DON’T BE SPAMMY!
Don’t just blatantly post links to your blog posts, instead answer peoples questions, start up discussions about things in your niche and natural opportunities for you to post a link to your relevant content will come up.
Reddit is not mentioned very often in the Internet Marketing world but if used correctly it can send your content viral.
Not to mention that if you find your audience on Reddit they are going to be super active!
The search on reddit.com is aweful, I like to use a site called searchreddit.com.
Just type in your niche and click search. What you are looking for is called a “sub reddit”.
Think of it like a sub forum that is dedicated to your niche. In the example below my niche is personal finance so I searched “personal finance” in searchreddit.com and found the sub reddit as the first result (that was easy!).
You are looking for the URL address to be www.reddit.com/r/yourniche
Once you have found a sub reddit for your niche join the conversation!
The same thing applies with reddit as with all the other place to find and connect with your audience, reply to peoples questions, sprinkle your relevant content throughout your answers (where appropriate!).
Be careful on reddit though, they are much more aggressive and mean to people they think are spamming.
So only post links to your own content when absolutely relevant!
LinkedIn groups are very similar to Facebook groups.
A lot of people ignore LinkedIn but if your niche has anything to do with business or anything professional then your audience is on there!
Login to LinkedIn (thats kind of fun to say) and type in your niche (or a keyword in your niche) into the search bar.
Then click on the “groups about YourNiche” and join the groups.
I know it sounds like I am beating a dead horse but remember DO NOT BE SPAMMY!
Join the conversation and only link back to your content when it comes up organically in the conversation.
The last method of finding your audience I want to talk about is Google Alerts.
This is a free tool from google that actively searches the web for any keywords you want and will deliver them straight to your email inbox.
How I like to use it is to monitor for questions about content I have written.
So when people ask “How do I monetize my blog?” google alerts will pick it up and send the link straight to my inbox. Now I can go over and provide an answer to them along with a link back to my blog post about how to monetize your blog.
It is a great tool that will actively monitor the web for your target audience asking questions and then allows you to jump right into the conversation.
To set it up head over to Google Alerts and enter a question into the “create an alert” box that you have relevant content for.
After you do this an “alert preview” will display showing you the type of things google alerts has found that have been posted recently with your keyword.
If it looks good click on “show options” and select how often you would like the alerts to be sent to you (I choose once a day) and enter the email you want them sent to.
Then enter the email you want the alerts delivered to and click “create alert”, easy as that!
Wrapping it up
There you have it, we figured out your true targeted audience, talked about how to get a peek inside their head and covered 7 different places to find and connect with them online.
Now it’s your turn to go out and actually do it!
Think I missed something or have a better way of finding or connecting with your audience?
Lets talk about it in the comments!
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
Author Bio: Steve Brodsky is the founder of The World Is My Office where he teaches people how to create and grow their own online business around their passion and escape the 9 to 5.