How to Profile Your Ideal Reader with (Perfectly Legal) Surveillance

How to Profile Your Ideal Reader with (Perfectly Legal) Surveillance

You’ve heard it countless times.

Know your readers.

That’s the secret to creating a blog that thrives.

But if you’re just starting out, there’s a problem with that advice:

How can you get to know your readers when you don’t have an audience yet?

Maybe you’re at the beginning of your blogging journey, with no traffic and no list. (Or your list is made up of just your mom, dad and cousin.)

Or maybe you haven’t even started your blog yet.

What do you do then?

Well, if you’re like most new bloggers, you make assumptions. You guess.

“That blogger tripled his list by jumping on Instagram. Think I should try it, too.

“But wait — my blog audience is mainly women, so maybe Pinterest would be a better choice.”

That kind of guessing is like throwing darts blindfolded and hoping you hit the bull’s eye.

Sometimes it works. Usually, it doesn’t.

Fortunately, there’s another way…

Why Being New Doesn’t Have to Be a Punishment

Despite what you might think, being new doesn’t mean you can’t gain a deep understanding of your audience.

It doesn’t mean you can’t write posts that make them think, “How in the world could they know that about me?”

It simply means you need a different approach to get there.

Because while a more established blogger can simply run a survey, when you’re starting from zero that’s not an option.

In fact, it’s common for beginning bloggers to feel stuck:

  • You may know the broad topic you want to write about, but not the exact type of readers to target; or
  • You may have a vague idea of who you’re writing for, but not know exactly what they want to read about.

So how do you solve this problem? Or to put it another way:

How do you get to know an audience you don’t actually have yet?

Funnily enough, you do need to make some assumptions.

But then you need to test those assumptions in the real world and to build an accurate picture of your target readers.

The Big Mistake Bloggers Make When Defining Their Target Audiences

Too many new bloggers jump in without having the faintest clue as to who their target audience is and what they want.

When pushed to create a reader profile, they shrug and say something like, “My ideal reader is anyone who likes to learn about freelancing.”

But that barely scratches the surface. It’s too broad to be truly useful.

A better definition of their audience would be:

“My ideal reader is 28-40 years of age, works full time and has two children. She’s struggling to balance work and home life and wants to build a side income through freelancing.”

Going even further, many bloggers find it easier to write for their audiences when they have fully fleshed-out profiles like this:

Sarah is a full-time working mother of two children under the age of six. She wants to earn some income on the side to help with the household expenses. Lately she has been reading up on freelancing, but she doesn’t know where to start.

She is toying with the idea of starting a blog, but she’s not sure if she has the time for it, especially with her kids. She fears that she is not an expert on anything in particular and doesn’t know what to write about. She never misses MarieTV episodes on Tuesdays and tries to learn as much as possible about writing from Carol Tice’s website Make a Living Writing. She relies on Facebook to keep up with the latest news during her lunch hour.

Describing your ideal reader in this amount of detail can be powerful. It can help you picture her in your mind’s eye. Writing for “Sarah” is easier that writing for “someone interested in freelancing.”

But here’s the thing.

It’s all theory.

Until you ground your profile in the real world, you’re still wearing that blindfold and throwing those darts.

The Anatomy of a Real-World Reader Profile

The truth is that without research your reader “profile” is just an educated guess — a hopeful description of the sort of person you want to attract.

Sure, writing for “Sarah” may be a great cure for writer’s block, but what if there aren’t enough Sarahs to build a popular blog around?

Or what if your ideal reader in the real world — the one you can serve the best — matches a completely different profile?

How do you ground your theoretical ideal reader in the real world?

Well, that’s what this post is all about. 🙂

It’s a series of steps and handy tools that will tell you everything you need to know so that you can write like you’re inside your readers’ heads.

But before we dive into those steps, let’s briefly look at the main components of a reader profile.

First, there’s the basic demographic information:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education
  • Location
  • Profession

Then there are your readers’ interests and preferences:

  • What websites do they visit?
  • What blogs do they read?
  • What other hobbies or interests do they have?
  • What social media channels do they hang out on?

Finally there are the motivational factors:

  • What do they desire, want and aspire to?
  • What are their fears, frustrations and challenges?

Taken together, these questions will help you understand at a deeper level the type of person you want to attract and influence.

You won’t have to lurk for hours in comment threads to get this information, but you will finally feel that your target audience is more fact than fiction.

So let’s look at the six steps that will help you zero in on your target audience and set you miles apart from the majority of new bloggers still fumbling in the dark.

Step #1: Sniff Out the Competition

Right now you may only have a vague idea of who you want to write for and who would benefit most from your blog.

For instance, you may have a sense of your target reader’s gender, age range and likely topics of interest. And that’s fine as a starting point.

But how do you gain a better understanding of your audience — and how do you find them?

The answer is, through your competitors.

Remember, your target readers aren’t waiting patiently for your blog to appear on their radars. They’re already visiting other blogs that serve their interests.

So you have to discover your competitors — the blogs your future audience is already reading.

If you’ve been lurking around the blogosphere for long, you should have a pretty good picture of your main competitors, so make a quick list now.

If you haven’t the faintest clue, or your need help topping up your list, here are a couple of ways to do it.

Use Alltop to Find Blogs in the Same Category

Alltop.com is a directory that curates the best blogs in almost every subject imaginable, and it’s a great first stop when looking for competitors.

Alltop categorizes thousands of blogs using hundreds of different topics, and you can easily find the relevant categories to your blog by using the search feature.

For instance, if your blog is about Paleo nutrition and lifestyle, you could simply do a search for the keyword “Paleo,” which brings up the following topics:

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In this case there’s a direct hit — Paleo is one of Alltop’s topics — but often you’ll only find related, not exact, topics.

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Click on each topic to get a list of blogs that fall under it:

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Briefly visit the blogs you find and add any that look promising to your list of potential competitors.

Use Google to Find Blogs Targeting the Same Keywords

Think what keywords your target reader might use to find relevant blogs, and use Google to find the blogs that will compete with yours for those searches.

For instance, continuing the Paleo example, you might search for “Paleo blogs” or “Paleo Diet blogs.”

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Chances are that some of the results will overlap with blogs you’ve already found, but you should find some new ones, too.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a list of possible competitors. But not all of them will target the specific audience that you want to target. Some blogs will attract your exact desired audience while others will be off-target in some way.

So how do you know if a blog is a real competitor?

One quick and dirty way is to check out the front page of each blog and make a snap judgement to eliminate any that are unlikely to appeal to your audience.

For instance, one of the Paleo blogs revealed by Alltop is The Paleo Babe:

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However, if your target audience is primarily men looking to build strength from a “caveman” diet, this blog won’t be a good fit.

Once you’ve done a simple cull, you can get a little more scientific.

Step #2: Use Alexa to Profile Your Competitors’ Readers

To further filter your list of competitors, you’ll need to dig a little deeper and learn about the people who visit those sites.

Alexa is a fantastic source of competitive intelligence. It has a paid version, but the free one is more than sufficient for our purposes.

To get started, type a URL from one of your competitors into the box at the top right-hand corner. In this example we’re using the Paleo site Paleo Leap:

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Once you click “Find,” Alexa retrieves a host of useful data.

For example, at the very bottom, Alexa shows you the audience demographics for the site in terms of gender, education level and whether access is from work or home:

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This information should help you sieve through your list of potential competitors. If a blog’s audience falls within your target demographic, keep the blog on your list, otherwise cross it off.

However, audience demographics are not the only useful data that Alexa can uncover.

It also shows the percentage of visitors from different countries that visit your competitors’ websites, highlighting the top few countries in green on the map.

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In this case, most visitors are from the United States, but there’s a sizable presence in Canada, India and Australia as well.

Bonus tip: If you decide to run Facebook ads to reach your audience, this gives you lots of useful targeting data.

If you scroll further down, you can see the most popular keywords that drive traffic to the site. These are words and phrases that people are typing into search engines to find it.

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If you don’t think your target readers would be using these terms, that’s another good reason to remove a blog from your competitor list.

Bonus tip: Depending on your niche, these keywords will also give you ideas for opt-in incentives. For instance, by looking at this list alone, you could have a variety of lead magnet ideas such as “5-minute Paleo snacks,” “10 fuss-free Thanksgiving Paleo recipes to impress your guests” and “20 Paleo meatloaf ideas for newbies.” It also gives you keyword ideas for blog posts.

Step #3: Use SimilarWeb to Discover Favorite Social Channels (and More!)

SimilarWeb is another analytics tool that has some valuable data for building your reader profile.

Like Alexa, you can type in a competitor’s URL directly on the home page:

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Some of the data — such as a breakdown of visitors by country — is the same as Alexa, but SimilarWeb also breaks down social traffic in detail:

spy-011

In this case, the majority of the social traffic for Paleo Leap is from Facebook, followed by Pinterest. Assuming this pattern was followed by the other sites on your competitor list, this gives you valuable information about what social media platforms on which to build a following first. You would also know on which platforms to share your blog post and status updates.

SimilarWeb also lists the top referring and destinations sites, meaning the sites the readers typically visited before and after visiting Paleo Leap.

spy-012

These sites may be useful ones to add to your list of competitors — or just to explore to get a better understanding of the topics that interest your audience.

Similarweb also lists “Audience Interests,” showing the high-level topics in which Paleo Leap readers are interested:

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Underneath this information, SimilarWeb shows other websites frequently visited by Paleo Leap readers. This tells you more about where your target audience hangs out online and their website interests.

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Finally, if you scroll further down, SimilarWeb shows you sites it believes are similar to Paleo Leap. Again, these are candidates for adding to your growing list of competitors.

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Step #4: Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to Dive Even Deeper

Facebook’s “Audience Insights” tool allows you to target specific interest groups with Facebook ads.

Even you have no intention of running an ad, it can still be a valuable tool for understanding your readers. (You don’t even need to register your credit card details to use it.)

Once you’ve logged into Facebook, the quickest way to access the tool is to follow this direct link: Audience Insights.

In the screen that appears next, click “Everyone on Facebook.”

spy-016

On the next screen, you can use filters in the left-hand sidebar to “create an audience” based on your demographic profile.

Your audience is based on the following information:

  • Location
  • Age (range)
  • Gender (male, female or both)
  • Interests (topic-based)
  • Connections (Facebook pages your readers like or don’t like)

There’s also an “Advanced” field which allows filtering by other data such as relationship status, education and politics.

Essentially, creating an audience on the left-hand side causes the information displayed on the right-hand side to be updated. This includes a ton of useful information like:

  • Age and gender
  • Lifestyle
  • Relationship status
  • Education level
  • Job title

spy-017

The power of this information is that it allows you to ask questions like:

  • Are more men or women interested in Topic X?
  • What Facebook pages are like by people interested in Topic Y?
  • What professions do people between 28 and 40 have who are interested in Topic Z?

A great place to start is the “Interests” field.

Try typing in the name of one of your competitor’s blogs. It should automatically show up in the drop-down menu if Facebook allows targeting of that page.

If it doesn’t show up, don’t panic. Not all pages will show up on the “Interests” field. Try a different page.

Here, I was able to add Paleo Leap. You can also add the other blogs in your filtered list to the “Interests” field.

spy-018

By clicking on the “Page Likes” portion on the top bar, you’ll see what blogs and magazines your target audience likes as well as the brands and personalities they follow.

It’s not possible to do Audience Insights full justice here, but it has a wealth of valuable information if you take the time to explore.

Step #5: Search Facebook Groups to Find Reader Motivations

Facebook Groups are an invaluable source of data because they host real-world discussions by your target readers.

You can find relevant groups by typing your topic keywords into a Facebook search and then selecting the “Groups” tab.

spy-019

Some groups will be public, meaning you can see and search discussions without joining. Others will be closed, meaning you need to request membership first.

Either way, once you have access to a Facebook group, use the “Search this group” box and type in the following keywords (preserving the quotes):

  • “need help”
  • “desperate for”
  • “newbie”
  • “have no clue”
  • “advice about”
  • “question about”

spy-020

These searches will give you a window on the problems that real people are having.

Here are some examples of what I was able to find from doing these keyword searches in one of the (blogging-related) Facebook groups I’m in:

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This allows you to quickly zone in on your target audience’s pain points without spending hours scouring through the feeds.

This exercise alone can inspire dozens of blog post ideas targeted at your ideal reader.

Step #6: Post a Quick Survey to Discover Hopes, Dreams and Fears

Once you’ve found a few Facebook groups that seem to attract your target audience, you can finally run a short reader survey — even though you still don’t have your own audience yet!

How you phrase your question and who you’re looking for will determine the quality of the answers you receive, so take time to craft your post.

Here’s an example:

Hi guys,

I’m in the midst of launching my blog, which is about [insert your blog’s focus and core message].

I’m looking for [insert target group — e.g., freelancers/designers] between [insert age range] who want to [insert target group’s key goal or desire] to answer a short survey. It won’t take up a lot of your time — I promise!

Here’s a link to the survey: [link]

In return, just to say thanks, I’ll be very happy to send you/help you with [insert your incentive — e.g., free meal planner, website review, blog critique, etc.].

Just to be clear, I won’t be trying to sell you anything. I just want to understand you guys better. 🙂

You’ll get a better response if you offer an incentive in exchange for their time.

And the incentive must be relevant to them. If you’re in a “travel hacks” Facebook group, don’t offer a guide on losing weight!

Also, it’s a best practice to check with the group’s administrator to be sure such surveying is permitted. Most will allow it if there are no promotions or sales involved.

Not sure what to ask in your survey? Check out the following post: The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Knowing What Your Readers Want.

As well as clarifying your audience’s core motivations, this exercise will help you create drool-worthy openings for your posts.

Stop Guessing and Start Getting to Know Real Readers

Being a new blogger doesn’t have to mean fumbling around in the dark to find an audience.

Your future readers aren’t an abstract concept — they’re real people, with real interests and real goals. You just haven’t met them yet.

The steps above will take your vague idea of an “ideal reader” and turn it into a simple profile that’s grounded in fact.

(They’ll also give you heaps of ideas for posts, incentives and even products that your audience genuinely wants.)

Of course, you can keep wearing the blindfold and writing for a theoretical reader who may or may not exist.

Or you can do a little work and give your blog a fighting chance of finding a real audience.

It’s your choice. What will you do?

About the Author: Meera is a freelance writer and tad bit of a nerd who loves supporting busy solopreneurs and bloggers find focus, build authority & stand out online. Struggling with what to write or send your email list? Steal her Swipe File of 2 years worth of content hacks for emails & blog posts. Download it here.

83 Comments

  1. Kevin J. Duncan
    May 05, 2016 @ 10:35:53

    Hi Meera,

    Welcome to Smart Blogger!

    Even though I’ve been blogging for… gosh, 11 years now, I’m a sucker for articles that break down and clearly explain beginner topics. How DOES a newbie blogger (or an experienced one starting in a new niche) get to know his/her readers when they don’t yet have an audience?? It’s a great question, and I love the strategies you outlined for us. (Especially Alltop. Love Alltop.)

    Off to tweet. Welcome to the SB family, Meera. Hope you receive a hundred comments!

    – @kevinjduncan

  2. Meera
    May 05, 2016 @ 10:39:32

    Thanks for the warm welcome and share Kevin! A 100 comments, now that would be fun! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Pawan Diwakar
    May 05, 2016 @ 10:58:06

    Hi Meera,

    I felt amazing reading this post as this was the problem I and most of the bloggers faces during their initial stages. You made the point clear.

    Slowly and slowly I am recognizing my target audience and your this post supported me.

    Thanks a lot.

  4. M.C. Simon
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:01:09

    Useful article, Meera. Thank you for taking your time to share this info with us. I am not exactly a new blogger, but only recently I decided to make a living from it. You can imagine how much I appreciate your post. Sharing it now on my social network. 🙂

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:04:18

      So happy this post resonated with you. Thanks for the share and comment! 🙂

  5. Meera
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:01:51

    I’m so happy this helped Pawan! I struggled a lot with this too at the beginning. And I see it so often in the Facebook groups. I hope this helps new bloggers gain some clarity. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Glenn
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:02:58

    Well, I don’t even have a blog, but I will start one now. Thank you for this research. I can tell you spent quality time putting this report together. It
    hits the mark. Let me see where this takes me. Thank You Again

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:06:28

      Awesome Glenn! Blogging can be really fulfilling and I wish you the best! Thanks for stopping by to comment! 🙂

  7. Candis
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:23:02

    Hi Meera! This post was beyond fantastic – seriously so so SO good. It’s really helpful how you broke the reader profile out into the 3 main sections (demographics, interests, motivations) and that tip about using Facebook Insights… genius!

    I really thought I had a crystal clear reader profile, but after reading this I realize that much of it IS based on assumptions I’ve made. I’m going to use this process this week to get a more legitimate grasp on who EXACTLY I’m writing for.

    Also going to share this with my (mostly beginner) audience as well as FB groups. It’s going to be tremendously helpful!

    Thanks for sharing your brilliance here & congrats on your debut post <3

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:29:08

      Awww…thank you Candis, you’re the sweetest! 🙂 I’m absolutely loving Facebook insights too. It’s amazing what you find there. You’ll pretty much feel like a stalker with the wealth of info. Thanks for popping by to comment and tell me how it goes putting this to use!

      • Candis
        May 05, 2016 @ 11:46:58

        Will do 🙂

  8. Ross Webster
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:33:34

    Meera! Welcome!

    There is just something about an article where you go into deep detail about everything and I mean everything!

    I wasn’t too aware of SimilarWeb, but I shall certainly be using it now.

    Hope to see you again! Have a good day 🙂

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:37:14

      Thanks for your comment Ross! SimilarWeb is great and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have. 🙂

  9. Cathy Hutchison
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:35:20

    Meera, thanks! This post really supported me. In one of my professional gigs I’ve been tasked with developing content for a group I know nothing about. You just gave me a step-by-step plan to get there. Thank you!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:40:22

      Your gig sounds interesting Cathy! All the best and hope it goes great for you. Happy this helped!

  10. Sue Dunlevie
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:44:22

    Hi, Meera,

    You gave out all my tips and tricks – what am I going to do now 🙂

    Top notch ideas to research your audience. I also like doing “top blogs + (niche)” to find the competitors.

    Thanks for the great info!
    Sue

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:47:03

      Sue, I don’t think you could ever be out of tips and tricks! 🙂 I haven’t tried what you suggested. Will give it a shot to see how different the results are. Thanks for stopping by to comment Sue. Appreciate it!

  11. Leonie Burmeister
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:45:41

    Hi Meera
    I am going to start up my blog this coming weekend and looking forward to it.
    It is so nice to have this information at hand now
    I have become stuck with myself recently , due to more than one reason, including information overflow while I still have a hundred percent involvement in my business . So I had to slow down and reset in own interest. Your tips are a welcome and nice to read piece of work. I appreciate your ‘no arrogance’ style of advice. Keep well.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:54:33

      Congrats on the blog launch Leonie!

      Info overwhelm is something most new bloggers struggle with. I think it’s important to just start rather than wait for perfection. I certainly regret not starting earlier.

      It’s amazing that you’ve decided to do this while being busy with your biz. But of course, take care of yourself to avoid the dreaded burnout. I’m sure you’ll do great. All the best and thanks for your comment!

  12. Mai Bjorklund
    May 05, 2016 @ 11:45:46

    Wow. What a hefty, content-rich post, Meera!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge; desperation isn’t detectable through the internet, is it? 🙂 But honestly – your advice comes from both success and failure which gives it tremendous weight. Bless you for sharing it, and for blowing my mind at the same time. This is definitely something I will return to read, and re-read, again and again.

    Thank you!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 11:59:55

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment Mai! Absolutely true what you picked up. This post definitely came from a place of struggle and wanting to ‘do it right’ despite being new. I’m so happy this helped you. 🙂

  13. sadhana
    May 05, 2016 @ 12:00:26

    Thanks you Meera. Excellent article with practical advice and visuals of the tools and strategies. Very helpful and timely as I am getting ready to create a blog. The universe has a way of sending the right information and people into your live. To your continued success.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 12:04:06

      Thanks for your comment Sadhana! The universe definitely does seem to conspire in our favour at times 😉 You must be terribly excited about launching your blog! All the best and glad this gave you some timely input! 🙂

  14. Jay Warner
    May 05, 2016 @ 12:07:57

    Great advice, Meera, I’ll be using your advice in developing my target audience which, on the surface, seems like an easy audience to define but has definitely presented me with some challenges.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 12:12:28

      That’s great Jay! Hope this helps you get some clarity. I’m sure you’ll be sailing ahead in no time. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

  15. Rich
    May 05, 2016 @ 12:08:48

    Thanks Meera! I would like to turn my blogging hobby into a profession. And while I’ve known for some time that defining my audience is critical for doing this, I did how to begin going about the process of doing so.

    Now, I do!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 12:16:04

      Exciting times ahead for your Rich! 🙂 Deciding to go pro with your blog is a big decision! I’m so happy this helped!

  16. Mishael @ Witty Vittles
    May 05, 2016 @ 12:46:48

    I love this post so much, Meera! Thanks for sharing the tips. I’ve got a reader survey in the sidebar of my new-ish blog, and so far I’ve only had one response from it. I’ll have to use some of these tips to try to figure out who I’m really writing for. 🙂

  17. Meera
    May 05, 2016 @ 12:55:16

    Mishael I had a peak at your side bar. Those questions you have are great to start with! Maybe you could try posting in a couple of Facebook groups by calling out exactly who you’re looking for. You could start with Jen’s. I’m sure a couple of us in the group may fall within your target audience. Let me know if you need help and thanks for stopping by to comment. 🙂

  18. Clint
    May 05, 2016 @ 12:59:51

    Meera,
    Great post. Appreciate the details since so many posts on this topic provide the general but manage to leave out the how-to. Look forward to yours future communications.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 13:04:51

      Thanks Clint! Appreciate the comment 🙂

  19. Jennifer
    May 05, 2016 @ 13:52:16

    This is a fantastic post and so helpful. Thank you. I’m looking forward to digging in and seeing what I can learn about targeting my ideal audience.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 13:58:30

      That’s great Jennifer! Glad this helped! I’m sure you’ll be digging up lots of ‘gold’ 🙂

  20. Josh
    May 05, 2016 @ 13:55:25

    I’ve been blogging for seven months & looking for info beyond Google Analytics. Thanks!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 14:18:27

      I hope this post gave you some tips that are ‘out of’ Google Analytics. Thanks for your comment Josh!

  21. Valerie
    May 05, 2016 @ 14:45:12

    Thanks Meera for an excellent step by step article. As a brand new blogger, I greatly appreciate your insight into how to really get to know my audience.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 14:50:12

      Awesome Valerie! I’m so happy this helped you. Lots of success to your new blog 🙂

  22. Jerry
    May 05, 2016 @ 15:40:22

    Thank you Meera, great info, will be looking forward to more from you!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 17:58:25

      Thanks Jerry! Appreciate the comment 🙂

  23. Laura Christianson
    May 05, 2016 @ 17:45:17

    Enjoyed your article, Meera. I use a “target audience” exercise with every client and when I teach workshops, but hadn’t thought of combining that with some of the tools you recommend for researching the competition. Thanks for pushing me to think outside the box.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 18:04:42

      Would love to hear the results from using these tools together with your usual ‘target audience’ exercise Laura! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

  24. Jojo
    May 05, 2016 @ 18:54:27

    Hi Meera!

    I ran for 30 min after last night’s SBO time.

    During the run, I’ve been seeing midlifers running and thought for a while if my Midlife Runner idea (as validated by Marsha in Blog Launch) would take off.

    I’m not even sure if these guys would read running blogs.

    This is really timely. Although Alltop has been mentioned in the SBO materials, I really haven’t done it in this sequence – Alltop, Alexa, FB.

    I’ll dig deeper if indeed midlife runners are into blogging.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 19:26:03

      Sounds like you have an audience worth exploring Jojo! Let me know what you come up with! Good luck!

  25. Lynne Favreau
    May 05, 2016 @ 19:03:17

    Thank you Meera. I am exactly your audience for this. Not only for myself, but my writing group whose members are looking for good information on building their author platforms. This information will be very much appreciated, and I get to look so smaht for finding it!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 19:29:31

      Thanks for your comment Lynne! So happy this helped. I’m sure you’ll be getting lots of kudos from your writing pals for suggesting this process ;p

  26. Katharine
    May 05, 2016 @ 20:56:00

    A load of amazing information, here, and I thank you for it! I’ll be returning often to get it memorized. Ha!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 21:01:05

      Hey Katharine, I know it’s a lot to take in. You could start off and play around with 1 or 2 of the tools, get comfortable with it and then dive into putting your audience profile together. That’s exactly what I did. Good to know you’ll be back but don’t memorize it! ;p Appreciate your comment!

  27. Julia McCoy
    May 05, 2016 @ 22:45:07

    Meera, excellent post! I love the really in-depth guide you put together here (well done on that). The Facebook group tips are killer. I’ve found AMAZING community within the 40+ FB groups I’ve made an effort to join and post in this year – new audience members, peers, and even a few clients. Searching the group for pain points is a gold nugget idea. Great work here.

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 22:55:46

      Thanks for your comment Julia! I absolutely love the search box within FB groups. You’d be surprised what you find with it. You realize people have a lot of the same questions and you start to see a pattern of sorts. So happy you had takeaways from his post!

  28. Jen Snyder
    May 05, 2016 @ 22:45:54

    Meera, there is so much good, actionable content in this post that I don’t know where to start! I know I have some excellent tools now that I can use to find out more about my niche.

    This was quite the in-depth post. Thank you for taking time to make it so thorough. Also I love your intro with the survey. I am going to use that one I launch mine in a few days. Thank you!

    • Meera
      May 05, 2016 @ 23:02:04

      Jen, I think you’ll absolutely rock that survey and it’ll be perfect for you. I’m excited to see the kind of responses you’ll get and how you’ll use it for your launch. As always, thank you so much for stopping by to comment. Appreciate it! 🙂

  29. Suzi Whitford
    May 06, 2016 @ 06:18:39

    You’ve introduced me to a few more methods, I love this! Thank you for taking the time to put this together!! <3 your stuff Meera!

    • Meera
      May 06, 2016 @ 06:42:00

      Yay! Happy you loved this Suzi! Thanks for taking the time to check out the post and comment. Appreciate it! 🙂

  30. Pavitra Kumar
    May 06, 2016 @ 06:21:29

    Hey, Meera Kothand

    Hello, Meera

    Enjoyed your article, <3 Thanks for stopping by & thanks for your kind words! I agree 100%. Blogging has so many benefits. One of the biggest rewards is not monetary, but to be able to help people struggling with something you’re an expert on, connect with like-minded people all over the world and to have a channel to express yourself. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and knowledge; This is a fantastic post and so helpful. You can imagine how much I appreciate your post.

    I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! and Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

    Thanks a lot once again Have a nice day!

    Happy Blogging 🙂

    • Meera
      May 06, 2016 @ 06:48:25

      Agree with you a 100% on all those points Kumar! Blogging is fantastic opportunity to connect with others. I’ve met some amazing people and made great friends via the blogging community! Appreciate the share and best wishes on your blogging journey 🙂

  31. Kandice Kelso
    May 06, 2016 @ 10:06:59

    I especially appreciate that you used the name “writing to Sarah” as your general example… because I’m pretty sure 65% of my subscribers are named Sarah… Which is exactly who they ! Ha ha! Moms my age/generation who need all the things you said in your example! Thank you for the advice!

    • Meera
      May 06, 2016 @ 10:10:42

      Haha! Candice now where do you think I got Sarah from? 😉 Nice observation and thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  32. Sue
    May 06, 2016 @ 14:02:22

    I so wish I had read this post a year ago! Well, it’s back to the drawing board for me and this time, I’ll start it right, thanks to you. This post is amazing!

    • Meera
      May 06, 2016 @ 18:43:39

      Thanks for your comment Sue! So happy you loved this post. I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun ‘re-discovering’ your audience again 😉

  33. Vishwajeet Kumar
    May 07, 2016 @ 06:05:18

    Very nice and informative post Meera. I am using most of the above sites like similarweb to check the efficiency of my blog. However I will try some others which is completely strange to me like alltop. Thanks again for this great article.

    • Meera
      May 07, 2016 @ 10:21:30

      That’s great that you’re already using most of these tools Vishwajeet! I’m sure Alltop will make a good addition to your tool kit. Appreciate the comment!

  34. Sherman Smith
    May 07, 2016 @ 12:10:44

    Hey Meera,

    I’m really impressed with the article! I’m sure that there are a lot of newbies and experienced bloggers who will find these tips useful.

    I’ve been blogging for about 6 years now and I never heard of SimilarWeb. I wish I knew about this, or something similar to this, when I first started. I was a social media junkie back that lol… but not not so much although I still try to engage at least twice a week.

    The smart thing that anyone can do is profile their target audience and you really laid out a great map to do so!

    Thanks for sharing Meera! Have a great day!

    • Meera
      May 07, 2016 @ 23:22:06

      Sherman, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I wish I was a social media junkie. I don’t quite get the point of certain platforms and I’m pretty late to most of them. Or maybe that’s just me. ;p

      I was surprised to find SimilarWeb as well. It’s been such as eye opener using it. Glad you enjoyed this post and appreciate the comment!

  35. Tauqir Hussain
    May 10, 2016 @ 00:49:17

    Great Post Meera,

    Alltop and Feedly are great resources for ideas to find your own niche. I like the facebook method to find and target the right audience. Similarweb is also a nice tool to get a glimpse of competitor data but it not very accurate.

    The best part is all the above tools mentioned by you are free. Thanks for sharing.

    • Meera
      May 10, 2016 @ 00:55:32

      I’m happy you found this post useful. Facebook Audience Insights and the search box are definitely my favourite tools too. Thanks for stopping by to comment Tauqir!

  36. Rajkaran Singh
    May 11, 2016 @ 07:27:26

    Hey Meera
    Highly useful tips and resources. This is really a smart strategy to achieve results faster.
    You have an awesome site. Subscribed to your list.

    • Meera
      May 11, 2016 @ 09:10:09

      Rajkaran, it’s great you found this post helpful! And awesome on the sign-up too. I’ll see you on the ‘inside’ and as always feel free to drop me a note or just say hi. Appreciate the comment! 🙂

  37. Babs
    May 12, 2016 @ 06:57:38

    Wow, Who knows I’ll be seeing my friend Meera down here on SmartBlogger.

    First of, Welcome and what an awesome post you have written here. Tons of insight and helpful stuff. Guess you’ll be seeing me earlier in your Inbox than expected.

    Great job.
    -Babs.

    • Meera
      May 12, 2016 @ 09:42:26

      Haha, appreciate the comment Babs! Thanks for stopping by Smartblogger to comment. Happy you found this helpful. 🙂

  38. Joshua Nyamache
    May 13, 2016 @ 10:32:21

    Facebook is such an effective tool when it comes to understanding your readers. I have used it to know exactly the right people I should target.

    I like the way you have explained clearly these six steps on how to profile your ideal reader.

    • Meera
      May 13, 2016 @ 21:55:05

      Great that’s you’re already using Facebook Joshua! It is amazing what you find in there. Appreciate the comment!

  39. Trish john
    May 15, 2016 @ 09:45:35

    I’am new in this field dont know exactly which type of blog to choose, but now i got idea what to do with my blog thanks meera.

    • Meera
      May 17, 2016 @ 18:50:39

      Appreciate the comment Trisha! All the best with your new blog. 🙂

  40. jennifer harry
    May 19, 2016 @ 13:30:42

    Meera Kothand
    I just wanted to say, thank you so much for writing this post.

    I have heard from so many people, ‘get to know who your audience is’. I then tried to, failing miserably and not knowing how to get the info, then losing so much time in the process…. Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for spelling it out and going through each stage so thoroughly.

    • Meera
      May 19, 2016 @ 20:32:46

      Jennifer, I absolutely feel your struggle. I’ve been through exactly what you said and know how frustrating it can be guessing your way through. I am so happy this helped you! Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by to comment. 🙂

  41. Brad
    May 21, 2016 @ 14:49:30

    Meera, what a knockout post! I’m still a beginner blogger by most standards, and this is unbelievably helpful! I’m going to be implementing most if not all of what you’ve shared here.

    • Meera
      May 21, 2016 @ 20:25:25

      That’s awesome Brad! Hope you get all the info you’re looking for. All the best with your blog and thanks for your comment!

  42. Ben
    May 30, 2016 @ 20:35:00

    Hi Meera. That’s a wealth of information that you just opened up for me. I’m very curious about how some of those sites gather their information. Alexa was very clear that some people choose to install code so that Alexa can track them, much like we do for Google Analytics. I want to look more into that.

    I’m definitely going to use some of your advice to get a better idea on what kind of audience I could be focusing on. Thank you very much.

    • Meera
      Jun 13, 2016 @ 22:52:50

      Ben, thanks for stopping by to comment. I hope you’ll be able to use some of this for your own blog. Good luck with learning more about your audience! You’ll find lots of insightful data, I promise 🙂

  43. DNN
    Jun 12, 2016 @ 10:49:15

    You can also use Google Analytics and Feedjit as a means of closely surveying your readers and what pages they are on most. SumoMe also has heat maps bloggers can use for free and install in the HTML of their websites where they can see what pages specifically readers are on the longest. This way, bloggers can deliver better ad targeting and increase conversions through “content marketing concentration.”

    • Meera
      Jun 13, 2016 @ 22:57:45

      Thanks for highlighting these tools. Sumome and GA are great if you already have a blog and audience to target. Haven’t heard of feedjit though. Will have to check that out! The post was targeted more at bloggers who are just starting out and who have no audience to begin with. Thanks for stopping by to comment! Appreciate it!

  44. Leesa
    Jun 25, 2016 @ 11:30:22

    This is freaking amazing! You could turn this into a 4 week course with some videos, worksheets, accountability actions, weekly Q&A, etc. Brilliant!

  45. Meera
    Jun 28, 2016 @ 07:28:15

    Leesa, so happy it helped you! That’s a good way of looking at the article! Never thought of it like that 😉