Who are you writing for?
It’s an honest question…
… but a dangerous one, too.
Because if you don’t know exactly who you’re writing for – their passions, fears and prejudices – your writing will FAIL.
Maybe… but true.
Fortunately, you can “tap” into your audience in just a few simple steps. Best part? You can set these processes up so that it automatically gathers feedback for you.
You can set these processes up… turn them on… and gain valuable insights for years to come.
Now I’d like to share these methods with you.
Who are you writing for?
If you’re writing for yourself… you can stop reading this post right now. Many travel bloggers just want to document their travels.
And you know what? That’s totally cool.
But if you’re looking to run your travel blog like a business… well… you better write for your audience.
How to build a never ending list of ideas your audience is dying for
Sure, that sounds obvious… but… how many bloggers actually do this? If you write about kayaking in New Zealand this week and European luxury hotels the next… does your audience care about both topics?
Here’s the thing: you’ll never know unless you ask.
So here are four simple methods to help you understand exactly what your audience wants.
The fastest, easiest way to get feedback
Is to install Qualaroo.
What is Qualaroo, you ask?
It’s a simple tool that adds a short, one or two question survey at the bottom right of your blog. So when someone visits your blog it pops up (unobtrusively, check it out for yourself) and asks them a question.
Here’s why I like Qualaroo:
- It’s ridiculously easy to use. Write a question, add the code to your blog and you’re done. I set this up in under two minutes.
- It’s free. Can’t beat that, right?
- It’s simple. Just ask one question (e.g. “What would you like to learn more about here?”) and listen to the different answers.
A low tech, effective way to get feedback
Is to post your blog on the Business of Blogging. It’s a Facebook group which focuses on (you guessed it) the business side of travel blogs.
(Full disclosure: I’m an admin of this group)
Bret Love from Green Global Travel started Business of Blogging to create an honest, supportive environment where travel bloggers could share best practices and ask questions… without dealing with haters.
And in my opinion, he’s done a damn fine job.
But perhaps the most popular section of this group are the free blog critiques. Here you can post your travel blog and other members will offer feedback about it for free (if you do post your blog, be sure to provide feedback for others, too!)
It’s a quick, easy and free way to get feedback. I’ve done it for this blog and it blew my mind.
Give it a shot.
Oh, and a special shout out goes to Molly McHugh from South America Living who manages these critiques. It wouldn’t exist without her, so give her some love!
A painful (but shockingly effective) way to gain valuable insights
Ever wonder how people use your site?
Well, get ready for a shock. Because it’s not at all what you think.
Sites like UserTesting.com let someone use your site and record themselves “thinking” out loud. You can listen to what they like, what they hate and (most importantly) what confuses them.
It’s this last point which is GOLD.
No matter how simple you think your blog is, it will always confuse somebody. So it’s important to see what’s “tripping them up” – and then solve those problems.
OK, one more to go…
The most effective, profitable way to build an “addicted” audience
Is to place a survey into your autoresponder.
Nothing fancy, mind you, just a simple email that says “Hi, just want to let you know I’m here to help. What are your biggest challenges with _______ and how can I help?”
Even better, you can offer to help them with these challenges.
For example, you could offer to help three subscribers plan their next vacation for free. You send an email out which says:
“Hi, I’m offering to help three subscribers plan their next trip for FREE. If you’re interested, shoot me an email outlining your three biggest challenges with travel planning and I’ll see what I can do.”
As you’ll see, the responses will come flooding in (and you’ll gain priceless insights into what your audience needs help with).
By now you may have guessed
All these methods require you to ASK people what they think.
If you’re simply writing post after post without getting FEEDBACK, well, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.
Some killer feedback from readers
After using these methods on TBA, I’ve learned a lot about what people like (and don’t like) about this site.
Soon I’ll be making the following changes:
- Update the navbar and category pages so they’re more user friendly
- Add an “About Me” section in the sidebar (I hate being in the “limelight” but readers pointed out the site seems somewhat sterile… great feedback).
- Focusing content specifically on SEO, traffic and monetization (and possibly writing)
Am I writing for you (yes, you)?
It’s an honest question.
This is a business and marketing website for travel bloggers. And – while I know many readers work in other verticals – that’s where my main focus remains.
So how am I doing?
Drop your feedback in the comments below!