Business Blogging: 5 or 5K? Choose Your Audience |

Business Blogging: 5 or 5K? Choose Your Audience

By Tad Chef / September 5, 2008

Almost 3000 Sphinn visits from August 6th until September 5th

August was a very successful month for this blog, especially as it was during summer when many people are on vacation. Business blogging is one of the key methods of reaching an audience for an SEO company. SEO firms can’t rely on the major social sites like Digg, Reddit or even StumbleUpon as the audience there often is wary of SEO already due to the elusive nature of SEO: You only recognize bad, spammy SEO unless you are a search marketer yourself.

So what audience is a “target audience” for a SEO blog or more broadly for business blogging?

  1. High profile experts of the trade?
  2. Your peers in the industry?
  3. Bloggers and social media users, in other words multipliers?
  4. Advanced web users and webmasters?
  5. Main stream internet users?
  6. All internet users?

You have to ask yourself who the people are you want to reach before every post you write. I hate the term “target audience” as I’m not gonna shoot at anybody, I rather say “preferred audience“.

In August I had the unique opportunity to support the very successful SEOptimise blog team with 4 larger lists that go beyond the usual top 10 of this or that. Keep in mind that this blog is one of the most important SEO blogs in the UK according to the Google ranking at least, which in SEO circles speaks for itself. Also internationally it’s more often in the top 10 for “SEO blog” than not. Moreover the blog has more than 1200 subscribers. So it has undoubtedly already an audience.

Nonetheless I was able to reach much larger audiences, 5 to 30 times larger depending on the post. In this post I want to focus on the question why some posts “only” get 5 times as much traffic while others 10, or 30 times.

I experimented with my audiences this month. Although you can’t separate the above mentioned groups in such a clean manner you can decide beforehand which one is your preferred audience. Number 1 is the most narrow one, number 6 obviously the most populous one.

Addressing an audience is often as simple as naming it in the headline/title. Consider these three examples, they could represent the same list. Just the “target audience” differs:

  • 100 Resources for Small Businesses
  • 100 Resources for Web Developers
  • 100 Resources for Geeks

You might want to change the description of each resource slightly but overall you can use the same resources for all three of them. When you use a very exclusive term (in the sense of excluding people) like “SEO” you will end up with a much smaller but probably more targeted audience in contrast to e.g. using “Search”. Which post is more relevant for general users:

“The Future of SEO” or “The Future of Search”?

Again, both can deal with the same topic, the first one will get a few hundred people to read it, the second one can reach thousands or more.

Beyond the headline there are of course other considerations: Do you take acronyms like “SEO” for granted or do you use terms that everybody can understand? Do you explain in a manner people outside the industry can relate to or not?

Blogging for the SEO industry is more difficult than for most others as explained above but still you have some places to reach out to: Niche social news sites for marketing, especially Sphinn for search marketing and beyond. Then there is Delicious representative of the larger web developer, webmaster and advanced web user crowd. SEO tools and resources can get popular there if they are useful enough for more than just the tiny SEO community. In fact most SEO tools and resources are but they fail to make the people believe they need them by disregarding the advice I gave you above.

Call it web tools and you get more people to use them than just the SEO tools.

In some cases you are better off by ignoring some audiences, you can’t satisfy everybody and some people just do not want to be content with your content 😉

Nothing exemplifies that more accurate than the bizarre reactions of some “experts” to my last post on SEOptimise. This post gained 76 votes and had the same number of visits from Sphinn alone but multiplied with 10.

While the headline expressed that the post is about the “easiest” not the most advanced methods of getting links, these people were not satisfied with this explanation and repeatedly argued that the list is “stupid”, “basic”, “not fitting on a social news site” etc. The only thing that was stupid here was that I wasted my time trying to react to them. The sheer number of people approving of the post proved them wrong.

This post was both the most popular submission of mine in votes during my one year of participation on Sphinn (and I’ve been numerous times on the Sphinn fp), the most popular post written by me on Sphinn ever and the most popular SEOptimise post on Sphinn ever. It ended up on top of page 4 of the Sphinn “Greatest Hits”.

So you really have to decide, are you targeting these 5 people whom you can’t satisfy as they want to be “bigger experts” than you are, the 50 peers on Sphinn who approve of your post or the 500 visitors. Beyond that you might want to address the 5000 Delicious and/or StumbleUpon users depending on your topic.

All of the posts got what they deserved, a dozen authority links from blogs too. To be honest I also targeted the real experts of our industry and I got them too 🙂 So you also can decide for both, 5 and 5k.

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