If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you already write a blog of your own, or are at least considering starting one in the future. With that in mind, I ask you: who do you write for, and why do you write for them?
No, I’m not asking you to describe your marketing personas, or the demographics of your target audience, but a broader question that gets to the intent behind your writing?
For example, a few years ago, Marcus Sheridan (The Sales Lion) wrote an article about coming to the realization that collecting “blog comments” was “not a business model”. He didn’t come right out and say that he was writing for comments, but did admit to having an ego and enjoying the growing number of comments his blog was receiving. You can certainly imagine that clouding a writer’s objectives.
Shortly after joining Triberr, I noticed (and yes – enjoyed), the increased number of social media shares that my articles were getting. As a result, I found myself thinking of, and wanting to write about, topics that would appeal to that audience – an audience primarily consisting of other marketers and bloggers – an audience that was not likely to hire me.
Don’t get me wrong, joining Triberr was one of the best things I’ve done as a blogger – I’ve gained a great deal of wisdom, support (and amplification) from the bloggers and friends that I’ve met there, but I’ve yet to find a client on Triberr. From a business perspective, is it wise for me to be writing content directed at my tribemates?
Honestly, I wasn’t sure until about a year ago. Until then, I simply let indecision, ego, and inertia guide my writing.
So let me ask you again: who do you write for, and why do you write for them?
As a practitioner of the “dark arts”, you probably expect me to suggest your writing should be product and/or service related, and based on important search related keywords. I don’t deny it – I’m a strong believer in keyword research, and the benefits of writing for the search engines.
However, the search engines are only one of the three “audiences” that your writing should be targeting, and not even the most important.
The 3 Audiences Your Writing Should Be Targeting
1. Your prospective clients: as most of you would agree, your marketing personas are who you should be writing for. Your content should always be well written and be of possible interest/help to your potential clients.
2. Search Engines: If you hope to be found on the search engine results pages, you need to write content related to the products or services you want to be found for – period. However, this does not have to be the intent behind every article, and these articles can and should still be well written and of interest to your target readers.
3. The Linkeratti: I can see the furrowed eyebrows and hear the whispers already -“the who?”. This is a phrase that I learned from Brian Dean at Backlinko, one that he attributed to Rand Fishkin of Moz – it refers to the people (often times, influencers) in your industry that link out to others.
Backlinks (links pointing at your website from another website) are still the currency of authority in the eyes of the search engines – they are hugely important to ranking well in competitive industries and for competitive search terms.
Google’s theory is that if we write good content, others will find it and link to it, and our “good content” will rise to the top of the search engines. This is a nice story, but not a very realistic one (more on this in a future blog) for most bloggers.
Many of us from the marketing industry take backlinking for granted because so many of us are aware of the importance of linking, and practice it regularly. However, when you get into other industries, very few people practice linking out to content authored by other writers. The few that do are the “linkeratti” for that industry. It is important that you not only create content that is “link worthy”, but that it gets in front of the right people.
This is not to suggest that all of your articles need to address all three audiences. The right mix will depend on your industry, goals, writing, and networking abilities, but for search engine success, you should try to address each of them occasionally.
So, who do you write for, and why do your write for them? Do you need to add content for your marketing persona, the search engines, or the linkeratti? As always your comments and questions are welcomed and appreciated!