Cloudy wearing a construction hat and holding a paint bucket next to text that says, "Build a Blog: Define Your Audience."

Build a Blog: Define Your Audience

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When starting a blog, the first instinct for most people is to grab a custom domain, decide on a platform, and maybe even think about branding. Sometimes that even happens after you’ve written your first couple of posts in your head. And while all are very important things to accomplish, they’re not where you should start. Think of it like this: That would be like deciding to buy a house without considering how many bedrooms you need or even where the house is located; or going to an auto dealership and buying a vehicle without thinking about where you’re going to drive, how big it is, or how you’ll use it.

Instead, let’s start with who will be reading your content. By starting with who, we’re able to build a solid foundation of our reader, their preferences, and their goals, all of which will help us define our voice.

Starting with you

I’ve spoken with a lot of content creators in my over 13 years of being a content creator and one truth has held true in almost all the conversations—every author wrote content they wanted to read. That’s the start and end of it. If they themselves didn’t find the content interesting, they simply didn’t put it out there. I know this sounds a bit obvious, but starting with yourself as the primary audience means that you deeply understand what is needed, what your goals are, and what type of content you want to create.

I want you to take a listen to a podcast episode I did back in 2015 (then called the ButtonClick Admin Podcast) with Kieren Jameson, who at the time was running a blog called “Women Code Heroes.” While we chatted a lot about the blog she used to run, there’s one question I asked her that I want to focus on now, which is who she writes for in her blog. Succinctly, she answered, “myself.”

Starting with yourself might give you some angst. “This sounds good and all, but how many people will honestly read it?” Or for some reason, you don’t think you’re interesting enough. These are most likely the doubts running through your head. But let me tell you, it’s only because you need to trust yourself. Because there’s someone out there like you who—also like you—needs that content, from your perspective, or to read about the challenges you’re facing.

For every feature, challenge, or solution, there’s an audience

With an audience of yourself, what are you most passionate about? What are you trying to learn? What do you find interesting? These are some of the first questions I ask new writers when they start thinking about a new idea or content to create. Because from the outside looking in, it may appear that every feature or issue on the platform has content written about it. “Surely, someone somewhere has dealt this with issue, so what more can I add to the conversation?” But that to me is also a fallacy you’re telling yourself that isn’t true. I’m here to tell you the answer is very simple—“a lot.” You can add a lot to the conversation!

Recently I interviewed Rakesh Gupta, who runs the Automation Champion blog, and he made a great point. For every feature, there’s an audience. So in addition to thinking about writing for yourself, know that each feature you write about will bring in a new audience. And believe me, there are plenty of features to write about.

Let’s look at this from a different perspective. Take books about love as an example. Don’t you think we’ve already covered that extensively? I mean, what more could there be to write about? Yet, books, songs, etc., that cover the topic are consistent bestsellers, or are highly ranked on download charts. So keep in mind, from a content standpoint, that even if a topic has been written about, your audience could still find it interesting.

A profile of your audience

An effective technique that worked for me—and still does to this day—is to think about a profile of my reader. Much like building a character in a book, start an outline of who your ideal audience is. This profile can be as general or specific as you like, but the main goal here is to think about your audience in terms of their relation to the content. So for example, here are the questions I use to build my reader profile.

  • What is the skill level of the audience I’m writing this content for?
  • What do I think their level of engagement with the blog will be?
  • How active are they in the ecosystem (are they on social, Trailblazer Community, etc.)?
  • Are they new to the ecosystem?
  • Where are they in their career?
  • What are their favorite features in Salesforce?
  • What are 2–3 things they enjoy doing outside of Salesforce?

Now part two of building your profile is answering those questions for yourself.

I’m not sure I’m in yet, but what comes next?

Doing something new can have many starts and stops. My goal is that by August you will have found your passion for sharing.

The Build a Blog series kicked off with this post because I want you to start thinking about yourself and who you’re writing for before we get deeper. With each post, I’ll link to previous posts, so you can easily find all of them. The first post in the series is available here. For April, we’re going to work on centering our content focus. In May, we’re going to explore finding a publishing content platform. And in June, we’re going look at content creation.

In addition to this post, I’ve put a post on the Trailblazer Community in the Admin Trailblazers group to start a discussion about this post.

Let’s talk about your worries, concerns, or things you’d like me to address. We’re in this together.

I want to see what you’re building and help where I can, and I want you to feel like you’re part of a group of new bloggers who are building something special—because you are. You’re building a channel to share your most valuable asset—your voice and your perspective.

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