Your audience is the lifeline of your business. Your audience is the people that you want to pay attention to you. They are the potential customers, clients, brand loyalists, brand ambassadors. They matter. In advertising and marketing, they are your target market but in blogging they are your audience. Not much of a difference as your blog is a part of your overall advertising and marketing plan.

When we talk about advertising, people immediately think traditional advertising. The interruptions during your favorite television shows (or for some the much needed break from a show to visit the restroom) but this is only one medium in advertising. Your blog is advertising as are your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and your Facebook pages. While this can be argued that advertising is through paid mediums by definition, this certainly is up for discussion as we have to consider that advertising is also speaking to the public as a means of gaining attention. The purpose of a blog is to ultimately make money but broken down further as discussed previously is to gain awareness and have your audience do something. Isn’t that the goal of a print, radio or tv advertisement?

Defining Your Audience

In blogging we hear a lot about your audience and your community. How to create, cultivate, grow, etc. but we do not always take the time to map out really who they are as we do in traditional advertising. In print, radio and tv, ads are placed in publications that match the demographics and psychographics of our target market. In a blog, we post and share it on Twitter, FB, forums, Stumbleupon and Digg to name a few. In doing this have we connected or friended only people we are targeting? No, we are also connecting with people in our industry that are leaders, people we meet online that share our interests but too many times they are not our customers or clients. Yes, they can be our referral agents but they are not going to hire us. Referral agents are very important but how many of our connections do we take the time to get to know, learn what they do and/or show them what makes us so great for them to refer us? Think of your connections and evaluate them to see who is your referral agent, how many of them would you refer or more so, who would hire you?

Case  in point, @MargieClayman is a wonderful person. We have developed a beautiful friendship that has been taken offline and spoken quite a few times on the telephone (her giggle is as infectious and lovable as my son, Andrew’s is). Margie Clayman is not going to hire Kherize5 as she is an ad gal herself at her family agency, Clayman Advertising. I appreciate and am ecstatic when she comes on over and reads the blog, shares it with her network and adds her $.02 but she is not my target market. She is my friend and I will do all that I can to help her and Clayman’s grow (as the good news is that despite Braylon Edwards and Lebron James leaving Ohio, Clayman’s is still running strong) but her reading, while growing my community and enriching my life, is not increasing the client base of Kherize5.

Do We Need to Look at Our Audience as a Target Market?

I think yes. It is advertising. We focus on the traffic numbers and seek information on how we can grow our traffic and build our community but are we building our audience with the target market in mind? Or are we chasing the numbers and looking for the leaders of the social media community to notice and promote us so that we take that strength in numbers and convert that to clients? This does happen as if a leader points to your company as someone they trust and believe in, the clients come easy. What happens when they promote an article and traffic is outstanding, does that pack as powerful of a punch as if a client hires you and tells their audience how great you are?

This is no in way saying that being recognized in your industry by the leaders is not powerful. In social media it is a component that businesses should look at. If you are well respected in your industry as an social media agency it does show that you are more than likely very reputable. As a small business advertising and social marketing media agency, I can ensure that reputation in the social space does go a long way … when the potential clients do their due diligence. We know that many do not.

How Do We Create Our Targeted Audience?

Creating an audience is easier than creating a targeted audience. Write a blog about how to build traffic with some proven ways and you are the hero of retweets. They read, share, some comment and this builds your reputation in the social space but how many of them are potential clients? How many of them will read an article and call you and hire you? In targeting your audience, you have to go where they are but where are they? They are offline, online, here there and everywhere. Right? Yes they are but getting them to listen and pay attention is generally more than one great post. We have to understand them and how they talk, interact, engage, their time online and how they spend that time, what peaks their interest, why they need us and how we can solve their problem above everyone else who tries.

Building a targeted audience is identifying who are your buyers and getting them to notice you. Building a buyer persona is just a part of it. Actionable measures we take from there help do further define and cultivate the targeted audience.  Online we set up alerts for certain keywords on Twitter, answer questions on LinkedIn but there is more that we can do. We can seek out our target and evaluate their online presence to see what they are doing, connect with them on Facebook, forums and also LinkedIn through groups and talk to them about what their challenges are without ever trying to sell them. They learn what you do as when you are talking to them whether that be to answer a question or enhancing a discussion, they will look at your profile to see if they can trust what you are saying. You need to seek out people that you want to be your audience as they are not always looking for you. Yes ranking high on Google for their search query definitely is a plus but the engagement we know is how many people buy.

Have you defined and sought out your audience? How do you engage with them? Also, does this blog need to go further and have poignant examples of successes or failures to have you as a client or a referral agent?