The No. 1 Mistake Small Business Bloggers Make—And How to Fix It with an Ideal Reader Profile

Being the savvy business chick that you are, you’ve probably heard the advice before that you should have an ideal customer profile to help you with your marketing efforts. Everything you do in your business is directed at that one (or one of several) imaginary perfect person.

The same is true with your blog. You’re not talking to the entire Internet, you’re not even talking to most of the Internet. You’re talking to one specific archetype of a person, and your ideal reader will see herself in your words.

For example, notice how I said, “savvy business chick” up there two paragraphs ago? That’s because I know that my ideal reader is a female solopreneur with a business that’s really starting to take off.  She’s usually in a transition phase, like she’s just redesigned her website, or is about to launch a new product, and she’s looking to make sure that the work she’s putting into her blog every week is going to pay off.

Any of that sound like you?  There’s a reason for that.  😉

Why do you need an ideal reader profile?

Last week I wrote about the 5 Ws of your editorial calendar and one of them was WHO—as in, who are you writing your post to? Sound like a no-brainer? You’d be surprised.

Let’s say a photographer decides she ought to start a blog about photography to showcase her amazing images.  Great idea! She’s heard that you should write what you know, so she starts blogging about what she knows best: photography.

Every week, she posts one of her favorite shots and then goes into a detailed technical description of how she took the shot, how she edited it, what filters she used, what techniques. She pours a ton of information into each post she writes.

But the only people that seem to comment on her blog or share her posts are other photographers—and unfortunately, they’re not likely to become customers or send new business her way.

The number one mistake new small business bloggers make is writing for the wrong audience.

Our photographer friend picked the wrong audience to blog to. She’s writing to her business frenemies, rather than her customers!

If she were to come do a Strategy session with me, the first thing I would ask her is: who is your ideal customer?

Because that is who she should be writing to.

She tells me that her ideal customer is a local, suburban mom who wants great photos of her family and kids. She’s stylish and active and wants to remember all the milestones in her family’s life with fine art-quality photos.

That mom is who she should be blogging to.  So we brainstorm ways to turn her photography expertise into the kind of expertise her ideal reader is dying to read about.  Suddenly, she’s blogging about how to coordinate clothes for a family picture, prop ideas for cute kid photos, holiday photo craft ideas, and killer photo locations around her town.

In no time, she can tell from the comments on her blog (and the sales she’s racking up!) that she’s finally reaching her ideal customer and putting her blog to work for her.

Take it to the next level.

Most of you reading this will already be savvy enough to know that you should be writing to your customers and not your competition (DUH).  But what you need to ask yourself is this:

Is your ideal customer and your ideal blog reader the same person? (TWEET THAT!)

In all likelihood, your ideal blog reader is at a different stage of the game than your ideal customer.  The person who is ready to buy is different from the person who needs to get to know you and your services better.  Or, maybe you find that one of your ideal customers tends to read your blog while another never does.

Taking the time to profile your ideal reader—as a distinct person from your ideal customer—will help take your blog to the next level. These amazing resources can help:

Remember, the WHO is only one of the 5 Ws of your editorial calendar, but you need to know who you are writing to every time you sit down to blog.

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21 thoughts on “The No. 1 Mistake Small Business Bloggers Make—And How to Fix It with an Ideal Reader Profile

  1. Such great advice, Lacy!! I have been transitioning from becoming a *hobby* blogger to one that speaks to her Ideal Client Avatar…it’s been a slow transition, and it’ll be interesting to see how things evolve in the next year or so!

  2. I agree, when you are transitioning and evolving personally, its good to also make time to adopt those same transitions for your audience.

  3. you know what *confession time* my biggest problem to overcome with blogging used to be the fact that my parents could read what I wrote.. Sometimes very personal “bad childhood” type stuff (for clients to relate to)… WIth my most recent blog incarnation I actually abandoned that angle of blogging altogether.. but if was def a bit of a hindrance.. (notice that I am NOT posting this on Facebook – lol – )

  4. So true Lacy. My readers are so much broader than my ideal customers and I have different goals for my readers than I do for my clients and that of course requires different words.

  5. OOH!

    It sounds so silly now, but I had totally never thought of this!

    I’m going to knuckle down and work on this as I’m writing my blogs.

    Thanks, Lacy!

  6. I recently asked someone for honest feedback on my website and she said that blog seemed inconsistent with my message, or at least not tied together tightly enough. So getting intimately familiar with my ideal reader is a top priority! Thanks so much for addressing this and for the resources!

  7. Great stuff, Lacy! I have a random question for you though – what if you authentic voice (personality) is quite different from you ideal customer/reader?

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