Does this advice sound familiar?

“Find out where your readers hang out. Go there, mingle and get to know them and get them to visit your own blog.”

Well, that’s all very well and good, right? – but, like a lot of advice you find online, it’s big on what you should be doing but not so big on the HOW? Right?

And it’s this HOW? that you’re missing and really want to know, right?

This post is about answering the HOW? – How do you find out where your readers are hanging out now?

A few members of my email list have asked me this question too. I think it’s because actually finding out where your potential readers are hanging out is one of the most frustrating part of growing your blog because often, it can be difficult to know where to start.

And when you think you might have found them, you discover that actually, no they’re not, (usually because they don’t turn up on your blog as you expected). And, once more, you have to start searching all over again. And so the frustrating cycle continues, right? It gets tough after awhile, leaving you wondering if it’s worth it, right?

You’re not the only one. It’s a frustrating cycle that affects a lot of new bloggers.

So, to help you get over this frustrating cycle and finally find your potential readers I decided to write this post.

It’s what I’m all about here, taking the frustration out of getting traffic to your blog by finding the right kind of traffic and bringing it back to your blog. I’ve been through that frustration too and there’s nothing more frustrating than advice that leaves out the most important facts, like HOW! Right?

By the way, you can always ask me any questions you’ve got. Ask me anything about finding where your potential readers hang out, or about anything to do with blogging.

Your search starts with asking yourself some questions. Questions that help you narrow down your search and make it easier for you to find them. It also gives you insight into how to engage them when you find them and how to get them to come to your blog too.

One important question to ask yourself is:

What niche are you blogging in?

This might be simple as in you’re in the Writing niche. Or the Fitness niche. Or the Stay-At-Home Parents niche. But a good way to answer this question fully is to define what outcome or end result a person will get from reading your blog.

Secondly, you need to ask yourself (and be clear on):

What do you want people to do when they visit your blog?

If you’re a writer you might answer: Buy my books, of course! – Or whatever it is you’re selling.

But all too often, the reason you’re struggling to find your readers (and keep them when they do come) is that you don’t really know WHO you want to become your readers.

This is because you don’t know what it is you’re offering them. Or, you do know but it’s too much and conflicts which leaves you wondering who you want to be your readers.

What do I mean by that?

Well, often, when you have a fixed idea of what you’re selling it’s not what you actually focus on. Instead, you try selling some other product or service you’ve got.

I see this all the time on blogs. It’s a common mistake I see Traffic Smart Marketing readers who ask me to look at their blog, or who ask me why they’re not getting traffic.

Another common mistake you might be making is that, although you know what you’re selling, the problem is that it’s too much.

What this means is that you’re trying to sell everything you sell.

You might think, “Well, why not? I’ve got a lot to sell people.”

That’s probably true. It’s just that trying to sell everything you’ve got (or promoting all your solutions and answers at once to people) causes confusion. Both to you, resulting in not knowing WHO your readers are which results in turn to your not knowing where they hang out. And to any readers that might visit your blog, resulting in them thinking it’s not for them and leaving.

Selling everything you’ve got also causes your products or services to conflict with one another. Not only is this a real turn-off to readers …

It leaves you wondering who your readers are because you don’t know exactly what you are selling. If you don’t know what you’re selling you won’t know who your customers are… Are you selling your products; your books or software, etc? Or, are you selling your coaching, or your editing, or proof-reading, or …?

Likewise – If you don’t know what you’re selling your readers, you can’t know who your readers are. By the way, if you want a quick “Cliff Notes”, or key notes, version of this post because you’re short of time you can read them right here now in this handy checklist …

HOW TO FIND WHERE YOUR POTENTIAL READERS HANG OUT “Cliff Notes”

What niche are you blogging in?

Always ask yourself what outcome or end result a person will get from reading your blog.

What do you want people to do when they visit your blog?

Define what outcome or end result a person will get from reading your blog.

You need to know what you’re offering because this helps you define WHO you should be targeting as your potential readers.

And, what you’re offering your potential readers as to be a good match between what you can give them by way of skills. know-how, solutions, etc and what they want to have.

The Secret To Finding Your Potential Readers

Your readers are probably a lot like you. A lot of bloggers tend to forget or overlook this fact.

Two questions that will find potential readers are:

1. Where did you find the information you wanted when you were starting out?

This question will tell you where others starting out are looking too. Go back there and look for the readers

looking for what you have to sell and start engaging them, e.g. reply to their comments with short answers.

Click on their names and find their Twitter bios and follow them.

2. If you couldn’t find that information you looked for when you were starting out where did you try looking for it?

Again, those places you tried getting information you wanted are the same places your potential readers are trying to get that same info (or info related to it). Go back there and engage them the same way you do in #1.

Finding Your Potential Readers May Take A While

Be prepared and willing to start small. Blogging is often a matter of keeping on keeping on.

Who are your potential readers anyway?

You need to know what you’re selling because this helps you define WHO you should be targeting as your potential readers. And, what you’re selling to your potential readers has to be a good match between what you can give them by way of skills. know-how, solutions, etc and what they want to have.

For example, if you can give writers a better chance of selling their books online to more readers then you should be targeting writers who want to sell more books online. You can thin it down to Writers of a particular genre or topic for a better chance of attracting these writers if you want to. But knowing WHO you can help gives you the answer to WHERE you should be looking to find them.

You need to know what you’re selling because this helps you define WHO you should be targeting as your potential readers.

And, what you’re selling your potential readers has to be a good match between what you can give them by way of skills. know-how, solutions, etc and what they want to have. It’s worth saying this again.

And here’s an example …

If you can offer writers a better chance of selling their books online to more readers then you should be targeting writers who want to sell more books online. Not writers who want to edit other peoples books. Not writers who want to learn how to crochet. Not writers who want to write advertising copy for internet marketers. Just writers who want to sell more books online.

You can focus on writers who want other things too later on, when you’ve established yourself as helping writers sell more books. Not before. Because you need to focus on one set of readers at a time. To do this, you need to focus on one set of readers at a time (and one product or solution at a time)

If you want to find where writers who want to sell more of their books hang out, target writers who want to sell more of their books and go where they hang out. I’ll come to the simplest way to find out “where they hang out” in a moment. But first, here are some pointers for starting your search …

Writers who want to sell more books online will probably be hanging out on blogs about Writing, Self Publishing, Kindle Publishing, for example.

They’ll probably also be hanging out on blogs about writing Fantasy Fiction, or following bloggers who offer training on formatting for Kindle, or training on how to use Scrivener.

They may even be hanging out in podcast show audiences listening to writers who are selling more books than they are. Or joining webinars or Google hangouts.

But, they will also be hanging out on blogs (or in forums) dedicated to their genre, or even favorite author. Or, if you want to find non-fiction writers, they will hanging out on blogs dedicated to their industry, field, job title, even their job and industry woes and highlights. You can also find your potential readers on blogs, forums, chatrooms or social mediums dedicated to their hobbies, lifestyles, etc. (It helps to know what these are as well when deciding WHO your readers are.).

One Search and Discovery Mission Leads To More Readers …

As you go looking for where your potential readers are hanging out already you’ll find more places to find them by following the content they’re already reading, or watching or listening to. You’ll hear the bloggers they already follow talking about and recommending other bloggers and resources.

One source leads you on to another.

Who are the influencers and popular bloggers in your industry or field?

You need to be clear about who your potential readers are following; whose blogs they’re reading when they’re not reading yours. And WHY?

You need to be clear about who your potential readers are following; whose blogs they’re reading when they’re not reading yours. And WHY?

Who are the up-and-coming bloggers in your industry or field?

You need to be clear about who those influencers in your field or industry are talking about. Here are more questions to help you narrow down your search.

#1. Whose names do you hear getting mentioned on webinars and podcasts and hangouts?

#2. Who are they doing joint promotions with?

#3. Whose getting guest posts accepted often on their blogs?

#4. Whose interview requests are getting accepted more frequently by influencers than others?

Your answers to these questions give you the places where your potential readers are starting to hang out at. They’re new there. They’re ripe for new ideas, solutions and content. Go there and hang out with them.

Who are your peers?

If you know who’s already blogging about your topic (or a similar or related topic to yours) you will probably find your potential readers there.

This is where Twitter comes into play.

Follow the hashtags for topics your potential readers are interested in. And follow hashtags that cover topics covered in the section “Who are your potential readers anyway?” above.

And, in Google, type in search related to these answers too.

What comes up in the results? You can discover a lot about who’s who in what and why in your potential readers’ eyes.

Not just amongst your peers (newcomers like you) but those high-fliers and influencers too). This is because search engines like Google rank them in relation to the popularity of their blogs and content.

The Little-Known Secret To Finding Your Potential Readers

Your readers are probably a lot like you.

A lot of bloggers tend to forget or overlook this fact. But it’s true. We all tend to side with people like us. Blogging is no different.

Whether it’s finding a message that echoes your own message, or a personality that you resonate with, you’ll be attracted to certain blogs and bloggers and topics and niches over others. So will your potential readers.

Good places to start looking for them are the places you hang out.

And it’s there that you should concentrate on finding your potential readers. You’ll recognize them when you find them.

They’re the ones whose comments echo yours. They’re the ones whose thoughts, ideas and interests echo yours. Whose problems and questions echo yours …

Or those you had when you were first starting out. Remember then? You struggled, didn’t you? You searched for answers and got frustrated because those answers were often hard to come by, right?

Those are your readers.

When you hear them asking questions you asked… When you hear them talking about struggles they’re having that you had … When you hear them venting their frustrations or disappointment …

That’s when you know you have found where your potential readers hang out.

How do you hear them in the first place?

Read the blog posts.

Listen to the interviews, the podcasts, the webinars.

Read the comments under every popular post.

Reading the comments is equally important because in these comments you’ll find:

Reasons why people are there and …

What it is they want to know and think about your topic.

What if there aren’t (m)any comments?

Find the content with the most social media sharing activity. Follow a few of those sharers. Ask them what they like about the post they’ve shared or Retweeted, or “liked”.

If you find individuals who share or Retweet a lot of similar posts from different blogs, they are individuals you should be following too. Watch what they tweet. They could become your potential readers.

Finding Your Potential Readers May Take A While

Yes, sometimes finding where your potential readers are hanging out is more difficult in certain fields than others.

There are more obvious places to find potential readers hanging out in Fitness, or Blogging than say Lacemaking or Real Estate Investing.

You may have to search for them through “gateway” topics; those topics that relate to your own topic.

For example, Lacemakers might hang out on Sewing blogs, or maybe Arts and Crafts blogs.

For some topics, like this one, or your own topic, social media might be a good place to start. Facebook and Pinterest might give you places to look for your potential readers.

It’s all a matter of knowing WHO you’re aiming your products or services at.

This not only guides you along knowing where to look for potential readers, it also guides you along writing content that attracts them into reading your blog when they come.

Where do you think your readers are hanging out? What blogs are they reading now? How will you bring them back to your blog? Let me know by leaving a comment below this post.

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