5 People to Consider for Your Blog Audience

This is a guest post by Joseph LaLonde. He is a youth leader at Oak Crest Church of God and a leadership blogger. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.

When I began writing my blog, I wanted to reach everyone. Young, old, and anyone in-between. Choosing everyone as my audience seemed like a wise choice. It would give me the widest reach.

5 People to Consider for Your Blog Audience

Photo Courtesy of ©shutterstock.com/d13

But, man oh man, was I ever wrong. I should have considered narrowing my audience and writing for one specific person.

You might think writing to reach everyone is like casting a wide net while fishing. It’s much easier to catch something in a big net than a small net. While that’s true for fishing. It’s not true for blogging.

When I was writing for everyone, I didn’t have a specific person in mind. It was broad and general. Because of this, I didn’t really resonate with any specific person, and the analytics showed this. There was no consistency to the writing. There was no focus. There was no rabid tribe.

As I watched my blog flounder, I knew something wasn’t right. Something had to change. This is when I decided I needed to concentrate on one key person I would create content for. They would be my avatar.

By choosing one specific person to write for, I could direct my message to an individual. I could make them feel like I knew them and they knew me. Having a specified audience in mind allowed me to connect with the reader better.

Who Should You Consider for Your Audience?

Choosing your audience avatar can be the toughest thing you do as a blogger, even more so than the daily grind of writing. That’s why I want to suggest five people you should consider for your audience.

Your past self: You can write for your past self. Why would you want to do this? Because you know this person intimately. You understand their desires, struggles, and feelings.

In writing to your past self, you can touch the deepest, innermost desires. Your audience will resonate to the message you’re sharing. And you know how you got from there to where you are now.

Your present self: Think about who you are right now. What do you enjoy? Why do you enjoy it? Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?

Use your present situations to write to your audience and let them know that you’re going through the same struggles they’re currently facing. They’ll love you for it.

Your future self: Now we’re getting into a tougher audience avatar to write for. This would be your future self.

When you write for your future self, you may be giving advice on what you want to be doing at a future point in your life. You may also be sharing some of your thoughts and reminding yourself what you don’t want to become.

Someone you personally know: This one can be quite fun. You can choose someone you know to use as your avatar.

You can answer their problems in your blog and share insights into what may help them. Use life experiences but be sure you don’t reveal personal information if you’re using someone you know. Or that someone may be an inspiration to you and you’re writing to share what they’ve inspired you to do.

Someone that interests you: We all have an untold number of mentors. Whether it’s authors like Dan Miller, Donald Miller, or Bob Goff. Or bloggers like Michael Hyatt, Chris Brogan, or Danny Iny.

Use one of those guys as your target audience. Read what they’re writing, listen to the podcasts they’re producing, and the webinars they’re conducting. Listen for their hurts and pains. And begin writing for them. Help solve their problems in your blog posts. Let them become your target audience.

The challenge is finding someone to write for. But with this list you’ll be off to a great start. Just find someone you can write for and keep on writing.

Question: Who’s your ideal audience? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://www.deblange.com/ deb lange

    My ideal audience is women who are likely around 30 and over who have had relationship issues and want to get it “right” next time, women who are married and are looking over the fence as they are saying “something is missing”, women who are married and who are miserably unhappy as they throught they and to give themselves up for love, are tolerating physical, emotional or financial abuse and do not have the strength to leave. I write about relationships with yourself, with others in your personal life and at work. My passion is helping people connect to themselves so they claim who they are in life and can create a loving relationships with themselves, others and our planet including animals and nature.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Deb, that audience is ripe for the picking right now. Women in that age range are looking for the answers to relationship issues. Have you seen a great response from them?

      • http://www.deblange.com/ deb lange

        I am getting more focussed and targeted Joe Lalonde – I think my website is very broad on relationships and the skills that I teach/coach that I call Intuitive Body Wisdom(tm) – I am now focussing in so next year I am creating that I will be providing a high quality service to many people who fit my ideal client group. Also Coaches who are coaching this target group as well as i am older and wiser with lots of life experience and Executive Coaching experience in the Corporate world. Thanks for your post.

    • Michelle Wright

      Wow. I can definitely relate (I’m in your target audience.) Will check out your blog soon.

      • http://www.deblange.com/ deb lange

        great Michelle Wright – love you to come on over, share your challenges and I will share what I have learnt and let’s bloom together!

  • kentsanders

    Joseph, this is an excellent post! So glad I was introduced to you recently.

    What you’re talking about here — deciding on your audience — has been the single biggest struggle with my blog and podcast over the last year. What seems so hard about it is not even narrowing down your audience, but the fact that you’re leaving others out (at least in your mind, as you develop content).

    What’s interesting, though, is that I consume a lot of content (books, blogs, podcasts) that wasn’t develop with me in mind, yet I still benefit from it. It seems like if something is great quality, it will reach beyond its target audience.

    I have determined that my “avatar” is a guy in his mid-30′s who has a family and responsibilities. He works in some type of creative field, and feels the pressure of life squeezing out his creative energy. He feels a bit lost and needs practical solutions to problems he faces in becoming the person he would like to be. But he also needs inspiration. He finds joy in movies, art, music, and great books.

    In other words, my avatar is myself about 5 years ago. I’m really writing to my past self and am trying to give him ideas and inspiration to avoid some of the pains I have experienced, and help him learn from my experiences since I’m a little further down the road.

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

      Hi Kent – where do I find your blog/podcast?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Kent, we all struggle with wanting to reach and please everyone. Yet when we do that, our content become bland and our readership doesn’t become raging fans. But you’ve caught onto a great truth, people will still connect with our content even if we don’t write specifically for them.

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    This is a nice idea, Joe. Thanks.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      My pleasure Lawrence. Do you have a target audience?

      • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

        I’m writing for pastors, especially in solo or smaller staff settings. “Present self” is my target reader. You?

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          I’d have to say my former self. My target audience is young leaders, in between 16 and 25ish who are just starting out in leadership.

  • Lewis Faulkner

    I was reading this waiting for my car to get repaired. What a cool concept- writing for your ‘selves.’ How very clarifying. This post is an excellent example of why I hang out here and cherish blog posts here. Whatever your avatar looks like, I’m interested in reading about it. Great post!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Lewis. For me, my avatar is a young male leader, 16-24 years old, who’s just getting started in leadership.

      If you take a look at my blog, you’ll see me using images that will capture their interest (outdoor pictures, action figures, etc).

  • http://changeyouremotions.com/ Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg

    Joe…I loved this…and it helped me identify who I was really writing too, which is my past audience. Realizing that, I now can “see” them, relate to them more easily, and talk to their need on a deeper level. Thanks!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Linda! I hope it’ll help you get to the heart of your readership. If you follow through, I think it’ll be a great help to you.

  • http://www.createdbeautiful.com/ Mary Caldwell

    Do you suggest we pick one avatar and let that be our only audience, or can we use more than one of the avatars listed above?
    I think I would like to write to my past self, my present self, and my future self. Is that to broad of a group?

    • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zech Newman

      Mary just my two cents but yes it is to broad. The problem is that we need to be solving the problem of our audience. That is why people will read your writing. Your different self has different problems and so you will be appealing to no one.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Hey Mary, great question. I think we should, for the most part, focus on one avatar. This allows us to create a voice that will resonate with the readers.

      Now, that’s not to say you can’t write for other avatars once in awhile. But let your primary avatar be the person you focus on for the majority.

      • http://www.createdbeautiful.com/ Mary Caldwell

        After I have thought over this today, I would write to my present self. Thank you for your advice.

  • http://zechariahnewman.com/ Zech Newman

    Great post Joe! My ideal audience is a Christian family man/woman that is looking for more then a J-O-B. Someone that is looking for meaning at work and ready to chase the dreams of there heart. Restoring significance to life is what I do!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Zech, that’s a fantastic audience to shoot for. There’s plenty of people who want to live a more meaningful life than their job is providing.

  • http://www.aterriblehusband.com/about/ ATerribleHusband

    My ideal audience is men who are ready to improve their marriages by taking responsibility of their part of the equation, stopping the finger pointing, and making the first move to improving their relationship. It appears as if message resonates with both genders, but I write much better (and more) when I’m talking to the guys. And it turns out I’m mostly talking to myself. I seem to write best when I talk to my past self, as it keeps me focused on what I did wrong and helps me avoid doing all that stuff again.

    Awesome post.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Sounds like you’ve really narrowed your audience down. I see success in your future!

      • http://www.aterriblehusband.com/about/ ATerribleHusband

        Thanks, Joe!

  • Benny R Ferguson Jr

    Great post this morning Michael. Thanks!!!!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Benny. Do you blog? If so, have you nailed down the target audience?

  • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

    Good Morning Joseph,
    I write for the person who has given up on their dreams, I share my personal struggles and how I try and find meaning every day. I blog for the little girl inside of me who was abused and wants to help others find joy.
    Thank you for your suggestions.
    All the best,
    Pamela

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Pamela. When you begin writing about those issues, it’s amazing how many people experience the same struggles.

  • LadyJevonnahEllison

    This was a great article and so true. It’s kind of like the saying, “If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one.” I write for primarily for women in leadership or who want to be in leadership and Pastor’s and Ministers Wives. I blog on topics of faith, hope and productivity.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Sounds like you’ve got a great audience. I’ve always heard there’s a struggle for pastor’s wives and if you’re fulfilling that need, you’ll grow a great following.

      • LadyJevonnahEllison

        Thank you so much! That’s encouraging.

      • http://Operationhelp.org Bishop Patrick Mmuokebe

        Hi Joe, I just read your post, it was so encouraging and very educative. As a Bishop I’ve written books addressing issues of faith for many yrs but now I’m trying to narrow my books and teaching to reach younger generation of 25-35 yrs old, men and women struggling with their faith in our modern society. Challenging and empowering them to live true Christlike life of faith in the midst of this immoral society.

  • Deb Potts

    What a great perspective, thank you Michael!

    My audience is my past self, of course. I knew that as soon as I read those words. I have been on a journey of healing and I want to help others find that healing.

    So my audience is adult women who have incurred wounds of the heart, soul, mind, body and relationships. Most of these wounds have originated in childhood. Like a splinter that was never removed, the wounds have festered and spread, becoming much greater than the original wound.

    Their healing, as mine, comes directly from Jesus: love God, love self, love others.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      It’s great you’re able to help those like your former self who are struggling with the wounds they’ve faced in the past. Having been there, you know how and what they’re feeling so you can write right to them.

      • Deb Potts

        Yes, it’s really rewarding. God works all things for good.

  • Robb in Winnipeg

    Great thoughts. I’ve tripped into some of these, but not with regular intensity. Time to reflect!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Robb, hope you begin to dig in and create that ideal avatar. It’ll only benefit you!

  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

    Joe – great to see your post here, I can really see that you have applied your own advice to your site.
    My ideal audience are those looking for practical, bite sized application of productivity, communication, and personal lessons. I tie these lessons into some of my other interests, including movies, music, videogames, and everyday life.
    I hope to share tips for more successful self-mastery and positive relationships with others that may not take the time to dig deep into these types of books initially, but are looking for a way to get started – and have fun along the way.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I’m excited to be here Jon. Hearing that Michael had accepted the guest post blew my mind!

      It’s great that you’re tying in your other passions into what you’re writing. You’ll definitely to connect to those who are looking to improve their lives while enjoying entertainment.

      • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

        As someone who is working with a
        younger generation of leaders, I know you understand the importance of relevance
        - I hope to help bridge the gap and connect leadership and personal performance
        concepts with segments that I have not seen closely connected.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Yup, the younger generation is all about relevance. If you’re not connecting with them, they’re gone.

  • Chris

    Perfect timing. I am in the process of developing a “solutions” blog “for the best years to come” (a great life beyond 50) and as I started to develop the pages, I felt overwhelmed addressing the audience. Reading your info this morning made me realize that I was indeed still casting too wide a net and needed to focus on one person. Now, as I look to focus on “me” as the audience, I am wondering how to separate my past, present and future “me” since my past actions of “me” is the result of my present “me” and specific actions today would have great potential effects on my future “me”. I want to use my past actions of “me” as examples to what results it brought to “me” today and with specific changes today, I can enjoy an even better “me” in the future. Is that still too much of “me” = audience?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I don’t think it is Chris. Think of the old saying, you’re one in a million. Well, there’s 7 billion people on this earth so writing to the one in a million has a huge audience.

  • http://thegreenleafblog.blogspot.com/ David Roiel

    My ideal audience: the floundering Christian – they’re full of promise yet live in no man’s land. They know in their mind how much God loves them but they look at their lives and see only mediocrity, failure and regret. My ideal audience are those like the ancient Israelites… delivered from slavery, promised the land of milk and honey but living in the desert. If that’s you, my blog is written for you. There’s plenty to read, but nothing to buy… but true treasure!

    Michael Hyatt, I like this post. Thank you! – your blog has been such a huge help and I’m just loving this whole blogging experience in large part because of the ‘mentorship’ you’ve provided.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, David. I appreciate your kind words.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I like the audience David. There are a lot of people who don’t know how to live a better life. Keep at it!

  • http://www.RegenerationMinistries.org/ Josh Glaser

    This is great, Joe! My target audience is men and women in the church who experience a disconnect between what they know in their heads about living for God and how they actually live their lives, particularly for those who struggle with unhealthy relational or sexual habits.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Fantastic audience Josh. Sadly, the church tends to try to hide and cover up these types of struggles rather than challenging them head on.

  • Stephanie Bullard Lancaster

    Thought-provoking article! I think I’ve been writing with two groups of readers in mind – those who are grieving a loss and those who come across others who are grieving a loss. After reading this, I think I will put some effort into choosing just one of those two groups. (My blog is http://justmycurrentperspective.blogspot.com)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Stephanie. I like your first audience that you’re writing for. Especially since my wife and I recently had to put down one of our beloved dogs and it’s been a struggle. I’ll be swinging by your site later today.

  • http://www.stephenpbrown.com/ Stephen P Brown

    Such a difficult topic! The people it seems I can help most are those not actively engaged in live [classical] music, so as hinted at in today’s post – http://www.stephenpbrown.com/cares-music/ – why would they care about what I do in the first place?! But, perhaps narrowing down to “parents (with teenagers) who may have played an instrument or sung in middle or high school” will help encourage them to get back into the concert hall, re-learn how to listen and pay attention for more than 3 minutes, and bring others with them for the journey…?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Stephen, great post about the struggles over music and who listens to it today. I like the audience you’ve shared. I could see it narrowed down to Parents with teenagers who remember the joy they felt playing and creating music.

      • http://www.stephenpbrown.com/ Stephen P Brown

        Exactly! Playing to those strong and favorable memories may get people excited again, and want to share the concert experience with others. Thanks for the encouraging response to my post!

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Exactly. I know of other music teachers who have done the same thing and they’ve been fairly successful in attracting new clients.

  • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

    Joe, excellent post. My ideal audience is men and women ages 35 to 65 who desire to realize and live their unique God-designed vision. I am writing and creating resources to encourage, equip and empower them through the process.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Bernard. With a wide range of ages, have you found it difficult to to narrow or is it working for you?

      • http://www.leadtoimpact.com/ Bernard Haynes

        Joe, I know it is a wide range, but it is working for the process of realizing your vision.

  • http://www.mondayisgood.com/ Tom Dixon

    Great post, Joe – and glad to see you on Michael’s blog. This is something I’m working on as I double down on my blogging efforts for 2014. I also started with too broad of a focus. Lately, the person I have in mind when I write is a supply chain or logistics professional who is in some form of career distress (unemployed, mis-employed, underemployed) and dreads Monday mornings. They need practical career help to make a change TODAY – not to be told to wear a suit to an interview or brush their teeth, but to find work that is meaningful to them.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Tom, that’s a pretty narrow audience. I can see that speaking to the heart of the issues they’ll face.

  • Kathleen Thompson

    I have thought about this before, but never in terms of my past, present, or future self. Such an intriguing concept. I shall explore it further.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Good luck as you explore the possibility of writing to one of your selves. Who do you think you’d write to?

      • Kathleen Thompson

        I am mulling that over. Originally thought past self, because I like to help people who are stuck or have lost their way. However, I also love to give people hope of a compelling brighter future, which would aim it toward future self.

        • Kathleen Thompson

          As I looked at what I have already written and thought more about it, I am writing to my past self, or as someone else has put it, my problem self. I want to help people get to my future self. Thanks, Joe, for this post. And thanks to you, Michael, for inviting Joe to guest post.

          • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

            My pleasure Kathleen. I’m glad it’s gotten you to think and refine who you’re going to write to.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Gregory, I hope the post will help you as you narrow down the audience. If you need any help, feel free to contact me at joe@jmlalonde.com and I’d love to help walk you through the process.

    • http://www.gregorywoodard.com/ Gregory Woodard

      Thanks Joe. I just emailed you.

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Great. Look for a reply in the coming days.

    • Brandon

      Joe, I thought Michael wrote this and just realized it was you. First time reading his blog, lol! I am so pumped up now! Thank you for this post. It os ABSOLUTELY what I needed to read. What you said as well as others on here have touched my exact feelings about blogging and reaching people. I would love to be able to communicate with you about this and Christian leadership sometime, if that’s possible. Thanks again!
      Brandon

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        Awesome Brandon. I’d be more than willing to chat with you if you’d like. Hit me up at joe@jmlalonde.com. It may be a couple of days before I respond as I’ve been under the weather but I’ll get in touch.

  • Dionne Siegrist

    I like this idea of looking for your target audience from all angles and how they would relate to me or someone I know/admire … you make it so much easier to visualize who I should be targeting. Thanks.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      My pleasure Dionne!

  • http://www.cherigregory.com/ Cheri Gregory

    Joseph —

    Thank you for putting this concept into such a succinct, easy-to-remember framework! I started blogging four years ago with no understanding of tribe or niche. This year, I’ve become increasingly aware of who my blog audience is NOT, which is helping me refine my idea of who it is. I am fortunate to have two “ideal readers” who are also good friends. When they both respond to the same post, I know I’ve scored a bullseye.

    You’ve helped me understand an hornets’ nest I stirred up recently. Two weeks ago, I wrote a post for a large marriage blog and was blown away by the divergent responses. Some women agreed with me 100% while others said I’d given “horrible advice” that was “pure garbage”; some even thought I was telling wives to tolerate abuse. Thinking through your five avatars, I see that while I was writing to my past self, those who took offense at my post filtered my message through their own vastly different past selves.

    While I did learn some valuable lessons about being more careful with word choices, I’m realizing that there will always be many in a general audience who don’t “get it.” Not because I’ve said something wrong but because people have such a panoply of different perspectives.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Cheri, that’s interesting you experienced this recently with a guest post you did. You won’t resonate with everyone but if you have that target audience, it really won’t matter as you’re hitting it

  • Adam Lee

    Great post, Joe. I still struggle to post, period. I blog specifically about fitness, but you’re post has made me realize even that is too general. Fitness could mean so many things to so many people. Am I speaking to those that want to run farther faster, hit a ball farther, lose 20 pounds of fat, gain 20 pounds of muscle, etc? A svelte runner may not care about tips on losing weight, nor will a bodybuilder be interested in decreasing their 5K time. I need to identify that specific client/person I would most enjoy helping (even if it’s me), yeah?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Adam, sounds like you get what I was writing about. Fitness is different to everyone and you need to narrow down the niche a bit. Who do you think you should be writing to?

  • Betsy Stretar

    Oh my goodness…this was sooooo helpful!!! I’ve been wrestling with this issue for a while now. Thank you so much!!! So practical. I can’t wait to write my next blog with this in view. :) You gave me a wonderful Christmas gift! Thank you again. Bs

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Woo hoo Betsy. I’m glad I was able to give you some practical advice that you can apply as early as your next blog post. Who’s going to be your target audience?

  • http://www.mattham.com/ Matt Ham

    Joe! Great post brother and very timely for me. When I started my blog, I was just writing. But, as my readership has grown and my message has taken shape, it has caused me to consider these things. I’ve started trying to understand my audience, my talents and where the two intersect.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed engaging with you in the process and hope to continue to do so. I appreciate your insight, wisdom and willingness to share!

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m writing to define what it means to be rich and how to live richly. As I recgonize and realize things, I write them down to help anyone out there who would ask, is there something more? Is there a different way? Of course, I recognize this is a process and a journey I won’t complete, so I’m saddling up for the experience!

    Thank you brother and thank you Michael for recognizing good talent when you see it!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Matt. So many people have the wrong idea of what being rich really means. Go out and help them realize it!

  • Dan Erickson

    Great post, Joe. I think I probably write a combination of my past, present, and future self.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Dan. Have you found the combination to work well?

      • Dan Erickson

        It works for good, honest writing. Whether it will draw traffic is less important to me, but remains to be seen.

  • http://www.fivefoldfatherhood.com/ Ricardo Butler

    I write to a combination of a past, present, and future version of myself.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s great Ricardo.

      • http://www.fivefoldfatherhood.com/ Ricardo Butler

        :-)

  • http://leadershipheartcoaching.com/ Bill Benoist /Leadership Heart

    Although I have visualized my intended target (one person) all the way down to how many children he has, income, interests, fears, passions, etc…, I never realized how much he was like me until I read your post and started considering my “past self.” I’ve got a blog coming up this weekend (still formatting the concept in my mind) and I think I will try writing it to my past self and see what happens :-)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Haha, I think most of us write to some form of ourselves in the end. If you’re writing to your past self, at least you know who it is and what they’ve been through. Definitely helps in capturing their attention.

  • Carol Weeks

    This was a great post and very helpful. It put into words what I’ve been trying to do the last few months. My audience has been extremely broad (Christian women), but lately I’ve realized that who I’m really writing to is a Christian woman who is retired and wanting to do the Lord’s work for this next phase of her life. She has a good sense of humor and loves to read funny, slightly whack-o stuff about the day-to-day trials of life in general. So I write two blogs a week, one serious and one funny. I’m trying to earn the title of Christian Humorist. I have been very reluctant to admit that out loud, because generally speaking, if someone has to tell me they’re funny, they probably aren’t. But through all of this, I feel the Holy Spirit nudging me along, which is very comforting and scary all at the same time.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Carol, that’s an interesting audience but one that I can see growing online as more and more retired people are hitting the internet.

  • Gary Thomas

    You know there’s no such thing as coincidence? I was watching an Elizabeth Gilbert talk today as I’m writing my first book, my autobiography, and out of an hour long talk this is the one thing I picked up on. She talks about writing Eat Pray Love as a letter to one of her friends, Darcy, and this really surprised me as I’d never heard this before. Darcy was her ‘audience’ for the book.
    And then this blog about the exact same subject.
    This is great advice, I need to think about who I’m writing my autobiography to.
    Thank you :)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Crazy Gary! I believe reinforcements like this are placed into our lives so we have a better chance of actually catching what we need to learn. Who do you think you’ll write your book for?

  • http://personalsuccesstoday.com/ John Richardson

    Great to see you guest posting here, Joe. I tend to write for my problem self. If I’ve had an issue and found a solution, I like to share it with my audience. I tend to write it as I experienced it. I try to stay away from a preachy voice and find one of consolation. While my existing audience is still too wide, I’ve certainly found particular issues that resonate better than others. I hope to focus better in 2014.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is a helpful distinction, John. I tend to write to my problem self, too. I think, “What would a coach say to me?” Thanks.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s a great audience as well John. When we’ve been through some trouble and found the answer, it’s a perfect opportunity to write about.

  • Daniel R. Murphy

    Great article Michael. I have struggled with this audience question for a long time. When I look at who is actually reading my blog and my book it is now the audience I thought I was writing for. Now the question is, do I change my message to aim at a particular audience, or do I change my vision of who my audience is to reflect who is actually reading my material?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Daniel, that’s a great question. I’d say go for the audience you have in mind and want to write for.

      • Daniel R. Murphy

        Joe, thanks for the suggestion – it is pretty much what I am thinking. I have a lot of work to do in 2014. First step is to clearly define that target audience I want to write for. … wishing you well. Dan

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Good luck as you take those steps to define your target audience. I think once you do, your level of success will really begin to take off!

          • Daniel R. Murphy

            Joe, thanks for the good luck. I think you are right. It is however a formidable task. It has been banging around in my mind for months now and I have not made much progress – but maybe a little, just a little. Again, thank you, your comments are helpful. — Dan

  • Debra

    The blog article is impressive. It guides me how to start a blog. Thank you, Joseph Lalonde, for your creative ideas on blog writing.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      My pleasure Debra. What do you think your key audience will be?

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Great to see you here, Joe! Great post.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Tammy. It’s an honor to be on Michael’s site!

  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    Great thoughts Joe, this is very meaningful and relevant for me. When I first started writing I followed the good advice of Michael H. and a few others – just write! That was super appropriate at the time as I needed to learn how to write. After a while I had to narrow it down, all of my interests were making my blog a very random place, so I axed cooking and music from my writing home and honed in my book topics: Peace, Love and Unity; My Journey; and Inspiration. This has stuck. I still am passionate about those other topics that I used to write about, but you won’t find blog posts written about them (though you will find quite a bit of food on my Pinterest page).

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Chris, just write is great advice, at least at the beginning. Eventually, as you found out, you’ve got to narrow down to specific topics. Keep writing the good content Chris.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Great thoughts, Joe. Much of what I write is for my children and grandchildren. I want to leave a record of my stretch marks for them to read years in the future.

    Obviously, I hope my writing will inspire others today, but my main purpose in blogging is to keep of record of how I’m being stretched – how I’m growing – and how life is impacting my life.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Jon, that’s awesome. While you may be writing for your children, I’ve found what you write to be inspiring so keep at it!

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

        Thanks, Joe!

  • Rebecca Jo Cannon

    Thanks Joe & Michael Hyatt for having you as a guest. I am a new blogger. I started the blog with creative photos & food. I paused on it, when I realized just what you have brought to my attention. It has been going around in my heart & mind. It keeps coming to me; my present self. I am a veteran, was a single parent 20 years. I have Hepatitis C that has caused Liver Cirrhosis. The treatment did not work. I want to share with others how God is still here for me and how he gives me a sense of humor in the middle of IV’s, a jillion blood tests, days of complete exhaustion, nausea & “bad hair” days”. He still gives me vision, hope and He has shown me many things I never noticed before. As I type this so many things come to mind. How to forgive family members when they stay away because they don’t understand. Receiving disability at 55 that isn’t enough to live on. I would like the blog to be helpful, understanding, real, with some laughter & God’s love through it all.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I’m sorry to hear about all of the struggles you’ve had to face Rebecca. If you’ve made it through all of that, I can see how you could write to an audience who has suffered and struggled with real issues in life. Go on and encourage others (-:

      • Rebecca Jo Cannon

        YES! Encourage others with God’s love & laughter. I put a Christmas tree up 1st time in 2 yrs. Two nights ago it fell over & looked like a war zone hit it! So I have pictures of the 1st decorated tree to the complete demolished tree & tonight the same tree re-decorated with the same ornaments & it looks completely different. That is what God does with us at times. He redecorates us. We come out beautiful. Thanks for your encouragement. Merry Christmas!

  • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

    I’m writing for people who are struggling to break free from bad habits and negative emotions and grow closer to God. Often I write for my past self, but I grow more when I write for my current self because I get so many ideas from commenters, plus the process of writing helps me think through things which often produces growth.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s a great audience Barb. Do you have an age range or anything like that that you’re hoping to connect with?

      • http://www.barbraveling.com/ Barb Raveling

        I guess I haven’t really thought of that – but it seems like my usual age range of readers is 30 to 60 or so. Although I know I have some college and high school kids who also follow my blog. I try to include examples that would relate to all ages.

  • rcsinclair952

    Excellent post, Joe. Actually it helps you be a better writer if you pick one person. In tone, it changes the blog from “hear ye, hear ye” into a conversation (even if it is in your head.)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That it does Bob. People like to know you have them in mind when you’re writing and publishing. They find it comforting someone else knows how they’re feeling.

  • http://leadbychoice.wordpress.com/ Kimunya Mugo

    Great post Joe! Thank you for adding to the knowledge in me. This is an area that I struggle with with every blog I write. I find that my best writing is when I write to myself first. Therein lies the most emotive messages and ideas. When I wrote my book, it was one my most exhilarating and excruciating experiences at the same time. This is because I had to unearth both magical moments from my past as well as painful ones that hindered my confidence in the present.

    I hope that I will have the courage to remember your pointers here, and improve my writing. Writing from the heart…

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      You’ll be able to Kimunya. Just keep them in mind as you write.

  • http://cuerpoaldente.com/ Dennis L.

    Hey Joe (and Mike) first time commenting on the blog, yet I have been listening for the podcast for a month already.

    I’m in the nutrition/fitness market in spanish and for over 3 years my focused has been talking about how to eat healthy and lose weight for pretty much anybody, the thing is, eventhough I got a certification in nutrition (because I love the topic), I have never been overweight, so is difficult to relate eventhough I’ve helped many people to do it.

    On the other hand, over the last year I have increased the topics related to motivation, confort zone and so on, and I REALLY REALLY like this topic and would like to transition towards it as I really see it as my true call. Now… I’m afraid of things like, if might lose a lot of people, if this topic may not be that ‘monetizable’ niche or even on how to do the transition itself.

    Any suggestions? thanks!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I can understand the fear in transitioning Dennis. The fear of losing the audience you’ve gained is scary!

      While that’s the case, I wouldn’t be too worried about losing people as you transition. The arena of motivation is a large one and many people are looking for it.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    My audience is definitely my current. I have noticed that my past self sure has a lot to say to my current self though. Sort of tied to this is the idea of focusing my topics. They seem to be varied but all connected with self improvement. Any advice on this? Trying to create some categories to help but struggling with narrowing them. My current self has a lot of needy area, so this is creating the dilema.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Kari, if you find yourself writing on various topics, you could always set aside certain days for certain kinds of topics.

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        More of an issue than writing about various topics is organizing them on my blog as far as the tags & making them easier to find for readers.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    When I started out I wrote for everybody, I wanted to reach the whole world. In the end I didn’t reach too many people and I didn’t reach who I wanted to help the most. By narrowing in and focusing on who I wanted to help the most, my target audience, the results have been incredible! Great post Joe, this is a very important topic :)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Kimanzi. I’m glad you were able to narrow down your audience and rock it out.

  • http://chaos-control.mobi/ Dmitriy Tarasov

    Appreciate the recommendations. But it feels like they are only suitable for Lifestyle Design oriented blogs. I wonder what guys from TechCrunch, The Next Web and GigaOM would say about “writing for future self”.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Good question Dmitriy. They could take the approach of writing for their future self by writing for an audience that is older than they are. I’m sure most of the guys are pretty young who write for those companies. Yet, they’ll be old one day and may be hesitant to use certain technologies. They could write for that audience.

  • http://www.michaelfokken.com/ MICHAEL FōKKEN

    This is an awesome idea! I have been writing things on my blog that I’m learning in business, as I learn it. So maybe I’ve been writing to my present self. I’m going to take a closer look into this idea!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Michael! I hope you’re able to narrow your focus and find a specific audience member to write to.

  • http://ourpeacefulfamily.wordpress.com/ Marcus

    Awesome post Joe, my wife and l recently started blogging about our marriage and peaceful family with a focus on sharing what is working for us with married couples. We talk about various issues on marriage, parenting, amd family. Can “married couples” be our ideal target audience? Thanks

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Hey Marcus. I think married couples can be your ideal audience but you should narrow it down more than that. Married couples can range from the newlywed to 50+ years. There’s a lot of differences in those couples. I’d create an ideal couple and write for them.

      • http://ourpeacefulfamily.com/ Marcus

        Joe,

        Thanks for the response and feedback. We have narrowed our niche down to young couples and newley weds. If you have a minute, can you please check our blog, http://www.ourpeacefulfamily.com and tell us what you think about our content and target audience?
        Thank you.

  • realsource

    That by far was one of the best posts I have read– thank you Michael and thank you Joseph — -

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Wow, that means a lot! Thanks for enjoying the post and I hope you’re able to implement the ideas presented.

  • Sanjar Chakamian

    Joe, thanks for this blog. I have been blogging for about nine months since I retired at age 55. I wanted to give back to the people and the society that had supported me during my career. So I was writing about many subjects and interests to share what I had learned. This month I took a few weeks off of my blog to refocus it as of the first of the year. Since I want to share my experience and ideas, I don’t know which audience to pick. Any suggestions?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Congrats on starting a blog Sanjar. That’s a great first step. Who do you feel could really benefit from your experience? Think of them and write to them.

  • Katie

    Great post! I never thought of creating an “avatar” or writing for the people you suggested. My mind is definitely mulling over the perspective you shared. Thanks!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Katie. I hope you’re able to create and focus on a target audience. I think you’ll begin to see a shift in your writing and a rise in your platform.

  • Ash

    As an aspiring blogger, I am taking all the help I can and so far this is the best advice ever. Writing to yourself, be it now or in another time period, is a really good option. Writing to someone else is another good idea. But I think that we should not always be targeting what we write to the same person. Sure, we should have a consistency in what we write. We cannot write an article for a doctor one day, and the other day we write for a caretaker. However, we should write to the person who will feel more concerned about what we want to say.
    Therefore, for me one time it might be to myself and the other day to someone else. And that someone else may change their identity whenever they feel like it so that my articles becomes credible. Since I’ll not be writing to the same person every time, my articles will not be biased and become obsolete.
    One advice from me would be that we should think that this person will grow with time. Even though your target audience is of a specific age, our methods of reaching it should change with time. Especially now that we have entered into a new age and ways of doing things are changing very fast.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Ash, the problem I see with the method you’re proposing is that you’re not connecting with any one specific audience member. You’re jumping from the doctor to the caregiver to the patient. To the reader, it may seem you’re being scatterbrained.

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com/ Adam Rico

    Great post Joe. With the seemingly limitless number of blogs available today, the more narrow your focus the better. I’ve found that to be true even for specific posts. When the post is written on a specific topic for a specific kind of person I’ve found it generates much more traffic and activity. Thanks for your thoughts Joe.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Adam. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • Kingsley

    Hey Joseph, thanks for this article. I think my focus now on my blogsite at http://chooseyourbestlifenow.com is on my past and present self. When I first started blogging it was mostly for anyone who wanted to live their best life now. As time progressed and with gaining more knowledge, I am shifting to the theme of men in midlife who aspire to become entrepreneurs. That is where I was and am (past and present). Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Kingsley. I love the focus you’re putting on men wanting to become entrepreneurs. Keep at it!

  • Michelle Wright

    Greg, I have a similar problem. I want to target Christians who want to apply their faith in the workplace and evaluate business advice, personal development tips and decisions through that lens, but I need to narrow it down more. I think my past self or current self is the way to go. Not sure if I can do both or not, but my intuition says I need to pick ONE.

    • http://www.gregorywoodard.com/ Gregory Woodard

      Michelle, I am thinking my present self & parts of my past self are good lenses for me to use. I agree that my focus of topics is too wide. I have a lot of interests. Narrowing is the hard work that I need to do.

  • Michelle Wright

    My issue is I think I can help my past self the most with my podcast and blog, but from a business standpoint, my current self has more money to spend.

    Focus: applying Christian faith in business and workplace, personal development, highlighting local business owners and professionals and sharing their success tips and advice.

    Would it be a mistake to have a one as my primary and the other as a secondary avatar? Long term, my past self would eventually improve and be able to buy more, but short term, my current self can make purchases right away. Also I tend to relate more to guys than girls, so I’m not sure if I should aim for both or just women since I am a woman. Thoughts welcome.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Michelle, I don’t think that would be a mistake but it could become difficult to handle. It could also send a mixed message to those you’re writing for.

      And I don’t think it would be a problem to write for men with you being a woman. There are plenty of people, Joel Bogess comes to mind, who write for the opposite gender.

  • Matthew G. Bailey

    Great advice. I too have failed at this during the first years of building http://www.LiveLimitless.net but now with an all-new focus towards changing lives and designing mastermind groups, I’m going to use this to get focused on the message in each article.

    Thank you!

  • http://smartliving365.com/ Kathy @ SMART LIving 365.com

    I just happened to find your website and I LOVE some of the ideas that you offer us for finding a “avatar” for our target audience…and then suggesting we write to that. I agree that so many of us bloggers stumble around in the beginning trying to find both our voice AND our audience and your suggestions are spot on. Thank you.

  • http://themeaningmovement.com/ dan cumberland

    This is really helpful. I hadn’t put words to who my audience is and isn’t before, but now I can picture who it is each time I write. As I’ve written since reading this, I’ve also found it to be helpful when I don’t know what to write to picture different people and ask what they may want/need to hear.

    Thanks for writing, Joseph!

  • Rose

    thanks this was very helpful in confirming that I have some idea of what I’m doing! Just started blogging and my thoughts are for my past/present self, for stay-at-home moms of little ones 25-35 yrs old. Now off to find out what else I should be doing as a blogger. Not trying to get a boat load of folks, just trying to get a good target audience where I can really motivate and encourage them in the Lord.

  • http://www.sheepdressedlikewolves.com/ Andy Mort

    I like the idea of writing for the past self because within that you can use stories. Write to inform your past self of what is going to happen and how they can get through it. The ‘Problem-Moment-Solution’ storytelling framework as I once heard Cliff Ravenscraft talk about. You faced a problem. Then you had a moment of realisation/clarity. Then you worked through and implemented some kind of solution.

    Your past self is in all probability someone else’s present-self (many peoples’ present self in fact). So by writing out of experience to a version of yourself that is yet to have that experience or is going through that experience at present, you are also writing to the very real experiences of many other people without realising…

    Hope that makes sense!

  • Felix Brown

    It is very encouraging to a new blogger like me. Thank you for taking the time in posting these tips.

  • Luke Lenichek

    HI, I’m new to writing a blog this was great info. Does anyone recommend other post that might help me out?

  • Eric

    Wow, thanks for the words of wisdom! I feel this way sometimes like I am trying to write for a wide audience. I sometimes think I need to narrow my audience when writing. Thanks for the insight and I will try this the next time I write a blog!