by Debra Toor
STEP 1 Research your niche readers and create their profiles.
4. What do your readers care about?
5. What motivates them?
6. What information, tools and resources do they need, but can't find?
7. Do they need to do more with less time?
8. Where do readers go to network, collaborate, find info, and get assistance?
Examples of online sites:
- professional association blogs
- trade e-zines
- Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Yahoo groups, Google+
- Twitter Chats, etc.
Examples of offline sites:
- trade shows
- professional trade print magazines
STEP 2 Research your niche competitors and create their profiles.
1. How do your competitors fill readers' needs?
2. Do they provide solutions to obstacles?
3. What service do they fail to provide readers? How can you fill this void? Can you provide specific professional expertise?
STEP 3 Combine profile details. Create a plan and a reader survey.
1. Design your survey to be brief and easy to complete.
2. Ask a select few to provide feedback on your plan.
3. Focus on tools, resources, and information that they would like to see:
- downloadable worksheets
- tip sheets
- handy resource lists
- networking venues and resources
- expertise on specific subjects
- informative slideshows, infographics, fact sheets, charts, videos, podcasts
Offer an incentive, such as a free copy of your book or a free downloadable resource.
Remember, your blog is your primary forum to engage your readers:
- Make it welcoming, accessible, informative, and entertaining.
- Offer posts that have value and are sharable.
- Encourage readers to share their suggestions, opinions and stories.
- Offer contests with prizes that are on your niche audience's wish list.
How do you connect with your readers? Inspire other writers by sharing your story in the comments section.
"Crawling Inside your Customer's Head" by Copyblogger: www.copyblogger.com/empathy-maps/
"Author Platforms: How to Use a Time Machine to Create Your Author Platform," by Katie Davis, Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/author-platforms/
Debra Toor is the author of Survival Secrets of Turkey Vultures, an adventure story for grades 4 to 6 that's based on peer-reviewed science. She's also a ghostwriter for a health blog.