You’ve decided to try yourself out as a blogger? Do you have millions of ideas rushing through your head? That’s great! But keep that inspiration for creating the content. First, you have to build a healthy foundation for your blogging career. And to do so, you will have to roll up your sleeves and adopt the marketer’s mindset.
It’s 2018. I’m not here to give you techniques that might or might not work – these are fail-proof. If you go through all the steps I’ve listed below, you’ll be able to perform excellent market research and kickstart your career as a new blogger.
First Find your Niche
Blogging makes this huge landscape that you can easily get lost in. As a new blogger, this is the most typical mistake that you can fall in. The rule of the thumb here is to stick with one niche. At least at the start. So how do you choose your niche?
You have to know that you won’t be making a lot of money (if any at all) as a novice blogger. This is why you need to forget about cash being the pillar of motivation. To ensure consistency in your content posting schedule, you have to start with something you are passionate about. Don’t worry, once you get that ball rolling, you’ll be able to expand into other niches or pick a sub-niche to specialize in.
You can actually use your personal story as a new blogger to start your blog. If you do so, you will enter the popular “How to Make Money” niche. You can share your unique journey with people, including how you decided to write about it, how you researched the market, which metrics guided you in the right direction, which marketing technique works best for you, and so on. You get the idea.
If you’re good at making all sorts of foods, then blogging about it is a good idea. What’s the best thing about it? There are already a lot of useful resources you can find on how to start a food blog that can help you get your site up, running and growing in no time.
While we are at it here are some other popular niches to consider: Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion, Health and Fitness, and Personal Finance, Education, etc.
Create a Marketing Persona
Don’t mind me throwing terms such as marketing persona at you right from the start. Let me elaborate. The marketing persona in your case is a fictional representation of your ideal blog audience. An effective marketing persona will help you discover the demographics of your audience but also learn what makes them tick, and more importantly, click.
This matter is really complex and you can easily lose track of what you are doing in all that data when creating a marketing persona. The best way to ensure success is to create a spreadsheet and use it to make sense of the data you collect. Try to put the data in groups based on demographic attributes, values, goals, challenges, hobbies, interests, needs, and fears.
How do you capture the data? You can start your research online. For instance, you can hit the Google Trends to see which topics are currently trending and which ones generate stable interest over time. In addition, you can hit the social media and look for trends there. Google+ and Twitter have a great advanced search functionality you can use for this.
Checking out the competition and keyword research can also help you create a more accurate marketing persona, but due to their significance, I’ve decided to address them later in this post in more detail.
Once you’ve compiled your data in a single spreadsheet, you will be able to tailor the content so that it talks to a marketing persona personally. This will help you advertise your blog on social media platforms more easily, and specifically target your audience with paid social media advertising.
Check Out the Competition
Let’s be honest – no matter how specific the niche you choose appears to be, the chances that you won’t stumble upon any competition are very, very small. You should know that having a competition is not necessarily a disadvantage! You can, in fact, learn a lot from them. Sometimes you can even “steal an idea” and refine into a better one so that it resonates with your target audience.
The easiest way to start is to launch a broad research. You can use Statista to discover the most popular blogs and influencers by country. This research calls for another spreadsheet. This time you want to write down every blog that is your competition.
What are the things you have to check about each blog?
First, you want to read a few of their blog posts. See what tone and voice they use. Are they writing in 3rd person, 2nd, or 1st? Do they post free images or do the use paid ones? How often do they post? How long are their articles? Do they offer freebies? How do they capture email subs? These are just some of the technicalities you have to check for each of the blogs you labeled as the competition.
The next stop – the comment section, if there is one that is. You want to look what at customers ask and how the blogger responds. You can learn a lot from the comments section. In addition, you should consider finding those blogs on popular social media. See how they communicate with their audience, what type of content they share and so on.
Do Keyword Research
Keyword research is the bread and butter of market research. We already mentioned that there is a high chance that you have many content ideas as a new blogger. However, keyword research will help you in two ways.
First, when you start your keyword research, you’ll be able to verify the credibility of your idea. Get ready for disappointment, for two main reasons. Some of your ideas won’t be supported by the market demand – there will be no short or long-tail keywords for it, meaning that there is no audience with that particular interest. And, the second reason – some keywords may turn out to be way too competitive.
Keyword research will also help you refine your content ideas. You’ll be able to see exactly what the audience wants to read. You can use these keywords to write SEO-friendly content and appear in search results more often and in higher positions.
It’s important to note that if you find an attractive keyword, you should never focus on it if it forces you to write outside of your comfort zone – focus on your personal interests and passion. Ultimately, it’s the value that you provide via your content that will earn you traffic. It doesn’t all revolve around keywords. This is why it’s only one aspect of market research.
Keep Track of Website Analytics
Once you get your website up and running, you should install free and easy-to-use analytics software. Google Website Analytics is the flavor of the decade when it comes to this. Once you register an account, you’ll get a custom code that you’ll have to insert on your website to get the tracking function. Why is this important? The simplest answer is that it will help you learn a lot about your audience.
Once Google starts picking up the data from your website, you’ll discover valuable things just by looking at the Google Website Analytics dashboard. First, you can see how your website visitors are locating your website. This includes the keywords they type in to discover your site.
You will also see which of your blog pages earn the most traffic and which of the links are the most attractive for your target audience. Furthermore, you can segment your visitors. For instance, you can see their demographics, geolocation, how many new visitors your site generates on a daily basis, how many visitors regularly return, and what are the most valuable traffic referral sources.
You can use all this information to fine-tune your website, marketing efforts, and content creation.
Rely on Direct Feedback
I recommend you start your official blog’s social media profiles as soon as possible, along with leaving the comment section open on your blog. Why? Because the direct feedback is the most important resource a blogger can get to. Remember how I suggested that you go through social feedback on your competitors’ social media profiles and website? Well, it’s important to allow your audience to leave you feedback as well.
What should you look for in the feedback? Your readers can easily find a mistake in your content. You should apologize, thank the person, and make changes accordingly. You can also find out what they are interested in.
Ultimately, active social media profiles and comments section will help you build a strong relationship with your customers. Yes, it empowers your market research efforts, but it’s also a way to appear authentic, caring, and trustworthy.
Hopefully, these tips will help you start your market research. We are aware that this might be too much for you to digest in one go…That is why I suggest you segment your market research efforts and cross items off your list one by one. Keep in mind that this is an ongoing process, so give your best to ensure your blog research is on point.