Most bloggers start by their blogs by writing about business or personal things hoping that they will attract an audience from their day to day musings. With each post they hope to pick up more and more readers who like what they have to say. For many, this works. Usually it's because they are good writers or have a clever take on whatever topic they choose to opine about.
But for every beautiful woman who takes her top off at the beach and gets the drooly-mouthed stares of the men in the vicinity, there are dozens of fat, beer-bellied men that make the kids giggle as they walk buy and attracts the incredulous stares of those who just can't turn away. The question is--if we relate these images to blogging--which are you?
Actually, the better question is, which audience do you want to attract. Some blogs are out there looking for the little-boy giggles. Others are trying to attract the same element that pays to go peek behind the curtain at the freak-show. If you're a business blogger, looking to speak to other professionals, you may not even want to be the gorgeous woman taking her top off. The point here is, before you can really know who or what you're going to be as a blogger, you need to know who your intended audience is.
If you start blogging without this knowledge then who ends up coming back to your blog may not be who you intended it to be. If you're blogging for fun, this won't matter so much. But if you're blogging for professional reasons, then you really want to make sure you know your intended audience well.
Every grouping of people will have a different set of interests and needs. Sometimes these groupings overlap and you can attract people from multiple audiences, but knowing who your primary audience is will help you keep your blog focused on those that will matter most to you. Don't try to be all things to all people, as you'll more likely end up being nothing to most.
However if you can focus on one primary audience and perhaps one or two secondary audiences, you can keep your blog focused on delivering the type of content that your audience craves.
Areas of Interest
Once you have a firm grasp of your audience then find out what it is they are interested in that you can provide. If you're writing a blog for small business owners, they could be interested in any number of things. Some might be looking for ideas on how to run their companies more effectively. Some might be interested in how political developments will effect their bottom line. Others might be looking for how-to information on a particular topic.
While the audience is the same, the area of interest can vary widely. It won't do you any good to talk politics when the business owner who just wants how-to information. Similarly, the business owner looking for the ramifications the most recent vote in congress has on their business isn't looking for 12 management techniques that create a better work environment.
In cases where areas of interest are the same within multiple audiences you can focus your blog posts on your primary audience while throwing in references that will benefit the others as well. For example, a student might be looking for the same information as the business owner, but for entirely different reasons. If you reach out to students as your secondary audience then feel free to throw in some examples that they can relate to.
Needs to be Met
Finally, you want to better understand the needs your audience have that isn't getting met from other places. Some blogs can promote strategy, others just provide information. They guy interested in how politics affects his business may just want some basic information on the topic while another may be looking for tips he can employ to lessen any negative impact. Some may be looking for a community they can be engaged with about the topic, while another might only be looking for some input on how they should cast their vote to better serve their own personal needs.
Knowing the needs of your audience, or which audience it is that you want to attract, can help you focus your blog posts to more effectively meet those needs. It's possible that one blog, focused on a specific audience with specific needs, can meet a variety of needs. There is no reason that you can't create multiple blog posts on a single topic addressing the various needs of your readers. It's knowing these needs that's most important as this will give you fodder to write about that your audience will want to read.
By focusing on your audience, knowing who's looking for you and what they want to read, you'll be in a better position to attract that audience through random searches. As you write your posts you're more likely to use words that your intended audience searches for in Google, Yahoo or Bing. This will result in more targeted traffic delivery through the search results.
Unless you know who you're writing to then you really won't be writing to anybody at all. Before you start your blog, do a bit of research and get an idea of who's looking for what. This will help you better focus your blog on content that impresses those who'll be looking for what you blog about.