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If you're struggling to get blog readers, read this (or continue wasting your precious time)
Last Updated January 14th, 2013

Last week I revealed the “big secret” behind building blogs.

(If you didn’t read my post about “Why blogs fail,” the secret is: “The easiest way to get readers for your blog is to convince another blog that has readers to send readers your way.”)

I then challenged you to list what sites you’d LOVE to get traffic from, and why you wanted traffic from those sites…

…but that’s when I noticed something strange:

People are looking for readers in the wrong places.

And if you’re struggling to get readers for your blog, I’m going to tell you right now: You’re also looking for readers in the wrong places.

I’ll explain.

Why You Want Other People To Send You Readers

As a quick refresher, the reason why you want other people to send you readers is because it’s the FASTEST way to build your audience. Hands down.

Most people create content and hope someone will notice them. They hope search engines will rank them highly and send them readers. They hope a big blogger finds them and links them. They hope a journalist “discovers” them.

The big problem with this strategy is that people are sitting around, waiting for something to happen.

(This is strange to me because while most people admit they’re not looking for a “handout,” that’s exactly what they’re doing!).

However, when you actively try to get other people with readers to send you readers (and potential customers), you’re taking control over the success of your website.

That said…

Do you want to grow your blog?

Use simple tactics found in this free ebook to attract your first 5,000 subscribers

Yes, send me the free ebook

Are You Looking For Readers In The Wrong Places?

Quick story:

My lawyer cracks me up. He swears that the internet is useless for generating leads and sales for his business. He even went so far and said, “Creating content is a horrible way to attract business. I’ve been doing it and it’s not working.”

And that’s when I set the record straight. He’s my lawyer. Like you, he’s accustomed to my direct, no B.S. approach to everything.

So I told him, “First, my man. Your logic is flawed. Just because it’s not working for you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Maybe the problem isn’t the strategy. Maybe the problem is you. I know plenty of people who use the web to generate leads and sales for professional service businesses. Yours is no different.”

Then, I fired up his site, and it all made sense.

He made the same mistakes most people make when they create a website for their business.

(The same mistakes some of you made when you completed the homework on Friday. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the article “Why Blogs Fail.”)

Before I dive into these issues, I want you to know my lawyer isn’t stupid. He owns his own firm, and built it from scratch to a decent-sized office.

And despite his glaring mistakes, he was doing a lot of things right.

He had a blog. He had a way to collect leads. His content was well-written, and it was also entertaining.

So, what was the problem?

He was attracting the wrong readers.

How did I know this?

Because when I read the content on his blog, all of it was tailored to other lawyers.

Meaning, if a random lawyer stumbled on his blog, they’d love it. But if I stumbled on it, I would be like “What? I’m not a lawyer. Next…”

His content was repelling his customer… and attracting his competition.

*Head desk*

What’s funny is, TOO MANY PEOPLE make this same mistake.

Example #1

A friend of mine is a freelance writer. She was complaining that her blog wasn’t attracting potential freelance writing clients.

I fired up her blog, and she had content like “7 mistakes freelance writers make when they work with a client” and “When you should fire your client” and “How to charge more for freelance writing.”

Now think about this…

If you were looking to hire a freelance writer, would you hire my friend? Or would you say, “You mean you want to CHARGE ME MORE? AND THEN FIRE ME?”

And then the only action you would take is clicking that X on your browser window to close out the site. Why? Because her content is tailor-made for attracting other freelance writers… not people who hire freelancer writers.

Example #2

As another example, as I saw in the homework that you submitted on Friday, instead of writing the wrong type of content, people wanted traffic from the wrong websites.

(If you didn’t do the homework, go do it. There’s more than 250 people in the comments. If you did it wrong, feel free to do it again and leave another comment.)

One person said that they’d love to get a link from Social Triggers. Why? Because he liked my videos. What’s wrong with this?

Don’t get me wrong… I appreciate the compliment.

However, when you’re building YOUR readership, you shouldn’t seek links from people you like. You should seek links from people who you believe have legions of potential customers for your business.

Do you want to grow your blog?

Use simple tactics found in this free ebook to attract your first 5,000 subscribers

Yes, send me the free ebook

Example #3

Another person said they run a blog about fitness, and they said that their DREAM website was another huge fitness blog.

On the surface, this may sound like it makes sense, but here’s the problem:

People reading fitness blogs aren’t your ideal customer. They already found a solution to their problems.

Sure, you might be able to pick up a few readers here and there, but it’s not going to be easy… and it’s going to be an uphill battle.


Not only do you have to demonstrate you’re competent… but you have to demonstrate why someone should read “yet another fitness blog.”

So, are YOU looking for readers in the wrong places?

That is the question, now, isn’t it?

How do you know “I’m on the right track” or “Looks like I’ve done messed this up.”

I cover this in detail in my premium training about building a blog that fuels your business, Blog that Converts.

It’s closed right now, but I highly suggest you sign up and download this FREE 17 minute video.


In it, I walk you through figuring out who your ideal customers are, how to find them and show you proven methods for getting those people back to your website. But more on my course later this month…

For now, I’ve got one more quick anecdote followed by a little exercise for you…

Fair warning: If you ignore this exercise, you risk building the wrong blog.

The story: Last week, a friend, someone I greatly respect, emailed me and said, “You should create less videos on blogging. It’s a really solved thing and boring. So many more interesting topics.”

That’s true… from his standpoint. He already has one of the more popular blogs in his vertical. So, yes, for him, blogging IS solved.

But as you can see from more than 500 comments on my last two blog posts, building a blog that actually fuels your business isn’t a solved problem. There are plenty of people who need help.

Most people might let a comment like this shake them, but here’s the deal: The guy who said it is an industry professional… not an ideal customer.

The people who left comments telling me they LOVE the series are my ideal customers, and they’d be perfect for my advanced training on blogging.

So, the exercise is this:

Are you reaching ideal customers or industry professionals?

Obviously you want to reach the former. Why?

Compliments from industry professionals make you feel great, but sales from ideal customers help you live great.

Now take an honest look at your content. Are you reaching industry professionals or ideal customers? Are you writing for people like you… or are you writing for people who want to buy what you sell?

(If you made this mistake, in addition to the homework which I’ll share in just a second, I want you leave a comment telling me about how you made this same mistake).

And now, I’ve got more homework for you…

Here’s the directions for your homework today:

Step 1: Did you mistakenly write for industry professionals as opposed to ideal customers? Share your story as “Part 1” in your comment below.

Step 2: In my next blog post in this series, I’m going to show you HOW to get ideal customers back to your website. So, what are your BIGGEST struggles when it comes to getting people back to your website?

Be as specific as possible. Tell me who your ideal customer is. Tell me what problems you have getting their attention. Is there too much competition? Do you struggle getting their attention? Do people read your site… but they don’t convert into sales?

Oh, and, if you’re loving this series about building a blog, make sure you hop on the email listto ensure you don’t miss out on the other great free training I’ve got prepped for you. As a matter of fact: if you sign up right now, I’ll send you a free 17 minute video that reveals the BEST way to build an audience in 2015.


And if you’d like to help me spread the word, all you have to do is send one friend a personal email where you tell them all about the series. (Here’s the first article. Here’s the second article. And you’re reading the third article).

Spread the love!

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265 comments Leave a comment

Hey! I’ve just started out blogging and I absolutely love it, but I can’t figure out how to generate more readers. I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to have a look at my sight and let me know what you think! Thankyou so much xo

Tim Sabat

Great article, it’s not easy to do something good without a preparation.



This was such a good post to new bloggers like me and so many others I seen comment on this post! I am a new blogger. I blog about diy crafts and home decor! I would love to check out some blogs! I hope you check out mine at http://knpinspired.com/


Love this post! Everyone check out my website. Centered for younger adults.


This is such a great post. I am hoping that my blog (www.worldofsosha.com) is on the right track.
I welcome any feedback that any one might have


This is a very informative post. It really does show me that I am probably looking for readers all in the wrong places. Thank you for this information, I will try to apply it to my blog Creative Signals http://creativesignals.cf


Being a begginer in the world of blogging is so hard especially getting a lot of viewers…my I can practice some tips in this blog to increase my viewers..please visit my blog. https.//booknesia21.blogspot.com

Layla Forndez

i have been following this blog for a while now and today i felt like i should share my story because i was a victim too. I had endometriosis for 18 years and i never thought i would ever get a cure due to the terrible symptoms i had and this made it impossible for me to get pregnant even after 12 years of marriage and it was a serious issue. I got to know about Dr. Aleta who treated someone and the person shared a story of how she got a cure and let her contact details, i contacted Dr. Aleta and she actually confirmed it and i decided to give a try too and use her herbal medicine that was how my burden ended completely. My son will be 2 this december and i am greatful to God and thankful to her for medicine too. If you have (Endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroid, Ovarian cyst, Ectopic Pregnancy or any infertility issues) just reach her on (aletedwin @ gmail. com) she has professional advise and a cure too.

Munna Hossain

Hello, Amy. Thanks for everything. This is really a masterpiece. I have enjoyed your article very much. It eas full of important information. Readers are a really important issue for every blog. I think the reader is better than traffic. Because traffic may read your article or not but the reader must read your article. They spend more time on your blog. Readers are the real visitors of your site.
So you need to create such quality contents that no one can come back from your site without reading your posts. Quality contents are the most important thing that attracts the people most. There are other important issues that are related to your readers such as blog design, navigation, sharing option, text style, commenting option and more. Then you will able to get more readers. Thanks again for your nice thinking.


This really help…thanks


Loved this content, it helped so much especially the fitness blog which is the content I’m covering! Check my blog out guys and girls!



    Not enough content! Not the right stage to promote!


Hi everyone! Thank you for sharing this information with us, I found it very helpful too.

Step 1: Am I targeting the right readers? My blog is about Event Management, I am a student and not a pro in this industry, so I thought that other people in my situation would be interested in my content. My blog is informational, I don’t sell anything but, in the long run, I think I can earn some money by advertising on my blog from event schools, online courses….

Step 2: The few readers I had from SEO came to my website once, and never did again. I’m not sure why, but I’m really struggling with attracting readers and I have been writing on my blog for almost a year now. it’s a bit discouraging. I also changed my way of writing and I now encourage readers to participate in the comments, but the main problem is that there are no readers to comment! I don’t think that the problem of my blog is the content but getting traffic.

I need help on what to do and I would love if you can check out my blog and tell me if you think I’m aiming the right readers and how I can improve. Thank you all for your help!

Magic Lamp Tours

Thanks for sharing this amazing blogpost. I must say this is a really beautiful blog.


Absolutely right. All angles correct. Awesome post! The greatest hurdle most bloggers find hard to overcome is writing for their target audience.


Thanks for the advice, it’s a new perspective that I wasn’t thinking about. It’s time to reach for my ideal audience. Kudos. -Lina

    Anil Kumar

    Thank you so much


Thanks for your advice.


Thank you so much for this helpful post. I just started my blog and am really struggling to get readers.


thanks for the great words


I’m going to say, the best part of reading what you had to share was “People reading fitness blogs aren’t your customers, they’ve already found a solution.” And then you asked, “Are you reaching ideal customers or industry professionals?” Good question, I looked for content and put on wait. Figures! Then I see that your site is not moderated, note the SPAM comment. I don’t have time to wait around for the magic over a course of 10 weeks and not results. Thank you for the bit you shared!


I think that many bloggers face this problem of finding the right targeted audience. But many bloggers dont know how to systematically organize their blog. Things like Onpage seo, Keyword research , Back linking and posting quality content is also very important .


I just stumbled upon this when I was looking for how to increase my number of blog followers. I am not trying to sell anything (right now) with my blog, but I’d like to increase my readership. I am a mommy blogger and I’m obviously gearing my writing toward moms and dads, and anyone who has ever had a catastrophic experience with a toddler (that’s everyone who has come into contact with one I bet). I am taking into account your advice about WHO I am targeting, and I am currently wondering if people who follow other mom blogs are just bogged down with that type of content. I’m thinking I A) need to see where else I can find an audience, and B) need to make myself stand out from the rest. Thank you for the advice.


My website is about camera bags…. and my content is driving people to it. In fact, one post is equal to about one third of my monthly traffic. It just ranks well. I think that writing better for the niche seems to work for me specifically.

The other thing is – I posted about once every 2 days last year for about 2 months… that worked wonders to get my page views to increase. Now I just post once a week if that much.

Love your advice, Derek!!


Great article, thanks! I often Google this same topic, and usually am disappointed with the tips. Many bloggers simply list things THEY don’t like about blogs that might discourage visits or comments, but don’t look at it in more general terms like you did here.

I’m coming to relaise that my blog topic simply isn’t going to appeal to a broad audience, and I’d rather focus on great content for a small group than generic content for a larger audience. I’m just not ready to get rid of my cryptic, silly, impossible-to-understand-until-the-article-is-read titles yet! But your article here really will be a help in fine-tuning some of my posts, so thanks again!


Great article! Thanks for the tips. I’ve been blogging on and off for a while now, but only recently would like to take it more seriously and ramp up the readership. Cheers!

Jigme Tsering

In addition to taking reading, learning and commenting on relevant blogs I also have now realized that it’s important to understand the basic fundamentals of getting noticed online. It’s not about marketing – the 4 p’s – product, place, price and promoting. Its now gone to the 4 c’s – communication, content, community and curating. Such a big shift away from traditional marketing to online.

I recently started my blog on Bhutan .. about sharing my exotic country to the world. I’m sure most of you’ll wont even know where it is.. but i do invite you to visit my site, learn about it and give me tips on how i can further go about sharing and promoting my information on the social media.

Thanks a lot.


I’ve been blogging for a few months, and have a small but seemingly loyal readership…made up almost entirely of other bloggers. Now, it’s not horrible that bloggers are my audience, except that I really am trying to figure out how to attract non-bloggers as well. I mean, if you read all the “how to get great traffic to your blog” articles, most of them talk about visiting other blogs, commenting on them, guest posting on other bloggers’ sites, getting into blogging social circles on social media. Okay, all that is great, but again, that seems to only attract other bloggers, making for an incestuous little circle jerk that never leaves the “blogosphere”. Would love to see articles about how to get your blog noticed /outside/ the blogosphere!


Derek, this is an amazing post! You opened up my eyes, thanks for great tips to see the difference between aiming at professionals and potential clients. So helpful! Bless


Derek, this is proof why you should have an email list. Remember when you said that facebook can change its algorhythm and ruin all your business from one day to the other? Well facebook did that to medical marijuana dispesaries who used it to get followers, now all of their hard work was for nothing. http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2016/02/facebook_cancels_pages_for_medical_marijuana_dispe.html#


My blog is all about trying to connect to regular people who play video games and need help. I try to focus on making guides that beginners wouldn’t get lost using. My problem is figuring out how to connect with people to let them know about my website.


Sorry, find your information out dated. I leave comments on more “successful” sites all the time. Let me ask you this – every single person that leaves a comment on your site/blog – do you click on there link and check out what they are doing – No – who has the time???? If I don’t, and you don’t, how do you expect everyone to?

chibike Kings

i do really write about health issues and some related to it but still yet it’s very hard for me to earn traffics. please i need your help. @ chibikekings.blogspot.com

Edward Wallace

1. I do believe my blog is targeting the right audience, and a variety of age groups. Honestly at first, I started blogging because family members began selling Advocare products. My intention was to review the product and then give my report. I have written several articles and have anywhere from 100 to 200 views a day. View counts do seem to be increasing, but I just cannot seem to draw in the crowd.
2. I guess I really have not been able to understand why people do not make comments, or spread the word so to speak. I do understand that it is a free blog, and I have been considering stepping up to a paid domain, but my lack of spectators is causing a little hesitation. My website is advotruth.blogspot.com if anyone is interested in giving me some advice, I am all ears. By the way thank you for the information and the video!!!!


Part 1: I think my blog is geared toward the right demographic I’m in my early 20s on a budget and want to dress fashionable. My blog is perfect for people around my age id say 16-25. Part 2: I have trouble getting people to read my content I don’t know if it’s my writing my pictures or why I can’t seem to gain a following maybe it’s my outfits I’m not sure. Do you do private consults Derek?


    Hey Sydney, I would actually be interested in checking out your blog. What is the web address so I can check it out?


Please suggest me how can I bring at least 80 to 100 users on my blog…


AWESOME article. I have been struggling with gaining followers and getting comments on many of my posts. I feel that I do write for the average person (I write a healthy eating/lifestyle blog) vs. industry professionals but it is so hard to compete with the larger sites out there doing pretty much the same thing as I am. Interesting perspective to get other bloggers to sponsor me in order to gain followers. I would be interested in learning how to partner with other blogs in a future post of yours, if you haven’t already done one! I have a bunch of social media pages set up for my blog but have yet to get many readers or comments. I have had my blog a year and am close to giving up because it gets very hard to keep writing when you feel nobody is reading!


Hi, this is the best blog info site I have hit on in a long time. I have a blog subscriber list of over 500 subscribed people. Problem is, I only get 100 hits a day on my blog and I know it is always the same 500 people. Where are those other 400 people.
Also, I need to convert these people into buyers – so struggling with that. Everyone loves my work (mixed media art), finds it incredible, wants more – blah blah blah – but no one is buying.
So I have two questions: – How to I win back those 400 lost subscribers – or get new one
and second how do I convert readers into buyers! My site is cathyb.typepad.com – lots of mixed media art, online art classes – this is a 5Million dollar market in the US – where’s my share lol


I have a jewellery blog (I make and sell jewellery) and I think I’m guilty of writing a mix of content, for both potential customers and other makers but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing?

I include tutorials for some simpler pieces (not ones I sell myself) and tips on having stalls at craft events but also posts about current trends and new items etc.

Is that bad?

I feel like I need to read everything on here now!


Your post is exactly what I needed to read…here’s the deal, I have an “irreverent self-help” blog (read “no fluffy bunnies or group hugs, just the shit that works on making life better). I’ve thought about “where do unhappy people go?” and I’m banging my head against a wall. EVERYONE could be happier. EVERYONE could use a shift in perspective and release their limiting beliefs (what I call self-created B.S.) Soooo, where to find other blogs where people go who aren’t already getting those answers from the blog they are visiting?
Suggestions? I have the feeling the answers right in front of my face and I’m just not seeing it.


So I am a young beauty/life writer just starting out with blogging, my website is beautifulmadness0.blogspot.co.uk and I am wondering how long I should leave it before I try a different approach. Initially, I just want a substantial amount of readers and people who enjoy my posts, but after a while maybe I’m looking for more. Just wondering the average amount of time before I get discovered and what I may be doing wrong.


So, I’ve only begun with my first blog attempt and I find myself to be impatient… My site is TodaysThoughts.com and I’m just wondering how long I should give it a good shot before I try to evaluate whether it is going to work or if I need to change something I’m doing with it. I don’t have a product that I’m trying to sell, I just want to be full of information and maybe do reviews of other products in the future.

Cynthia Street

Hey “social triggers” I love your blog! I love what you said about how waiting for handouts or for someone to notice you isn’t the way to go about receiving more traffic for your blog. I just recently started my blog and I have decided to be pro-active.

Aleksei Maide

This leads me to a question: Can a blog take on several topics at a same time: As I want to become a full time traveller and explore how to do this trough travel blogging, but at the same time I describe my adventures and travels? I got niche plus taking on a wider topic, can this work?


    Yes, I think with planning you can talk about several topics and still make it work as one site. I think you need to plan well from the beginning though and not just branch off on a whim. If your thoughts are disorganized, your site will reflect this.


    I am facing the same “problem” I am writing about several different topics, about china (traveling) and chinese cause i am living in china and cause i am obsessed with languages and about other more philosophical and socio-political topics, i am passionate about all of these topics and i wouldnt know which of them to focus on in order to attract more readers, i know its maybe not thaaat wise to write about so many different topics, but i just dont know how to do it better, any tips?

Turhan Akyol

Love the list! However, i don’t think you can go wrong in bringing people to your website even if they aren’t that interested in your niche. If you know how you can convert anyone into a regular/customer.


I have only been blogging for a few months now, so I’m still very green at this. I am also still figuring out my niche in the blogging world. I started my blog to drive more traffic and sales to my jewelry business. I think my blog posts about jewelry are targeted to my ideal customer because it gives them ideas on how to accessorize and what the latest trends are. I think I am making the mistake though by adding other content that is irrelevant- i.e. how to get organized for 2015. I need to focus more on just jewelry and fashion, I just get nervous sometimes that I’ll run out of things to post about.

Also, I don’t get many subscribers a day, but I’m hoping that is because my blog is so new. Needless to say though, I am on Derek’s newsletter, so I will hopefully be able to figure it out soon!


Hi Derek,

I think we write very compelling content that is directed towards people who love customer service. We update regularly, we use the right kind of headlines, but readership is really not picking up the way it should.

We would love for you to let us know what it is that we need to change.

Renee Kohncke

I feel I write relevant content for my audience ( newbie marathon runners ) but not getting any organic traffic to my blog. Could it be SEO issues?

Renee Kohncke

I’m almosting getting nonorganic traffic to my blog 🙁 i feel I write relevant posts to my target market (newbie marathon runners) do you think it’s an SEO problem?

Jude Samson

I am writing my blog primarily for my own purposes and to keep track of my life-changing event. However, I also would enjoy feedback and to know that I’m potentially reaching others going through a similar change. I’m not really concerned with reaching clients or making money but I would like to gain readership and start to receive comments and such. I couple my blog with periodic videos as well so I have a youtube channel and embed the videos into the blog. A few friends follow me to show friendly support but beyond that I’m not gaining readership. Ultimately, that’s fine because the purpose is for me but while the blog is still relatively new (3 months old) I would like to see about reaching out to my narrow field of readership to gain more followers. Because I’m dealing with such a narrow subject field how can I go about gaining readership/followers?

Jessica K

Thank you so much for this information and insight. I have been struggling somewhat to refine the focus of my blog and this really helped me realize who I want to write for and therefore what I need to write.

My blog is about affordable, or cheap, beauty and fashion for everyone. But I have compared my blog a lot to blogs who cater to those who $30 or more foundation and $400 or more purses. Because I admire these blogs I sometimes lose my focus on my own.

I have an Instagram account to promote my blog and recently created a Facebook page. I am struggling though to get much traction through either of them. There are already so many blogging and instagramming about very similar topics. I feel like that is part of the reason I am struggling to attract readers and followers.


Dear Derek,

“Did you mistakenly write for industry professionals as opposed to ideal customers? Share your story as “Part 1″ in your comment below.”

Well not just industry professionals, but for existing customers too. Why? Because I’m not a witty, creative of even deep thinking writers, so the only thing I feel confident about is writing about what I know in detail.

Which by definition is either industry professionals or how to help my existing clients.

Your logic is sound. The reason is obvious. The challenge is how do you move from ‘comfort’ writing to ‘lead generating writing’. It is a skill I may never learn (but I’ll sign up to your list anyway)


I’m trying to utilize these posts to try and improve my readers. I’m reaching out to people interested in the life of a strange young lady from Cambridge, UK who is beginning an adventure around the world (starting with an internship in Rome) and wants to share it with anyone who is remotely interested.

You say target your specific audiences, how on earth do I find these people? It really can be anyone!

Also, I think it would be helpful for you to show the dates of peoples comments (and the blog, sorry if it’s here and I just can’t see it). I don’t know if this post is still active or not or how old it is?!

Any advice would be wicked Derek!

Thanks, and nice blog!


I’ve recently started a blog on Bitcoin and I can only get traffic from Reddit for the most part. I get a very small amount of traffic from google but it’s only a handful. My sites been up for a month and I’m worried that I need to do better.


I run the Facebook page and website at my job, and while I talk about what we do (printing), I try to share things that would generally appeal to the general person in business — time management, productivity, leadership, public speaking. There is only so much the common person wants to know about printing.

Bryce Gorman

I’m starting a guitar playing blog that also tries to convert people into working from home doing what I do, so i’m searching for people that want to play the guitar but don’t know how and also want to work from home blogging. Where is my ideal market at?


I just started a blog and am looking to gain more readers. Since I am just getting into blogging I don’t know that much about gaining a following. I was researching and read that commenting and liking posts is a helpful in gaining readers. My blog is chronically mine and my roommates dating adventures. Its kind of like the articles in which Carrie Bradshaw wrote on Sex and the City, but 21st century style. According to the steps you have identified here:

Step 1: my ideal following would have be people (men and women are fine but I would be more geared towards women) aged 18-35 (I’m sure younger would be fine as well, but not sure how relatable it would be for younger readers). I’m not looking to gain sales or promotions, if anything, I just want to have a following of people who read my blog weekly and sometimes comment on my posts. I’m hoping that people will enjoy my witty humour and get their friends to read it. In the end I’m hoping to get people to want to put ads on my site because of the attention it’s gaining.

Step 2: My biggest struggle on getting people to my site, is that I’m unsure as to how you go about bringing people to a blog site that is funny and talks about dating. How would I go about promoting this while still remaining anonymous? Right now I’m getting about 30 hits every time I post an article, so nothing major or exciting. My blog is based off word press.

Any advice that you have would be greatly appreciated, and if you don’t have any advice, just checking out my blog would make me happy. Thanks for your time!

My blog is: twodatinggirls.wordpress.com


So what do I do if I want to have a funny/rant blog about life, and things that I think don’t make any sense in today’s society.

For example, I wrote a story about what online dating is like for men, and well, how much it sucks as a way of actually meeting anyone.

I have another on how society, the media, movies, and TV have degenerated into mostly trash, adult content aimed at everyone, including kids, and the celebration of stupidity/reality TV.

Yet another one is a rant and analysis about the insanity of the topic of penis size and why it should just “go away”. This would would really open some eyes.

I have others about religion too, and so many others.

So is there a “best” blogging site that will attract random users, then create a following? I read about commenting religiously to other bloggers, then pointing them to your site, but I can’t really see myself spending that kind of time to get readers.

Is there another way? I’m at the beginning. I haven’t chosen a site (I read wordpress is one of the best), and only have one blog on blogger that barely gets any readers.


Patty @ Reach Your Peak

This is a great article, thanks for the tips !I actually am a fitness blogger who is looking to continue to grow, and like your friend, there are bloggers I know who are living my dream/where I want to be.

When you say that people reading fitness blogs isn’t who I should be targeting-who should I be targeting then?


Kimberly Jongsma

I started my (civil engineering) company’s blog over a year ago. Our target audience is our client-base: community leaders, drain commissioners, basically people in power. Especially small communities. Rural communities. A lot of our content is “grant advisories” to help them get funding for projects they want to do.

I’ve been asked to increase the number of people subscribed to our blog and I’m not sure if our content is attracting them, or where to go to find readers, because I have a feeling many of our ideal clients don’t read blogs, or …know what a blog is. My supervisors want 5000+ subscribers (we have about 200) but I’m not even sure there are that many “ideal clients” out there. We’re civil engineers–it’s a very niche market, and based on LOCATION. Any ideas?


The part that stated, “Not only do you have to demonstrate you’re competent… but you have to demonstrate why someone should read “yet another fitness blog,” really hit home for me. Although my readers are very engaged with my blog, it is also situated in a very saturated community which makes it very hard to reach that person who could really resonate with your message! This series is one more notch on my blogging belt!


Step 1: I know I don’t write for industry pros. My attempt is to inspire homeowners in to redesigning the current crib and hiring me in the process. IN real terms: I am looking for dwellers that want highstyle in their homes and want to be inspired by someone else, These people can afford to drop 20k for a living room redecorate and want to.

Step 2 I really believe that the competition is great. I have a feeling that no one even knows my blog exists! How to I get on page 1-2 when people search for interior design blogs, ect. Then with no one commenting, or reading, I get very discouraged.

Shital Bhalani

I have one doubt, how do i know the subscribers list for my blog ?
is there any fecility to know the subscribers info ?
at present you have 261 feed burner subscribers, do u know that who has connected to u ?
i am using feed burner, i would like to know about them.
plz help me


I’m totally targeting the right people – looks like I just need mor “blog partners”. Thanks for the great article!


Great read. Thank you! I’m struggling to get views. We recently commercialized our IP, and created the website to begin an e-commerce initiative. I was told blogging would be a good idea. So, I wrote and wrote. Some 60 articles later, and I realized (possibly to my demise) that I was mixing the message. Possibly hurting my retail branding by becoming more of a “blog” brand. I thought a heavy blog page (full of content) would distract from what I was really trying to get hits on – the retail pages. Anyway, we’ve got great conversions, and bounce rates are decent. When people come to the site, they tend to stick around for a bit, checking out additional pages. The challenge is getting people to the site! I’ve recently gotten back in to writing, and have gotten into ezine and some other article posting sites. Do these help by the way? I feel like they may be helping ezine, etc., but are they really helping me? Once reader’s read the article there, why check me out? Oh well. As you can see, I’m struggling with this blogging business. There is A LOT of contradictory information on the web. Can a heavy blog presence actually hurt an e-commerce/retail site? Does it diminish the branding? I.e. do you see blog pages on successful e-commerce sites? Thanks again.

colletta hall

my name is colletta my son help me building this blog. but honestly i don’t think we know what we are doing, am trying to build a small business and to also get people to take interest in it. to get them advertise on my website for a small fee of $9.00 a month, and to do pick up and delivery for a set fee of $30.00 so am trying to work from home i try almost everything and nothing is working out for me right now so please i am asking you to help me build my blog in the right and professional way. thnaks colletta love to help…..


wow! i’ve been reading here for a while now and this article made me leave a comment (honestly, i’m very shy on commenting to blogs)

i was like – ohhhh, now this makes perfect sense! I’ve been doing it all wrong!
i am a product provider and i want to reach out to crafters who would use my products but i am trying to attract industry giants to take notice of me.

thanks for this article, Derek.


My daily traffic has really improved but my issue is with getting readers to “subscribe” and become a member of my blog. I am not sure if the box provided for this on my blog is in the wrong place or I’m just not attracting the right people. I have brilliant feed back from people who constantly read which is amazing but would love to build on my repeat readership.

James Pie

Great Advice, I like your tips especially Example #2. So many people are trying to start big instead of slowing building their audience. And I have my own website and I write articles but I going to start blogging to try to start building a bigger audience. I heard its a great way to create a larger following.


Great article – I couldn’t believe you used a lawyer as an example – I write for lawyers and they all do what you described.

In fact, you inspired me to write my own blog posts.


Writer Chick

Carlos Vivas

Really nice article. Would be really good for new Bloggers. I believe however that sometimes finding an authentic blogger very focused on his content that writes without following the “rules” for getting more readers is refreshing. And when it is in your field, it simply is really great. It’s like a hidden gem.

But if you really want traffic, content sometimes is not king.

Neharika Roy


I’m almost on the verge of launching my own online magazine. I wanted to know, how long does it take, on an average, considering you are targeting the right people, to build an active reader base? Also, what would be a ballpark figure for an “active reader base”?

syed aly

Derek I’m new in blogging industry. I wish i could before i launched my personal blog. which is on general topic. otherwise i will also put my all force on specific niche. and get loyal readers !!! stay blessed

Aqib Shahzad

The very first thing to get the more attention of people towards your blog is to do keyword research and also target your specific audiences related to your desired niche. Once you are able to manage both of these two things, you will be able to get more readers for your blog and your blog traffic will also be boosted.

Aqib Shahzad

The very first thing to get the more attention of people towards your blog is to do keyword research and also target your specific audiences related to your desired niche. Once you are able to manage both of these two things, you will be able to get more readers for your blog and your blog traffic will also be boosted.

Eric Highland

Hi Derek,

The Homework:

1.- I write for people who are interested in Austin, TX and the surrounding area. We’ve been active for just over a year and a half. We are approaching 400 unique articles and have been slowly developing our team.

2.- We are getting roughly 1000 hits a day if we aren’t trying to promote the articles, upwards of 3000 per day when we are actively promoting. We’ve created a Twitter @theAustinot (4800+ followers) and we have a FB page http://facebook.com/theAustinot (9200+ “likers”)

I think the Austinot has done well for 1.5 years. But I know we can do better. We’ve done everything organically. There has been no advertising of any sort from us. We’d love to have more readers. In addition, we’d love to get more local sponsors but we don’t have the time to pursue sponsors. (we run our own business apart from the Austinot to keep a roof over our heads)

I’d be interested in any thoughts you have after taking a look at our site. Thanks Derek!

Eric Highland
Founder / The Austinot


My blog is new, specifically designed to be informative only. It is not a site to be used for business or profit. I would just like to learn what it would take to get people aware of my blog. It has been active for only 2 months now, readership is low, still the blog is about tropical storms that people need to be concerned about. They have no idea that the blog even exists. I do a little with social media, but still I need a tool that may help out. Is there such a tool to help build readers for a site that is not running to make money?

First House Spouse

Thanks for the great article, Derek. I can see we struggle with attracting the ideal customer (reader) largely in part to not being focused with our posts. As a young blog, our topics range from one life spectrum to the other. With so few posts (relative to the greater scheme of things), we don’t have enough volume to specify a strong niche for a reader who’s already established the topic they’re searching for. I’ve noticed someone may land on a post through organic searching and it will be exactly what they wanted…but after they’re done reading we have little content for them to proceed into. As others have mentioned, it appears consistent and quality blogging is our biggest struggle – so we will tackle that head on and see how things go!

Any feedback from you savvy ladies and gentlemen is always appreciated!


I am writing for people like me, but that is my audience. I am attracting my target audience, though I’d like more. I need bigger numbers to interest literary agents.
What I don’t know about is how industry professionals feel about me since I am not really one of them. I coach abandoned spouses who don’t want divorces. Most are dealing with infidelity and midlife crisis. I got to where I am because my marriage survived, so my audience looks to me for advice because I did what they want to do.
My professional voice is that if an industry expert–I’m pretty academic. I’m not fake; I know my stuff and as a trained writer I know how to write well.
But what do counselors and Psychologists think of me? They are not my direct audience, but a sideline–they could be a source of referrals and recommend my (future) book to their patients.


Well said Derek. Getting loyal readers are the most important thing for a blogger rather than getting organic traffic. I’m just a newbie in blogging and could learn lots of stuffs from here. Great job.

Nikki Assalone

Ok, so Part One: NO, I’m writing for my ideal customer avatar for sure (B-School grad;)
Part two: I think one of my problems in promoting the blog is similar to a challenge I had when the biz was on the ground, that being – my customers feel a lot of shame about their struggle with food, overeating, weight, and yo-yo dieting. They’ve been on every diet in the book and tend to keep their pursuit of happiness (w regard to that specif struggle) to themselves. In my brick n mortar biz I RARELY EVER received referrals – even from wildly happy clients who overcame their struggle by working with me and going through my program.
My ideal custom struggles with the above mentioned issues. She is usually a she, financially stable to comfortable, and she believes that her whole life could be better if she could overcome her struggle with food. She has tried just about everything and could teach her own course on dieting. She knows what to do but just can’t get herself to do it. She’s ashamed of herself and feels almost hopeless about this struggle.
I would LOVE some advice on the issue of clients not sharing/ promoting because they feel shame. I need to work around that – I know there are other ways, but without that piece, it’s proven to be quite a struggle.

Greg Gudson

I just started working on my blog again and by good luck or divine providence I found Social Triggers. I have developed Pr 2 blogs and been asked to guest blog. Now, some might think that is great and I did at first, until…..I didn’t have any readers though the content was good. No readers, no sales so I let the domains expire and am kicking myself right now because how things would have been different if I had taken this homework.So this post is the first one I have read since finding Social Triggers.

My ideal reader for my new blog will be from age 16 to 100 years old. Hey this is a faith blog so I am thinking of reaching a “WIDE” audience. I hope to help educate people on the difference between Christianity and Liberalism so people can make their own choices once they read the blog.

I am venturing into this area because it is virtually untapped, my degree is in religion. Hopefully this will be where I finally make some in roads to helping people.

Barbara McKinney

The first thing to do to get the people’s attention is to do some really thorough research about what will work, and what won’t in your industry.Once you know that, you have a great basis for building a platform that appeals to the majority of potential clients.Thanks for this very interesting article Derek!

Beth Browning

Great post Derek. I had a similar experience with one of my clients and since we have changed the strategy, we are starting to see some traction and more qualified traffic.

As far as my own blog, I believe I’m writing for the right audience, which interestingly can include both competitors and customers because of the topics I write about (which are topics like SEO, SMM, blogging, etc.)

It appears that the handful of visitors I have like what they read because I do get social shares and occasionally comments. I’m hoping it’s a matter of time and patience because it’s a highly competitive area to try and write about. My site is still quite new and I’ve started to see progress in natural search – long long ways to go yet.

My biggest challenge is posting on a regular basis and I need to focus on getting links to my site as well.


You hit the bullseye , Derek!!
I think your approach towards explaining the mistakes is like you know your target audience’s level, there you go – you have proved your own article right!!
Love your blog. I’m gonna make sure i don’t make those mistakes, thanks a bunch!


I believe I was writing to the ‘right audience. Moms who were struggling with postpartum depression and wanted alternatives to meds.

My biggest struggle was getting them to the blog and those who did, to comment. I’d get emails privately but wanted engagement on the blog. I think the topic is too private? Then again, there is another postpartum site that doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions, but just talking about it that has high engagement and readership. Hmm.

My ideal reader is a 25-35yo stay at home mom with 2+ kids who is struggling keeping it together because of depression and other postpartum health issues. She’s having trouble sleeping, with her marriage and specifically intimacy, with anxiety and with coping from a traumatic birth experience. She’s not enjoying motherhood at all and longs to be out in the world doing anything but dealing with cranky, screaming, boring babies and trouble making toddlers. Her unhappiness, of course, had nothing to do with her kids, but it is her self judgement and her past experiences haunting her (this is the blackened, what I help them realize is the problem and we then heal those traumatic past experiences)

Amal Rafeeq

Hey Derek. Well put man. Hats off.
You really reminded me that I was looking in the wrong places for getting loyal readers. You thought me more that to get readers, to be frank – you inspired me.
Thanks for lightening up my mind and I really liked the way you make your article into small fragments with good headlines.

You said you gotta make other people send readers to your blog.
How would you do that please? No one would feature about your blog on doing nothing.
Please tell me what to do in order to make them send loyal readers to my blog.

Thanks in advance.

Jesse Howland

Dear Derek,

Subject: Why I’m writing too much and not getting an audience.

My blog is all about fitness and the pursuit of strength, speed and resilience. I try to keep my writing tailored to people with less than perfect knowledge of fitness. The only topic I can really say that I’ve written for fitness professionals is this one about CrossFit and how it is a great system, but no one know how to apply its principles properly.

I really enjoy my writing and topics; however, I fail to reach my ideal market of young adolescents and middle aged adults interested in fitness because I’m too general and my writing is very wordy and lengthy.

This is a constant obstacle in my writing. Plus, I just haven’t found the right avenue to pursue my creative talents since I haven’t found my niche in the fitness industry that separates me from the pack of other great topics.

It’s all in the learning process I suspect, but I appreciate your time and effort in Social Triggers.

My network at the moment is very small, but growing. I enjoy your website and its constant flow of great information. Thank you so much Derek and I hope I can help expand your readership through enlisting my circle of Facebook friends and contacts within the fitness industry.


Jess (CPT SMASH) Howland


Hello Derek,

I was blogging for validation of my work and for people who have “arrived” in my realm,,,,,people who want to “get” there didn’t and wouldn’t understand what I wrote on most blogs. This does not attract clients but makes them feel “dumb”.

To answer your question … I have no idea. I hear people say, “oh I love what you do….” I don’t know how to translate that into return visits to my site and into sales.

Renee Beese


Part 1: I haven’t made the mistake of writing for industry professionals as opposed to ideal customers because I haven’t started writing yet, but I am SO grateful for this simple but GENIUS insight!

Once I officially launch my website (it’s under development!), my biggest struggle when it comes to getting people back to my website will probably be getting onto my dream blogs in the first place – I rarely, if ever, see guest posting on the fashion blogs I view. My ideal customer is a woman who’s struggling with navigating the stress of her 20s and feels alone and overwhelmed in figuring it out all on her own. She is also super eager for shift, positive change, and is super willing to engage in the work that will help her build her most amazing life now with my guidance! The problem I’m worried about with this target market is lack of funds. I may be future-tripping and devaluing my work and value, but I so often hear my peers talk about being broke. I don’t think there’s too much competition in this field. In fact, I think I’m creating a unique niche market for myself that’s practically untouched heretofore. My struggle so far has been the patience it will take to get my life coaching certificate (graduate in June!) and knowledge and faith it will take to build a massive readership and following that will convert into sales – either before then or once I open my practice!


I feel like my situation is a little tricky because I’m not writing for a business, not writing to make money, or any of that. I run a “gif” blog on Tumblr that is tailored to twenty-somethings trying to grow up and figure out life, all the meantime struggling with finances, dating, health, etc. It is for comedic purposes only. I get about 100 views a day but I see some of these other blogs that are getting thousands. Of course I’m biased, but I really don’t feel like their content is funnier or better, they just market themselves better. I created a Facebook page for it, and post first to the blog, then to Facebook, and then to my personal Twitter.

I definitely agree that the quickest way to get followers is having someone else mention men. I had a popular blog mention me two weeks ago and had almost 300 views that day and it honestly raised my viewership since then. I feel like my content is all there, but not enough people are noticing it. I feel embarrassed as I am a marketing major but we never really learned about this kind of stuff.

I hope you have some advice. Thanks!

Aradia G. of Aradia's Hand

Part 1…I’m sitting back and thinking about it. I set up a series of topics to talk about and someone who is a pro really wouldn’t need to learn them, someone who wants to learn about what I do sure. My intent was to show that I know my work, but it promptly brings up the question: What do I want someone who reads my blog to do…? Convert – buy and subscribe. So sharing info/history/how-to isn’t necessarily going to do that. So perhaps I should focus more on showing the process and getting hyped up about what I’m doing and what drives me to create what I do and what makes me “so damned special” as opposed to every other ‘Nancy, Mary, & Susie’ who makes things that look like what I do.

For the second part I’m going to come up as a total n00b. I really don’t know, and I’m not 100% on even how to figure it out. Short of hitting up my repeats and just outrightly asking, “Hey what do you hate about my site/blog/storefront?” I’m at a total loss.

My ideal customer fits a few molds. Alternative style/minded would be the most succinct way to put it. I make a number of gothic styled items, then some things with a hippie or bohemian flavor to them. And I have an entire line of spiritually oriented products. A woman with an eclectic sense of taste would cover most of it. I’ve gotten her attention a number of times and have several repeats that exemplify just that. My reach isn’t wide enough I think, very small time onesies and twosies it feels like.

*I will note that right now I might give off this vibe of inconsistency. I’m re-locating my blog into my website, so there is less “linking away” to read a post.*


Hi Derek,
I just found your site and I’m loving it so far! I THINK I’ve been targeting the right market, I just haven’t devoted enough time to be consistent with my blog. Plus, I’m still trying to find my voice, so to speak. I love your writing style and look forward to reading more. Thanks!


I just purchased my domain name recently. I have a small committed audience of readers as well as people who come and go in flux.

I think my struggle is finding the right content to talk about given my various interests and the things I feel are relevant to my intended audience of frustrated artists and people who want to improve their spiritual health. I’m still on that journey myself and so I wanted to share my personal experiences as well as see what I do or what I know as my actual product, as Brigitte Lyons suggests.

The Get In Shape Girl

Yo D!! I’m just catching up on all these emails after a wonderful vacation. And while I adore your emails, I don’t adore them enough to open up and think about work while on the beaches of Waikiki 😉

I definitely think I do a great job of writing my blogs to potential customers in – young to middle aged women who want to get lean. I do write some blogs that are personal to me, but I believe that helps me readers connect with ME, and it establishes trust. However, one of my biggest mistakes is writing too many blogs, which now, thanks to you, I am correcting and it’s saving me so much time, so THANK YOU.

Now my biggest obstacle is turning my readers (and social media followers, and email list) into buyers.

Taswir Haider

Nice informative post….That could be helpful for newbie bloggers…

Jill Stevens

Hi Derek,

Okay, I read this and read this again.

I have made a huge mistake. First in my content and second in whom I am attracting.

My content is all over the place as I’m never sure am I talking to a parent, a student or a teacher. So that said, I realize that I am attracting all of them and thus, repelling them all at different moments as well.


So, this is good – now that I got my growl on and am over kicking myself.

On to homework:

Part 1: I was writing for everyone and giving mixed messages all over the place. My target should have been teachers as my focus is teaching teacher to start their own tutoring business however, I’ve been talking to the PARENT about tutoring, the student about tutoring, the homeschool family about tutoring… and not focusing in. Teachers are everywhere and they are a great starting place. And who I need to focus on. So yes, I have inserted foot into “content” mouth.

Part 2:
Okay, my idea customer, as stated above, is a teacher who is fed up with the educational system as it is, sees kids slipping through the cracks and wants a better life for them and her(him)self. This is a teacher who got into teaching with a passion to make a difference (not just have summers off – and who really gets summers off anyway!). This is a teacher bogged down in accountability, teaching to test and forced to push students through instead of educate, encourage, motivate and groom them up to take charge of their learning. My site is for those who see the drastic need to make a change in how we educate, return to basics, give teachers back some honor as well as financial freedom and stop herding children into stupidity like cattle.

(coming off soapbox)

My biggest problem is they do not know about my site. Some parents know, I had traffic sent from a well know individual “America’s Favorite Millionaire” but lost much of it as my message confused them.

(Hand hitting forehead.)

No, I will not faint like Scarlet…here’s the thing, those who have found me have bought my program The Center 4 Learning Tutoring Business In a Box™ – however, now it’s about getting the word out. I have raving reviews, awesome testimonials and killer success stories… I just need to plant myself and that solution in front of teachers or those with a heart to help groom up the next gen. (Yes, stay on course – teachers!)

Okay, confession time.

I have not posted regularly either as I was confused who I was writing for. Who my Monday Night Call was for and what I needed/ wanted to say.

In addition, my site had a meltdown of rather grand proportions forcing me to rebuild it in a weekend. Rather proud that I did, however, I believe you’d most likely rip it to shreds currently – as the home page is not the blog but a banner attracting the WRONG PEEPS!

I have more homework to do… but still more to read here.

Thank you, Derek! This is better than Sunday School. (kidding… then again)

This is good stuff! And helpful comments above too.

Loving it!

Jill Stevens
(Your Education Lady)

Claire Williams

Hi Derek, I just found your website through a mention on Thinktraffic.net. I have a small blog but I’m also in the process of setting up my own website business so your advice and expertise looks like it will really help me out. Congratulations on your great website and thank you for the free advice! I look forward to reading your weekly content.


Hi Derek, how are you?

First, no, i´ve write for customers, my blog is about how to deal with the General Anxiety disorder, and the people who arrives my blog are people who suffer with the anxiety, but, this people, love my stuff, but they do not buy, and always say the same excuse. Sorry, i love what you do, but… I do not have money now. 🙁

Talking about the returning people in site, i dont know, i think, is the sum of many things, the info is good, and very informative, maybe i have flaws in the email marketing, no about the information, but the content of the email, the subject line and the marketing process inside every mail, i think this is a bigger flaw inside my blog.

My ideal customer is one who suffers of General Anxiety and is looking for a treatment, of course without medication, natural treatment, i treat the anxiety since the mental domain, how to domain your mind, your lenguage, your thougths, your body, your emotions, your spirit and even your social relations to dominate and eliminate the General Anxiety, i work this from the Coaching perspective, so i think i do not have many competence, i have good coments in my blog posts, but is hard to make sales, i sale a clickbank product about how to dominate and eliminate general anxiety and pannick attacks.

So, it is hard to make a sale in my site.

Hope my homework is fine.

Thanks Derek

Imani Lateef

1.) I think I’ve done a fairly good job by focusing my blog posts on small business owners and small business start ups rather than speaking to marketing professionals and/or freelance graphic designers.

2.) However, I need to double down on my niche audience which happens to be African American business owners. I believe concentrating on my niche we push me ahead of the competition. I’ve noticed that most of us (bloggers) seem to make the same mistake. We are afraid to target an audience for fear of being “pigeon-holed” or “type cast” when in fact that may be EXACTLY what you need.


I have not been attracting the wrong people. To be honest, my blog is directed at everyone. No age range. The problem is people don’t come back but they claim the posts are real good. I need to have a steady stream of subscribers. It gives me the kick to see a lot of pageviews. Also, i write articles and stories. If i get enough readers, I’ll know which style is preferred.


Hey Derek (et al),
So most of the time I read social triggers to learn more about copywriting and psychology for my freelance writing biz, but in this case I want to share some about my passion project: moxymag.com

The site was started a while ago with the goal of helping women accomplish their goals — whatever those goals maybe. We’ve gotten great traffic (and the niche we are writing for has grown from just us to have several competitors) but we’ve hit a plateau.

We’re not getting any interaction. None. We’ll get several thousand visitors a month and not one will leave a comment. Our analytics all look good — low bounce rate, visitors stay and read more than one page, etc. but they don’t comment or share information and so we can’t take that next step and try to sell products they might need, which would allow us to turn it from a passion project into an actual business.

I think the problem is that I’m trying to target way to broad of a niche, but I’m totally stuck on how to accomplish what the site set out to do and narrow the niche — and combined those things are making me loose enthusiasm for the site. It’s currently on hiatus, after 2 years of publishing, as I try to figure out a good way to reframe things and get them going again…


Paige | Simple Mindfulness

I believe I’m writing for my ideal customers: people like me who have spent much of their lives being relatively unhappy. I show them how to use mindfulness and simplicity to become happier by using my own voice to talk about challenges I’ve faced and how I’ve overcome them. I break things down into simple steps they can follow. I try to be more personal vs. generic.

My biggest struggle is creating enough exposure and a compelling reason for them to come to my site. I’ve started a guest posting campaign (one guest post per week in addition to posting on my own site weekly). At the bottom of each guest post I have links to my optin for a free Mindful Living guide and my Mindful Body sales page.

My target sites for guest posting are a variety of personal development blogs (i.e. other sites that offer ideas for increasing happiness), health and wellness blogs and “women’s sites” that discuss topics that generally help women feel better about themselves.

I would love any insights, comments and ideas!

Te Ratahi

I decided to make my blog about me and the things I like as well as feature i mages of my people(im a photographer). I’ve just started and I’ve bolted out the gates with a bang(doing the ultimate blog challenge -30 posts in 30days). I wont sustain this level once the challenge is over.
At the moment I think im writing for myself more than trying to attract anyone. I dont want to be the one who fades at the finish and I really want to build an audience. How do I encourage interaction. I try to ask for comments, feedback and a few of the challenge participants have been supporting me which is great but id like to attract other people as well.
What sort of things do I need to work on to make it more about my customers and attracting the ideal ones.

Mike Zaremba

I feel like I executed the first step and I am writing for my intended audience.

The problem I am having is getting them to not only come back but also to subscribe. I post once a week and I work my butt off putting in time to research and develop items that are of use to my target audience (small, local business owners).

The only recent glimmer of hope that I had was when a local business owner left a comment the other day. It verified that what I was writing was useful, but how do I get more of my target market aware of my product?


Hello Guru Derek. I hand in my homework.

Part 1: My target audience is the small business owner trying to improve conversion rates using their web content. After some retrospection, some of my posts were targetting other freelance writers (and I didn’t even know it). Needless to say, I will be pulling some of these down.

Part 2: How do I get 1000s of quality subscribers?


Davide Di Prossimo

Derek, I am starting to grasp the concept, I think. In fact, I am the one who said I wanted to get a link from Social Triggers, and now it makes sense why I actually should not get one, it would not bring me more business at all. People on your website are looking for something different from what I offer.
Part 1: I do not think so. I am writing for readers. However I believe there is too much competition in the niche I work in.
Part 2: My ideal customers could be, for example, people who read online newspapers, people who enjoy technology etc.
P.S.: sorry Derek today I cannot “share the love”, as they say; I usually Tweet and Like your articles, but not today. The Twitter and Facebook buttons do not display on my browser. I might have internet issues.
Thanks for the post, it was a good one.


Actually, I’m not sure…

I team up with national handicraft artists and designers to sell their US handmade gifts and products on my site to help pet shelters nationwide. I’ve been blogging mostly about pet/animal themed stories, tips, ideas and facts.

Ok, so maybe I need to start blogging to capture those who love great ideas and tips on handmade products??? but our main purpose for existing is to help raise funding for animal rescue organizations by selling our unique handmade products. And we’re a Commercial Co-Venture, not a non-profit.


Niveen Salem

Derek, here is my h.w.:

Step 1: In my industry, my ideal customers come from industry professionals! It’s better to fish in the same pond. It’s not always the case though as I come from a different background to this industry. So I believe my writings cover tips, trainings, why, how to in an attraction marketing way that will open the door for a new customer to think about it and an existing industry professional to shift career.

Step 2: My ideal customers are energetic business-minded people (from 30-55 years old) and customers that likes health and wellness aging in a healthier lifestyle. My problem is that competition is high in both ends but no one is promoting my business online which is to my favor. However, I’m looking to be more of a strategist rather than a company rep so I don’t promote products online. I’m business minded and I’d rather help people start their own business.

Promoting my blog is an issue. I only publish my posts to some FB groups and my social media…sounds familiar? 🙂

I got more than 3K+ readers in 4 months since I launched my blog. Conversion is very low…probably one every few days turn into a subscriber.

I was told the average is one subscriber per 100 readers which I average sometimes (67 subscribers now – 80 grand).

I think my problem is learning how to better promote my blog in the RIGHT places to attract my ideal customers.

Troy Vayanos

I believe i’m writing for the right type of people for my golf blog. They are beginners golfers to more advanced players.

I do get mostly positive comments from visitors but they only occasionally return to visit again. I always respond to their comment, thank them and add something to their comment.

The only reason I can think of is that they can probably get the information elsewhere online and don’t see the need to return.

It’s something that I am working on and look forward to learning more from your posts Derek.


Carley Cooper

Part 1: I have a Christian blog site. I have a small following of loyal readers. But I need more. I get anywhere from a few comments to a couple dozen on each post. I’m hoping to either get a book deal, or have an audience who will want to buy my book if I self-publish (I am working on 3 book projects right now). I feel my content is directed correctly… to those who are looking for spirituality in their lives, or already are there and wanting more. I’ve set up a FB fan page, a twitter account; everything I read about blogging seems is something I’ve done already. So if I’m doing what I should be doing, and from my feedback I know my readers like my content… why is it taking so long to build an audience?

Katana Leigh

SO TRUE. It makes such a difference for me as an artist – do I have an Art for Artist’s blog (like Lori McNee who is basically the queen of art blogging and I can’t even catch her!!) or a blog for people who would be the types to buy my art (smaller audiance but more likely my metaphysical friends I meet there are going to want metaphysical artwork like I do at Art Love Light)

It took me like THREE years of blogging to figure this out!!! totally necessary!!! Thank you for your wisdom!!


BOBBblog is a storytelling website … a 2-minute vacation.

I publish stories with the goal to create an e-book by year’s end.

Q 1. What is my biggest struggle to get people back to my site?
Q 2. How to convert the ‘New Vistor’ to a ‘Returning Visitor’?

I noticed when I publish more stories per week from guest writers the BOBB numbers are larger.

So, should I spend some of my marketing time recruiting guest writers?

Caroline J

Our Site: teaches people how to create their own graphics using Open Source software.

Ideal Customer: Female, aged between 45 – 65 yrs, just starting out online and sees it as a means to develop a second strand of income. She is a professional in her job. She understands the importance of images and graphics and has an interest & some creative leanings, but has no knowledge in how to create them for her on-line business.

Traffic challenges to the website:
Would like to get more targeted traffic to the site. Not sure if we have clarified our ideal customer enough – and not sure practically how to do this.
Conversion of subscribers opting in to our free offer (on separate landing page) is around 32%. Good information is give up in regular email updates. 2 products have been launched with reasonable sales conversions, but just need to either increase the numbers to the site or improve the conversions as the whole product creation process takes time.


Jason Mathes

Derek – these are the questions I should have been asking myself before I even hit the go button to installing WordPress.

At this point I’ve had to take a step back and figure out the answers to these questions. Who do I want to be my ideal user base? What do I want to really focus on to help get me there?

Looking back in 2012 I was all over the map. So this year I’m stepping back and re-evaluating. Time to do the homework you’ve laid out and start fresh!


Great post. However, I’m unsure what the key is to converting. My site gathers a fair amount of reposts. People sing its praises. Still I’d love to see even more people take up my offers for workshops or consulting. What are your tips on developing more clientele, more consistently, and more deeply?

Matthew Setter

Part 1: to be honest, for most of the time spent writing my blog, it’s been more of an exploration and broad learning experience of how to blog (and what doesn’t work) than actually being properly focused on selling the content in it. So in part I feel a bit stuck or wedded to what I’ve done so far.

Though reading and beginning to implement loads of information from here at Social Triggers, copyblogger and problogger amongst others and getting out and starting to network and be involved in the community is starting to change things around – albeit gradually.

My ideal reader is someone looking to build out their skills and really learn, not a peer reinforcing what they already know. They’re someone wanting to be as effective as possible in building the applications using the skills that the site focuses around.

Thanks for the exercise forcing me to keep getting this clearer and clearer in my head.


Ty Johnson-Anderson

Step 1: I didn’t start writing my blog for industry professionals but I believe since I hadn’t nailed down my idea I didn’t feel comfortable. Plus I was stuck in the write something, post to social media, and wait cycle.

Step 2: My BIGGEST struggle is just getting noticed. I’ve since rebranded and am relauncing on 2 February (groundhogs day). It’s more of a confidence thing with me, and believing since I don’t have all those media badges on my site that the bigger blogs won’t give me the time of day.

I have three separate categories of ideal customers that all have similar problems. Since I help moms who have “lost themselves” reclaim their identity my ideals customers are
-Women with children under 5 who believe life happened to fast, and are finding it hard to make time for themselves and are slipping into strict mommy/wife mode

-Women in their early 30’s to early 40s with children that are self-reliant (13+) and find since they’ve now have down time that they have lost the ability to make themselves happy. They are coming to the realization that they’ve invested so much time in others but haven’t focused on self.

-Women in their late 30’s and up who are now empty nesters, who have realized that the job they had for the last 18 years are moving on. It’s like being fired from a job you’ve done for 20 years. They face fear of unknown, inability to move forward, and stagnation. Often leading to depression.

My problem is that my ideal women isn’t typical reading blogs, using social media, or investing a lot of time “gurus”. Additonally my older clientel may find my approach a little new age and think of me more of a therapist.

And since I’m just starting I have no following, no leads what so ever.

Begoña Amorós

Dear Derek,

Thanks for your posts on blogging!

Step1. I honestly think I am targetting the right audience, or at least not focussing my content to other professionals like me, as I try to talk about the basics, the reasons why, the opportunities, and so on of online marketing for small businesses..all in a very simple way.

Step2. As you may know there is lots of competition in this area today, and at least in Spain, people often confusses the role of a web analyst with the tasks of a firm community manager or a online marketing consultant. It is possible I should narrow the matters I talk about in the blog, but as all these online marketing strategists are often required from the single agency or professional I feel I have to cover them in my blog.

Thanks for the feed back!


Part 1: I have not mistakenly written for industry professionals, but I don’t think I focus enough on catering to ideal readers either. (I’m calling them readers and not customers because I’m not selling products or services, my blog is lifestyle themed and more of a personal project in addition to a full-time job). I’m interested in building a following now and perhaps turning that into freelance writing gigs or other forms of monetization in the future. I’m in the figuring out stages, and my blog is currently “under construction” while I hash it all out.

Part 2: My biggest struggles when getting people to come back….hmmm..I think my struggles are start with getting people to come in the first place! My first priority is getting super clear on my ideal target audience and blog focus.
What I’ve determined so far is that I’m all over the place on my ideal blog! I know you’ve said to start with one narrowly focused topic and blog just about that until you’ve grown, plateaued and then can branch out. The problem is I don’t like any one narrow topic to blog about it consistently. I like various things (interviewing fashion professionals..have done 4 interviews in 2 months, but won’t blog them until the blog is back up and running; fashion trends; healthy recipes; DIY projects for celebrations mainly involving decorating like the Hostess with the Mostess blog). I can’t find the common link in these that stands out from the highly saturated sea of bloggers writing about these same things.

Sara Marberry

My blog attracts the right industry professionals, but the content may not be the most ideal to sell all of my services. I’m a marketing and business development strategist, with an expertise in the design of healthcare buildings. I’m positioning my blog as a healthcare design blog, not a marketing/business development blog because part of what I do (and want to do more of) is speak and write. I think the blog helps legitimize me as an expert. My blog platform currently sucks (can’t collect emails), and I’m working on a new website/blog to launch soon!

Natalie Ramm

I think you’re right that writing a blog for people like you instead of industry professionals is not going to generate a lot of traffic, etc. However, what about when you have nothing to sell?

I write a blog where I review books and match outfits to their covers. Publishers give me a little support when I review their books positively. But I don’t know how to get involved with the fashion community. Perhaps hosting product giveaways or something? Also should I be writing for publishing professionals or fashion professionals? I guess just not readers who love fashion (which is what I am)…


    Affiliate marketing with some fashion shops and offcourse the book it self (Amazon?). Then you are still selling something. Don’t have to be your own product.


    Hi Natalie,
    I love your blog concept! Seems fresh and original. I can see your outfits based on book cover posts on the pages of a fashion magazine. Have you done any freelancing? Perhaps your audience is fashion magazine/blog readers. I don’t think you’re really going after the book world because to me you are more focused on the fashion and to be honest people can go lots of other places for book reviews, but they can’t easily find outfits inspired by their favourite books. I would start posting (if you don’t already) on fashion blogs with an emphasis on sophistication/intelligence and not just superficial “this skirt is soooo cute” fashion blogs. Or quirky sites like “A Beautiful Mess.” I can imagine that audience appreciating this as well.

Lana Waller

Hi Derek,
Another great post. My husband and I own a real estate brokerage in Canada. We do not have many blog posts, or subscribers yet. I just moved the website to WordPress in the fall and took over the marketing. Our ideal customer is the first time home buyer. We have been in business for over 25 years and our goal is to completely educate our clients. With all our years of experience in our market we have very strong negotiating skills, market knowledge and have seen it all over the years. We can get our ideal client the best possible price for their purchase or sale. We also know how to protect them from any risk with their purchase. I have a number of blog posts that are ready to be scheduled that will answer the questions that my husband gets all the time from prospective clients. We have had them written in his voice and giving examples of past experiences. I do want our blog to be different from the other Realtor blogs. I know Realtors kind of have the used car salesman stigma. That is not what we are about and we want to demonstrate that in our blog. We want to become a trusted source of great information whether clients use us or not. Of course we hope that with what we provide they will want to use us. We are not afraid of ruffling a few feathers of other Realtors. They are not the ones using our service or hiring us to represent them.
We should focus more on links from banks and mortgage brokers, and possibly relocation companies. They would have access to our ideal clients.
Thank you for always sharing information that makes you think. I enjoy all your posts in any format that you create them.

Minesh Rai

Hi Derek,
I m a regular reader of ur blog. Its unique and full of information. I always try to follow as per ur guidance. My blog traffic and readers where gradually increased in past. But somehow in last 2-3 months the traffic has fallen massively. I m not getting wht is happening?? I have not changed any of my stratergy. Guide me plz and if possible plz look my website. Thanks.


Hi Derek,

I own a blog about Endometriosis and using natural methods to heal and feel better. It is a condition which affects 1 in 7 women around the world and yet most women only discover they have it, when they struggle to fall pregnant.

I have written over 500 articles which shares my personal journey on how I have used natural methods to heal myself and feel better. My following is strong and loyal. They buy when I create a product and are keen on new stuff I produce. I feel the content is powerful and strong. It reaches women with Endometriosis on a very personal level. They feel understood and part of a community. (there is also a free membership group on facebook)

I currently hold about 500-800 visitors per day and though this is steadily growing, I want to reach a wider audience.

I am not sure how to seek out this audience. I have broken down my sources of potential authors, to submit guest posts to, into two main categories. There are those that write about fertility and issues related to that. They are however, not always keen on using natural methods and tend to focus more on IVF and surgeries.
The other option is to focus on more of the mainstream health blogs and websites. However, I don’t know how to taylor my articles to be broad enough to be accepted by these authors, while still getting to my readers.
To be honest, I am struggling to find suitable sites to submit to.

I recently wrote an article for a well known author, but she has already published a book on Endometriosis and it fitted in well with her liver based website.

I am not sure how you make that jump from Yoga community to health website and how to taylor articles to draw in that group of people. My main concern is to make the article broad enough that the author will accept the article but that it stills appeals to my personal audience.

I was thinking of topic headings like:
“Could your period pain be a sign of something more serious?”
“This condition could be hampering your fertility without you even realising”. Not sure…. they feel kinda “fake”

I am also in the process of redesigning the blog page and making it more of a website, where it is easier to find all the information. I even struggle to find stuff on there right now 🙂

Looking forward to the next installment and any tips on how you make “the jump” from one industry to another.

Also, I get that writing as a guest author on a Endometriosis website doesn’t make a whole heap of sense. What about blog commenting on those and forum marketing? Are they a complete waste of time? Do you think they should be part of my weekly marketing strategy or should I just focus on guest posting?

Thanks heaps,


Ehsan Ullah

Derek, I learned one thing from you today.

I was making a mistake of struggling to get compliment from industry professionals like you who have already built a successful business instead of focusing on my ideal customers (readers) who wants to learn from me.


Derek, does it mean that there has to be “product in my mind” before I type any word (for customers)? Do I understand properly, that “the product” could be email list subscription / twittter following / facebook like / …. Is it really necessary to write “for customers” if you wish to build your brand? Thanks

Diana Tkhamadokova

Hi Derek,

Thank you for the post. Very interesting.

Could you elaborate on how you got your user base though? That way it would be clearer on what you suggest is the right channel for user traffic.

For example, we are launching a new type of e-commerce business and thinking of driving the traffic through:

1. faster traffic builder (in my opinion): professional corporate networks, shopping spree competitions through e.g. Refinery29, potential for creating something like a “Pin It” button (but online stores adopted Pin it button only after it already took off, so i don’t want to have illusions at early stage)

2. slower traffic builder (in my opinion): Facebook competitions to win an exclusive product, bloggers, competitions on the website, featured editorial coverage of us, newspaper and magazine ads, TV, digital ads in corporate and public gyms

Would you be able to advise if any of these channels appear to be the “wrong” ones?

Thank you,


Part 1:
Well, I’m creating content to my ideal readers – I have a blog about productivity for undergraduates, and write (not to much until now, 3 posts) about topics study related with actionable steps on each (like your endings).

My problems getting new readers:
I feel that most of undergraduates are looking for jokes and memes on the web. So is hard to get their attention in a “serious mood”… That’s why I fell hard to get new customers.
Probably looking outside Facebook and other popular social media sites, adding LinkedIn to my efforts (although I don’t think undergraduates spend too much time ther, but could be QUALITY READERS…) and focusing more on “serious” blogs would word better.

I’d like to hear your response to my comment, but just from writing here it’s helping me a lot: putting out my thoughs, guided by your post, is a really good way to face the REAL PROBLEMS.

thanks! 😉

Zita Consani

I have an author’s site but haven’t started blogging yet.

I’m reading info such as on this blog, studying it and working out a Master Plan!

What I need is a step-by-step guide for beginners.

Now, Mr D H, does your course do this? Really? step-by-step for newbies?

I’m not shy & I’ve been perusing your posts carefully so I don’t need the mental push or understanding of who to reach. I need practical, clear, steps from the first blog to growing a decent-sized readership and from THERE you give the rest. So: how to BEGIN? How does an unknown get readers to an unknown site? But I think if I do more homework and go over your other posts with fine toothcomb, I’ll ferret out the answers.


My blog I started last year, is a dutch blog focusing on fitness, nutrition and mindset. Yeah way too much 🙂 even for my small country.

This year I will try to write 1 stunning article every week on Wednesday and my new focus will be only: short workouts for weight loss.

People are busy and I want to become the biggest source of how you can achieve your goals when you are having a busy life.

I have to find some business blogs with busy people, who don’t have that much time and most likely are looking for a source how they can achieve their weigh-loss goals without spending hours in the gym. Maybe I can offer them a good article of how they can burn more at work, without wasting hours.

Also I want to give them some life hacks, how they can burn some extra calories without a lot of extra work.

Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes

Hi Derrick,

Part 1: I’m writing for my target group, not clients to buy from me because that isn’t the main purpose of my blog, but readers interested in food to continue to read and come back.

I actually don’t know what my problem is. I guess you could say I see the stats for my blog, which is pulling at least 5,000 visits a month and a high feed burner rate also but it’s not converting into comments. I know, I shouldn’t dwell but I’m wondering why people don’t comment.

I just moved blog sites so I know the numbers will decrease a bit as people get frustratedly redirected to a homepage from an old blog page so I can understand for now if there is a dry spell. However when I do get comments they’re solid right on we love your content. I guess one reason is maybe I don’t give them something to agree or disagree with as someone earlier had stated? I’m not sure how exactly to do that: ask them a question each month? When I do ask questions on my Facebook page I get responses but I’m afraid of getting zero and a hanging question and so don’t post many. Could this be my problem?


Hi Derek,

Excellent stuff. I’m a blog writer for a hi-tech company so sometimes I need to sift through to find the tips that aren’t just for “stay-at-home bloggers.” Usually, though, the same advice can be used for many types of blogs.

We’re in a pretty specific niche, where our customer base is laser users (or laser manufacturers). Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a laser blog. (Or at least not one professional enough that they would be interested in shelling out big bucks for high precision equipment. In other words, a laser pointer blog isn’t going to do it.)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure the dream link would be from a relevant article on Wikipedia. There are plenty of pages on Wikipedia that deal with various technologies that we use and a picture or even just a link there would be amazing. I’m not sure how I’d go about this as Wikipedia is usually very careful to stay impartial and not favor any specific company.

But back to the first issue – how would you suggest finding a good blog? Should I just assume none exists? Should I try to generalize my consumer base and guess what their interests might be outside work to decide what sort of blogs they’d visit?

I’d really appreciate your advice.


Piers | Kickstarters'HQ

I do think we have struggled, because we’ve put out mainly podcasts and not enough articles that really show our strength, by showcasing *our* knowledge rather than that of our various guests.

Piers | Kickstarters'HQ

I’ve definitely been writing with my potential clients in mind. Our main issue has really been getting noticed in a field that doesn’t have much competition, but has potential clients scattered over a very wide range of websites. People creating a Kickstarter, can be interested in music, film, video games, theater, design, technology… you name it. There’s no big site that people into creating Kickstarter’s go to yet (at least, not until we finish this course!)

We’ve definitely fallen into the trap of only promoting on social media (and our podcast) though, and not promoting more widely to other sites though.

    Piers | Kickstarters'HQ

    Our ideal customer is someone who has a creative idea that they want to launch on Kickstarter, but is determined to do it in a way that gives them the best chance of getting funded. They understand that investing a small amount upfront with us, gives them a massively better chance at getting much, much more money in funding with far less effort. They understand and value that difference in time and effort, as well as funding.

    Generally speaking, our ideal clients are late 20’s to early 40’s, both genders, although more commonly men, with families, incomes above $50,000/year and a keen passion for the category they would launch in.

    They generally are eloquent, but inexperienced at marketing.


1. I write for fulltime families and those who are looking to become a fulltime RV family. Additionally, I write for those who are looking for insider travel information. I contact clubs, RVing organizations, and even local newspapers when there is an event they too are planning on covering. (I’ll let you know how that goes once I get a response)

2. I’m having no problems because I have Derek Halpern’s advice in the back of my business mind lately! My blog is only ONE WEEK in and already receiving good numbers! I am pleased. Please continue to dish out the good stuff so this trend continues!


Part 1: I guess I am lucky in that my target customer is industry professionals. That is probably why this site has taken off while others aimed at everyday exercises have not.

Part 2: I know I am still only scraping the surface of my industry, I would like to reach more and more of them. Ideally start ups who can use my information to help them grow. I am also looking at running an offline event – a training day for trainers.



I’m getting the right people to read my blog, no question about that. But I’m failing to attract attention on large scale; sure I get 20-30 odd comments on every post but I want much more than that 80, 90 if not 100.

So, all in all I’m stuck with mediocrity!



I feel in a pretty good place for my emails (doing Marie’s customer avatar + surveying my clients helped a TON) but I am constantly struggling with facebook posts and have to check myself from sharing too much sex geek stuff (aka content that other sex health educators would be interested in).

My biggest struggle right now is not having a blog to call my own. my emails contain all my content and I have a website through the company that I’m an independent contractor for but I don’t have a ton of control…so I’m still in the I need to get a blog to share my content on stage.

Luis Escobar

Step the 1st:
I work on The Simpsons TV show as a storyboard artist. I used to write about my days on the show. I didn’t think to sell anything on the site for years. I have since tried to find something I COULD sell. I started writing BIG posts on how a show was made and anecdotes about the show. I attracted new readers. They opted in. Then…I had nothing to sell them. The Simpsons is NOT my I.P. The fans don’t want MY art, they want Simpsons art, which I CAN’T sell them. I’ve recently fallen into the talking to other artists type posts. Teaching new artists how to improve their skills (I also have a drawing site where I teach amateurs drawing, but I want to make money on my main site).

Step the 2nd:
I’m confused as to what to write. I can’t make money on just writing about The Simpsons. I can’t sell Simpsons stuff. My biggest problem is not knowing exactly where to go from here. How can I leverage what I’ve got? At least, in my main site. It’s been all over the place for years, and I can’t seem to focus it right. I don’t know what to sell them because people come for Simpsons stuff and not for my art. How do I “turn them.” Someone actually TOLD me he rather see Simpsons art than mine.

Michael Smolensky

Hi. This question has been on my mind for awhile. I am a New Jersey lawyer, and I represent clients in criminal court, juvenile delinquency, DWI, and traffic court. I do not know what my client base considers interesting. Without intending to sound condescending or rude, I realize many clients do not have an extensive formal education. In addition, I have other reasons to believe they do not count reading among their favorite pastimes. At the same time, however, I recognize the importance of blogging for SEO purposes. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you very much.

Tania Dakka

Part 1: Yes, I did start writing for industry professionals.

Part 2: There’s way too much competition in my niche and I haven’t even completed my correction from writing for industry pros, so I’m at a loss how I should even find readers or what to offer them. Geez. You’d think I’d never blogged before.

Armada Volya

I am a fiction writer, I decided to post chapters of books I am working on and some short stories. My husbans is also on this site, posting his comic strips. This saves me time because I don’t have to create new content for each post, plus I figured that my ideal customer is someone who enjoys my writing, so I give them exactly that. I don’t post everything I write, only about 10% of it. This way I still have new content to be purchased. I started the site not that long ago, so there isn’t much traffic yet. It is picking up though and it does so much faster than any of my previous blogs.

Janet Abercrombie

Part 1: Industry professionals are my potential customers. In the education industry, teachers continually work to improve their craft. That said, teachers ages 23-40 tend to look online for ideas and materials. So, my potential customers are young teachers in self-contained classrooms who want to do better at aligning curricular expectations with instruction and assessment.

Part 2: The biggest struggles getting people to my website…I’ve been grappling with that one. I’ve done some guest posts, but I need to do more. The guest posts have all be on EdTech blogs. I’m slowly building relationships with other education bloggers. Triberr has helped. I’m spending time more carefully analysing other educations blogs to find their unique niches (so that I can avoid duplication and can spend time creating one of my own). I’ll keep with that until more patterns emerge. Also, very few education bloggers sell things except on a site called teacherspayteachers.com. I need a product somewhere between one-off lesson planning and theoretical books.

    Lauren Doyle

    I am only offering this as constructive criticism; you may want to spend more time checking your spelling and grammar. If you are in education, and it appears in writing that you are missing a fundamental part of education, it will prevent people from taking you seriously.

M. A. Smith

1. Lately I have been working on writing copy to a particular market segment, rather than Just people interested in interior design. My business is local in nature and the market is people who need interior design help and a. Don’t have time to do it themselves and b. can afford to hire a designer. I am also targeting people who want the interior design done quickly rather than the months long process that it often takes.

2. My problem is not knowing how to reach that local market with my blog. While I am always working on improving my local Internet listings (with help from the Brandify site) , I would also like to find a way to create my tribe, a following and most important new clients. My blog is : bestdesigncoach.com
By the way – thank you for your gracious help to all of us bloggers!!

Lauren Doyle

Part I: I believe I am targeting my ideal customer. I am targeting equestrians who are seeking a deeper understanding of how their horses think by preserving and passing on knowledge from well respected professionals. My goal is to digest the information and break the concepts down so it can be understood by equestrians of any discipline or riding level.

Step 2: My BIGGEST struggle is that I am just getting started. I have been building my content (filming the videos, editing, building the sight, writing content to post etc) for a year now, but I am just now to the place where I can start the blog to develop the interest for the videos when they are ready to post. I too am only a few posts in (like Amy), so I am VERY HAPPY with the timing of this course so I can learn from everybody’s mistakes (he he he).

I have an email list from people who attended the clinics I filmed but I am struggling to figure out if I should go ahead and start my newsletter now with just the 2 posts or wait until I have my intro videos up for each trainer and a few more posts….. I am thinking I need to wait but I want to get the ball rolling…. Insights and 2 cents welcome:)


I’m an editor marketing my services to blogs and websites, and to anyone else with a document they want proofread and edited.

My ideal client is … anyone with a blog, website or other document who wants the written content to be in correct and smooth-flowing language. I figured I’ll start by connecting with blogs and sites on topics I like and know a lot about, and then just keep learning.

How else can I market? I work with blogs — pretty much any blog written in English (including non-native English).

Thanks for the homework. I’m learning … really learning. Derek, you’re awesome!

Gary Arndt

I have a travel site. Travel is a pretty universal thing and I’ve had people from all walks of life take interest in what I do.

I’ve done interviews for everything from World of Warcraft sites to photography sites. I’ve done television, newspaper and radio interviews all over the world.

I’ve also considered my marketing as simply exposing people who have never heard of me, to what I do. Cast a wide net just give people the chance to hear my message.

Graham Phoenix | Male eXperience

hmmm…. Posted on the wrong article, should have been the previous one… Still the subject is the same…

Graham Phoenix | Male eXperience

Thanks for this and the next post, Derek, very sound advice. I have genuine links from some big sites through guest posts and comments. I get consistent traffic from them, but it is small. It is welcome though.

There are always more site I would like traffic from. I work with men and want traffic from sites where men go to sort out their rubbish lives. I post on one big site Good Men Project but I would love traffic from the biggest The Art Of Manliness.

As for the other three, I would choose sites where men go for general help and advice in business and relationships. Sites like Michael Hyatt, Huffington Post and Elephant Journal.

Jesse - Cajun Copy

Hey Derek,

Love that your blog comes with homework. You know how to get butts off seats, and that’s good stuff.

My ideal client (part 1) is a swamped marketing director who needs marketing collateral written. Maybe he just had a staff writer quit on him. Or perhaps he’s in the middle of a 6 month long hiring process for staff writers, and he needs a reliable freelancer to fill in the gap.

When I started Cajun Copy, I noticed that many fellow writers created blogs with advice geared toward other writers. That’s great, but I want marketing managers to see that I can help.

If writers like what I do, that’s super. But I need people who are likely to need my services to notice my blog and find value in it.

The problem? Most swamped marketing managers don’t sit around reading blogs or hanging out on Twitter. Getting their attention in a way that makes them like me? That’s the challenge. I know I can make their lives easier, if only I can get their attention. That’s the point of the Cajun Copy blog.


Part 1:

Definitely a wrong crowd. I wa thinking too much on people like me or people who want to start dancing like me. But I think I should be entertaining everyone who like to talk about dance or people who watch dance!! Maybe just a crowd that wants to be entertained and shop online and stuff

Part 2:

I think because of how specific my niche felt, I can’t seem to get a good readership – plus the bigger blogs aren’t responding to my request for linking or guest blogging


My ideal customers are internet-savvy women who have been running a blog for at least 3 months, have sustained (in their minds) a viable level of readership, and want to up their game with a custom blog design or theme customization.

I’m still developing my customer avatar, but the name I’ve given my ideal customer is, “The Self-Starter.” Not afraid to find answers and solutions for themselves. This ties in to why I want to work with semi-experienced bloggers; I’m done with covering the basics of how to maneuver through the WordPress dashboard. I want to focus on design and take on more complex development work.

The biggest problem right now is ME for not getting anyone’s attention. I’m still in blog-building mode, so I know the meager amount of visitors that come to my site probably get turned off by how all-over-the-place my blog topics are, in addition the long gaps of time between posts. I’ve been too busy catering to my clients vs. taking time out to nurture my blog, which I feel should work to generate more leads and showcase my expertise. It’s a hard balance to strike.

Plus, I am too caught up in learning how to do everything right, rather than actually getting out there and doing anything productive. I allow myself to wander down too many rabbit holes like social networking sites and expert bloggers’ sites researching the business of blogging (your site isn’t a total waste though, don’t worry!).

Is there too much competition? Certainly. Barriers to entry are low for web and blog design; seems like anyone with a laptop & internet connection can dabble in WordPress theme design. It’s hard to stand out in an extremely saturated market, so I recognize the need to specialize and/or find a narrower niche to serve.

Do I struggle in getting people’s attention? I’m not even on the radar. Checked my stats right before leaving this comment…I am averaging 200 monthly visitors. It’s laughable.

I’m hoping to take your advice and up my game.

Thanks, Derek, for helping out the rest of us. 🙂


    Just to be clear, Derek, your site isn’t a waste of time to read AT ALL (felt like my sentence implied otherwise).

    Ok, I’ll shut up. 😉

Israel García

Hi Dereck.

I love the way you expose your business different from the rest and your numbers will attest especially alexa.

I want to make your course, I hope that the language is not much impediment to me you are a genius.

Greetings from Spain

Casey Harrison

Part 1:

I was definitely targeting the wrong crowd. I think I could pick up a few people off of all 3 sites I listed, but a few people isn’t my target. I want ALL of the people.

Part 2:

My ideal customer would be someone who wants to get more healthy, but who also wants to start their own business. I’m not exactly sure what my problem is, but I would assume it is because my blog lacks direction. Whatever I study, I post. I do have a lot of competition, but from what I have read about my competition, our product is head and shoulders better. My blog competition is a lot more than my product competition. People do read my site, I have about 140 followers, and haven’t converted one sale. Pretty sad, but I knew coming in that my product does better in person, but I’m trying to break the mold, hence why I am here.


Step 1: Initially our blog was targeted at existing computer repair clients who repeatedly wanted the same problem fixed over time, so we tried to help save them money by giving regular basic pc maintenance tips. That went well until I decided to chuck other services into the mix in the hope of upselling the small audience. Hmmmm……the blog became too broad, unfocused, a mess. I was just regurgitating a lot of online marketing,SEO gunk that can be found all over the net……I think I’ve forgotten who my audience is. Oh dear!

Step 2: Most of our clients are small business with no time to read one let alone interact with one. I have pleaded with them to ask questions so we can solve a problem for them


PART 1: You got me. Totally got me. Thank you!!!

I run an English language training company, so my ideal reader would be people wanting to learn English. But guess who I’ve been writing for?? Teachers. Duh! TEACHERS!!

I’ve thought through this before. “How am I to attract customers if I’m writing to teachers? ”

The problem: I’ve felt more comfortable and confident talking about what I’m learning about teaching as I teach instead of sharing how to learn what I teach.

I don’t see any problems in attracting the right audience. I know where they hang out, and I feel sure I can get their attention. My biggest turnaround work will be making myself write differently.

It’s not about what I want to write. It’s about what my target market needs and wants to read.

Wow. I am really enjoying this Derek, and I hope I get my homework right this time.


PART 1: No, my blog is directed toward parents who want to focus on living life in the present because they’re busy running around like ants and dragging their exhausted children with them. [And in writing this I realize I may be targeting an audience that is too busy to read my blog! ;)]

PART 2: My biggest challenge is attracting eyeballs since I just started the blog less than 2 weeks ago (so I’m extremely excited to come across this blog series now and find out how to target the right eyeballs early on).

Can anyone share tips and best practices for HOW we can convince these blogs to send readers our way? (Bylined posts, email pitch, etc.)


Daniel Boswell

I do want to start blogging for myself, but my issue is helping a client of mine develop a blog that attracts people who want to purchase a custom movie prop replicas. We have been trying the approach of having him blog about various projects he has completed and how he developed the final replica. The idea is that if potential customers get an inside look at how he develops these replicas, they will trust his expertise and hire him for their own project. Unfortunately web traffic has been low and the few visitors haven’t contacted him for a project.

Before reading this blog series, I was thinking he may need to hire an SEO person (not my strong point) to develop a campaign that might bring in traffic from search engines.

Now that I have been reading your blogs, I want to work with him to do the homework from your last blog and follow your advice on correct promotion of the blog. I think that has been one of our biggest problems because I didn’t know the correct way to promote and to get readers and I was advising he promote on social media sites and forums.

For this homework assignment, our ideal customer are collectors who want movie prop replicas or businesses who need this type of service. So we need to determine where to find these ideal customers and get them to start reading my client’s blog and getting them to spend time in his portfolio so they can see the amazing work he does and hire him.

I know another issue is that we haven’t consistently blogged. We may post a new blog once a month or month and a half but its not consistent. So we haven’t had a problem with producing to much content, but I do think we need to blog maybe twice a month. I’ve thought maybe one post detailing how he developed a previous project, and a second post with an update on a current project. Do you think it makes a difference if we consistently post on certain dates or if we just did two posts a month thats all that matters?

Thanks for your post and I hope I can post back and be a success story on your tips and strategies.

Lewis LaLanne

I believe the biggest challenge I face with getting people to my site via the strategy of having other sites send traffic to it is my unwillingness to build relationships with other site owners and then ask them to do so.

We’re good at bonding with people who have already corralled our perfect prospect but we don’t ask anyone to promote the site or our products for us. Even if they ask us if they can.

But I foresee us changing this in 2013 and it was very cool to read your perspective on this topic Derek and I agree with you 100% that this is definitely one route to going from invisible to highly visible overnight. 🙂


My ideal reader is someone who wants to do some self-education and needs some permissions, encouragement, and resources to proceed. I don’t even know if such a one, other than myself years ago, exists.

Learning for the Love of It end-notes.com

Walker Thornton

1. I think I got the right websites targeting my ideal group, with the exception of one I picked because of the “wow” factor (Danielle LaPorte). I targeted groups where older women would read and come seeking advice..on being over 50 or dealing with sexuality issues. And, for my other site-dating over 50.
2. I’m just not getting the numbers? I know women over 50 are on the internet–so they’re there. I’ve done some guest blogs but gotten very little return traffic. It may be that I’m just not reaching blogs w/ large enough audiences? As a HuffingtonPost blogger I’ve gotten a small surge in traffic-so that helped. My niches seem well defined and they are certainly topics women can relate to. And, maybe I need to reach out to menopause sites or grandparenting, caregiving…other related areas where over 50s congregate.


Part 1.
I managed to convince the leaders of 13 local salsa bands to let me help them in promotion. So each one of the bands have a profile in my site, i write about salsa dancing and music, interview them, go to their events and each week I publish a banner with the information of when a where they are all going to be performing. They pay me a low membership fee each month, I though a lot of people would be visiting my site looking for this information and then I could sell ads to business owners…but that is not hapening…

There is little competition but my site is almost invisible to google…I you search for some keywords I target, you get some salsa related sites, then a lot of sites that have nothing to do with it and then my site in about the sixth page of results or just does not appear at all, thats frustrating.

Part 2.
I have about 570 facebook fans, 950 twitter followers and less than a hundred subscribers. I receive less than 50 visitors a day before publishing content. After sharing new content on social media and the email list i get about a hundred visitors per day.

It seems like visitors like the information because each post gets about 120 facebook shares, but i cant get them on the email list, even when I made opt-in forms rain hehe. I am thinking my page design is not good enought.

I write for salsa lovers in my country and I am not sure if there is a proper blog for me to get them from. My next move is to be interviewed in a salsa radio station alongside some of the band leaders. It is happening next thursday and I hope to see a increase in my site numbers.

I am really looking for your next advise. I did get one very good deal for ads using some of your tips. I cant beleive they did not ask for my page numbers. I guess your tips are that good and the customer just like what my site stands for. I dont dare going to more business because I still think they are going to ask for my page numbers and I want to have that cover.

Tracy Tresidder

Step 1: My target market are golfers who want to improve their game by improving the mental side. Golfers are crazy people who spend thousands on trying to improve their game buying new clubs, gadgets, lessons etc. I offer mental golf training to improve their game and when they find me they love it! So I think I am targeting the right people

Step 2: When they come to my website (if they ever find me) they don’t seem to spend much time or $$ there. Where am I getting it wrong?

Love to know how to get more of these crazy golfers on my blog.

Liz Chen

To be quite honest with myself, it’s not possible for me to give actual results for this homework, seeing as I’m still in the process of building my website.

That being said, thanks so much for this post. I’ve been thinking about this subject for the last few days now actually. I realize that although I do want to attract the attention of industry professionals with killer content that they can pass along to their readers (if their readers are my target audience, that is), my main focus should ALWAYS be on my ideal customer; giving them specific, practical, action-oriented content they can use to improve their lives.

The ideal customer I have in mind is a recent college grad, 24-26 years old who is looking for ways to systematically improve their relationships; both with other people, and with themselves, to enhance their careers, health, and “dream lives”. =)

Great post, and thanks so much the the insights, Derek!

Denise Burridge

Part 1 : Yes, I am writing to the wrong audience

Step 2: In my next blog post in this series, I’m going to show you HOW to get ideal customers back to your website. So, what are your BIGGEST struggles when it comes to getting people back to your website?

Be as specific as possible. Tell me who your ideal customer is. Tell me what problems you have getting their attention. Is there too much competition? Do you struggle getting their attention? Do people read your site… but they don’t convert into sales?

My ideal client: age 25 to 45 female who is pregnant or has small children ages newborn to 9, approx household salary 75,000+
Location: Greater Las Vegas Area
Fashion conscious parent who dresses their child in unique clothing from places such as Matilda Jane, or designers where clothing is handmade such as Kinder Kouture http://kinderkoutureclothing.com/

Biggest problem: we are military family which just moved to Las Vegas. We live on base
I do struggle to get their attention and yes everyone with a camera thinks they are a photographer.
My website is brand new so I do not have any readers and/or clients.

Thank you for theses assignments they are a huge eye opener!


Should blog topics be specifically related to the service you are trying to sell?

My target market is young mothers who want to hire household help (Nannies & Housekeepers). Should my blog topics be directly related to my services eg. How much to pay for a nanny or should the blog cover general topics of interest for my audience eg. Free activities to do with your kids?

Max Miller

Thank you. I am enjoying your blog and getting a lot out of it. I put out a monthly newsletter until a stroke set me back. Our customers have asked about the newsletter. Which is better, a newsletter or a blog?
We have an internet retail gift business.


Part 1. I definitely try to write for Google and my “ideal” reader. It gets quotes because I haven’t fully identified who that is yet. The more I write, the closer I get to discovering that.

Biggest struggle is figuring out what approach to take to be heard/found in the weight loss market. Google is obviously not it. My blog has only been up since November. 90% of the content is just educational material I give to offline clients….optimized for Google and not exactly how I want my website content to be, nor entirely appropriate for my “ideal” reader.

My “ideal” reader is female 30 – 50, has lost & regained weight, has joined Weight Watchers or followed another popular program several times. She’s an information seeker. She may have too much information at this point and is confused. She may not know she’s confused.

She’s independent & open minded, willing to take risks, and probably a bit on the stubborn side. She’s either about to give up hope of ever keeping weight off OR has decided to take matters into her own hands and is looking to do it herself. She’s may be toying with idea of someday doing some sort of physique or fitness related competition but might not admit so publicly for fear that she’ll fail to get there or because she’s afraid people will try to discourage her…as they have in the past when she’s tried to get healthy.
LOL k, I’m about to write a book.

Getting them to come back? Well, I’ve been getting list subs, but I haven’t been able to convert any to my (probably too cheap) online coaching program. I haven’t been focused on getting them to come back. I’m busy writing an ebook for all the people that will never be able find my site, so I actually haven’t been trying very hard to push the coaching program…outside of the $100+ I spent on adwords that converted no one.

Do people read my site? I honestly don’t know. I haven’t even begun to look at any kind of stats. The certainly don’t comment – not on the blog and not on Facebook.

Is there too much competition? Yes and no. There’s tons of weight loss help out there. Most of it “me too”. Are there a lot of people saying things I want to, targeting my ideal client? Probably. Do I care? No. So not a struggle. Maybe just an annoyance 😉


Step 1: Did you mistakenly write for industry professionals as opposed to ideal customers?

Yes! When I began my writing blog in 2008, I didn’t think of it as my ‘freelance writer’ website and wrote blog posts targeted to other freelance writers. Luckily, I figured out that I was supposed to be writing content targeted towards business owners and professionals, and entrepreneurs who are serious about having someone ghostwrite their blog posts, books, eBooks, screenplays, etc. I’m not sure if I should delete my old posts or not. I’ve heard and read pros and cons about deleting blog posts, but I’m still not sure what to do. Derek, what’s your take on this?

Step 2: In my next blog post in this series, I’m going to show you HOW to get ideal customers back to your website. So, what are your BIGGEST struggles when it comes to getting people back to your website?

I think one of my biggest struggles is making sure my website is optimized so my ideal clients find me. I think I did a good job with selecting keywords and phrases. My ideal clients are business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, and editors who understand the value a freelance/ghost writer brings to the table. These people don’t have time to write or don’t like to do so.

I joined the ‘social media band wagon but haven’t received any referrals or writing opportunities from having a presence on them. I’ve scaled back the time I spend on them.

Another struggle is connecting with the ‘right’ people. Sometimes, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and how you could help ‘who you know’ grow their web presence. Sorry… I must still be channeling Dr. Seuss. I’m researching children’s books.

Maybe there is too much competition in the world of freelance writing (I don’t think so). Maybe I need a lesson in ‘schmoozing.’ Or maybe I’m just so darn smart and pretty that people are intimidated by me — they’re too afraid to contact me. 🙂 I don’t know.


I’d like to gain more freelance and ghost writing clients. I know what I bring to the table in terms of writing and business smarts. Also, it would be nice if I could generate sales on the books I’ve written and contributed to as well.

Thanks for your help!


My problem with this advice is I only know how to attract people in my profession. I don’t know where my future customers surf the web. I guess I need to figure that out.

g. martinez cabrera

I’m conflicted reading this post–to be honest. I’m new to the site, so there’s that. But after reading this post, though I think the writing here is great–clear and to the point, AND though I can say I learned something here, there’s a part of me that thinks, man, it’s another one of those guys selling a “how-to” product.

I know everyone has to make a living, and I’m sure Derek’s course is worth the dough and the time, BUT there’s also a part of me that thinks that I’m going to be paying for another course in which the helpful tips are just so general that though helpful, they aren’t really that helpful.

Maybe I’m looking for answers, and I can’t expect that a course will provide me specific actions for my particular case. I probably have just been reading too many of these types of blogs that seek to help people drive traffic. Is it just me, or is anyone else out there getting tired of the whole “I’ll give you a sample of my wares, BUT the really good stuff is behind a paywall.” I’m not criticizing Derek. Like I said, he certainly seems to know what he’s talking about. BUT…I’ll just stop here.



    Gabe, I know how you feel because I often feel that way when another “how to blog” blogger is pushing a product. I’ve been around here for a while, and I can tell you two things:
    1. Derek hardly ever promotes a product. The vast, vast majority of his material is helpful and pitch-free.
    2. Derek’s advice is anything but generic. Derek puts out gold, for free – stuff you won’t read on other blogging blogs. I’m sure he does have good stuff behind the paywall (I haven’t bought a product yet – mostly because he hasn’t launched one since I started reading yet), but he’s got a whole lot in front of the paywall.

    So if you don’t want to buy, don’t – but don’t let the fact that he’s using this series to pitch a course distract you from the exercise he’s going to take us through in it. Browse the site and reap the benefits of what Derek has to offer!


      g. martinez cabrera

      Thanks, Jason. I appreciate your words.

    Derek Halpern

    Hi Gabe,

    I invite you check out the other training material I’ve released here at Social Triggers. Your new here, so of course you have these thoughts.

    But I’m betting you’ll find I’m not like much of the other junk on the net. Check this:


    And this:

      g. martinez cabrera

      Hey Derek,

      I appreciate your gracious response. Like I said, I don’t want to sound like I’m lumping you in with some of the snake oil salesmen out there.

      I will definitely look around this site.

      Be well,


step 1 – I write for DSLR beginners and I feel I’m writing for them

step 2 – I think the problem I’m having is knowing which blogs to approach – I’m looking at other blogs that write educational articles that include beginners but aren’t solely targeting them? I’m having trouble distinguishing other blogs to approach?

    Jackie Christine

    🙂 … I need DSLR tips. Just subscribed to your blog!

Chihuahua Zero

Okay, sometime this week, I’m going to seek out some YA readers and see what topics they want to read about.

(Yeah, I’m a fiction writer, the dark horse member of the blogger audience.)

Dana Williams

Step 1: I think my blog has been a mixed bag of content for ideal clients and content for industry professionals. It has definitely wandered in the last year or so! I’ve been working on nailing down a more defined theme and presentation. Social Triggers has been a huge asset for that. No “blog shame” in my last half dozen or so posts! (I’d call that progress.)

Step 2: My biggest struggles in getting people back to my website are: 1) I don’t stand out in a crowded social media-infused marketplace. I’ve been working on that by defining my ideal clients much more clearly. The homework in your last post helped me to see the necessity of splitting it and having two separate blogs that are clearly aimed toward a) brick and mortars who want to leverage social media in their communities, and b) churches/ministries who are using social media, but continually find themselves frustrated because they are ineffective and find themselves behind the curve. 2) Let’s be honest, I have very few readers right now. That WILL change in 2013.


So I’m an entertainer specialising in corporate entertainment. I’m thinking about how to make this work for me. And it’s tough. However I’d say a link from an HR blog, or a leading brand marketing blog/magazine site might be good for me as those are the kinds of things my clients might read.

Even more specific, if I’m targeting the retail sector for example, I’d love a link from an online retail ‘magazine’ or blog to mine.


Part 1: Am I writing for industry professionals? That’s a tough one. My “industry” is indie music and music learning, and I believe I’m writing for the kinds of people that enjoy those things. I try to avoid using the sound bites that are provided to me by the bands, but I don’t have a perfect record in that regard. On the learning side, I try to orient my writing for people who have next to zero knowledge about music, though as a musician myself I might be accidentally saying things I assume non-musicians know but that they really don’t.

Part 2: My learning posts seem to be significantly less popular than my band posts. I really wish it were the other way around. I want people who listen to indie music to take the next step and play an instrument, and to provide a great beginner-friendly resource for learning whether or not you listen to independent music. But That doesn’t seem to be happening. Maybe by writing about bands as well as learning, I’m sending mixed signals to my readers?


Hi Derek.
At first I was writing to nurses and All caregivers. Thinking that I can get everybody in the health field to read my blog. This month I changed my focus to nurses only. I’m still not sure which nurses read my content. Is it new nurses? Retiring nurses? Foreign Nurses? My readership is not over 1,000 so I cannot tell. Thanks for your emails. They always help me. I just wish I could make a breakthrough. Sometimes it seems like a Far away dream!


As I read through your examples, I thought “yeah, these people are clearly not thinking about the customers they want!” Then you got to example 3, and I’m almost certain it was my comment you were talking about. 😉

It makes sense – all the blogs I mentioned are other fitness blogs. When I wrote them down, it made sense. People go to them for fitness advice or recipes, so they’ll naturally like to come to me for fitness advice and recipes. Your point about them already having solved their problems is legit. That could explain why I don’t get a lot of sticky traffic from them (I get spikes when I guest post on fitness blogs, but it always tapers off).

Thinking about it, nearly all of my new list subscribers come from Google. I’ve got a couple pages of pillar content, and those are by far the most viewed pages, and 75% of the traffic comes from Google. They *haven’t* solved their problem yet, so they’re turning to me to solve it for them.

I need to give some more thought to my dream blogs to get traffic from. Maybe a site for programmers with a post describing how I lost 20 lbs while keeping my desk job. I dunno – something like that. I’ll think about it and come back.

So for Part 1, I do believe I’m WRITING for ideal customers. All my posts are weight loss tips, recipes, or motivational articles for people looking to lose weight either on the slow-carb plan or a paleo plan. My Google traffic suggests I’m doing a decent job at that (and January is an AWESOME month for fitness bloggers – my list usually grows about 10% each month, but I passed 10% growth last week!)

Part 2: I don’t know what my struggles are to get people back to the site. Last month 22% of my visits were return visits, which was a couple thousand visitors. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I use my email list to get people back to read articles (I don’t do an RSS list, but I do add articles to my autoresponders when I write a particularly good one). What I KNOW I suck at is getting sales from my blog readers. These days I make more from adsense in a month (and it’s only on 5 of my pages/posts) than I do in affiliate sales. I do have one email in my series that attempts to bring readers back to the site to check out a couple recipe books I’m an affiliate for, but that only has a 20% click rate (and near zero sales conversions).

Great series, Derek!


Jared Latigo

1) I believe I’ve done a pretty good job of writing for my target. I am in a bit of transition period since the beginning of December where I am targeting a much more specific audience. My audience is a beginning speaker, consultant, coach or someone trying to build up their personal brand. They have average income, a family, day job and can only commit about 1-3 hours per week to really working on specific branding initiatives.

I write about personal branding in the simplest form I can think of taking seemingly complicated concepts and making them easy and bite-sized.

2) My biggest problem is the research to find where to guest post to bring the proper people back to my blog. I have asked several of my networks that comprise of my target audience and there is really only a couple of places they look for content on branding. And I’m already using those places.

I have also asked my list and haven’t been able to get much feedback in terms of where they look for branding content or what they want to hear from me. My main goal right now is building an engaged audience so I can find out exactly what they want from me and provide that.

Thanks for the challenge Derek! Btw, just found your podcast and absolutely love it!

Angela Todd

UG! You’re right! I LIKE what I’m doing with my blog (promoting handmade products on Etsy), but it isn’t really tying smoothly into MY etsy products. Artists like it when I post art, and I wrote last time that I wanted the folks at Handmadeology to notice my blog. But NO!!! I want professional shoppers and gift-guide people to notice my blog. The handmade community already supports handmade! Duh!
Still got to keep thinking. Thank you for this, as always!
old lady archivist fan



Reflecting upon my answers from last week and looking at some of the content of my soon-to-go-live blog, I figure I have been targeting both groups. Not very precise, I guess, but in time to change and to tailor even further. Thank for that advice!

For the second part, I cannot report any difficulties yet, as the site is not live, but in terms of attracting people in the first place, I will now look more into forums and online communities – to see whether my potential customers frequent such places.


Michael Martine

Well, shit, it’s about time someone besides me is trying to tell people this.

Rock on, man.


I think I’m targeting the right audience (industry professionals) because at the beginning I didn’t think of making a profit out of my blog.

Now that I have a steady flow of readers (not too much, about 200 daily readers) I’ve been thinking about converting those readers into customers providing a course or a service for industry professionals (web developers basically).

I’ve also been thinking about starting a whole new blog, I’d say similar to social triggers but in Spanish (you would be amazed by the lack of content in Spanish).


I started a blog about eating organic food on a budget, which is a good topic, and while I don’t have a ton of traffic yet, I get pretty good conversions on my email sign up list where I give people an ebook on exactly that, how to eat organic on a budget.

I’ve reached out to a couple of coupon and deal websites that write about the best sales going, and one popular blog about getting out of debt, and they all brought me new subscribers.

My mistake is that I have come to realize: people who want to do something “on a budget” either honestly don’t have the funds to invest in a higher dollar product, or they are just cheap and won’t invest in it. And I can’t make a living selling ebooks for $20 or less—I would have to have a MASSIVE following to make that pay. Like, Oprah massive.

So now I’m torn, because I have good info and I think the people I’m reaching are the right people for the information—but the topic doesn’t seem to lend itself to earning very much money. I started offering a coaching program to help people with their meal planning and other food issues. I offered it to my list for less than $100, and got exactly zero bites. Very discouraging.

Would love any input if you’re so inclined. I really enjoy your work and got a TON out of your B-School module!



Great stuff!

Part 1 – With my first blog, I have had too many targets, so it kind of dilutes the impact. I will be restructuring it for sure! With the blog I’m focused on building right now, I do think I am writing for the right audience – independent, small businesses aiming to reach a local market. However, I have questioned whether the basics I’m going into are really what I should focus on. This encourages me to continue focusing on the things *they* are searching for.

Part 2 – my email list is not very big yet. (I just launched two weeks ago, so I am not too surprised about that.) So I am relying on my social media and existing business network to drive traffic to my site. It is just slow going.

I do need to go back and do my homework from the last one – I’ve been mulling it over for a couple days, but should actually scout around to see what the industry blogs are that my readers and clients are also reading are.


Part 1: I haven’t started my Author Marketing Tips blog yet, but all of the content is going to be geared towards authors who struggle with marketing their books (mainly because, guess what, they’re looking in the wrong places… they tweet their book promos out, and guess who sees them? All of the other authors they have followed and who have followed them, who are all trying to promote their books to a bunch of authors).

Part 2: Site hasn’t started yet, but I think this is what will keep people from coming back: My biggest hangup is going to be learning how to write short, concise, actionable tips… I ramble, and want to make Point 1, point 2, point 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 all in one blog post. I’ll have to save that more my book, and learn to be more concise so that people can have distinct takeaways, and get those “little wins” that was talked about in one of the more recent podcasts from you. That said, I’ve created a tool that I will release for free, that will have a lot of authors, who are interested in marketing, coming back to my site often, so getting them to read the content and get on my list will be key.

I think your model of getting industry professionals to come onto your blog/podcast to share tips for readers is very solid. It makes the connections with those professionals without having to write content that is geared towards them. Plus, they’ll talk about being on your podcast to their fans, and that drives the traffic from those professionals that we seek. (Plus, you get epic content and the ruboff effect [forget the real phrase you used] by featuring them next to you in pics/content, etc.])

Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit

Part 1: I run a wellness and recipe blog for people that struggle with multiple food allergies. Every time I start writing a blog post I imagine I’m talking to one of my clients. I try to be fun, upbeat, encouraging and engaging. I run a nutrition consulting practice on the side of my food blog and want every single word I write on the blog to translate well into the work I CAN do for my clients. I (hope) I’m doing a great job at this.

Part 2: Totally loved your second blog post in this series. Social media is great, but guest blogging is KING. My largest struggle is figuring out what sites to go after for the guest blog posts. Also, I’m also finding it challenging to get other bloggers and/or webmasters to want to feature me on their blog. I’ve used your template for how to cold email someone and while it works great with other businesses (thank you!) I haven’t had much success in getting other bloggers to bite. They’re very protective of their spaces!

When I do land a sweet guest post though, I struggle with:
– How many links to my site should I include in the article? I generally feature around 5 of my top recipes in the guest post with links back to my blog for the recipe. Is that overkill?
– I read that I should direct the visitors to Facebook instead of my blog, does that even make any sense?
– Is it imperative to include a head shot so people know who they’re talking to? I always do it!

Thanks for all that you do 🙂


oh, nearly forgot.

My biggest struggle to getting people to my site is getting the word out there. No one know I’m there.


    Hey Simon,

    Guest blogging is a lucrative way of getting the world out there. Some bloggers will even pay you to post on their websites!



Hi Derek

I was guilty of writing for the wrong audience with two of my previous blog disasters. Maybe I was even trying to use it to validate myself to industry peers or to try and look like a cool designer. Whatever I was doing it was because I had no idea what I was meant to be doing.

The new blog is for people starting up there own business and want to make their own website and I’m definately putting all my effort into writing for them, not industry peers.

My ideal customer is an entrepreneur or a start up who has a bit of experience with WordPress. They have strong idea of what they want their website to look like and they have a good idea of how they will create traffic and convert.

Their business idea will be interesting and tread on new ground and be well thought out. If we’re talking ideal world then it will have a positive social impact or help nature in some way.

They will want 100% control of their website and will welcome updates about WordPress features that can help.

Jane Manthorpe

Hi Derek
Part 1.
Wow! I definitely made a few mistakes selecting my ideal sites to link to.
My business in teaching Health-Conscious Active Women on Raw Living Food nutrition and Chi Running – injury free and efficient running and Holistic Coaching for clearing out negative thoughts and beliefs regarding body image and self love.
I did choose one Professional Leader website in my niche, Raw Living Food, who had written a book on this and had readers of it following him, that sure would prove difficult in getting the ideal client to come back to my website, since as you say, they are probably already doing what I teach.
My best bet for attracting Raw Living Food clients would be to target blogs that have readers with health issues in terms of either loosing weight healthy or wanting to eat a more healthy diet.

And one site that was my Associate body website for my certification, Chi Running, now re-thinking on this, my original thought was that people who visit that blog are there because they want to know more about Chi Running and want to learn it, which could be true, but there are a lot of readers there that are already done a Chi Running course so are not the ideal client for me, I want people who want to learn it. Also, all my other Chi Running Certification companions are advertising on this site to get clients. One big mistake to get linked from there I reckon?

I should be linking to other running sites such as http://www.runnersworld.com who have many ideal clients who are runners that suffer from injuries and want to find away to run injury free and in an efficient way.

I completely missed linking to sites that would attract health-conscious people who are wanting to improve their mindset and clearout negative thoughts about body image, and need to sit down and think where my ideal client would hanging out and go talk to their pain and link to the sites they read.

At the moment I have not launched my blog, doing so this week.
I have been studying on how to attract my ideal audience/clients and
Have sat down sketching out my ideal client, so clear here.
I have been researching and being taught in a few courses that you should speak to your ideal customer as though in the same room with them as you write, speaking to their struggles and pains and how they can get to learn to find a solution to them.
So, attracting my ideal customers I would find the places they hang out, what their daily habits are in terms of what they get up and how they speak in terms of their struggles etc. When does their struggles happen, when and where? And where do they go for a solution, if they can find one? I would do this by searching for and being part of the discussions at forums and Q&A sites (and others relevant blogs) and contribute to the conversations building trust in me as an expert, then having links back to my website that address the solutions.
The other thing I can think of is guest blogging, but for me as a newbie and needing to get recognized as an expert and gain trust with my readers, I need to be accepted to write on a blog somewhere and have a chance to do this, and totally sure how to approach this topic.
My biggest struggle is that I am new to the game of doing this and need to learn the ropes so that I do it effectively, and that is where you come in Derek 🙂


I’ve written guest blog posts for some really popular sites, like HuffPo, Positively Positive and Kris Carr. The traffic returning to my site from the articles is not that great. I think the reason is that my bio on those pages sucks. I’d love to know how to write a good bio for articles published on other sites.


    Hey Josephine,

    Understand your web content extends far and beyond the (beautiful) content on your website/blog.

    Every post/guest post/social media appearances/comments/bio and bylines out there pointing back to you must be up to date and relevant.

    There is no ‘magic’ trick to fix bio and bylines, you just need to keep these sections updated. Every time something changes on your blog, it is your responsibility (or your writer’s) to update all facets of your web presence.

    Just make sure you are guest blogging on sites where you target audience thrives because that bio/byline must sound interesting while being relevant. Stick to your field.

    In addition, make sure your bios contain your primary keyword for SEO purposes.


George Jackson

My perfect customers are people who are in a co-dependent relationship based around substance abuse. They are the friends or family or an alcoholic or addict. Problem is, they are usually in denial and studies show they will put up with the abuser’s behavior for 8-10 YEARS or more before they finally either seek outside help (for themselves and/or their abuser) or just give up and sever ties with the abuser. There is so much denial going on that makes this a challenging market. We’ve seen very few people tackle it and I’m beginning to realize why after having done the following and getting no sales.

We put together an extensive self-study course (intended to maintain confidentiality over the option of going to a support group which many resists), built a good website and sales funnel, and spent a lot on advertising in places like FB where we would put pictures of miserable-looking people with headlines like “How to get them clean and sober?”


Sigh…well I started my blog to give out correct and updated info about Slab City. I really don’t know how to monitise and not sure who my customers are. I get about 500-700 visitors a day, but they are not commenting…no interaction and the only “money” I have made was from the T-shirts I designed and bought MYSELF (for gifts – a whopping $8 bucks, LOL)…so I guess this advise works better for peeps with a “service”. Oh well, I guess it is a public service sight paid for by my own funds.

Matt S. Law

I wrote a book and am writing a blog on improving your life through the daily investment of 15 minutes of effort. My target audience is pretty unfocused (“people who want to improve their life financially, relationally, or spiritually in some way” and “are busy”?). Which I think covers everyone in the world. I’m not sure if there’s a particular type of blog that I should be seeking readers from? Any advice?


    I advice against this kind of targeting everyone in the world. That will make you a jack of all trades and a master of none. It is important to appear as an expert in your field/industry since authority counts now more than ever – in real world and in search engines.

    Focus on a definite target market to create smarter, more effective web content that ACTUALLY works for you and your target audience. Writing for everyone might indeed bring in a huge surge in traffic…but this traffic will be low quality and your close rate will suffer.

    To define your target market/audience (and create effective web content):
    – Pin point the problem(s) your products solve
    – Look at your past clients (or your most ideal client who pays well)
    – Don’t overestimate your reach, carry out studies and surveys. Ask your target audience to understand them
    – Network via social media and get feedback
    – Don’t rely on your personal knowledge and experience, research about your prospective client (Google is a good place to start)
    – Understand your business model (how you will reap a revenue)
    – Study your competition
    – Use data from your Google Analytics account

    Best Regards,


Part 1: I have not published my blog yet but I have been writing up articles. Luckily I have been writing my content directed to ideal customers. Part 2: What I struggle the most is giving out enough information to interest people but not giving them all the info to where they would just read my blog and not buy my services. My ideal customer is an accounting professional who is looking into getting a new job but wants to polish their interviewing skills. Again, I have not yet published the info but I know that I don’t know how to convert readers into clients. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Rosemary Breen

So, am I writing for the right person? Yes and No (thanks Derek!)

Yes, I am because I attract likeminded people.

No, because they are already the ‘converted’.



Nick Ruiz

Part 1:
I don’t write for industry professionals…

Part 2:
My video blog about success and entrepreneurship is very new so I don’t have a lot of analytics yet, but I am getting some traffic. My problem is that I’m not capturing as many email addresses that I would like from my visitors. They stop by, and “bounce” and they may never come back again…

David Ivey

Thanks Derek.

As the editor of an e-Zine for lovers of Craft beer and Home Brew, called Black Bucket Brew. I’m tasked with the gathering and creation of great content, plus great graphics and photos. The bi-monthly issues are very good and get great feedback.

The struggle is in getting our web site visitors to sign up for our e-Zine.
We use the “tried and true” method of great content; the entry point.

The articles are entertaining and informative and reflect well on what is in each e-Zine issue. There are different ways for a visitor to sign up, plus they also receive a free e-book about enjoying craft beer even more when they do.

We also promote through Brew Pubs and micro breweries with limited conversion. it is puzzling to me why a greater percentage do not sign up.

I hope that your current series will be a momentum making moment for our Beer-zine.

David Ivey
Editor of Black Bucket Brew.com

Kelvin Wealth

Hi Derek, each time I read your blog post I feel I’m been flogged because i get to learn a lot of things….

Well my homework:
I think I’m dishing out the right content in my blog but i want to believe my challenge right now is that my niche is really saturated and it’s not that easy to stand out. I blog mainly on online entrepreneurship…


I’m writing for people like me, successful businesspeople within the outdoor festival and art show industry. My ideal customer is someone that is behind me on the learning curve, who still thinks it’s a myth that folks make a comfortable living doing this. However, the Festival Industry Professionals are my audience as well. I want to have conversations about the unique rules and quirks of our industry in a place where outsiders and up-and-comers can participate.

My biggest challenge to readership is that there is ZERO competition. The fact that thousands of us have actual careers is some kind of secret. The only information to be found about the outdoor festival industry comes from our fanbase. While they support us and our livelihood, they are not the folks we sit with and have business building conversations. Many of them love the characters we create too much to be excited to see behind the mask.

I think there is another customer/reader. She is a person who simply wants to believe and artist can make a living on her own artwork, or a comedian can pay the bills doing what he loves, or a restaurateur can run a high-volume restaurant that feeds 4000 people in a day, and then shut it down and go on vacation, able to return and do it again next year. All of these things are true.

The real question I see I need to ask myself is “How can I sell my expertise to these people?”

Lise Halskov

1) I used to write to my industry, and boy was it boring to read! I gave up on the formal tone and decided to use my own and that incresed subscriptions dramatically

2) My cubscribers are really loyal but growing my list is a bit slow at times. My challenge in attracting the right people is that they don’t know that I can make a big difference in their business. My background is project management, but what I do is zoom in on what in their way of working makes their projects go over time and budget and how to fix it. So the trick is to explain that what they see as hard to avoid can be fixed by me without them having to go through long project management courses.


    Great the change you made. Coming out as ‘rigid’ and ‘all-corporate’ (rather than personable, excited and thrilling) on your blog will lower your conversion rates since your people (target audience) want to engage with you (a real person who understands their problem and is willing enough to help them).

    Since your plan is to give them the information real quick so there will no need for long project management course, you can highlight this on your blog. Put it up everywhere, let your target audience understand how your blog will benefit them.

    Don’t be shy about showing your value. Let your web content work for you 🙂



I think that sometimes I do confuse who my audience is. Because I have heard that one of the best ways to get new readers is by commenting on other blogs, I may end up tailoring some of my posts more to people that are like me rather than ideal customers.

I write a fashion blog, and my ideal customer is 25-40 who appreciates good style and wants insight into where fashion is and is going (while still being timeless). As a result, my ideal customer isn’t already a blogger, but one who is willing to spend time looking at a blog for fashion insight.

My biggest struggle is getting people back to my site. While my return rate is high, given the number of readers I have, I am still trying to connect to a bigger audience. I am still trying to figure out the best way to do that.

If I had answered last week’s questions, I think I would have answered them incorrectly, because I incorrectly assumed that having other fashion bloggers give me a shout out would be the road to more customers. That said, I’m wondering where my best customers might come from instead? Perhaps getting shout outs from clothing retailers would be better?

Any insight would be helpful.


    I was hoping I’d find another fashion blogger in the comments!

    I haven’t been at it very long, but I’m finding the hardest thing with gaining an audience is moving beyond your personal social media circles. It would be great to stop bothering my Facebook network with blog material which I’m sure only interests 10% of my friend base. (I feel like I don’t have many friends who are actually into fashion.) So I think I’m still avoiding industry pros — but I’m not necessarily reaching my target audience either.

    With content, it’s tricky to know how much to write… I’m an avid reader and writer (even in an online setting), and I still find myself scrolling past the article text to get to the fashion pictures. Alexandra, I like that your blog is structured such that you get a sneak preview of the post. You’ve used effective introductions that make me curious to click onward!


    Hey Alexandra,

    Perhaps you can try guest blogging on relevant authority blogs/websites where you target market thrives. Ensure every post you publish achieves a keyword density of 2.5%, contains catchy subheadings, boldface and italicized sections while keeping everything short and sweet.

    If you use social media to distribute your content, ensure that your social media shares contain your primary keywords to improve your rank on Google and other search engines.

    Generally, you want to start creating smarter, more effective web content by:
    – Creating entertaining and informative content
    – Following all the rules of SEO
    – Linking to other bloggers and websites to build your link profile hence authority
    – Use different content structures to serve your content (articles, top lists, “how to guides”, infographics, interviews and such. Optimize all your images with your primary keywords.
    – Engage your audience in the comment section



    Just checked your website. Really inspirational. Will sign up.


Part 1: Guilty as charged! I used to write about obscure jewelry exhibits, philosophical musings about art, etc, etc.

Fortunately, I did Marie Forleo’s Bschool and had the forehead-slapping realization that potential customers don’t relate or care.
Now I write (or make videos) about how to get your ring size, buy jewelry for your wife, how I can customize pieces.

My ideal client is 40+, successful in her field, is adventurous in travel reads the New Yorker, fiction, is comfortable rewarding herself for her achievements.

Part 2: This is the part that is challenging me. Actually it isn’t the part about attracting them back, it is attracting them in the first place. I surveyed my clients, and they don’t really read blogs!

In the survey, I was hoping to discover blogs, magazines, that I could target, but the only one that kept popping up was the New Yorker, a largely text-based magazine….not ideal for placement for a jeweler. So, the question remains in my mind, where can I find my idiosyncratic ideal customer?

Eric Scism

Step 1: I’m not writing towards industry professionals. I’m definitely writing more towards the ideal customers. I’m helping them out as resource / review site to help them find the ideal cigars they would enjoy. I’m working on creating a site that gives them more options for the cigars they want. That’s the end goal is to warn people of a product that isn’t that great and they shouldn’t waste their money and then offer them a better cigar that is similar to price point and flavor profile.

Step 2: I don’t have a huge struggle in getting back to the site because the majority of my traffic comes from my social media presence and the cigar community on reddit. The problem I have is obtaining subscribers via RSS and email. I’m gaining a nice sized email list, but I have yet to implement it effectively. In fact I’ve failed to send out the first email to that list. Perhaps it’s easy enough to set fix that mistake right now? Would you suggest sending every post update via email to make sure each subscriber sees it?


    You want your email subscribers to feel a bit special than other visitors to your blog. Do this:

    – Take your blog content and rewrite the content with your subscribers in mind
    – Make it personal
    – Compress the long posts to make for easier reading
    – Ensure you include your SEO keywords in your emails
    – Encourage your readers to share your newsletters
    – WIN!



Step 1: I write for ideal customers, not industry professionals, but because I market on facebook and twitter to my networks, lots of my readers are industry professionals (yoga teachers and health coaches), and therefore don’t really have a need for my services. [super guilty of why blogs fail – ie going after my own networks instead of getting other blogs to send me readers]
Step 2: I struggle getting NEW people to my site. While I don’t have high volumes of traffic every day/week/month, I do have consistent volume. The consistent volume doesn’t convert over to sales though (in fact I just had a flat-out failed launch for a product that has gotten rave reviews from clients last round… something’s not working, obv). I struggle the most on how to get their attention … I work with women on yoga and nutrition for weight loss, body image, and overall health and fitness. I use a mindbody approach that goes into the psychology of why people aren’t losing weight, have problems with their metabolism, etc. but I’m finding out that most women primarily want to lose the weight, tone up, and (initially) could care less about the deeper reasons why they are failing. Basically I struggle with figuring out how to “sell them what they want and give them what they need” without being unauthentic.


    Brittany I agree that most women initially just want to lose weight and don’t care about the deeper issues, but once you’ve got them signed up you can start to educate them about the root cause and deeper reasons when they’re ready to hear it – ie when they’ve started to make progress, seen results and want to make deeper changes because you’ve helped them feel great. The initial focus is to move away from pain, the second is to move towards pleasure. You can stay authentic by reflecting where your client is at initially, while knowing you have a long term solution to offer them further down the line – then it’s a win-win for both of you 🙂


I love this article and this series. I’m happy with how I’ve built my blog, but I like reading to further hone in on conversions and getting the right subscribers 🙂

Adrijus G.

1. My targeted customer:

Self published author/coach/small biz owner who preferably has a book out already and is releasing new one and needs a cover design. They are too busy to do it themselves and want professionals work that represents them well and gets sales of the book.

Haven’t posted on design blogs only on those about writer interests/needs so far.

2. Problem:

Not getting inside the mind of the customer as much as I’d like. I can write content but there are many types of customers and different attitudes they have towards book covers (DIY it or buy cheap one or spend more money on it). Some aren’t even aware of that so you can’t ask them about it or get to it easily.



1) Oh man.. I am glad Im reading this now. I have only just started blogging but I definitely wrote (and was planning on writing a lot more) super specific blog posts which would leave potential customers overwhelmed with the amount of useless (to them) information.

It’s just so much fun writing about your research but it’s not what potential customers are looking for right away. (Or do you think more specific/scientific blog posts can help you prove your expertise to potential customers?)

2) Biggest struggle is finding a way to let people know about new content but not sounding too pushy.

Also: it’s tough to have a specific “ideal customer” in mind. How do you know those customers exist? And how do you know you’ve picked the “right” ideal customer?

Sarah Yost

I have certainly written for other coaches because I have a popular guide, Coaching Practice in a Box, which is designed for new coaches. But I don’t only work with new coaches. They’re just one group of my ideal customers. What I have done sometimes is written in a way that coaches understand instead of also writing for civilians. And I’ve often dismissed topics because I think everyone knows it already.

My biggest struggle with getting people back to my website is getting out of my circle of coaches and creative bizzy people. I have a lot of new coaches as clients and readers but I want to work with civilians as well. I really need to step out.

As far as the homework from the previous post, I think I stayed too close to my comfort zone of people. I would be better served getting a link from
1. Additude Mag because they serve adults with ADD. My clients have focus issues, many of which are caused by ADD.
2. Write to Done because they’re a kickass font of resources for writers many of whom have ADD, focus issues and a shit ton of Resistance.
3. Girls Gone Child (carryover from the last post) because she’s a lot like me personality wise and if her readers like her and want help with personal development and creative resistance, I’m their girl.


Food for thought, indeed. I had a gut check when I realized that my target audience (people who are too poor/too cheap to buy workout equipment) are not likely to want to spend money on much of anything that’s not absolutely necessary!

Oh well… On to another niche! LOL

This whole writing for your peers vs. target audience is an obvious distinction, in hindsight!

Thanks again,



I’m afraid I can’t say I’ve actively started blogging yet – probably reading too much advice and not DOING. That’s another subject, but your article really made me think. I’m an artist, I would like to sell my work. Yet the blogs I’m thinking about doing revolve around tips on how to do what I do. Maybe that’s what’s been holding me back – my content didn’t feel right and I didn’t know why. Well, duh! I suppose it shouldn’t have taken your article to make me see I’d be writing to fellow artists, not buyers! But it did, so thank you for that!


    @Raschella, your readers want to read about how to invest in art, how to keep te value intact, tips how to clean art, should i invest in art during a crisis or after the crisis… succes

Donna J. Shepherd

You’ve made me think today. And yes – I’m writing and attracting other professionals in my field (authors) and not really successful in attracting book buyers. Now I need to re-think the content for my two major blogs (one is inspirational, the other for children) to offer valuable content that’s provokes an interest in my books. I thought I’d been doing that, but apparently, not well enough. Thanks for the post.



Very hard-hitting article! Considering this, I’m attracting other creatives and not necessarily customers. I blog about a variety of things – Pinterest finds, shop updates, new products, sometimes marketing. But I see where I’m making a big mistake: featuring other shops that I find interesting (which defeats the purpose of trying to sell my product if customers are redirected to others).

My ideal customer is someone who loves to celebrate everyday occasions with cute stationery. Someone who wants a different card other than what they see in a dollar store or Hallmark. Intelligent, tech savvy, creative and loves a DIY every now and then. Hmm, maybe I should post paper DIY projects? Boy oh boy, looks like a long brainstorming session is coming…

Catherine Chen

Hi Derek,
Part I: I’m definitely writing for my target market (busy professionals who want to take better care of themselves with nutrition and stress management)

Part II:
I definitely have trouble getting people to click the link to my blog post. My open rate is OK (~30-40%) but even less click the link to my post, even though I have a well-thought out copy leading up to it. Since the click rate is so low, I’m worried that my conversion to sales won’t be as great either.

Thanks for all you do, these posts have been helpful.



I’m a dating coach and considering that I blog for BOTH men and women on one blog, I’ve decided recently to launch a second blog. My concern has always been if women read the men’s stuff, or the men read the women’s stuff, then I think I’ll lose them. I’ll keep them all on the same domain, just a different installation.

Great stuff and this has reinforced my thinking – unless you disagree? 🙂

Nancy Fox

I appreciated your example of your lawyer. The reason your lawyer’s blog was geared to other lawyers is, in fact, quite logical, given the way 90% (and I do mean 90%) of lawyers get their business.
They get their business from other lawyers’ referrals.
Depending on their area of specialization (I’m going to take a shot and say your lawyer is a basic business lawyer vs. a litigator or IP attorney). He would usually get his business through referrals from other attorneys (in different specializations) and accountants. That’s how they love to get business – they rarely seek out business from the actual end user – you and me, the client.
It’s how they’ve been trained, it’s what they’re used to.
And also, the mindset of most lawyers is they want to write for other lawyers so they seem knowledgeable, legal-smart so lawyers will think well enough of them to refer their clients.
Some advanced-thinking lawyers are just now starting to market/network with/direct their content to the end user market- the actual business client.

Most of my business is with professionals – solo’s and boutique firms. I teach them how to get business and how to market and network- online and live.
You are absolutely right that most people are looking in the wrong places.
Similarly, they are networking in the wrong places too.
If I write to my entrepreneurial clients the way I write to my legal clients, a total disconnect happens – just as you say.
I’m not certain that lawyers will easily or quickly shift from referral-mentality to direct client biz dev/blogging.
I’ll stay tuned.

    Derek Halpern

    That’s where you’re mistaken.

    You’re assuming he was doing this because he wanted more referrals. That’s simply not true.

    He was doing it because he wasn’t thinking about the type of content he was creating. How do I know this? Because that’s what he told me.

    What you’re saying makes sense, from a lawyers perspective. But again, that wasn’t the case here.

    But I do appreciate your comment.


Your comment about fitness professionals focusing on other blogs for readers hit home for me because that’s what I have been doing. Can’t believe I never realized the silliness of that concept. Content wise I feel I’m writing for the right audience but there is always room for improvement.

My biggest struggle with getting people back to my site would be just getting their attention I suppose and creating content they can use. But since I may have been looking in the wrong place to begin with that could be the issue.

Laurie Wheeler

The secret to my one blog success (building a different one right now) I didn’t care 3 figs if anyone liked it, came to read it, or wanted more. As long as I was having fun it worked. The minute I started worrying about “doing right” I did it all wrong. So I went back to not giving a rats @ss 🙂 in fact, I purposefully write 1 blog post a quarter that is guaranteed to tick off “certain readers” (the get it for free guy) and I always grow 🙂

    James M.

    Awesome Laurie! There’s nothing like doing your thing because you enjoy doing it, even if it means breaking some rules that other folks invent.

    I think I’m going on the same route, although at this stage my blog is not as successful as yours, yet. I write about anything I feel like writing about. This means I’m not holding on to a specific niche. After cooling off for a couple of years, I’m getting back and resurrecting my blog and see what comes out of it in the Post Penguin-Panda-Whatever google era. 🙂

Designer Rob Russo

I’m targeting social media managers, entrepreneurs and small business owners that need help/tips with social media (and other) design. I’ve got two, targets, I guess. B2C for the small biz owner. B2B for the social media manager.

Recently, I thought I should focus B2B as I’ve seen a lot of social media managers/marketers/experts/gurus talk the talk, get the clients and know all about social media timing, scheduling, posting… But are lacking on everything relating to social media design.

But I realize pricing is an issue … End clients should pay more, theoretically. B2B might bring in more business, but they want a break in price, so they can re-sell to their clients.

I thought my biggest struggle was creating more valuable content, but even with my new(er) blog and relatively small amount of content, I guess the bigger struggle is finding the right social media managers that have the money (or client’s money) to spend on quality social media design.


Hi Derek,

My homework:

1.- I write for my prospective clients. no doubts about that. They are all there asking me for more

2.- They come, they read, they love it and they come back… But I’m having a hard time converting them to sales. I’m sure I’ve not found the product they really need but that talks about my lack of idea on how to “listen” to them.


    Suzen Pettit

    ditto, Guillermo, it’s one thing to read the blog- i see my stats- my opens and click throughs are decent, and i’ve even been approached to guest blog on a few other blogs, but converting to sales? whole ‘nother ballgame. that’s what i need help with as well

J.W. Simpkins

Right on Derek! I find that in my niche too many bloggers write articles meant to impress other bloggers in the same niche, instead of ordinary folks looking to learn real solutions to their problems.

For someone like myself who just started blogging, your newsletter has been invaluable. Keep up the good work!

Yassin Hives

I really don’t care that much about visitors, I ensure that i give the best quality of content on the web, I have my strategies on SEO that always work, when it comes to converting i visit your blog 🙂 and the magic happens

Thomas Frank

I can confidently say I haven’t been making the first mistake. I run a college tips website, and all my content is pretty much tailored to students (aside from my general resource articles anyone can use)

I have made the mistake of trying to get links from the wrong websites in the past, though. Since I was so caught up in trying to “become awesome at blogging”, I wrote a bunch of guest posts about WordPress and blogging. That’s great and all – but college students aren’t reading that kind of stuff.

So I guess my biggest struggle at this point is coming up with content that will be interesting to students, and then finding sites to pitch it to that students actually read. (Though my true struggle is just finding time to focus on any one of the dozen ideas and projects I have going on)


Step 1: Our ideal readers are people who want to start their own businesses but don’t know a lot about business. We write almost exclusively for them, giving them tips, resources and information to start and grow their businesses faster. Perhaps we are being too broad, but we’re working on that.

I think we’ve done a good job of talking to the people we’d most like to buy from us.

Step 2: One of our struggles is that we aren’t sure how to pinpoint the reasons people are leaving our site. We look at the way visitors flow through the site and their exit pages, but with about 1,000 web site visitors per month, the stats aren’t significant enough for us to really hone in on why people leave the site, or don’t sign up to our newsletter.

Thanks again Derek!

    Derek Halpern

    This is a perfect example of homework that’s done right.

Joe Cassandra

Part 1: I don’t feel that I’ve “written” for industry professionals, but definitely try and build up a relationship in hopes that they send over readers

My ideal reader would be a recent graduate and/or a 22-30 aged young professional just getting out into the real world for the first time. The problem is they’ve been taught a way to think that is more passive than active (an employee vs. entrepreneurial mind)

I believe my problem is that I write on various topics and have been told I am too “general.” This will probably make it hard to stand out in a niche already competitive. I get decent unique visitors but not a ton of subscribers.

I’m not sure if I’m too “niche down” or build multiple sites for the different topics to discuss. I hope to build it up to sell informational products/consulting & more

Cheers Derek

    Liz Carbonaro

    @Joe – I’m in the same boat you are with writing from the perspective of an entrepreneurial mind versus the employee mind – sooo frustrating!!

    I popped over to your site and noticed that the points to attract your target market are well below the fold. You might consider reordering your page and moving the points that attract your market (being recently graduates 22-30 yrs old in professional niches) to the actual header (above your main navigation – which I would suggest sticking to the very top of the site). I don’t think making multiple sites is needed. Tweaking your headline to something like, “How to Recession Proof Your Newly Acquired Degree” subhead “You have the degree you were told would give you career security, only it hasn’t for the over 100k layoffs since Nov 2012” optin “Get my top 7 strategies to secure your future, for free”

    Hope you don’t mind my unsolicited advise 🙂 I’ve had recent epiphanies myself because either innately or my upbringing I’ve never had an employee mind (to just follow and not take my own initiative to find, to and have more for myself and everyone around me) and have just recently realized that trying to attract others (and my target market IS the entrepreneur, sadly) from the standpoint that they already operate from a place of self-motivation versus wanting to be told what to do has been killing my connection with my audience.

    Even though my market (and a staff member I recently hired) *say* they are entrepreneurial minded and want to lead, they really aren’t/don’t. Their *actions* clearly indicate they are seeking someone to lead them and then somehow let them *think* that they are the ones that are leading!

    Anywho, whatever you decide best of luck to you!


    Derek Halpern

    Perfect example of stellar homework.


I believe I’m targeting the right people for my blog. However, I’m not attracting them or getting many people to read. This also seems to be related to my larger question if blogging helps with converting soft sales.

    Derek Halpern

    So you’re having problems with getting the right people back to your site? What are you doing to get their attention? Why do you think its failing? Be specific.


      I have been relying on content, which isn’t working. The blog isn’t getting people’s attention. I have read your content enough to know that social media links or back linking won’t really help. Let me know if you need more details. I really appreciate your feedback!

        Beau Blackwell

        Hi Amy,

        One idea that Derek has spoken about before to attract people back to your site is to create content that challenges the status quo or otherwise “takes a stand” and then let other bloggers or newsmakers know about it so they’re inclined to weigh in or challenge you. This can then attract members of their crowd who are intrigued by you and your ideas. Lots more info on it here:

        You’re obviously passionate about your topic and content, but in reading it I didn’t notice much that people could passionately agree or disagree with (i.e., recognize themselves as a member of your tribe). For example, you could respond to articles written by other people talking about therapy, weigh in on current events, etc. It’s just one way to try to attract readership, but it can be a powerful one if done well.

        Also, I may be missing something, but I only saw 3 posts on your site. That seems like too small of a sample size to determine that the content “isn’t working,” but maybe the site you have linked isn’t the blog you’re referring to.

        Hope this helps a bit, and best of luck to you!

          Omer Khan

          Amy…are you actually getting much traffic to your blog today? If not, then the answer may actually do what Derek’s been going on about….find other websites where you can guest post and have a link back to your site.

          It doesn’t have to be a ‘competitor’ site — just look for sites that seem to attract your target audience and where there may be an opportunity for you to share some tips/advice/information etc. If that site already has an audience, it could be a far more effective way to reach and engage with your target audience instead of waiting for them to find your blog — which will happen eventually, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Good luck!


          If those sites already have an audience


          Thank you to everyone for taking the time to offer such thoughtful responses. I will consider the tribe building aspect and taking a stand in my posts. Thank you for the feedback!


          Ditto with Janet – Beau, I really like your advice here. I like how you suggest taking a stand on something, challenging the status quo. Nice.


          I made note of your comments “Say something that makes people think they are part of your tribe.” I like that.

        David Paul Krug

        No offfense Amy but 3 blog posts does not make a blog. You need high quality content maybe once a week over the long haul as you grow your practice. That’s just in my experience.

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