If you’re writing a craft blog you're hoping to build an audience. You hit “publish” on a new post with the goal of having people to read it. Hopefully lots of people.
As craft bloggers, building a large audience can bring a lot of great things, including potential revenue sources, whether they come from selling ads, selling your products, or selling yourself to bigger publishing or craft companies as an expert in your field. With so many craft blogs and so much social media noise, though, it can be a daunting task to know how to bring that audience to you.
It can even be paralyzing.
Maybe a tutorial will draw readers in? But is it better to create a tutorial for a complex project in your area of expertise or something simple that anyone could easily replicate? Should you show the steps for a whole project or just focus on a single technique?
Or maybe readers want to see what you’re working on in your studio, but is show and tell boring?
Revealing your own vulnerability can be a way to bring people in, but how much is too much? Will exposing your failures erode your standing as an expert?
Ack! What should you write about then?
If you’ve ever sat down to compose a post and felt this sort of panic, you’re not alone. Creating a continual flow of valuable content is key to a maintaining a successful craft blog, but what that content should consist of can be elusive.
Do you want to get over this hurdle? Here’s how: write to a single person.
Don’t worry about your audience. Let go of your blog statistics. Forget about trying to please a crowd of thousands. Instead, develop a highly specific profile of a single person and write directly to them.
In order for this to work you need to put some time into fully describing this audience of one. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is my reader a man or a woman?
Where exactly does she live?
When does she read my blog?
How old is she?
What kind of crafting does she do? Is it a hobby or is she trying to sell her handmade wares?
Does she blog?
What kinds of frustrations does she encounter when she’s crafting, or thinking about crafting?
What does she wish she knew more about?
Who does she aspire to be as a crafter? As a blogger?
What does she love to make?
What other blogs and websites does she look at regularly?
I know it can be difficult to choose a single answer to some of these questions. One way to get some more insight is to look carefully at the last 10 people who’ve commented on your blog (besides your mom!). Click over to their blogs and learn more about them. Read their profiles, look at their photos, search for them on Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter to see what they’re interested in.
Make your single reader an amalgamation of these commenters. If you’d like you can even search through stock images and print out a photo of an actual person to represent her. Tape her up on the bulletin board near your computer.
When you sit down to write a new blog post, write to her. Imagine that yesterday afternoon you went over to visit her for an hour in her workspace. What was she making? What kinds of questions did she ask you about it? What advice did you give her? What will you show her when she comes to visit you in your studio?
Now compose a post just for her. Take pictures so that she can better understand what it is your talking about. Give her the information she needs, the pat on the back, the words of warning, the inspiration, and the tutorial that will make her day better.
Now you know exactly what to write about.
Believe it or not, the more specific the person is that you’re writing to, the broader appeal your posts will have. People will click and retweet, pin and share your post because they feel like you’re talking right to them. You’re solving their exact problem and showing them how to make something they’re going to love.
Writing to an audience of one will help you build an audience of many.