Conducting a solid research for your blog can be as challenging as creating your blog itself. But as with businesses, blogs cannot last in the long-term without planning guidelines in advance. And what do we need to prepare those guidelines? INFORMATION!
PR Research will help us to not work in the dark. It will be a great support when we sit down to set goals and objectives, plan PR programs and campaigns and also to evaluate effectiveness when we succeed (or fail!). If you handle the right tools , succeeding should be way easier.
After finishing your research you will be able to:
1. Know exactly where you are now (to later on know where you want to get).
2. Know exactly who your audience is and where it is located (to later on pick it up from there).
3. Know what their main interests are and what they need from blogs like yours (to use this as part of your future editorial lines or even your blog’s theme).
But where can you obtain useful information for your blog and what can we use it for?
1. Markets: You can obtain powerful information directly from the markets, extracting interesting conclusions. It will help you to make important decisions about your blog. It doesn’t only apply to finance, but also to trends, lifestyle, consumer behaviour…
Scenario: Considering the financial crisis, how will the fact that only few people can afford luxury goods affect your editorial line and how can you get advantage of that?
If you wanted to give shopping advice to rich people, you would eliminate a big portion of your target audience. A good alternative would be offering luxury inspiration to those without economical means who just want to dream and not necessarily buy.
2. Target Audience: Your target audience can tell you lots of things about itself. The information that you collect from it is crucial to be able to deliver an appropriate message decoded in the same language your readers use. Plus, knowing your target audience will help you position your message and to talk straight to them: what are their needs and preferences as customers and readers? Do you offer anything specific in your blog that may satisfy these expectations? How can you create content that suits your target audience?
Scenario: A little bit of demographic knowledge will do you good if you are a blogger in Cangurolandia and you want to reach only young girls in their 20s who are crazy about sewing. How big would your audience be in Cangurolandia? What would you tell your readers then? Maybe after your research you find out that there are a lot of young mums in Cangurolandia and you then decide that you want to talk about sewing clothes for babies!
3. Media: Finding out which media affects your potential audience the most will give you some clues on how to reach it and how to adapt your editorial lines to it.
Scenario: Is your audience actively commenting in another blog? Are there any online magazines that keep a substantial amount of readers that you want to attract? Which are your target audience’s favourite Social Networks?
How can you conduct a simple PR Research for your blog?
There are two levels of PR Research: primary (you conduct your own new research) and secondary (you take advantage of the already available data).
1. At a primary level you measure qualitative (through focus groups, depth interview studies, convenience polls or inquiry studies) and quantitative data (through email polls, face-to-face interviews or mail surveys). When preparing these surveys you should think about what you want to know about your audience and go straight to the point when asking for information.
*It would take me ages to explain all these things here! So if you are specifically interested in getting to know more about this, drop me an email.
2. The secondary level surprisingly always comes first and it can make us save time (and maybe money). It is based on the current situation of your blog and it will give you a rough idea of where to go by simply extracting data from your Analytics.
What can you do with your stats? You can prepare an Excel with those figures quantifying visits per month/per week, identifying strong and weak peaks.
It should then be relatively easy to see which posts have been more successful and you can start wondering why! Were you talking about a specific brand? Did you mention anything personal about yourself that made people go nuts? Did you include eye-catchy pictures?
Collect all this info and keep it somewhere safe. Once you’ve done your research, you will be ready to prepare your own Blog’s PR Plan.
Visit Girl with a Banjo next Wednesday for a new chapter on “Kickass PR plan for bloggers”!
Need personalized advice about this subject? Do not hesitate to contact me!
Picture credits: Mark Pillai has photographed Hanna Verhees and Solveig Mørk hansen for Elle Italia (May 2013).