So, you’ve made the decision to start an online business — or maybe you’ve been grinding away at one for a few years now. Or maybe you are pursuing a passion that you would like to turn into a full-time career.

Whatever bucket you fall into, one thing remains true: creating highly valuable content is crucial to building a healthy community online.

The first thing that you should focus on is getting ultra clear on who your target audience is so that you can provide as much value to them as possible.

In this post, we will go over three questions that you should answer in detail before you create your first piece of content.  

  1. Who are they as a person?

  2. What places do they frequently visit online?

  3. What challenges do they have that you can help them solve?

If you can define the answers to these questions we’ll enough, you will be able to create content in the form of stories that will speak volumes to them, despite the actual length. Also, by understanding the answer to these questions, you will better know how your tribe prefers to consume content. Maybe they prefer podcasts over blog posts or videos over eBooks.

Don’t leave it up to guessing, you have to dig in and find the answer to these questions if you are to set your content up for success.

You don’t want to start off your journey by heading in the wrong direction. It pays to answer these questions then plan accordingly. Below are some practical tips to help you find these answers.

Question #1: Who Is Your Audience?

As you start to define your target audience, you will have to start with a broad view of who they are as a person. The best type of content is the one created for a specific person in mind.

Start to paint a picture of who your ideal customer would be. These can be characteristics such as…

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Job role
  • Passions
  • Hobbies
  • Family size
  • Etc

Take some time to write down these characteristics in a place that you can easily access it, as you will be updating it as you learn more about your audience. I use Evernote to catalog all the important details about my audience because it is super-searchable and easy to access from my iPhone or MacBook.

Question #2: Where does your audience frequently spend time online?

This refers to the most popular blogs, news outlets, forums, or other websites where your audience goes to learn more or stay up to date on the topics they care about most. This question will come in handy in many ways.

One way you can use this information is to help drum up new ideas for content that your audience will enjoy.  If you know your audience is interested in photography then make a list of 5-10 of the most popular photography blogs and take note of the types of content they are sharing.  

It could be product reviews, tutorials, opinion posts or even just rants, whatever it may be, take note of it and see if it fits into your mission statement for your content strategy.

Another way you can use this information is to use it when you start to advertise on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google.  Most of these advertising networks allow you to target certain interests your audience may have, including specific websites.  

Keep a log of the top sites your audience visits and use them in your advertising targeting to get your message in front of their fans and website visitors.

Question #3: What challenges can you help your audience solve?

I heard a great podcast episode from Entrepreneur on Fire where John Lee Dumas talked with Tina Marie on how businesses can grow better by helping their leaders think deeper.  In the episode, Tina mentioned that she doesn’t focus on the “pains and problems” of the people she seeks to help, rather she sees them as challenges that she can help them solve.

I love this outlook because there is something about a challenge the sparks a fire under a person to take it on and solve it.  

When it comes to your audience, if you can describe the challenges they face with great detail, provide steps on how they can overcome them, and encourage them through the process, you will build massive trust and they will not only thank you, but most likely tell others who are having similar challenges about you and where they can find you.  

Now it’s time to take action…

Get a pen and a piece of paper and start physically writing out the answer to each of these questions.  There is something about writing it out physically that really brings these answers to life.  

Don’t worry about making it clean or perfect, you can put it into Evernote or Google Drive later.  Just get it out of your head.

Choose today to start getting hyper clear on who your audience is, where they spend their time online, and what challenges you can help them solve.

Here’s a fun challenge, write out the answers to these 3 challenges, take a picture of it and come post it on our Brave Creative Pros Facebook Group!  I’d love to see what you came up with.

As always if you have any questions drop them in the comment section below.  Take care and keep on creating!