Paedra Sohrens, head of marketing for Justis Publishing in the UK, asked at my LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group “How do you figure out what your target audience considers to be relevant content?” In addition to the answers from other members here’s my answer.
The first thing to do is to make a list of your target audience. Clients, prospective clients, and referral sources are a no-brainer. That’s the first group.
The second group is the influencers of the first group. 5% of people are going to influence 95%. These influencers include bloggers, reporters, association leaders, conference coordinators, publishers, and the like. You need to identify those influencers of your core group – clients, prospective clients, and referral sources.
What associations are the core group in? What blogs might they read that have high readership (ID with Google Reader search)? What publications do they read? What conferences do they attend? It often does not matter if your clients ever read your blog for you to reach them through influencers who may quote you or invite to speak at a conference attended by members of your core target group.
The second thing is to listen to your target audience. That’s how you determine what your target audience is interested in.
With clients and prospective clients that’s easy. What are the questions and concerns on their minds? As a lawyer you get those questions and concerns everyday. Your interaction with clients and prospective clients is largely comprised of you answering questions and concerns. You’re an expert on the questions/concerns these folks have. Answer those questions in your blog in an engaging and conversational way.
In the case of the influencers set up a RSS reader, likely Google Reader, to listen to your target audience. Subscribe to blogs, news sites and keywords and key phrases. What are the thought leaders on other blogs discussing? What are reporters writing on? What are the subjects of relevant conferences? Those subjects are the relevant content for the influencers.
Write about the influencers and what they are writing about. They’ll see what you’re writing about them (they all have a RSS reader set up following their names and url’s). They’ll begin to follow you and they’ll begin to reference you.
Listening is more important in effective blogging than content. Listening allows you to write with empathy and to write in a way that’s relevant to your target audience.
For additional answers to the question, head to the discussion on Paedra Sohrens’ question at the Legal Blogging Group at LinkedIn.