Or, you might also be interested in this related post on the best free online marketing training every marketer should use.
Step 3: Finding Your Audience
If you’re going to be a professional blogger, your most important asset is the reader base that you develop with your blog.
When you’re just starting out, you need to spend some time thinking about the different types of people that search for information in your area of passion.
Note that I’m not using the term “niche” or “market segment” yet. Those aspects come later.
At this point in time, all you need to do is think about what problems people have that are related to your passion/area of interest, and how you might use your blog to help solve those problems.
The best way to do this is to go through an exercise of putting yourself into your users’ shoes. Try to brainstorm at least 5 different personas of people who would look for information on your topic, and then try to figure out why they’re looking for that information.
Are they looking to purchase a product? Take a course? Expand their knowledge?
If you were them, what action would you want to take?
Step 4: Evaluating Your Market
Most people will tell you that finding your audience and evaluating your market are one and the same, but I see a clear difference.
I list finding your audience first because I believe that your reader base is the number 1 most important aspect of your blog. It has to do with who you expect to address with your posts.
Evaluating your marketing is different. This step has a much more “businessy” aspect to it, since you need to start to think about things like search trends, competition, and product opportunities.
You can only do this, however, if you’ve gone through the process of putting yourself in your reader’s shoes and can take a good guess at what those readers need.
In other words, finding your audience is about figuring out a set of readers, while evaluating your market is about finding a hole to fill.
Step 5: Determining the Potential Opportunity
Step 5 is where you start to get into the math behind your new business.
Specifically, you want to identify how your blog is going to make money. Are you relying on affiliate products or a service you offer? What do you think is a reasonable ratio between the number of visitors you need and the amount of money you’d like to earn?
If you’re starting a new affiliate site and don’t know what assumptions to use, I suggest using a placeholder of $100 per thousand visitors. This varies by industry, but is a good base case that I believe most affiliate sites can achieve. You can read more on some example affiliate math here.