Targeting your audience

In this video, Dr Erik de Lange gives some tips and examples on how to target a specific audience with your academic blog. In the text below we give an additional exercise that can help you pinpoint your audience.

Erik de Lange on how to target your scientific blog to a specific audience

Tips and tricks

Writing style

Figure out the reader profile and the corresponding level of knowledge: demographics, profession, educational background. These will determine your writing style.  

Pleasing everyone is not a good option

  • Write a paragraph on ‘About this blog’ to help you make explicit what you want to achieve and who you want to reach with your blog. 
  • Beware of ‘the general reader’, because it is too broad: in aiming to please everyone you will please no-one. What is essential information for one type of reader, will be annoyingly simplistic for another. 

Adapt your format to your audience

Every outlet comes with its own particular audience and expectations. Adapt your format to your audience. Think about: 

  • Platform: for instance Wordpress is well suited for regular diary-type updates, while some types of subject using mainly visuals are well suited for Instagram. The UU provides an easy Wordpress template for you to use. 
  • Frequency: if your blog aims to discuss current affairs, your reader will expect regular updates. 
  • Keywords and slugs: use keywords and slugs to pinpoint your reader.

Create a feedback loop

How do you know you target your audience successfully? By using other media to disseminate your posts and using the statistics to help you get a sense of your readership. For instance: LinkedIn, Twitter, Regularly review what appears to work and what doesn’t. 

A little exercise 

Try to describe a reader as vividly and as specifically as you can. Then write a piece for him/her/them. Think about: 

  • Which metaphors and examples will speak to them? 
  • Which level of explanation will they require?  
  • Which everyday experiences that are important to them can you connect your subject to? 

If you can write something that is compelling to this specific reader, all other types of readers will be a bonus.

Reading tips

Thinking about the intended audience is necessary in all stages of blogging, not just at the start. You could start by thinking about blogs you yourself like to read.