Blogging 101: Part 1 — Who’s Your Audience?

by Jaclyn Y. Garver
Ivy Tech Community College Northeast
Fort Wayne, IN

Late this summer, I gave a Blogging 101 presentation as part of a summer series hosted by a local group for nonprofits. The audience was primarily nonprofit employees who were considering starting a blog, had just begun a blog, or had an ongoing blog but felt they were stuck.

The three most important pieces of the presentation dealt with the blog’s audience, goals and promotional efforts. This is the first of a three-part series to help anyone who wants to start a blog for his or her college and doesn’t know where to start.

First up: Audience

Before getting started with any blog, the most important thing to ask yourself is: Who cares?

Who will you blog for? Who are you trying to interest? Who is your ideal reader?

Your blog’s audience is the single most important thing about blogging. Because before you know what you should write, you need to know whom you’re writing for.

Do you mean to be a space for your current students to have something fun to read? Where you can come across not as a suit reminding students about registering for next semester and bookstore hours, but as someone who can showcase the light-hearted and human-interest stories going on around campus?

Or would you rather devote your blogging efforts to recruiting new students – to those who are unfamiliar with campus and won’t understand your casual references to spots like Ivy Tower Plaza or Anthony Commons?

Maybe you want to focus your blog on donors who are going to want to learn more about numbers and successes rather than anything a student or prospective student might be interested in.

None of these answers are right, by the way. There’s value to each audience. The point is to know who you’re targeting and to create content that is going to interest that particular audience.

I found a really handy blog post on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog about the six different types of nonprofit blog posts. If you’re feeling unsure about whom you should target or what you should write once you determine your audience, Kivi can help. For example, say you want to be known as a resource or problem-solver on campus, then you might create a “toolbox blog,” which is heavy on things like how-to’s, interviews, success stories, and case studies. This kind of blog is going to show your reader how to be proactive and solve his or her own problems and would probably be best geared toward an audience of current students.

Still not sure about your target audience? That’s OK. If you’re feeling stuck, try thinking about what you hope to achieve with your blog. Better informed students? A spot for prospective students to get their questions answered? A way to showcase your campus’s beauty?

Which brings us to my next topic – Goals. Watch for it in a couple of weeks.

Jaclyn Y. Garver is the media relations and communications coordinator for the Northeast campus of Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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