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5 things learned in 5 years of blogging : The personas

eLogoAs said in my previous article, I would like to share some master tips I learned during these 5 years without falling in the most obvious tips like “Quality first article”. It’s not a recipe for a successful blog but I’m sure they could help you and improve your blog overall quality. This series will be composed by 5 article, here’s the first one.

Identify what’s your profile and the profiles of your readers.

That’s perhaps the most important things to do if you want to have a relatively consistent blog and that’s perhaps the most undone thing by bloggers. I’m not saying your have to be a marketing guru or act as a Mad Men actor trying to sell anything to anyone ! The goal here is to identify clearly your target, what are your goals and how to stay consistent.

Bloggers Personas

If I take a look at the well known “10 Blogging Personas to Help You Target and Focus Your Content” from John Saddington I can define my blog writer persona as a “How to” or Educational blogger. What’s the point of knowing that ? Well, once again : consistency. That mean if for example I want to start to talk about music or photography, with other blog writer persona on theses, I’ll create dedicated blogs. This blog as a purpose and clearly identifying it allow me to keep it clean. At the beginning I’ve done this error with some article about music or politic and guess what ? They are the less consulted one, not because they’re not great, just because they’re not on their right location. On my other music related blog, the exact same article bought me many viewers and comments. What if I start to explain my last travel on this blog ? Well I’m pretty sure you don’t care, and you’re right to don’t care about, you’re not here for that. That allow me to talk about the second point, your reader personas.

Readers Personas

Readers personas will allow you to improve quality of your articles. You can easily found articles about how to create persona like this one or this one.  I’ll not give you the full list of persona’s I’ve identify on this blog but one of the most important one is ‘John the .Net Developer coming from Google’. This one is +/- 80% of my total traffic. (I know it with the analytics reports, 80% of the incomes have google as referrer). He’s mainly between 20 and 30, male sex (assume that based on the Forbes article “Women in Tech: Female Developers By the Numbers”) and looking for a quick solution to a technical problem. That means I can improve my article structure and choice to match their need. The benefit for me are multiple, but the one I prefer is feeling more useful and helpful for the others !

Usage of Personas

That said I also want to precise something really important. IF YOU WANT, DO IT ! By this I mean, if I want to write an article without meeting one or more of my readers personas and outside of my writer persona, well, I’ll do it, but I’ll not except a lot from it. Also, even if you start to work in a more structured and analysed way, always make things fun ! There’s, for me, no interest in writing about something I hate just because I feel like it will give me a lot of readers or anything. Just before concluding here’s how I mentally include the usage of personas in my blog writings :

1. I want to talk about something, it’s übber cool, I feel like god and got rays of light at the end of my fingers !
2. Brainstorm or find documentation/experiment
3. Step into my article writing process (1 to 3 iterations of write -> stylize -> review -> ask external review -> patch/correct/adapt -> wait 24 min/hours/days -> review)
4. Analyse the article and verify it fit my writer persona, if not, adapt it or put it on another blog/medium, back to step 3.
5. Analyse the article to find out what could be the personas in my readers personas that could be interested in. If none, is the article relevant for my blog ? If the article is relevant and no personas, perhaps I’m talking to a new reader persona, in that case I start to create his persona sheet and add it to the others. (but it’s relatively rare 5 years). If it’s not relevant, then, I perhaps need to post it on another blog or another medium. (sometimes something is not done for blogging 😉 )
6. Polish, tag, categorize
7. Post.

For the point 4 and 5 related to personas, the check take about 10 minutes, it’s not a hard task and it’s a good security !

Conclusion

I thing I’ve give you a good overview and starting point to use personas in your daily blogging. Persona’s are at the same time easy to use and really complex as they need a lot of practice. By this I mean, unless you’re a marketing-related person, the way I and many others use personas is like the way my grandma is driving a F1, she’s driving but not at the full potential of the tool and that’s not, and for me never should be, the goal ! We’re blogging for many reason, in mine, for fun and sharing, so it’s just one of the tool I have and I consider it as that, I prefer to spend time on writing than on marketing and this activity is perhaps 10% of the time compared to the writing activity. Keep that in mind 😉

Hope you’ve enjoyed it !

See you next time for the rest of the series and keep it bug free !

New look for the 5th blog anniversary

eLogo 5 years ! I’m writting articles since 5 years at the end of this month ! Approximatively a fifth of my life. Started on blogger and 6 month later migrating to wordpress after a friend showed me this plateform. For the nonce, the blog have a totally new look I judge easier to read and a new logo (on the left). In 5 years 123 articles written, 24 categories, 363 tags, 314 different commentators, 233 images uploaded, 60 documents uploaded and a lot of fun ! During this half decade, this blog allowed me to gain a lot of experience in knowledge sharing , articles writting  and teaching. So I will certainly in the next few days or week write an article about the lessons learned about blogging during these 5 years of sharing. Also I would start to write about more “career” or “industry” stuff’s, perhaps with another media like the Medium plateform so stay tuned ! I’ve also written some articles about other languages than the classical .Net related like Prolog or Eiffel and how to use them from a .Net application, they’re just waiting for some pairs reviews and formating and will certainly be published during the next weeks 🙂 This experience was a real pleasure with a lot of evolution, fun and passion !

And the most important, thanks to you too, you’re the biggest motivation for me to continue writting and always trying to increase blog and content quality. Thanks !

See you next time and keep it bug free 😉