Back in 2012, Amy Hoy gave me some hard (but needed) criticism:
"Justin, your blog is unfocused. You're talking about everything! As a reader I don't care about you; I only care about my problems. Who is your blog for? What do they need?"
But you know what? She was right. Go back and look at my old posts on justinjackson.ca. I talk about the AppleTV, photography, and even toilets. Yes, toilets.
It wasn't until I started focusing on product entrepreneurs that my blog started to get traction.
Before you start your blog, you need to answer two important questions:
They’re focused on their own issues. The key to a successful email list is choosing an audience you can speak to, and then finding their pain.
Again, Amy Hoy gave me great advice here: start with a group you’re already a part of. If your goal is to eventually launch a product to your mailing list, make sure that the group you choose also has money to spend.
“I’m an executive who travels a lot, so I’m going to target business people who are new to international travel.”
This group has money to spend (if you launch a product) and has a pain point you can help with.
“I’m a college student, so I’m going to target college students who want to learn about investing in stocks.”
I’m surprised by the number of people I meet who want to launch lists and products for college students. If you're looking for an audience to sell products to, college students are generally a bad market, because they don’t have very much disposable income.
“I’m a programmer, and I’d like to target real estate agents.”
Again, the number of people I meet who want to target real estate agents is surprising. Here's the problem with this scenario: you're a programmer. What do you have to say to real estate agents? Who are you going to more passionate about serving; other developers, or a bunch of salespeople? Which group can you provide value for right now?
Amy Hoy has a great quote on why all of this is important:
"If you start doing something that's even remotely out of your zone, you're discarding all the advantages you have. You have to use every single advantage you have, every single one. You have to be able to ‘punch above your weight’. If you have a really powerful punch, you can punch above your weight. You can knock out somebody bigger than you."
Here’s what I want you to do: write a list of the different groups that you belong to. Here’s mine:
That's a long list! To trim it down, I asked these questions:
Here's your homework: