If you blog to promote your business, you have a duty to yourself and your bottom line to consider who you are blogging for. Think you’re blogging for yourself? Think again. Think you’re blogging for your customers? Maybe. Think you’re not blogging for anybody but your mom? Well, if that’s what you think.

What you blog about will attract different kinds of people. Some people are looking to buy. Some people are looking for a friend. Some people are looking to put together a business network. Other people want to be inspired or entertained and might be back to buy later. All of these people can help you build your business in exciting ways but you can only blog effectively to one group: your ideal audience.

Consider the goal of your blog and the content that you want to produce. Then carefully consider who just might be interested in reading that content. Who are they? What are there other interests? How do they fit into your bigger picture?

Once you have an idea of who you’re blogging for, ask yourself these questions:

Where do they hang out?
Whether online or in “real life,” go where your people are. Introduce yourself, help them out, make friends. It’s not about being spammy – and yes, you can be spammy in real life! – it’s about being a resource and a cool person. Visit forums, Twitter chats, Facebook pages, other blogs. Find your people and let them know you’re here to help.

Who do you know already?
Leverage your network – or you family and friends – to build a bridge to your target audience. When you investigate who you know already, you might be shocked just how many people have a lifeline to your target audience. Again, introduce yourself or have your network make the introductions for you. Getting an intermediary is a fine way of building a trust relationship fast!

What do you have in common?
Your target audience should be different than you. They should have needs that you can address or questions that you can answer. But we’re all people and we all have things in common. Figure out where your experience and your audience’s experience overlap. Use shared experience to create a bridge between you. Discuss your common ground and link it to the subject that you’re blogging about. You can blog on a wide variety of topics near to your heart if you keep your goal & audience at the heart of what you do.

What do they need?
Hopefully, what your ideal audience needs is what you want to give. But if not, you can clarify the focus of your writing to match the needs of your audience. Readers will stick around longer, subscribe more often, and be receptive to pitches.

Blogging doesn’t have to feel like a solitary venture. Blogging with your target audience in mind will help you focus your writing, guide your content creation, and help you pitch offers to your audience with more success.