How To Find Where Your Potential Readers Hang Out


Does this advice sound familiar?

“Find out where your readers hang out. Go there, mingle and get to know them and get them to visit your own blog.”

Well, that’s all very well and good, right? – but, like a lot of advice you find online, it’s big on what you should be doing but not so big on the HOW? Right?

And it’s this HOW? that you’re missing and really want to know, right?

This post is about answering the HOW? – How do you find out where your readers are hanging out now?

A few members of my TrafficSmartMarketing email list have asked me this question too. I think it’s because actually finding out where your potential readers are hanging out is one of the most frustrating part of growing your blog because often, it can be difficult to know where to start.

And when you think you might have found them, you discover that actually, no they’re not, (usually because they don’t turn up on your blog as you expected). And, once more, you have to start searching all over again. And so the frustrating cycle continues, right? It gets tough after awhile, leaving you wondering if it’s worth it, right?

You’re not the only one. It’s a frustrating cycle that affects a lot of new bloggers.

So, to help you get over this frustrating cycle and finally find your potential readers I decided to write this post.

It’s what I’m all about here on, taking the frustration out of getting traffic to your blog by finding the right kind of traffic and bringing it back to your blog. I’ve been through that frustration too and there’s nothing more frustrating than advice that leaves out the most important facts, like HOW! Right?

By the way, you can always ask me any questions you’ve got. Ask me anything about finding where your potential readers hang out, or about anything to do with blogging.

You don’t have to be a member of the Traffic Smart Marketing email list to do so, either. But I’d love it if your were. So, come and sign-up now. You can do so here.



Your search starts with asking yourself some questions. Questions that help you narrow down your search and make it easier for you to find them. It also gives you insight into how to engage them when you find them and how to get them to come to your blog too.


One important question to ask yourself is:

What niche are you blogging in?

This might be simple as in you’re in the Writing niche. Or the Fitness niche. Or the Stay-At-Home Parents niche. But a good way to answer this question fully is to define what outcome or end result a person will get from reading your blog.

Secondly, you need to ask yourself (and be clear on):

What do you want people to do when they visit your blog?

If you’re a writer you might answer: Buy my books, of course! – Or whatever it is you’re selling.

But all too often, the reason you’re struggling to find your readers (and keep them when they do come) is that you don’t really know WHO you want to become your readers.

This is because you don’t know what it is you’re offering them. Or, you do know but it’s too much and conflicts which leaves you wondering who you want to be your readers.

What do I mean by that?

Well, often, when you have a fixed idea of what you’re selling it’s not what you actually focus on. Instead, you try selling some other product or service you’ve got.

I see this all the time on blogs. It’s a common mistake I see Traffic Smart Marketing readers who ask me to look at their blog, or who ask me why they’re not getting traffic.

Another common mistake you might be making is that, although you know what you’re selling, the problem is that it’s too much.

What this means is that you’re trying to sell everything you sell.

You might think, “Well, why not? I’ve got a lot to sell people.”

That’s probably true. It’s just that trying to sell everything you’ve got (or promoting all your solutions and answers at once to people) causes confusion. Both to you, resulting in not knowing WHO your readers are which results in turn to your not knowing where they hang out. And to any readers that might visit your blog, resulting in them thinking it’s not for them and leaving.


Selling everything you’ve got also causes your products or services to conflict with one another. Not only is this a real turn-off to readers …

It leaves you wondering who your readers are because you don’t know exactly what you are selling. If you don’t know what you’re selling you won’t know who your customers are… Are you selling your products; your books or software, etc? Or, are you selling your coaching, or your editing, or proof-reading, or …?

You can’t sell all your products or services at once. So stop trying. Tweet-This

Likewise - If you don’t know what you’re selling your readers, you can’t know who your readers are. By the way, if you want a quick “Cliff Notes”, or key notes, version of this post because you’re short of time you can read them right here now in this handy checklist …



What niche are you blogging in?

Always ask yourself what outcome or end result a person will get from reading your blog.

What do you want people to do when they visit your blog?

Define what outcome or end result a person will get from reading your blog.

You need to know what you’re offering because this helps you define WHO you should be targeting as your potential readers.

And, what you’re offering your potential readers as to be a good match between what you can give them by way of skills. know-how, solutions, etc and what they want to have.

The Secret To Finding Your Potential Readers

Your readers are probably a lot like you. A lot of bloggers tend to forget or overlook this fact.

Two questions that will find potential readers are:

1. Where did you find the information you wanted when you were starting out?

This question will tell you where others starting out are looking too. Go back there and look for the readers

looking for what you have to sell and start engaging them, e.g. reply to their comments with short answers.

Click on their names and find their Twitter bios and follow them.

2. If you couldn’t find that information you looked for when you were starting out where did you try looking for it?

Again, those places you tried getting information you wanted are the same places your potential readers are trying to get that same info (or info related to it). Go back there and engage them the same way you do in #1.

Finding Your Potential Readers May Take A While

Be prepared and willing to start small. Blogging is often a matter of keeping on keeping on.


Who are your potential readers anyway?

You need to know what you’re selling because this helps you define WHO you should be targeting as your potential readers. And, what you’re selling to your potential readers has to be a good match between what you can give them by way of skills. know-how, solutions, etc and what they want to have.

For example, if you can give writers a better chance of selling their books online to more readers then you should be targeting writers who want to sell more books online. You can thin it down to Writers of a particular genre or topic for a better chance of attracting these writers if you want to. But knowing WHO you can help gives you the answer to WHERE you should be looking to find them.

You need to know what you’re selling because this helps you define WHO you should be targeting as your potential readers.

And, what you’re selling your potential readers has to be a good match between what you can give them by way of skills. know-how, solutions, etc and what they want to have. It’s worth saying this again.

How to find where your potential readers hang out What You Should Sell

And here’s an example …

If you can offer writers a better chance of selling their books online to more readers then you should be targeting writers who want to sell more books online. Not writers who want to edit other peoples books. Not writers who want to learn how to crochet. Not writers who want to write advertising copy for internet marketers. Just writers who want to sell more books online.

You can focus on writers who want other things too later on, when you’ve established yourself as helping writers sell more books. Not before. Because you need to focus on one set of readers at a time. To do this, you need to focus on one set of readers at a time (and one product or solution at a time)

If you want to find where writers who want to sell more of their books hang out, target writers who want to sell more of their books and go where they hang out. I’ll come to the simplest way to find out “where they hang out” in a moment. But first, here are some pointers for starting your search …

Writers who want to sell more books online will probably be hanging out on blogs about Writing, Self Publishing, Kindle Publishing, for example.

They’ll probably also be hanging out on blogs about writing Fantasy Fiction, or following bloggers who offer training on formatting for Kindle, or training on how to use Scrivener.

They may even be hanging out in podcast show audiences listening to writers who are selling more books than they are. Or joining webinars or Google hangouts.

But, they will also be hanging out on blogs (or in forums) dedicated to their genre, or even favourite author. Or, if you want to find non-fiction writers, they will hanging out on blogs dedicated to their industry, field, job title, even their job and industry woes and highlights. You can also find your potential readers on blogs, forums, chatrooms or social mediums dedicated to their hobbies, lifestyles, etc. (It helps to know what these are as well when deciding WHO your readers are.).

One Search and Discovery Mission Leads To More Readers …

As you go looking for where your potential readers are hanging out already you’ll find more places to find them by following the content they’re already reading, or watching or listening to. You’ll hear the bloggers they already follow talking about and recommending other bloggers and resources.

One source leads you on to another.


Who are the influencers and popular bloggers in your industry or field?

You need to be clear about who your potential readers are following; whose blogs they’re reading when they’re not reading yours. And WHY?

You need to be clear about who your potential readers are following; whose blogs they’re reading when they’re not reading yours. And WHY?


Who are the up-and-coming bloggers in your industry or field?

You need to be clear about who those influencers in your field or industry are talking about. Here are more questions to help you narrow down your search.

#1. Whose names do you hear getting mentioned on webinars and podcasts and hangouts?

#2. Who are they doing joint promotions with?

#3. Whose getting guest posts accepted often on their blogs?

#4. Whose interview requests are getting accepted more frequently by influencers than others?

Your answers to these questions give you the places where your potential readers are starting to hang out at. They’re new there. They’re ripe for new ideas, solutions and content. Go there and hang out with them.


Who are your peers?

If you know who’s already blogging about your topic (or a similar or related topic to yours) you will probably find your potential readers there.

This is where Twitter comes into play.

Follow the hashtags for topics your potential readers are interested in. And follow hashtags that cover topics covered in the section “Who are your potential readers anyway?” above.

And, in Google, type in search related to these answers too.

What comes up in the results? You can discover a lot about who’s who in what and why in your potential readers’ eyes.

Not just amongst your peers (newcomers like you) but those high-fliers and influencers too). This is because search engines like Google rank them in relation to the popularity of their blogs and content.


The Little-Known Secret To Finding Your Potential Readers

Your readers are probably a lot like you.

A lot of bloggers tend to forget or overlook this fact. But it’s true. We all tend to side with people like us. Blogging is no different.

Whether it’s finding a message that echoes your own message, or a personality that you resonate with, you’ll be attracted to certain blogs and bloggers and topics and niches over others. So will your potential readers.

Good places to start looking for them are the places you hang out.

And it’s there that you should concentrate on finding your potential readers. You’ll recognise them when you find them.

They’re the ones whose comments echo yours. They’re the ones whose thoughts, ideas and interests echo yours. Whose problems and questions echo yours …

Or those you had when you were first starting out. Remember then? You struggled, didn’t you? You searched for answers and got frustrated because those answers were often hard to come by, right?

Those are your readers.

When you hear them asking questions you asked… When you hear them talking about struggles they’re having that you had … When you hear them venting their frustrations or disappointment …

That’s when you know you have found where your potential readers hang out.

How do you hear them in the first place?

Read the blog posts.

Listen to the interviews, the podcasts, the webinars.

Read the comments under every popular post.

Reading the comments is equally important because in these comments you’ll find:

Reasons why people are there and …

What it is they want to know and think about your topic.

What if there aren’t (m)any comments?

Find the content with the most social media sharing activity. Follow a few of those sharers. Ask them what they like about the post they’ve shared or Retweeted, or “liked”.

If you find individuals who share or Retweet a lot of similar posts from different blogs, they are individuals you should be following too. Watch what they tweet. They could become your potential readers.

Finding Your Potential Readers May Take A While

Yes, sometimes finding where your potential readers are hanging out is more difficult in certain fields than others.

There are more obvious places to find potential readers hanging out in Fitness, or Blogging than say Lacemaking or Real Estate Investing.

You may have to search for them through “gateway” topics; those topics that relate to your own topic.

For example, Lacemakers might hang out on Sewing blogs, or maybe Arts and Crafts blogs.

For some topics, like this one, or your own topic, social media might be a good place to start. Facebook and Pinterest might give you places to look for your potential readers.

It’s all a matter of knowing WHO you’re aiming your products or services at.

This not only guides you along knowing where to look for potential readers, it also guides you along writing content that attracts them into reading your blog when they come.

FREE Bonus!

Now download your FREE copy of the “How To Find Where Your Potential Readers Hang Out” QUIZ …

This QUIZ will help you see if you’re on track for finding your potential readers.

PLUS: Exclusive To Traffic Smart Readers…

If you want, you can email your answers to me and I’ll check them and send them back to you,so you know how on track you are to finding where your potential readers hang out.

Click HERE to get the QUIZ now.

Where do you think your readers are hanging out? What blogs are they reading now? How will you bring them back to your blog? Let me know by leaving a comment below this post.

Hi! I’m Tom Southern. Do you want to start getting more traffic to your blog, or blogging tips, strategies and tactics that work?

Or stop struggling to find your niche?

Click here to see how I can help you start getting traffic, readers, subscribers and income online.


  • Adrienne

    Reply June 25, 2015

    Hey Tom,

    I had to stop by and read what you shared because this is kind of where I am at the moment. Shocked I’m sure but let me explain.

    I have a great community, a wonderful audience and an amazing list. My problem is that the majority of them aren’t my customers. Granted, a good bit of them did buy my course when it came out last month but the majority of them aren’t eager to sign up for my consulting. I’ve had a few of them but most of my clients have found me through social media and are newer to my blog.

    I started to become much more clear just this month on my ideal client so now I have to kind of start over in that area and find out where the heck they’re hanging out. They aren’t my normal readers so this is a process I’m having to pretty much start over with.

    You asked the question where did I begin when I first started but I was blogging about something entirely different back then so I started within the community where I was learning. It just snowballed from there.

    I am my target audience as well but where I would personally hang out my clients aren’t which is why I’m kind of searching around on sites where I “think” they would hang out and trying to start conversations and get noticed there. I’ve also met a bunch of people through being new followers of mine on Twitter so that’s always a great place for me. I just wanted to see if anything you shared would spark more ideas for me so thanks for putting this post together.

    Hope you’re doing well and I did respond to your email so hope you got it. Let me know if I can help.


    • Tom

      Reply June 26, 2015

      You highlight a common experience here, Adrienne. One which seems like a paradox at first because you work hard to get traffic, then readers, then
      subscribers, then often, it’s then that you start selling your products or services.

      It seems a logical progression. After all, you need traffic to start.

      But then, you find that either the traffic you get doesn’t stay. Or if it does and turns into readers those readers don’t buy what you want them to (or expect them too).

      That’s the paradox.

      I’ve got a post about this in the pipeline because I think it’s what a lot of people are facing: their readers are growing and often engaging but not buying. And it’s hard to figure out why.

      Your experience you talk of here, Adrienne, is interesting to because it’s interesting to hear how your clients have come from elsewhere. In your case social media. And that they’re new too. Your earlier readers probably came when you weren’t selling, rather growing an audience. Your content probably reflected this.

      The way you attracted them was probably different too from how you’re attracting over those coming from social media. (It would interesting to learn what social media platform too).

      Also, you say you started off in a different niche/topic and grew your audience from that. It might be that your motives were different back then too, I don’t know.

      I think it’s important to create a buying atmosphere centred around your consulting (if this is what you want to sell). Create content that creates a desire for it and why they should want it from you.

      Thanks for highlighting this paradox, Adrienne, and for letting others know, they’re not alone.

  • Donna Merrill

    Reply July 30, 2015

    Hi Tom,

    So glad you brought up this topic. As a long time blogger, I did first come in with a network marketing company many years ago. It took me a long time of trial and error to find my own niche. Now I have plenty of followers on my blog and on social sites, but when I started to market my own products and services one thing I did know was that I couldn’t rely on my readership.

    They are great people, but not the target of marketing. Yes, I made a few sales, but put more effort into finding problems out there especially on social media and having the answers for them. I had to create a new list of target buyers and to make a very long marketing story short, found many on Warrior.

    As I write, I have put up a WSO and it did pretty well. Now I spend my time putting more up there and doing the “testing” part of my sales letter. My “community” of buyers are coming in at a steady pace. If not first time they get deeper in to my sales funnel and Viola!

    But the one thing I find they all do is to see who I am. They come over to my blog, do get impressed, and tell me that. - Feedback is wonderful! lol

    So, as I have many readers of my blog I do find that my buyers won’t leave a comment many times either because they are not into blogging or they are trying to start up and that’s what kind of target audience I’m appealing to.


    • Tom

      Reply July 30, 2015

      Hi Donna,

      So pleased to have you stop by and add such an insightful contribution to this topic.

      Your example of going where your readers are and giving them more of what they want, is a brilliant one because you highlight how buyers don’t always respond the way bloggers think they will, for example, engage in comments, etc. Likewise, readers might not be buyers (or ready to buy). It’s important to realise this.

      I think you’ve shown how savvy you are in where you go in search of your readers. You’ve gone for people who’ve shown they are buyers too. That’s a great lesson for every bloggers to taken on board.

      Thanks so much for this, Donna. Looking forward to having you stop by again.

  • Sherman Smith

    Reply September 20, 2015

    Hey Tom,

    This is a great topic!

    It made me remember when I was just starting out. I remember reading blogs and articles about how we should go where our potential readers and customers hang out.

    The problem was that I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to search for them or who should I really be searching for. This is the problem that many newbies and some intermediates have, and what’s worse that many who have a lot of potential quit because of this.

    Lately this year, I’ve notice that my potential readers are a lot like me in different ways. So yes, that was a great tip to say start with yourself. When you know who you are and what you really want, more than likely the potential readers and customers want the same thing.

    Thanks for bring this to all of our attention! It does make it less stressful to try to figure this out on our own! Have a great week Tom!

    • Tom Southern

      Reply September 21, 2015

      Hi Sherman,

      Thanks so much for taking time to comment and make such great points.

      Your experience echoes mine and a lot of other people’s, we get frustrated because no one seems to be interested. Those tactics everyone tells you to use, just don’t seem to be working. We quit. And this is a real shame because, as you say, so much potential gets lost.

      You make a brilliant point in how much like you your readers are. That’s so true.

      Hope your week goes just how you want it to, Sherman. Your contribution means a lot to me.

  • Nathan Ambrose

    Reply September 28, 2015

    Hi, Tom.

    Well done. I’m glad that you wrote about this topic.

    There are many reasons why I’ve not been quite so active in blog reading and commenting lately, but one is for the reasons that Adrienne mentioned before. It’s nice to get noticed and engage with many respected bloggers, but I’ve noticed that it didn’t help me to reach my target audience. Therefore, I have been focusing on that.

    I often have to remind myself how I started, then trace back to see where I first learned about different techniques and met certain people. And it is insightful.

    That was one of many fine points that you discussed, but that stood out the most for me.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and helping me to keep my focus.

    Tweeting soon.


    • Tom

      Reply September 28, 2015

      Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for coming here and taking time to leave such an insightful point. You hit the nail on the head when you say that the important task of every blogger is to get to know who your readers are and to target them. Like you say, a strategy for getting traffic is only if it works. You have to pick the right strategy for your specific audience.

      Thanks for making this point, Nathan. Hope to see you here again. Cheers!


  • Don Karp

    Reply October 8, 2015

    Hi Tom-

    I am looking for an answer to what you address.

    Most of my interactions are on forums. My niche people do not hang out on the major social media, at least not in groups.

    I am a writer for and feel that I’ve not gotten any subscribers from there, although I have published 6 articles. Four or five other personal growth blogs where I have submitted have given me rejections. Perhaps my copy writing is too academic, or the topics are wrong. As yet, I don’t know if my audience hangs out on personal growth blogs. When my problem happened was in the ’70’s, so there was no internet, and I had awareness of in-person community, but not of self-help (my target market).

    I only have a landing page-no blog, as the strategy I follow suggests sending email broadcasts to sign-ups until I reach 1,000 before launching my own site and blog.

    Engaging with my audience should inform me of what they want, and then I can provide that. Meanwhile, I do provide some affiliate links. This seems different from knowing what product I offer from the get go, as you suggest. But I still lack traffic and difficult for me to find where this niche hangs out or how to engage them.

    Thanks, Tom.

    • Tom

      Reply October 8, 2015

      Hi Don,

      Thanks for stopping by to ask these questions because these are questions a lot of bloggers have as they start out blogging.

      When picking a potential target audience you need to look at if they’re easy to find. If they’re don’t hang out on blogs or social media you might find that you can’t get them to visit your blog.

      Sometimes, you can be doing everything right but still struggle to get traffic and, usually, it’s because your audience is not online or doesn’t read blogs.

      If this is the case, you might need to find off-line ways to reach them. Or, you may have to look at reaching people who are more likely to be interested in self-help or personal development. In this case blogs on these topics would be good.

      Also, the best blogs to look at for potentially writing guest posts for need to have 3 things:

      1. readers leaving comments regularly (not just social shares)

      2. regular posts from guest posters.

      3. an active audience [e.g. that comment]

      Most important of all, you have to know what outcome you’ll be giving to your readers if they visit your blog and/or buy your products.

      It’s very difficult to find an audience for a product. It’s a lot easier to find a product for an audience. It’s also a lot easier to find traffic this way too.

      You might find you have to change your potential readers to ones who are more into self-help, including self-hypnosis, relaxation, etc.

      Hope this gives you some pointers to help you.


  • Peter Beckenham

    Reply January 6, 2016

    Hi Tom,
    As always a blog post that really grabbed my attention.

    As a relatively new blogger my blog target audience was initially going to be focussed on retired folks who had an interest in building a supplementary income.

    However, as you so clearly pointed out, retired folks are are demographic group who in general , don’t read blogs.

    So I shifted my target audience to those new and struggling online internet marketers. The interesting thing is I have found them on some of the leading blogs in my niche but my experience so far has shown these folks to be “information seekers” rather than “action takers”

    Despite joining my mailing lists, very few of them have shown any interest in my major affiliate marketing platform that promotes a highly ethical internet marketing program that I am fully involved with.

    However, I got a completely different reaction from visiting forums in my niche and giving as much value as I could, with interested forum members following my signature link back to my blog - this is only a relativerly new strategy for me but so far the sales results look positive.

    What is interesting is the feedback I have received from some these forum members. They went out of their way to tell me that they felt far more comfortable (and less pressured) to read my posts or designated pages before making a decision to follow the links to the sales page - rather than being sent directly to the sales page.

    Yes as you said it’s a learning process but one that truly fascinates me.

    Best wishes as always from a remote Thai village blogger


    • Tom

      Reply January 10, 2016

      Hi Peter,

      Good to hear from you again. Your story shows how important it is to understand how your potential readers/buyers wants and how they want to be approached. Usually, this relationship takes time to create. So, I think that if you’re getting results already, that’s a good thing and also a measure of how much trust you’re creating for them.

      Also, the best way to build your audience and persuade them to buy is by your content. As Chris Garrett says, most people try to go from Attraction to Selling and don’t get much success. Smart bloggers go from Attraction to Engagement to Selling and the Engagement step takes as long as it needs to. This is because it’s through your content that is your best tool for engaging. But, I’d also keep on with your emails to your list as this helps you keep in touch with members. As I say, people buy people before they buy products (or services).

      Keep on engaging, Peter and keep on reaping the reward. Keep me in touch with your success.


  • Peter Beckenham

    Reply January 8, 2016

    Hello Tom,

    Firstly I want to thank you for this incredibly valuable content - wish I had known these things when I first stsarted online.

    Your post is essential reading for anyone who is considering starting out online as well as many who have already started but finding the going tough.

    So many gems of advice that are presented in such an easy to read and digest format - I especially liked your tip right at the start re trying to find your target audience by being very clear about what outcome you want your readers to achieve by visiting your blog.

    So many people do not have clarity about their real target audience nor do they make very clear what they want readers to do when they do discover your site.

    I know I was one of those bloggers who did not have real clarity on these issues and my online presence and income suffered accordingly.

    Loved your simple yet so effective method of discovering more potential readers by looking in the places we are already visiting online - our very best prospects could be right under our noses!

    Thanks for making sure we appreciate the fact that finding our very best target audience will take time and effort. This to me is still “work in progress” so I appreciated this piece of advice re managing my expectations here.

    It was Best wishes from a remote Thai village blogger


    • Tom

      Reply January 10, 2016

      Thanks Peter. The best way to connect with your audience is knowing where they hang out - and “listening” to what they’re saying. If you can relate to them in the own words, you’ll connect and engage more successfully.

      Cheers for your contribution here, Peter.


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