Content marketing success hinges on precision. The internet is too large for your message to reach the right audience on accident. To get the results you want, it’s vital to identify your target audience, find out where they spend time online, and then create content that appeals to them while serving your intended purpose.
Who is your audience?
The answer to this question determines the shape of your marketing plan. Content marketing relies on the ability to appeal to a specific target audience. Identifying and understanding the target audience allows you to craft content effectively and place it in the most advantageous locations.
Experts in the content marketing field point to the need for specification when it comes to determining the target audience. Discovering the nuances of the target audience certainly ranks as one of the tougher tasks in creating a marketing plan, but it’s what makes you ultimately successful. Without it, a great marketing campaign can go to waste simply because it was not directed at the correct audience.
One of the more expedient methods of making this determination is using what you know about existing customers. After all, they are the people you’ve had success with. Finding prospects similar to them is always a sound strategy. New companies may not have a list of customers to work from, but a buyer persona can be an excellent substitute.
What if you have no existing customers or buyer persona? When this is the case, some digging is necessary. A buyer persona can be created with information gleaned from competitor case studies and industry analysis reports. Forums and other professional online networks offer clues, as well as surveys and interviews.
Here are a few pieces of information you will want to discover to improve your content strategy
Why are they interested in your product or service and what do they hope to achieve as a result of purchasing it? Which facets of competing products do they see as vital, and what discourages them from purchasing the products or services you offer?
Target Audience Considerations
Target audiences tend to cluster in specific corners on the internet. You may discover that there are multiple areas of varying interest to your target audience. Be sure to target the most fertile and avoid spreading your efforts too thin. It’s better to be visible and regarded as excellent in one of two realms than to be only partly present on a wide range of channels.
Discovering where your target audience hangs out online can be done several ways. As with identifying the target audience, you can glean this information from existing customers. Industry reports and visits to forums also provide clues. It may be worthwhile to hire a marketing company to conduct interviews that reveal this important information.
What type of content does your target market crave?
Getting the right answer to this question allows you to create the right type of content and avoid wasting time creating marketing pieces your target audience may not pay attention to. Where your target audience spends its online time provides a solid indication of the types of content they appreciate.
For example, LinkedIn users may like in-depth articles, whitepapers or slide decks. A target audience that spends most of its time on Facebook may respond best to videos or list posts. Those who frequent Medium may enjoy long-form storytelling.
What is the purpose of the content?
In most businesses, customers do not base their purchasing decisions on one piece on content marketing. As a result, it’s necessary to consider what you hope to achieve with each piece. Name recognition, thought leadership, an appointment, or a referral.
Every business has a sales funnel that conforms to the buying cycle that prevails in its industry. A wise strategy is to create content marketing for each phase of the funnel. For example, one piece could be an introduction to your business, telling the potential buyer what they need to know about you. Another piece could be designed to capture their contact information, while additional pieces could provide information comparing you with competitors.
By following these four steps and preparing your content marketing well ahead of time, you will be prepared to drive productive traffic to your content. By identifying the target audience, creating effective content with a purpose and displaying it where the right people see it, your digital content becomes a source for continued business development.
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