03 Nov How to create content that connects with your target audience
Every single minute, 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 1400 blogs are posted, and 216,000 new photos are shared on Instagram. 90% of the data on the internet was created in the last two years alone. (IBM) With such overwhelming quantities of content being pumped out all the time, how can you cut through the noise and get your content to reach the right people?
So many companies opt for the “spray and pray” approach, creating vast amounts of content (of varying quality) and pushing it out to as many people as possible, aiming for a wide readership rather than an engaged one. Surely if enough people read your wonderful blog post, at least one of your ideal customers will see it … right?
Whether it’s social posts, blogs, emails, newsletters, eBooks or web copy, every single piece of content should be written with its target audience in mind – a group of people for whom your content solves a problem, answers a question or fulfils a need. Content marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach, it requires a highly-targeted, precision-focused strategy. You need to pinpoint exactly who that one ideal buyer is, meticulously create a perfect piece of content specifically designed for that person, and ensure that it reaches them wherever they are in the world (or on the internet).
So how do you ensure your content ends up in the right hands? There are a few simple questions you’ll need to ask yourself in order to create a targeted content marketing strategy:
1. Who are your target audience?
Step one is to figure out exactly who sits in your target audience. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many companies don’t have a clear view of their ideal customer. Identifying your content’s target audience – also known as a buyer persona – is especially important for brands who are just starting out or are new to marketing. Only by delving into the pains, goals and behaviours of your ideal customer can you determine what you need to produce the content that they will hungrily consume and engage with. Even if you’re an experienced marketer your target audience may change with the times, affected by fluctuating buyer behaviour and technology preferences. Or you may be changing your business offering and looking to branch out to a new group of people or expand your current audience. It’s important to constantly assess and reassess your target audience.
You may think you have a good idea of who your ideal customer is, but how deep does your insight go? It’s not enough to know your ideal customers are personal trainers, for example. Do you know what their specific needs and interests are? Where do they spend their time online? Which social channels are they using? What problems do they have that you can help them with?
Actually taking the time to develop a clear breakdown of your target audience allows you to create content and messaging that appeals to them. It also enables you to target or personalise your marketing for different segments of your audience. For example, when it comes to sending out your monthly email newsletter, instead of just sending out the same email to every single person in your database, you can segment your audience into different subsets and send out targeted messaging based on what you know about those different people.
2. What content do they want?
Now that you have determined exactly who you want to be reading your content, it’s time to use the data you have gathered to create something truly unputdownable for them. Something they can’t afford not to read. With all this information at your fingertips, most of the work is already done!
You don’t just write content for the sake of it. You write content for a purpose. It’s not just there to entertain, to display your knowledge or to drive traffic to your website. A good content marketing strategy will do all these things, but the primary goal should be to educate. Creating content with the needs of the consumer in mind will engage the reader much more than a generic blog article ripped off from something you skim-read on the Huffington Post. It builds a level of trust and authority and keeps them coming back for more.
3. How do you get your content in front of them?
All that remains once you have created your lovely targeted content is to make sure it ends up in the right hands. This can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on where your ideal customer can be found. Here are just a few ways:
Organic search: Knowing the challenges your target audience are searching for answers to, and the keywords they are using to find them, is invaluable information. This will help you get the right keywords into your content and draw the right people to your brand rather than pushing stuff out at them with an aggressive outbound approach.
Social media: In identifying your buyer personas you will have gleaned some valuable insight into your audience’s social behaviour. Targeting a consumer audience? Maybe Facebook and Instagram are the place to be. A commercial audience? LinkedIn. Wherever they’re hanging out, be there with the answers they need. Seek out conversations to get involved in and offer your expertise.
Targeted ads: If you’re too impatient for the inbound approach – perhaps you have a time-sensitive campaign or offer you want to promote immediately – you can always put some spend behind pushing your content out to a targeted audience. The more targeted you can get, the better. With so many paid social advertising options, which platform you use will depend on the nature of your business and the type of customers you’re looking for.
Facebook Ads is the market leader in social advertising. With more users than any other social media platform, you can reach billions of people, yet its granular targeting functionality allows you to target your ads to an incredibly specific audience. This is very useful if you know exactly who you want to market to, and a great way of making a small budget go a long way. If you’re reaching out to a professional or commercial audience, LinkedIn Ads may be your best bet. Twitter and Instagram also have advertising features with different targeting options so it is worth taking stock of each and seeing how you can reach your target audience most effectively for the budget you have at your disposal.
4. How do you measure the success of your targeted content strategy?
We marketers have so much data at our fingertips these days that there is absolute no excuse for not having a targeted content strategy. All the answers you need are right in front of you if you take the time to interpret the data. Platforms like Google Analytics, Facebook Audience Insights and Google Trends – to just name a few – can be used to see what kind of people are consuming what kind of content, so why not use this to your advantage?
The analytics we get from social media and other platforms can help us work smarter and be more intelligent about our marketing in order to be more targeted and get better insight into what is working and what isn’t.
Your Facebook Ad campaign targeting Irish soccer-playing mothers in their late 30s didn’t take off? Then it is likely that either a) your ad wasn’t adequately personalised to your ideal audience, or b) what you perceive to be your ideal audience isn’t actually the right market for your brand.
It’s not enough to just set your content marketing strategy and let it run its course. You need to be continually monitoring and optimising it to find out what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve for better results as you go.
A targeted approach to content marketing is essential for brands to stay afloat amidst the tsunami of content that is flooding the internet. Don’t follow the lead of all those brands just throwing churned-out content at the web and seeing what sticks. Take the time to figure out who your audience are and how you can track them down.
If you are in the health and fitness industry and looking for help with your content marketing or digital marketing strategy, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.