Bill Gates, in 1996, wrote an essay entitled “Content is King.” But to actually be king, content has to be read. To build your kingdom, you need to ensure the content you generate will actually engage prospects and customers for your business product or service.
As marketing guru Neil Patel underlines, content needs to be interesting and valuable to the reader, digestible in the information provided and actionable or easily implemented; for example, drives traffic to your web page or prompts registering, sharing or liking.
Yeah, yeah. Easier said than done. How do you turn normal information content into something that connects with your audience? By knowing who your ideal reader is.
Successful content development and marketing depends, above all, on knowing who your target audience is. You need to know who your real audience is before you can create content that connects them to your company. You can best do this by answering four key questions.
WHO is my ideal reader?
These are the people most likely to respond positively to your products or services. You’ll find the answer through:
- analysis of your market demographics (geographic location, age, gender, income, occupation, family status, etc.) so you can identify the specific group of people that will be most attracted to your product or service.
- by profiling your existing customer base to find out what they have in common.
- by reaching out to the influencers in your industry, community and organization to get their feedback.
The more you know about the kind of people you’re talking to, the better you can tailor your content to what they want.
WHAT do your target customers want?
It’s essential that you understand what your customer’s needs are. What do they like and dislike? What do they value? To find out:
- Ask your existing customers for reviews.
- Do an online survey and ask for comments. They are a great (and inexpensive) way of getting feedback that can give you insights into your audience’s needs and how they talk about them. That way you’ll be able to create content that is relevant and speaks directly to them.
WHY should your target audience choose you over a competitor?
You can’t engage your target audience if you don’t know why your product or service provides more value or a better solution that your competitors. You can discover a lot about your target audience by:
- looking at your competition’s web sites and social media feeds.
- identifying the gaps that your competitors are missing in terms of addressing and talking to your target audience’s needs and aspirations.
WHERE should you post content to attract the right audience?
It’s a cut-throat content marketing world out there. To differentiate yourself to your target audience:
- Do some basic Google and social media analytics by comparing best-performing web content to the worst in your industry.
- Have meaningful conversations with existing customers to determine which channels can generate the best leads.
- Look at your content pieces and see which ones are getting the most shares and traffic.
Taking the time to identify your target audience is essential to ensuring you can develop relevant, attractive and consistent content in the most cost-effective and efficient way. It will also serve as your compass for your content marketing strategy.