You might think content marketing’s a breeze – all you need to do is write a couple of blogs and users will be flocking to your website and converting. Not quite. Attracting your audience and keeping them engaged enough to want to buy from you should be two things that go hand in hand, and that’s where the best content marketing strategies come in.
At the end of the day, everything boils down to your audience. So, if you’re doing content marketing correctly, you’ll be led by who your audience is, what they think and feel, where they’re based, how you can help them, and so on.
When you think about this, it makes sense. All the major brands have nailed their audience, and created personalised content experiences aimed directly at them. Every time you’ve received an email with your name in the subject line, or clothing brands have sent you product suggestions based on your previous browsing or purchase history, or you’ve found yourself thinking ‘yes’ to questions posed in a brand’s ad, you’ve been a part of a wider content-personalisation strategy where audience is key.
(Take a look at this article about P&G’s targeting strategy for a little bit more inspiration on how the ‘big boys’ are succeeding – and still experimenting to get things completely right.)
One-size-fits-all is a lazy approach to content marketing, and will often see you reap very little reward for your business. So where do you start?
Build Buyer Personas
Before you even start thinking about creating content, you need to know who your audience is, and that’s where buyer personas come in. Think of the process of building personas as a more extensive version of the board game Guess Who? – you’ll need to find out some key bits of info right from the off, about who is or would be interested in your brand/service (hint: you probably won’t need to know the colour of their hair!).
Here are a few simple questions to ask to help you build a bigger picture of who your audience is:
- Age bracket (e.g. 18-25, 25-30, 60 and over; or a broader term like ‘university students’, ‘young professionals’, ‘new mums’, ‘retirees’)
- Career path (e.g. the industry they work in, their rank in a company, their education history)
- Location (e.g. where they live/work, the kind of property they rent/own, who they live with)
- Interests and hobbies (e.g. what they enjoy doing outside of work/education, who their circle of friends are, their favourite pastimes, the sports they engage with, the TV shows they watch)
Once you’ve built up a few profiles of your target audience (usually 3 is the magic number), you’ll be better equipped to personalising your content to fit them.
Be Picky with Your Platforms
When you start your content marketing journey it can be all too easy to think you need to be active on every social media platform, in order to best target your audience. This is so far from the truth though!
It’s a waste of time in the long run if you are posting or sharing content where your audience is not active. For example, if you’re targeting retirees, they’re unlikely to be on the professional network LinkedIn, but may be more active on Facebook or Pinterest. Or if you’re targeting students, their most popular pick of platforms may be Instagram and Twitter.
You’ll need to do your research to ensure your content reaches the right people and doesn’t get lost in the noise. Putting a finger in every pie is not the way to go.
Also, once you’ve found the best channels to focus your efforts on, your approach to each social platform should vary too. Tailor your updates to the style of the platform – you should be posting very different content depending on whether it’s going to Instagram or Twitter, for example.
It’s All About Goals
We don’t mean #SquadGoals when we say it’s all about goals – you need to set yourself a couple of goals for the content you’re creating to help you better measure its effectiveness.
Your primary reasons for creating content should be to:
- Engage your audience
- Excite your audience
- Educate your audience
Think quality not quantity when it comes to creating content, to ensure that every piece of content you’re sending out – whether it’s a blog post, an infographic, a whitepaper, or a social update – ticks at least one of the above boxes.
And on the note of choosing the format, you’ll need to know what format of content will bring the most value and best align with your audience – are they likely to sit and read a whitepaper, or is an infographic a more creative way of presenting your content?
This is where personalisation plays a big part. Really tap into your audience to create the most valuable content for them. Part of building a content strategy is to not only understand who your audience are but to also know how you can help them.
You can do this by writing about and sharing topics you know your audience will be interested in, and answering any questions they might have related to your services/wider industry. For example, if you’re marketing a female fashion brand that’s mostly aimed at a young professional audience of 20-to-35-year-olds, you might want to think about creating content that helps your audience choose outfits in your product-range that can take them from office to evening. This is personalised to your audience, and is engaging, exciting and educational – score!
Your Path to Personalisation
The best and most successful ideas, in terms of meeting your goals, are simple, credible and emotive. Your content should speak to your audience. Once you know who your audience is and the kind of content they look at, you’re in much better stead to build your own content strategies. Personalisation is key when it comes to spiking the interest of your audience, and building customer loyalty.
Let’s end with a quote from Hubspot:
“When customers feel the content they are consuming is both relevant and informative, they return for more. One sure-fire way to create relevant and informative content to your specific customers is to learn what else they consume, what they respond to and what they look for in their content.”
But remember, you won’t see results overnight.
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