November 30, 2017
Why aren’t people reading my content? How do I gain more blog subscribers? What can I do to attract more people to my website? These are common questions asked by marketers who aren’t satisfied with the performance of their content marketing. This can often be attributed to marketers spending more time focused on the what and how of content marketing that they forget the most important element — the who. In the first post of this three-part series, we’ll discuss the importance of knowing your target audience, gathering valuable information about them, and developing buyer personas to lay the foundation of creating more engaging content for your brand.
Determining your target audience is dependent upon your ability to step back from the content you’re writing and consider the people who are routinely reading or engaging with it. You don’t want to go into a project saying, “I’m going to target this specific audience,” because chances are you’re not considering a segment of your audience, or the broader population, who needs the information you’re delivering. Instead, you should be asking yourself, “Who would benefit from the information I have to share?” Asking this question will help you begin to analyze your audience, from basic demographics to common characteristics, to shared problems or questions. If you find gaps in information, this analysis of your current and your desired audience will also help you determine what you still need to know about them.
When you don’t put the needs of your audience front and center, they aren’t going to be receptive to the information you’re sharing. How do you find out what’s important to them? Ask! If you aren’t doing anything to fill in the gaps and learn more about your current customers and potential clients, you’re missing out on incredibly valuable information. One method of gathering information about your audience is through surveys. Surveys allow you to ask intentional questions to gain insights into how you can further serve the needs of your audience. Look for patterns in responses to determine whether people are satisfied with your brand and the services you provide, or if there’s room for improvement. Gathering this information will help you shape your content strategy to address some of the common problems, desires, or needs you discover while evaluating survey responses.
So you know your target audience, and you’ve identified their wants, needs, and shared problems. Next, you need to establish buyer personas. Buyer personas are simply defined as a semi-fictional likeness of your ideal customer or client. These personas are developed through conducting market research and analyzing your audience from sources such as surveys.
When you first establish a buyer persona, you identify basic demographics about your audience including age, gender, location, and income. As you continue to develop these personas, they turn into full representations of your audience with added information such as:
Once you establish 3 to 4 concrete buyer personas for your brand, you can begin creating content targeted towards each persona’s specific needs, desires, and challenges.
Understanding who you’re writing to — whether it’s in a blog post, landing page copy, email, or on social media — is the critical first step in creating content people will engage with. We’re here and ready to help you achieve more with your content marketing. Stay tuned for the next post in this series where we’ll discuss distribution channels and the importance of understanding the right channel for delivering content to your audience.