Content marketing, in its very essence, has one core objective – to engage and retain a clearly defined segment(s) of the market which would ultimately translate into a desired customer action. Be it brand awareness or lead generation. But quite often, businesses invest considerably into content that speaks about the products and services that are being offered to the market. Simply put, the content and editorial pieces revolve around the offerings and fail to touch upon the most important aspect of a good content strategy – the Audience. Your product may be great for you, but how does it translate for your customer and are you saying it in their language?
It’s well worth your time and resources in identifying a clear, relevant and profitable segment of the market that you want to reach and then learn their language to communicate effectively. Let’s look at some of the critical aspects of a successful audience engagement.
1. Identify your audience
Who is your business catering to? Where are they looking for solutions? What inspires them? What are their values, lifestyle patterns and attitudes? These basic questions need to be answered for your business to be able to define its target audience clearly. Understand your audience – their demographic characteristics, geographical location, psychographic patterns, buying behaviour, tastes and preferences and spending patterns. In a nutshell, you need to articulate the buyer persona of your target audience. The more you know about your audience, the better you will be able to create impactful and meaningful content that will engage them.
2. Know how they consume information
Understanding how your audience consumes media and content is crucial to creating an effective content marketing strategy. Your business needs to know which channels are used most regularly by your customers to gain information, and which platforms they use to interact with each other and other brands. Several digital sharing platforms and forums are available today as a means of media consumption; however, not all of them may be relevant to your audience. It is a key aspect of your content marketing plan to identify the platforms most often used by your audience, so that you can make your content available on those platforms.
3. Post the right kind of content
Easier said than done! If you have understood and analysed your target audience well, and have a good hold on the nuances of your market segments, you can easily devise content topics that will keep them engaged and interested in your brand. One of the characteristics of a poorly constructed content plan is posting dull, repetitive and uninteresting content. What you want to communicate may be essential, but if it does not touch your audience, it does not serve any purpose. Provide your audience with content that adds value to them and enriches their knowledge so they look upon you as a go-to person for their information needs.
4. Speak in an audience-friendly language
You may have a comprehensive content plan that has identified the right audience and the right mediums to reach the said audience. Yet, there is a possibility that your content fails to create the desired impact. This could be attributed to improper use of language. Understand if your potential customer consumes content in a formal or informal manner. Whether they prefer simple sentence construction or desire something more complex. What is internally accepted in your company as a common term may not be familiar words for your prospects. In general it is best to avoid using too many technical terms or jargons. Simple and effective communication usually works best across multiple user groups.
5. Use the right formats
In addition to language, the format of content is also vital. Your audience may prefer content in different formats – text pieces, blogs and blurbs, infographics, images, video and rich media, and even audio. Furthermore, you can post content in a mix of formats; it is always good to present a multi-faceted image to your audience. Interactive media and formats work well too, since your today’s audience likes to be involved in a conversation rather than listening to monologues.
The primary step in reaching the right audience is identifying the segments that your brand seeks to target, and building the audience while simultaneously working on building your brand and reputation. Invest in creating content that is audience-influenced rather than product-influenced. The more targeted and customized your content is, the more it will evoke the right response from your audience.