Content marketing is all the buzz. But there is more to it than just writing some material and putting it out there. The key is to provide you audience with relevant information that they can use. How do you know what’s relevant? Know your Audience.
“Creating a content strategy without a clear understanding of your audience is a bit like setting a boat adrift without navigational tools. You’re out there and you’re taking action, but you’re not working toward a specific goal,” says Jayson DeMers, in his article, 6 Steps to Decoding your Target Audience.
Bottom line: they can’t read it if they don’t see it. It is crucial to push your content through the right channels.
In the end, it’s about getting the most out of your time and money investment. Here are some suggestions from DeMers on understanding your audience.
Who are they?
No really, who are they? You may have an idea of what your average audience member is, but there may be more to the story. A demographic profile is a great place to start. It’s just a foundation – but it’s a solid one. A typical demographic profile will look at age, gender, job, location, marital status, educational level, income and nationality.
Then, build on your demographics foundation by understanding your audience’s pressing issues and desires. You have to understand it at two levels: what was the problem that motivated them to come to you; and broadly understanding overall why people would seek out your services. This is referred to as psychographics – which will help you understand why your audience acts why it acts, according to How Important is it to Understand Audience Profile before Designing a Website.
Where do they get their Info and who do they listen to?
Bottom line: they can’t read it if they don’t see it. It is crucial to push your content through the right channels. Does your audience read blogs? Do they read email newsletters? Are they magazine or newspaper readers? Check out 7 Steps to Creating Your Content Marketing Channel Plan, to learn how to assess and develop a channel strategy.
As important as your audience’s content consumption habits is who do they trust? The important players that they recognize could be experts, celebrities, industry players, brands or maybe even publications and the like. Take advantage of trust by affiliation – get involved with as many trusted sources as possible.
What makes them call BS
People are bombarded with information that promises to make you rich, make you skinny, make you happy, blah, blah, blah. People have developed strong skepticism to weed through the pitches thrown their way.
You can differentiate yourself with a few steps, suggests DeMers.
- Act with integrity.
- Study the common “bad” claims and compile a list of language, pitches and promises to avoid. Terms that end in “izing” or others, such as “best of breed,” “push the envelope” and “reinvent the wheel,” can send the BS meter into the red zone, says Paula Williams, The Highly Evolved B.S. Meter of the 21st Century Consumer.
- Back it up — offer proof as to why your content, product, etc., is the real deal.
“Getting to know your audience in real depth takes time. But it’s well worth the time to develop this expertise. It will improve everything from your product development to your sales, and you’ll see unparalleled returns from your SEO and content marketing investments,” DeMers writes.