You may be getting a lot of readers is good, but is your content reaching the right readers?
You may be producing enough content, and it may be really good content. But is it the right content?
Why Define Your Target Audience?
High-quality content will naturally attract an audience, but it won’t necessarily attract the best audience for your brand, i.e. the people that will eventually want to buy your products and services.
Defining your “ideal reader” will help you focus on creating effective content based around the needs of your target market, establish you as an authority in your industry, and ultimately increase sales.
In other words, one size does not fit all.
How Custom Personas Support Content Marketing
Understanding the Demographics
While a well-crafted audience persona involves much more than just basic demographic information, understanding the basics facts about your customers is a good starting point.
Data points like gender, age, occupation, income, family status and geographic location can paint a clearer picture of your target audience and should serve as a starting point for your efforts.
Defining Customer Needs
Once you’ve figured out the basic demographics of your target audience, it’s time to narrow down even more and learn about their needs. What are your target audience’s likes and dislikes? What do they value? What are they searching for?
Reviews, comments and other forms of customer feedback can be great sources of insights so take the time to read these opinions and learn about what your potential customers like and dislike. Figuring out your audience’s needs will help you create content that speaks directly to those who are most likely to buy your product.
Creating Value with the Right Content
Defining your target audience helps ensure your content is creating real value for your readers. This not only means choosing topics that are of interest to them and creating a great piece but also figuring out what is the best way to reach them. Where do they spend the most time online and what kind of content would they be most receptive to? Depending on your persona, it could be social media, forums, email or some other online channel.
If your content does hit the right note, your success could be amplified with an audience that is more likely to share your content, follow you on social media and connect with you. They’re also more likely to become loyal customers.
Delivering Content That Connects
Defining your target audience takes time, but the powerful results make the effort worthwhile. Once you understand who you’re targeting, it’s easier to develop the right message and create the right type of content that will resonate with them. Not only will you save time and money, but you’ll get a better return on your marketing investment.
How to Find Your Target Audience
Step 1: Research Your Customer
Creating a unique buyer persona is fine, but it needs to be based on facts, not assumptions. And unless you have direct contact with genuine customers, your ideal reader is often based on guesswork.
If you’re a part of a bigger team – of sales reps, customer service staff, social media managers, and accountants – you can tap into this pool of knowledge. Set up a meeting with key personnel who really know your customers.
Questions you need to find answers to:
- Who are your best customers in terms of sales?
- Who are your best customers in terms of influence?
- Where did they find out about your company?
- What type of brand “voice” do they respond to?
- What attracted them to your company?
- What are some common pain-points?
- What are the most frequently asked customer questions?
- Which type of customer do you wish you had more of?
- Which leads were easier to convert into customers?
You can go into as much detail as you want; the important thing is to get as much solid data about your real customers as possible.
Step 2: Dig Deeper
To create truly targeted content, you need to answer more detailed questions, such as:
- What problems did the customer face before dealing with your company?
- How did your company solve their problems?
- What other problems does the customer have, apart from the problem you solved?
- How did the customer find your company?
- Where do they spend most of their time online?
If you’re struggling for answers, there are various ways to find out:
- Via email. Encourage engagement by offering discounts to the first few respondents.
- Via social media. Use Twitter or Facebook to target your followers with short surveys.
- Ask your customer service team to ask existing customers directly.
- Use analytics tools to discover where your audience is coming from, and what they’re searching for online.
- Look through blog comments and discussion forums related to your business.
- Go through customer support emails and chat.
- Read reviews of your products and services.
- Run an annual customer survey.
With all these insights, you’re ready to create website content that targets your ideal customers, not just any customer. These are the customers that are easier to convert, suit your brand, and pay the most.
While you’re answering these questions, consider how they connect to the buyer journey. Customers will have different questions at the start and end of their customer journey, so creating content that speaks to those questions can help you move prospects down the funnel.
Recommended reading: Creating Content for All 4 Stages of The Buyer Journey
Step 3: Use Your Knowledge to Create Engaging Content
No matter how much time, care and commitment you put into creating a new piece, it won’t be successful unless it resonates with your readers. In order to increase the chances of creating successful content campaigns, you need to understand what your target audience is looking for.
It can be incredibly difficult to create targeted content if you’re not sure who you are trying to reach. If you’re simply creating pieces and hoping someone finds value in them, you’re only wasting your time and money. You need to truly understand who your content is for before you begin developing.
Creating a customer persona is one of the best ways to create highly targeted content that delivers results. Let’s take a look at how you can use personas to improve your content and achieve better results.
Why Is Targeted Content So Important?
No matter the industry you’re in, content creation is one of the most important parts of growing your online presence and attracting new leads. However, with so much content published every day, it’s not easy to capture your target market’s attention.
In order for your pieces to stand out, they need to resonate strongly with your audience. This means you need to fully understand your potential customers’ problems, concerns and what they find entertaining so you can create pieces that they want to engage with.
There is a saying in content marketing that “content made for everyone, is made for no one.” Here’s how you can use customer personas to guide your content marketing.
Using a Customer Persona to Guide Your Marketing
Your customer persona should outline exactly who your target audience is, what they value, and what they are looking for when they come to your company. Within your customer persona, you want to not only demographics like age and gender, but more psychographics such as needs, desires and pain points.
When creating content to use in your marketing, consider the specific purpose or problem that the piece may solve. Look closely at your persona to identify why your audience may resonate with that piece of content, then refine it. Take your content a step further so it fits the unique preferences of the individuals you’re trying to attract. When you always keep the individual from your customer persona in mind, you can develop more targeted pieces that are more likely to get noticed by the right people.
How Companies Use Targeted Content to See Better Results
If you want to see better results from your content marketing, you want each piece of content to meet the unique preferences of the audience you’re trying to reach. The more targeted your content is, the more likely you are to see high levels of engagement.
Targeted content can fit into your content marketing strategy in a number of ways. From attracting new high-quality leads to helping to move those individuals through the sales funnel, targeting your content will be beneficial at every step of the buyer’s journey.
Before you can attract the right kind of readers to your content, you need have some meaningful conversations with real customers, and combine this knowledge with search engine and social media analytics tools to answer some further questions:
- Which channels are attracting the best leads?
- Which content pieces are getting the most shares and traffic?
- Which website pages and blog posts are visitors spending the most time on?
By comparing the best-performing web content to the worst, you’ll get better insights into what your readers really want.
Hopefully, you’re now ready to better define your target audience and create content that attracts the right readers – an audience of potential customers who are out there waiting for your content.