Content Marketing Strategy Success: Defining Your Audience
Content marketing capability is not the only facet of your business that needs an audit on a regular basis. The evaluation of your different audiences should also take precedence over other urgent organisational goals you may have. Content Marketing Strategy is critical in defining and refining your audience over time.
For without the competence to understand which audience you target on, you fail to write (content) specifically for their needs. And when your content fails to connect with and be consumed by your target audience, long-term business success is far out of reach.
Content Marketing Strategy - How does your content support your brand and audience needs?
We’ve all heard that content is king, and in this case, content marketing is the whole kingdom.
But if your content marketing is still built on a traditional structure, meaning, there’s no direct link between what you are doing and what is actually working for your target audience, it will definitely not make any sense for them.
However great you perceive your content to be, if it has no value to your target audience, it is unsustainable.
If you want to be seen as an authority in your industry, you need to stop creating content for its own sake. Define your target audience first. This will help you not just create great content but create the right content.
The right content delivers on customer needs and is the same kind of great content that won’t fail to support your business goals. Providing useful, relevant, and timely information to your prospective clients is therefore essential if you’re gearing towards strong brand awareness, purposeful lead generation, and an active market engagement that all leads towards faster ROI and increased sales.
The Content Marketing ‘Sweet Spot’
Right after your content auditing and goal-setting agenda, your focus should be on finding your content marketing ‘sweet spot’ to engage your intended market.
Your content marketing ‘sweet spot’ is the product of the convergence of your business expertise and your intended market’s most pressing issues and challenges. Simply put, it is your content core or empathic content – words, statements, articles that have the ability to care for what the prospective clients care about (not yourself).
Remember: it’s not all you write about. You need to move away (ever so slightly) from your scheduled topics and focus on what your prospective clients want to hear about and what they are actually looking for – your content core, your emphatic content, your sweet spot.
Benefits of Content Focused on the Relevancy ‘Sweet Spot’
Discovering your ‘sweet spot’ and creating customer-centric emphatic content has several key benefits:
1. It shows your interest in involving customers in your content creation process.
2. It shows your effort to create content that not just avoids a desire gap but fills an identified sweet spot.
3. It shows your willingness to empathize with clients, making you trustworthy.
4. It makes clients feel better and more empowered with your message.
5. It proves your edge over competitors, making you stand out in a sea of ambitious self-motivated marketers.
6. It lends great personal and emotional impact to your marketing efforts, making it more relatable to customers.
7. It lends your brand transparency, authenticity, and credibility.
8. It upholds your content marketing goals and objectives.
Customer-centric content marketing can only be possible if you know your target audience intimately. The only way to do this is to generate buyer personas that deliver compelling, resonant and relevant content. And as time passes by, you will be able to tailor content that gets higher ranking, more relevant traffic, quicker conversions, and more involved with the customer lifecycle.
Creating Personas for Content Marketing
Creating personas of your target audience is a powerful technique that can boost the usability and customer centricity of your content marketing efforts.
A web persona is defined as "a summary of the characteristics, needs, motivations and environment of a key type of web site user".
Marketing Interactions CEO and B2B marketing strategist Ardath Albee defined a marketing persona as “a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience needed to help deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience”.
A more specific definition of a buyer persona according to Foviance/Seren is “a fictional character that communicates the primary characteristics of a group of users, identified and selected as a key target through use of segmentation data, across the company in a usable and effective manner. This ultimately enables the company to design the best user experience for its customers at all touch points, which is a key success factor in today’s business environment”.
Having a documented audience persona will not just help you crystallize your ideas and curate information that are valuable for customers but will also trim unnecessary processes during your content marketing creation.
When you can visualize an individual, you can properly tailor content according to their needs, wants, and expectations. Using this strategy during your writing process will enable the person reading your content to relate easily to what you saying, as though you are speaking directly to them.
Types of Personas
If you want to take advantage of any growth pillars, sales performance, and even product innovation, you must develop a deep understanding of your target audiences – particularly at the persona level.
Best-in-class organizations leverage four types of personas, each with its own value of specificity to cater to customer needs.
1. Buyer personas. Buyer personas are created to understand the target audience’s specific needs, preferences and buying behavior for the ultimate purpose of customer acquisition and retention.
2. End-user personas. End-user personas are created to understand and fulfill the specific job obligations and workflows of consumers.
3. Web personas. Web personas are created to understand the usability preferences and interaction level of the website visitors.
4. Influencer personas. Influencer personas are created to increase the potential readers/viewers’ influencing status by their ‘sharing’ activity, which in turn, increases brand awareness.
Elements of Personas
There is no cookie-cutter strategy for creating the right customer personas for your business. But there are common components that can be used as criteria, depending on the complexity of the persona.
1. Name. Personas get their own names based on their characteristics or relevancy to the brand product or service.
2. Label. A summary of the characteristics of the persona.
3. Demographic characteristics. It refers to age, gender, income bracket, educational level, social group, etc.
4. Goals or Motivations. It can be from a personal point of view or in a business context.
5. Challenges, barrier or pain points. A summary of the target audience’ need for a product or service.
6. Buying decision behaviors. Different personality types have different impact on the speed of decision-making process.
7. Information needs. Different personality types have different impact on the nature and depth of information used in the decision-making process.
9. Customer journey maps. Refers to the customer’s experience from initial contact, through the engagement process, and into a long-term relationship.
10. Perceptions. Refers to the consumers’ understanding of the positioning of the competing products or services in the marketplace
Developing well-formed personas will help you get the right content to the right people at the right time. This is the kind of content you should strive to create: content that builds relationships that result in sales.
Benefits of Personas
1. A well-formed persona functions as a relevance tool during the content marketing process.
2. A well-formed persona takes the guesswork out of content creation, leading to a more effective and impactful marketing efforts.
3. A well-formed persona increases the level of success at every stage of the content marketing process.
4. A well-formed persona acts as a uniform storyline that enables everyone on the team as well as outside contributors to tell the same story.
5. A well-formed persona steers you clear about what you know about your product/service and its feature – not from your own perspective but from the customers’ point of view!
6. A well-formed persona clarifies commonalities and behavior patterns that characterize your customer segments.
7. A well-formed persona makes it possible to communicate with your potential clients in a clear, meaningful, and cost-effective way.
How to Create an Effective Persona
1. Picture your ideal customer.
Determine the demographics of your current customer base. Be as detailed as possible. The answers serve as the foundation of your persona.
2. Define the persona that works best for you.
This process involves bridging the gap between the data at hand and the persona descriptions that would generate the highest form of audience engagement. It might mean creating two or more personas, with its own value of specificity, to cater to different customer needs.
3. Transform your persona into a ‘real’ human being.
Even without the aid of a magic wand, you can now have a persona, a fictional character based on the summary of the needs and wants of your ideal customer.
4. Develop your elevator pitch.
Based on the descriptions, create scenarios where you can deliver your elevator pitch and put your persona into action in relation with your product or service offering.
It is your five-second value proposition that defines your persona’s need, highlighting their pain points, which will lead them to the goal (enabling customer journey with your product or service offering).
5. Use this persona as your model.
You can now develop a completed profile format that you can consistently use as a model during your content marketing process. Adopt a customer-centered approach and always update your persona profile on a regular basis to experience overall success with all the different segments of your audience.