We’ve all seen the crazy content marketing stats. We know it works. Perhaps you’d love to add it into your marketing mix, but aren’t sure where to start. Hopefully this OnBlog series will offer guidance in your path to becoming a content marketing master.
The first question to ask yourself is WHO you are targeting. And I don’t mean broad strokes – I’m talking specifics. In 1995 something like this would work:
Female,18-24, single, educated, cares about health
But it’s 2016 and that won’t cut it. Your content will only work if you connect in a meaningful way with your target. So just knowing the basics isn’t going to help your cause. Today, you need to invest more when identifying an audience. To start, take out a pen and answer these three questions:
*** What do they care about? What do they value? ***
*** What questions do they have? What do they worry about? ***
*** What are they trying to do? Where do they want to go and why? ***
Once you have this type of insight, you can create content that’s truly impactful.
1) What do they care about? What do they value?
I have bad news for you. Your audience cares about a lot of things, but they don’t care about you. They don’t care about your brand or slogan. They don’t care about your other clients or who’s on your board. If they are seeking you out, they’re seeing if you satisfy a need or answer a question. They care about themselves.
Your content needs to reassure them, provide value, and be all about them…..not you.
Check out this library from Farmers Insurance or Red Bull; Two great examples of companies who know their customers. Farmers Insurance has an informative library that guides their readers in everything from prepping a boat for winter to buying a car. Red Bull has content designed to entertain, delight, and inspire. It’s not about their product, it is literally about their customer. The customer is the star. Red Bull is merely the stage.
Are you starting to think about your “target market” a little differently?
2) What questions do they have? What do they worry about?
Your readers are on a journey. Your content can serve as posts on a dark path shedding light along the way. Honestly is a great example of this. Honest Company sells parenting, health and cleaning products, but their blog is all about the journey a woman goes through when she becomes a mom. With topics like how to be more efficient at work, exercise tips and simple recipes, they’ve created a resource for their customers that provide value and exudes empathy.
What journey is your target on? What content can you create to light their way?
What are they trying to do? Where do they go and why?
The biggest mistake you can make is creating a piece of content without intent and expecting people to read it or care. You’re trying to reach someone inundated with 4.6 billion pieces of new content every day. They check their phone 110 times and their e-mail 30 times an hour while they’re at work. They are bombarded to the point of extreme distraction. Goldfish now have longer attention spans than the average American.
The only way you will stand out is to understand who you’re talking to.
They will not settle for mediocrity. There are too many options out there. Too much noise.
So start by putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. Think about what they need to achieve – not just at the point of sale – but throughout their journey. Why are they at your site? On your blog? On your feed? What are they looking for and what can you create that in essence, reassures them that you understand their journey and can offer help.
The most powerful content starts with empathy.
Offer guidance. Answer questions. Solve problems.
You will then truly start to see results. So yes- start by understanding your target – and go down that path by answering the three critical questions above. After you have a grasp of what your readers need you can create content that fulfills that need, which is the second part of the series.
Join us next week when we explore how to create relevant content with intent that will yield real results for your business. If you’d like to discuss content marketing and how Onboard can help, shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to chat.