As organizations start up their content marketing plans, there’s often a lot of excitement over a new product, solution, or competitive positioning. Maybe you have a great campaign and are eager to launch it into the universe. This enthusiasm to tell the world about your company is great but, unfortunately, for some organizations, such efforts are “all about ME” and say nothing about the audience, i.e., the customer. The maxim Know thyself is critical, but content marketers need to also remember Know thy audience.
Let’s examine a few vital pieces to help you Know thy audience and ensure your content marketing can reach your target audience.
Who are they?
Are you communicating with a small business, medium-sized or enterprise? What industry are they in? While these sound like very simplistic questions, you’ll be surprised at how many marketing organizations will completely miss their target audience. Would an individual or a very small company need an incredibly expensive and gratuitously (a word I’ve been dying to use!) complex solution originally intended for enterprises? Probably not.
Currently, a lot of marketing organizations create “buyer personas” to define individuals, for example, “Technical Terry” and “Strategic Stan.” While this is a great step in the right direction of defining your audience/customer, you should also consider some customers might be a combination of personas. The Content Marketing Institute has more excellent insights on not stringently adhering to universal buyer personas.
Where are they?
Are you targeting a specific region or is your audience global? In addition to understanding your audience’s physical location, you need to think critically of where they are in the media consumption universe, i.e. How do they consume media? Where do they hang out online?
On what media/medium will your message meet your audience? Touchpoints include online, print, mobile, social media channels, etc. Also consider if you can repurpose and mix up the media to strategically target them.
What are their challenges and needs?
This is a very important point in Knowing thy audience and it makes me lugubrious (another word I’ve been dying to use) for not mentioning this earlier. If you don’t know what your audience’s obstacles are, how is your product/solution going to solve their problem? Sure, you “need” to get your product/solution sold, but what are your audience’s needs? How does your product benefit them?
Kevin Nichols, Content Strategy guru and Executive Director at AvenueCX, makes a great point about this concept: “When consumers don’t have their needs met, they leave an experience, dissatisfied and hungry for something else. They will go elsewhere.”
Knowing your customers’ needs and challenges before touting your product is a crucial step not just in content marketing, but a basic tenet in all marketing.
How do you speak to your audience?
While there are basic language and cultural criteria to consider with your audience, you need to speak to them in clear and direct language. Many marketing organizations use esoteric buzz words, trendy terms, and even pretentious words like “gratuitously” and “lugubrious” that don’t resonate with customers.
Just speak with honesty, clarity and respect. Your audience will appreciate that and you’ll be on the road to connecting with your customers.