Content marketing in theory is simple, you produce content and engage your target audience which in turn builds trust and they then move from audience members through prospects and into customers. If only it was that simple, content marketing actually works more like this, you start by producing lots of content and nothing really happens, this is where most business give up, those that succeed understand that they simply haven’t produced enough engaging content and haven’t built up enough trust with their audience and continue to hit the publish button.
The real secret to successful content marketing, is simply to regularly produce consistent content that engages your target audience, however to really engage your target audience, it’s important to really study and understand them. If you try to sell anything to an audience without identifying them, their needs, their problems, their desires, their wants, and so forth you’ll fail. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, you will not succeed without a thorough understanding of your target audience.
There are many ways to learn about your audience:
If you are an established business you understand that eighty percent of your revenue comes from twenty percent of your customers. These customers are perfect examples of your target audience. If you are new to business then this might take some brainstorming, figure out who your ideal client is by making a list of characteristics of the people you’d like to work with and who you identify with. Then, narrow that down even more until you’ve discovered a very specific niche audience.
When you have identified your audience, then you should also figure out their demographics. Their sex, age, marital status, education, interests, pain points, and so forth are very important to help you know what their needs are later when you are trying to create content to promote your products and/or services.
Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to find them on social media and follow them on Twitter. Join their groups on LinkedIn, communities, and social networks. Become part of their community so that you not only familiarize them but they get to know you, you will also get to know them better so that you can understand their needs.
Now that you’re following them, you can now listen to them. Observe their behaviour. Pay attention to their questions, fears, and joys. As you listen you will think of products and services that you can provide, as well as content and information that they need and that you can produce.
As you follow and listen to your audience, you’ll automatically get to know them. If you have any questions for your audience, just ask them and engage them. You can conduct a survey, ask a question on a forum, prompt discussion with an interesting blog post. As you get to know them, you’ll automatically be able to produce more and more content that they really need and want.
As you get to know your audience you’ll also be able to identify those who influence your audience. Every audience has their “gurus” or “influencers” or “authorities” and experts. By creating content that is also directed toward your audience’s influencers, you could create a situation where your content is more widely read and you are promoted by one of their influencers.
Content marketing really boils down to knowing your audience, and becoming part of their lives. The more you know about them, the more content you can create that produces the results that you want. Not only that, knowing your audience also facilities product and service creation that is on the mark with your audience.