Read full article by Jayson DeMers
Clearly defining your audience makes all the difference when you’re creating content. If you’re writing a piece about social media management tools, how do you frame it correctly? The answer, of course, all depends on who you’re writing for.
Any of the following are reasonable approaches or working titles:
- The basics of social media management software
- Advanced social media management software hacks for entrepreneurs
- An introduction to social media management tools for analysts
- The top 5 free social media management tools
- Social media management tools for a 30 minutes a day social media plan for administrative assistants
What’s the major factor that defines whether what you write is hitting the target?
Why audience matters
Creating a content strategy without a clear understanding of your audience is a bit like setting a boat adrift without navigational tools. You’re out there and you’re taking action, but you’re not working toward a specific goal. These are the situations that marketers dread: huge amounts of time and money, without a clear potential for good ROI.
Let’s start with goals. It’s easy to think about goals in terms of SEO and content strategy in different ways.
“I want to rank at the top of Google for the keyword “fishing in Franklin MA.”
“I want to get 40 hot leads a month through inbound marketing.”
“I want to double my link profile 100% each month through guest blogging.”
What these goals don’t articulate though, the truth lying right beneath the surface and driving every content effort, is a desire to reach people. Specific people, that your brand will resonate with and who will take action to buy, use, and promote your products and services. Beginning every campaign with astrong understanding of your audience is one of the best ways to ensure your success. Here’s a step by step process to help you do that.
1. Who Are They?
Every solid audience profile starts with a fundamental understanding of who your audience is. Demographic profiles are limited in their potential to uncover motivations and buying patterns. But they’re a great launch point for any discussion. For example, consider the following five people:
- A single male in his early twenties renting an apartment in NYC and making more than $100,000 a year
- A married mother of four in Wisconsin that is a stay-at-home parent and has a total family income of less than $40,000 per year
- A divorced father of two residing in Alaska, on a farm, with a net worth of several million dollars
- A couple in their thirties with no children, living in Boston, coping with unemployment
- A retired couple in their seventies in Texas with fourteen grandchildren and fixed retirement incomes
Each of these vignettes contains only a few details of the people’s lives, but you begin to form a picture. It’s true that in the first example, a huge amount of variation is possible. Your prospect could be an investment banker working a hundred hours a week, a novelist that found early success with a book and is struggling with creativity on his next project, or an architect with a passion for urban environments. These other details hang on that scaffolding and give it context. It’s the context that helps you sell.
Still, without a fundamental understanding of where your prospect is coming from and how she lives her life, digging deeper into her needs and motivations is going to be a challenge. Always build your audience profiles on a solid demographic base.
2. What’s Their Most Pressing Issue, Problem, or Desire?
Every person on that list has something that keeps them awake at night. It might be a persistent problem – such as an inability to get an entrepreneurial venture off the ground, find the willpower to be healthy, or sustain a healthy relationship. It might be a momentary issue such as insomnia, the need to hire a great personal assistant, or a desire to figure out how to deal with a difficult client.
Whatever the issue – whether longstanding or short-term – it’s the entrée into the discussion and your invitation into their lives. If you understand this from two perspectives, you’ll be much better equipped to be everything from create powerful content.
- Understanding the predominant problem that has brought your previous customers to your door – especially your best and most profitable customers – helps you recognize that motivation in others. Your pattern recognition for the people that comprise your best customers will improve dramatically. It also helps you create content that attracts more of those prospects.
- More broadly understanding what is driving people to seek out products and services like yours will expand your arsenal of topics, approaches, and more.
As you develop your audience profile, do your best to articulate what drives them in terms that they themselves would use. This permeates every level of a successful marketing effort.
3. Where Do They Get Their Info?
Read full article by Jayson DeMers