We think it’s a combination of both. No matter how great your content is, if you are addressing the wrong audience, it’s not going to have much of an impact. If you have managed to find your target audience, but your content is subpar, that is not going to get you far either.
How to Discover Your Target Audience
1. Create reader personas
Defining your target audience is a lot easier if you have set off to create a reader/buyer persona first. That includes the age of your persona, their financial status, geographical location, their interests outside of work, income, and goals they hope to achieve in the future. You can also include the level of their familiarity with the topic, as well as their preferences when it comes to content consumption and using the internet.
2. Perform user surveys on a regular basis
Another way of making sure you are addressing the needs and pain points of your target audience would be to run user surveys on a regular basis. Over time, your audience’s needs and expectations might change, which means you will need to tweak your approach if you want to keep them as customers, or address a different audience altogether.
3. Learn to use Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an essential tool for content marketing, because it helps you keep track of all sorts of stats, such as your audience’s age, location, the browser they are using, and even which channels are responsible for driving most of your traffic – all of which can help you determine your target audience with great precision.
4. Identify your target audience on social media
Tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter’s own analytics’ dashboard allow you to see which posts have been a hit with your audience, as well as to discover optimal days and times for posting, which should help you profile your target audience even better.
5. Track your social media activity
There is a wide variety of social media tools out there, such FollowerWonk, Buzzsumo, CoSchedule, Buffer, HootSuite, and so on. These enable you to track anything from user engagement and the number of retweets, to likes and reach for each of your posts. You can also use them to schedule posts in advance.
With Google Analytics in your toolbox, you can easily identify the posts that have performed the best over a specific time period. Tools like CoSchedule can also help you monitor the number of pageviews and total shares, which provide a clear indication of how popular your posts are.
7. Ask for feedback via email
One of the most effective methods for sparking a conversation with your target audience is sending out an email periodically in which you ask for their feedback. Once you engage them on a personal level, you can develop a relationship where they will feel appreciated and more motivated to provide constructive feedback.
8. Talk to your Audience directly
Instead of being you on one end and your followers on the other, try to talk to them directly by responding to user comments and messages, because there is a lot you can learn about them through direct interaction. Join relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups, post high-quality content, and write new posts based on their requests.
9. Watch what your competition is doing
Tools like Buzzsumo and FollowerWonk can help you identify the most shared content in your niche, as well as major influencers. That way, you can determine what sort of content they produce, and why it’s working so well for them. Then, you can set out to beat them at their own game.
10. Make use of social listening tools
Another tool you should definitely learn to use is Mention, which enables you to see what sort of content your target audience is talking about when on social media. Once you know which topics have them talking, you can tweak your content creation strategy to bring it closer to them.
How to Engage Your Target with Content
1. It’s about your audience’s needs, not yours
Your audience is looking for content that will help them solve a problem. Even though your business is important to you, you can only grow it by addressing your audience’s needs first. If your content is informative and able to address your audience’s key pain points, rest assured they will become your customers sooner or later. Search for professional writing help if you feel hesitant about the quality of your posts.
2. Focus on benefits instead of features
While you should definitely point out the key features of your product or service, audiences are much more interested in how they can benefit from using them. That means you should focus more on how buying your product will make their life easier. You are selling a better life, not features.
3. Introduce urgency
Making your content stand out is a huge challenge these days, because there is almost too much information out there. Creating a sense of urgency by offering your product or service for a limited time only, or producing content that promises to change your readers’ lives for the better today will grab their attention.
4. Include a clear call to action
Once website visitors have read your content, you should provide a clear call to action at the end, so that they are absolutely sure about what should be their next step. Your CTA should be direct, specific, and relevant, and communicate a clear message.
It’s not enough just to produce great content. You also need to make sure that it reaches the right people. Start implementing these tips today and create useful content your audience won’t be able to resist.
** About the author: Brenda Savoie is a content marketer, private English tutor, and desperate dreamer writing her first romantic novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness.