Great content speaks to your audience. It gets them interested in your products, services and your company. With the right plan in place, you can expand your customer base, generate more leads and ultimately improve your bottom line.
In a nutshell, great content:
- Attracts new customers/readers and keeps them interested or engaged
- Helps improve your rankings in the search engines
- Enables you to build your brand
But creating a content strategy is not always easy. Many business owners and marketers have a difficult time navigating through the process. Here are some do’s and don’t’s to follow.
Do Know Your Audience
Are you writing for customers/clients or your peers? Are you appealing to other businesses or the general population? In order to create a content strategy, you need to understand who your audience is. And knowing your audience is the single key to success with content marketing and marketing in general.
While there was a time when only large corporations had the resources to conduct customer research, advancements in the industry have allowed even small businesses to take advantage of a wide range of services. And this research can go beyond basic demographics.
Here are a few of the many ways you can get to know your audience:
- Keyword research. Keyword research can go beyond SEO benefits and also provide you with information on your audience, including what they like and what type of information they’re looking for. Long tail keywords can be particularly useful for this purpose.
- The information gathered through your site’s analytics can also tell you a lot about your audience. Where did they come from? Which pages do they visit, and how long do they stay on your site? You can use this information to formulate topics for your content strategy.
- Analyze buying data. You already have quite a bit of information about your customers, including what triggers them to buy, who they are, what they purchase, when they purchase and how they purchase. This information paints a picture of your target audience and gives you a place to focus your research.
- A/B testing. A/B testing is a great way to find out what works and what doesn’t. These tests compare two options to see which one performs better. Use it to find out:
- Which headlines attract more attention
- Which products or services your customers are attracted to
- Which landing page design generates the highest conversion rates
- How effective a call to action is
Once you know who your audience is, you can create a content strategy that appeals to them.
Do Appeal to Your Audience
What is your audience interested in? What life situation are they in (e.g. going through divorce, heading off to college, etc.)?
Knowing who your customers are is great, but speaking their language and appealing to their interests is crucial.
This will help you create highly targeted content that appeals directly to your target audience and prevents you from being too broad with your marketing efforts. Let’s say, for example, you’re a divorce lawyer looking to create a blog for your website. Instead of creating posts that target people looking for lawyers, create posts that appeal to people who are thinking of divorcing and in need of divorce lawyer.
So, how can you appeal to your audience? Here are two tips:
- Speak their language. Use terms that only an industry insider would know. This lets your audience know that you understand them.
- Put a spin on a topic that your customers are familiar with. Have a topic your audience is interested in. Offer a new perspective, or put a negative spin on a topic to create controversy.
Do Solve Their Problems
Once you know who your audience is and what they’re all about, you can create content that solves their problems. People search for answers to questions. Answer their questions with your content.
Create a list of questions that your target audience is asking. It can be helpful to use customer/visitor data for this.
Don’t Create Content for the Sake of Creating Content
Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content. Your marketing strategy and all of the content you create should have a purpose and a direction. Providing your customers and visitors with information that doesn’t appeal to them is just a waste of your time and their time.
Don’t Be Inconsistent
Developing a marketing strategy is an ongoing process. It’s important to be consistent and continually add to your strategy. You’ll need to:
- Keep in touch with your audience to stay relevant and continue providing them with content that appeals to their interests.
- Make sure that you’re providing content on a consistent basis.
- Follow through with your strategy and track the results.
- Tweak your strategy to improve its effectiveness.
A content strategy is the foundation of your online marketing efforts. Understanding your audience is key. Creating content that appeals to them and answers their questions will establish credibility and build trust that will ultimately provide you with new leads, customers, sales and more revenue.
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Content Marketing Strategy - November 18, 2014
- Forming Content Ideas That Don’t Suck - May 21, 2014
- Content Strategy – Why Every Blog Needs a Plan - March 5, 2014