There are four major pillars to any content marketing strategy. Your audience, your story, your distribution and your goals. These are the four things you need to think about when developing your strategy. This week we’re going to focus on audience.
What is an Audience?
Producing content no one interacts with is a waste of time and resources. So determining who your content strategy resonates with is the first priority of any comprehensive plan. Authors need readerships, film makers need viewers and you need an audience for the content you provide. So, quite simply, your audience is the people who will most likely listen to you. The tricky part is clearly defining who those people are.
Determining Your Audience
The easiest place to start is with yourself. What do you like; what content keeps you coming back for more? The content you consume resonates with you for a reason. Namely, because you are someones target audience. So who are you? This question has plagued philosophers and thinkers since time began. But there is no need to make the answer too complex. Start by answering these questions.
- How old are you?
- What gender are you?
- Where do you live?
- What is your profession?
- What level of education do you have?
This is just a start but I think you get the idea. Answering these questions is not only a good warm-up exercise but it gives you a benchmark. The next step is to do the same process for your ideal customer. It’s okay if the answers are the same. Once you’ve figured out your audience it’s time to figure out what resonates with them. Again the best place to start is with yourself. Here are some questions to get you going.
- What do you do for fun?
- What do you like?
- What do you dislike?
- What issues concern you?
- What content do you consume?
- Why do you consume it?
After you’re done answering these question about yourself, answer them for your ideal customer.
Tone, Style and Voice
So you went through the exercise, you answered the questions and you have a pretty good idea of who you want to talk to. You’re done right? Well not quite. Now you need to know how to talk to them. This is all about tone, voice and style and it is the hardest part of content marketing. What kind of tone do you want, what is your voice and what is your style? Let’s start with another exercise. You already know your ideal customer. Now imagine you’re at a social function with your ideal customer. Let’s ask some more questions.
- What type of social function would it be? Are you more likely to meet your ideal customer at a backyard barbeque or a black tie charity ball?
- What kinds of things would you talk about?
- What kind of language would you use? Formal? Informal?
Producing content for an audience is essentially starting a conversation. When you think about your company’s tone, style and voice, you need to think about it like you’re starting a conversation.
Do Your Homework
If you are unsure how to answer any of these questions for your ideal customer then it’s time to do some research.There are lots of conversations and lots of audiences. Especially on the internet. Chances are your target audience is someone else’s target audience too. So get to Googling. If you sell hunting equipment, go to competitor’s web sites, hunting forums and message boards. If you sell cookies, go to competitor’s web sites and baking forums and message boards. If you sell widgets, go to competitor’s web sites and widget forums and message boards. Take notes on what kinds of people frequent these places. What they are talking about and how they are talking about them? The Internet is a big place with a lot of people talking about a lot of things in a lot of different ways. Determining your audience is all about finding your place in a conversation. And, of course, you need something interesting say. You need a good story and that’s what we’ll be covering next week.
Photo credit: Rupert Ganzer – https://www.flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/