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Understanding Your Target Audience

It’s important to know your targeted audience. It’s also important to know what you are writing about and what’s the message you what to pass through.

There are few essential elements you need to know about:

  • Content marketing strategy
  • Distribution/Organization
  • Type of content
  • Content theme
  • Tone of voice

The truth is, from the images alone in a post, it’s hard to tell what kind of content it may follow. We need to delve a little further to find out what really interests our audience. That’s where research and insight come into play; and we’re not just talking about analytics data.

You should never judge a book by its cover.

Once you begin creating content, according to your target audience’s need and motivations, you should consider these questions along the way:

  • Who are they? (and not just their age and gender!)
  • What are their interests?
  • Where do they consume content?

Audience insight

Demographic data can be handy in such cases, however there’s always a need for further investigation to how these things connect, in order to answer the initial questions.

This level of audience research can provide some interesting and unexpected results too. It’s often easy to make an assumption about who your audience are based on past data or long-held brand perception. But audiences can change and develop. You may discover that the audience are a lot younger than had first been perceived, or that they interact more on one social channel over another. Regular analysis is crucial here.

Below you will find some of the ways you can achieve these insights and handy tools to find your audience.

  1. First take a look in your audience, analytics data. You can discover information on demographics alongside segmentation of interests depending on your website and Google Analytics setup.
  2. Understanding the popularity of past content, and where that traffic is coming from can also be a key indicator of how your audience like to consume content, and the content types they enjoy best across your website.

Here are some other ways to discover your audience:

  • Facebook groups with industry/community followers
  • In-person discussions with focus groups or community advocates to test opinions on upcoming content marketing directions or website content
  • Social analytics and insight tools such as Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Pulsar and Buzzsumo.

Understand what kind of content your audience is entertained by

If you are looking to use PR promotion to distribute your content and have found that your audience have certain interests in food, for example, the next step is understanding the type of publications your audience might consume on that topic. These can help form the basis of the media list for your campaign, while also helping shape the format of your content piece.

By doing a site search, finding the number of pages on that website, and then filtering by different content types such as “video,” it’s possible to work out the percentage of content produced.

If video content was the highest percentage, and you know your audience are hanging out and consuming content on these publications, it gives you an indication of the type of content that would best resonate with them, and enable you to be targeted with your outreach.

Tap into your in-house knowledge

Chat with your paid media teams – they have a wealth of audience data that can be really useful when planning content campaigns! Consider the two-fold benefit of collaboration here, too. Content teams could work on a campaign that drives relevant traffic, and the paid teams could then use this data for retargeting to drive direct sales.

Talk to your customer service teams and sales teams and gather feedback from them. 

Discover what questions the customers are asking, and the common problems they’re looking for a solution to.

Speak with your organic social team – what comments are users making? Under which content? Are there any patterns in interaction with particular content themes?

Emotional triggers

Emotional triggers are another important element to think about. Which emotion could you draw on within your campaign to motivate your audience? The science backs this up.

As stated in Forbes: “In a 2016 study, they found that when individuals have a positive emotional association with a specific brand, they are 8.4 times more likely to trust the company, 7.1 times more likely to purchase more and 6.6 times more likely to forgive a company’s mistake. Nielsen released a study in 2016 which revealed that ads with an above average emotional response from consumers caused a 23% increase in sales compared to average advertisements.”

Create personas

Once you have the insights described above, the next stage is to build out personas. These could be based on buyer behaviour, social listening, surveys or a combination of all research.

From this, we can create a hypothetical visualisation of the different types of audience you may have. This includes a name for that persona, their profession, age, family situation, interests, publications they read etc. – essentially, you’re creating a crib sheet that brings the audience to life. When writing, this allows the content creator to imagine as if they were directly speaking to that persona so they can craft the tone, theme and style of copy accordingly.

 

Content strategies are and should be ever evolving. Always leave room to look back at your audience data to prepare new and creative ways to connect and keep them coming back and engaging with your brand.