22 May 2018

Creating Content That Connects: First, Define Your Target Audience

Most people are aware of the landmark writing done by acclaimed authors like Proust, Joyce and Tolstoy, they just ain’t reading it! There’s no point in writing compelling content is useless unless it’s read or viewed by the right audience. How do you ensure that your content will connect with prospective buyers? It’s a two-step process. First, you properly define and understand your target audience, and then you write directly to that audience.

Here’s a deeper look.

What Is a Target Audience?

Quite simply, your target audience is the group of people most likely to be interested in your content. The term “target market” is often used interchangeably with “target audience,” but there’s a subtle difference. A target market includes all of the people who might be interested in a subject. A target audience is a subset of the target market – the specific people who would be interested. For instance, the target market for a company that makes sports equipment might be active males between the ages of 18 and 30. That information greatly informs and shapes a company’s branding efforts.

Defining Your Target Audience

Here’s the simple way to get started. Open a new text file or take out a sheet of paper, and answer these questions:

What goals do I want to accomplish?
You may your content to help sell a product or service; you may want to build trust in your brand; you may want to attract web traffic so you can display advertising; you may want to create an authority website to bolster your reputation as a social media influencer. 

What value do I want my content to provide?
If you’re trying to sell products or services, you’ll want to describe how your offerings meet the needs of potential clients. If you’re building a brand, you’ll be best served by creating an emotional bond with readers and viewers. If you’re building an authority site, you’ll likely need to concentrate on entertaining, expert content. In any event, your content must provide value to your target audience – or it will go unread or unseen.

Who do I want to read or watch my content?
This is the money question. The first two tell you what you’re going to use as content, but this one tells you who it should be created for. The market research we’ve discussed would come in very handy here since it will tell you exactly who your target audience is. 

Connecting With Your Target Audience

Whether your content is an article or blog post, an infographic or video, or created in another format, the best content marketing attracts and maintains the attention of the target audience. A diverse content strategy is the best way to attract the most eyeballs, as long as delivery is on the platforms favoured by your target audience.

For example, you’ll find millennial audiences congregate on social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, and women are the primary audience on Pinterest. Serious business people are frequent users of LinkedIn, while older audiences are more prone to consume content on authority blogs. As you’d probably expect, younger demographic groups prefer mobile device content, while Gen X prefers laptop-delivered content and Baby Boomers love their desktop machines.

The types of content you choose are crucial as well. A study by Fractl and BuzzStream reports, that all age groups favour blog posts, images and eBooks, but millennials prefer social media and audiobooks, GenX members are more likely to watch digital video, and Baby Boomers look for longer content and product reviews. The proper ways to choose topics for content marketing is a subject that deserves its own article. You can start, though, by determining the type of information your target audience is searching for. An easy way to do it is with a tool like Google Keyword Planner. When you type in a keyword, the tool will display the terms surfers use most often to search for information on the topic. Pay careful attention to search terms that are expressed in question form, such as “What’s The Best Camera Under $200?” or “How Do You Shop For A Car?” Those give you a clear vision of the questions your target audience wants to be answered. Answering those questions provides real value to your audience.

Two final tips for creating content that connects with your target audience:

  • Don’t assume they know who you are. It’s important to establish your bona fides as an expert in the subject they’re interested in because that builds trust. Once you’ve built that trust they’ll be more likely to become regular blog readers or social media followers, and they’ll be more likely to purchase the products or services you offer.
  • Don’t “write from your gut,” because your target audience may not be looking for the same information or content that you’d be interested in. Rely instead on the research you’ve done, which will give you a clear picture of the information they’re seeking. Compelling and valuable content that delivers what your audience wants and needs forms a solid connection with your target audience and will pay lasting dividends.

And lastly, Don’t Panic…