“Write to please just one person,” Kurt Vonnegut, a literary giant and one of GE’s first content marketers, once wrote.
If you’re confused about how to best integrate content marketing into your business strategy, heed Vonnegut’s advice. For all great writing and marketing begins in the same place: with an understanding of whom you’re writing to.
As a business, you want to create and distribute content that’s truly useful and of value. You want to continue to improve your products based on customer feedback. You don’t want your hard work to be for naught.
To get there, you have to determine who you’re talking to—your target audience. Here are five steps to get you started:
Create consumer personas.
This step might seem unnecessary or tiresome, but it’ll be of great help in the long run. Sit down with your team and discuss these questions:
- How old is our ideal customer?
- What is their level of education?
- Employment status?
- What are their daily responsibilities, routines?
- What do they read?
- Most importantly, what troubles them?
Content marketing’s role is to provide a solution to a problem— to provide healing and ease their pain. If you can, interview existing customers or speak with customer-facing employees. Distribute customer satisfaction surveys and offer incentives in return.
Next, create 5-10 consumer personas—general profile sketches that offer an understanding of who your content is designed to reach, what kind of content they’ll find most useful, and what issues they’re up against that you can help remedy. It will be time well spent. These personas will be useful not only for content marketing, but sales, new hire training, and more.
See who’s talking about you.
First, we’re assuming you’re on social media. If not, today’s the day. Mobile usage continues to climb, as do mobile purchases. Did you know mobile users spend the majority of their time on 5 specific apps? This is important to know when it comes to content distribution.
See what consumers, fans, followers, and random folks are saying about you. Utilize a program like Tweetdeck to track mentions on Twitter, make use of Facebook’s Page Insights, or check out Sprout Social‘s powerful social media management and analytics platform.
Who’s liking your posts, sharing your content, and commenting? Who’s clicking through? Reading your blog? Mentioning you on Facebook and Twitter? You’re one step closer to understanding your target audience.