In 2015, content marketers need to ask themselves one question above all else: who cares? Because if the answer to that question is anything other than “my target audience” – then stop what you’re doing, because it’s a waste of your time and efforts.
The success of content marketing is heavily reliant upon the engagement of your target audience or market. No matter how you do it – whether it’s with whitepapers, infographics, videos, podcasts, memes, or any other form of content – getting your target to read, watch, share, comment on, like, or click on what you’ve created is the name of the game.
Content marketers must listen to their target audience, because creating content with the sole intent of making a sale instead of answering a question or helping in some way isn’t engaging. In order to be in touch with your audience, you need to do a few things:
- Form a strong relationship with your Sales team: The members of your company’s sales team are your “boots on the ground” – especially in the B2B market where the sales cycle is typically longer and requires a more consultative approach with prospects. Since the sales team is in constant contact with a variety of prospects, they can offer the greatest insights on the problems, requirements, and interests of your target markets.
- Get Comfortable with Alerts: Whether you use Google, Hootsuite, Twitter Counter, LinkedIn, or newsletter subscriptions – you need to stay on top of the latest topics and trends in your industry. Relevance and timeliness contribute to establishing your company as a thought leader, which builds trust with your prospects and customers. You don’t need to read every single email that enters your inbox, but even reviewing the subject lines can give you a good indication of what’s trending and what your target audience might be buzzing about.
- Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to talk to your customers! Sure, they may not be interested in having a 20 minute conversation – but they likely wouldn’t mind asking a few questions about the challenges their currently facing or what trends they’re excited about. Keep it cool and casual, and I bet you’ll learn more than you expect! Not only will this help you in creating content that your target audience wants, but it will increase the satisfaction of your customers. I mean, who doesn’t like venting about their latest frustrations or gabbing about an exciting new product or trend.
- Learn to Write — Or Hire a Writer: Nothing will kill your credibility more quickly than spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, awkward sentences, and plain old boring storytelling. Be honest with yourself; if you’re not a good writer, hire one. There are multiple websites, such as Kayak, Skyword, NewsCred, and Elance, that provide content creation services or allow you to connect with freelance writers. With so many resources at your disposal, there’s no excuse for poorly written content.
Once you’ve mastered the tactics listed above, you’ll have the tools and information to create content that truly engages your target market and audience.