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Keeping your audience at the centre of your content marketing strategy

By Joe French November 12, 2018 Content marketing

If you have a content strategy, you’re already on your way to adopting a customer centric attitude in your marketing. However, to really finetune this customer centred strategy, you need to look closely at how the content you create relates to your audience.

When creating a content strategy, it’s easy to miss the mark. This is understandable. With the likes of core brand messaging, resource constraints and increasing conversions to contend with, sometimes the fundamentals of a customer centric strategy can be forgotten.

Nowadays, people are incredibly time pressured. The internet means that there are literally millions of other things that your client could be reading or viewing instead of yours, so you need to make sure that whatever you write really addresses your customers’ needs.

Your own service shouldn’t be hogging the spotlight and preventing your content from being informative. If your content isn’t actually helpful, it makes your brand come across as pushy and inward looking.

To start to build a meaningful relationship with your audience you need to look at it through your customers’ eyes. This is the best way to come up with quality online content.

Use your marketing personas

If you work in marketing or sales, I’m sure you’ve heard of the term ‘marketing persona’ (sometimes called a buyer profile) at some point. Briefly, they are semi-fictional representations of your real client base. Most businesses will have several.

If you don’t already have any, you can create some via  this easy-to-use tool.

These should be central to your content strategy - they give you an added focus if you keep them in mind. For each piece of content, have one or two personas to target it at.

If you’re producing written content, imagine you’re writing to them; if you’re creating some visual content, imagine they’re watching and so on.


Empathise with your target audience

What keeps the people who engage with your business awake at 4am? How can you create content that really helps them on their journey to finding the right service for them? As much as your persona might be able to shed some light on this, it could be worth finding out from someone who deals with your clients day in and day out.

Usually, your sales department will be better positioned than your marketing team to know this.

Go and talk to them - they should have a detailed knowledge of your customers’ issues. Ask them, ‘What are you consistently seeing and getting questions about?’ Better communication across sales and marketing departments will help most businesses. Why not start implementing it in your content creation strategy?

Try to come up with a shortlist of your customers’ top 10 problems when interacting with your firm. Assign each of them to the relevant persona and keep them by your desk. When the time comes to create content, have a look at them and make sure that whatever you’re creating is hitting the nail on the head.

Of course, this doesn’t mean abandoning service orientated content. It just needs to be relayed in a way that empathises with your audience’s problems. Pushing your own service should never disrupt your use of content to help and inform your audience.


Segment your mailing lists

If you send out content via email, make sure that you segment your mailing list. The whole point of list segmentation is to provide more relevant content to your email recipients.

Badly targeted emails are an effective way of encouraging a mass exodus from your mailing list. For instance, a financial planning firm wouldn’t build much rapport with its audience by sending young professionals blogs about inheritance tax planning. They would be likely to unsubscribe to avoid being sent more irrelevant emails like this.

To accurately segment a mailing list you need to collect some information about your contact list. You can use data like psychographics, demographics, industry, company size, webpage views and number of downloads to get an accurate picture of what your contacts might like to receive.

This means you need to include some relevant information on the contact form to accurately segment the list.

However, there’s a fine balance between collecting enough customer information to send them relevant content and having a form that will have a low conversion rate because it’s too long.

A content led marketing strategy is all about assisting your audience and delivering value at every point of interaction with your business. What’s more, well informed clients are more likely to be making the right decision for them when they come to make a buying decision. This means you will be well positioned to create a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

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