Define Your Audience
The next step in developing your strategy is figuring out who you want to be talking to and what their wants or needs are.
We’ll delve deeper into types of content and the channels to reach your audience later, but first, you need a strong understanding of your audience and what makes them tick. Like the steps so far, you’re going to want to get as specific as possible with this.
I’ve broken this down into two steps: identifying your audience and then, understanding their wants and needs.
Identify Your Audience
To create content that resonates with your audience and helps you achieve the goals you set in Lesson 3, you’re going to want to understand all kinds of things about that audience, like:
• What is their demographic info (age, gender, location, etc.)?
• Where are they online? (Where and how do they prefer to consume content?)
• What channels do they use to communicate? (Is this a Twitter crowd or an Instagram one?)
• Who do they listen to? (Who are their influencers?)
• What are their pain points?
To get ultra clear on who your target audience is and from that, learn what they want and how to speak to them, we’re going to develop an audience persona. You can think of this like a composite sketch of your ideal audience that helps you deliver content that’s most relevant and useful to them.
Having a documented persona, even the simplest form, will not only help you clarify your ideas but also serve as a single version of truth for anyone else developing content for your business.
Beyond just demographic data, we want to know things like their job title, where they work, and what their typical day looks like. Consider what music they listen to, what they like to do in their spare time, and what challenges you could help solve. Who do they trust?
Remember that one crucial aspect of knowing your audience is also knowing who isn’t your audience, so you can stay focused and ignore those who aren’t the right fit. The end result is a more engaged audience and more valuable content.
All these considerations help shape a detailed picture of who your ideal audience is and what motivates them.
Understand Their Wants and Needs
It’s a sad fact that the internet is full of content that shouldn’t even exist. It either already exists elsewhere and is simply replicated, or doesn’t provide any real value. To avoid having your content lumped into that bucket, create content that stands out, is unique, has a distinct voice, and, most importantly, offers genuine value to your audience outlined above.
The more specific you are and the more you focus on your audience and their needs, the greater your chances are of being found and establishing yourself as an authority.
To do this, you need to understand your customer’s journey and where they’re at in your buying cycle. Are they just doing some initial research, or have they narrowed their choice down to you and one other?
A customer journey map is an excellent tool for getting clarity on the different stages that your target audience might interact with you, how they move through your sales funnel, and their needs at each stage. You can download a free customer journey map template here.
It’s a good idea to do a customer journey map for each persona you create, but the number of personas will ultimately depend on the number of distinct audiences you intend to target with your content marketing.
Keep in mind that just because you might have different types of customers, their motivations and reasons for engaging with your content might be the same, so it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create a separate persona for each one.
Now that you’re clear on what your goals are, who your audience is, and what they want, tomorrow, we’re going to look at different types of content and the channels you might use for each.
See you then,
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