In our last blog, we left with you with the advice that the best marketing strategies come from an in-depth understanding of your customer base. With this in mind, the primary difficulties encountered when creating content for a respective industry become fairly obvious. They typically include:

  • A lack of clarity about the audience for whom the content is being created.
  • A lack of specific goals for the content, making it impossible to measure it’s effectiveness
  • A rigid focus on creating “viral” content as opposed to content amplification through outreach

In the proverbial nutshell, you need to identify your target audience. Without an in-depth understanding of your core constituency, the best you can hope to achieve is to pique the interest of the occasional reader here and there. Not surprisingly, this “strategy” is unlikely to produce much – if anything – in the way of quality traffic or actionable leads. Some webmasters attempt to remedy the effects of this lack of clarity by posting a flood of content, doing so under the misguided notion that, sooner or later, something is bound to resonate with someone, somewhere, sometime, and get fished out of the stream. This does little more than reinforce the image of an organization cursed with scattered focus and a lack of any real understanding about its audience. Even under the best of circumstances, no matter how strong your credentials, this shortcut will probably result in a diminished level of trust that you are able to adequately serve the needs of your customer.

A good rule of thumb: Quantity should never take precedence over quality. Your core audience will recognize – and reward or penalize you for – the difference.

How do you determine who is in your audience and what interests them? Customer profiles of people who have done business with you in the past can be quite helpful in defining your target audience. Of course, this is easiest if you keep meticulous records about your clients. However, if the information you store about your clientele is more vague, you can try filling in the blanks with brief surveys. After all, rarely does it hurt to ask a customer how they feel you could best serve their needs.

Once you have insight into your demographic, there are a few very important questions to ask:

  • What influences your core audience?
  • What do you have to offer that will earn their attention?
  • What sort of content would they value enough to share?
  • What challenges do they have that you could help with?

Analyzing the answers to these questions will provide you with a solid foundation upon which you can safely build your content.

Most developers focus on creating content that will be the most read and the most shared. However, it’s worth noting that most of the content that gets read is never shared, and much of what is shared is never read in its entirety by the recipient. Lastly, some of the most linked-to content is neither shared nor read.

The main priorities for most businesses sharing online are building links and gaining conversions. Finding a linking opportunity and creating content to fit that opportunity is way to make your content more goal-oriented.

Let’s say you’ve done your surveys and found that most of your customer base is made up of young athletic males and that site traffic seems to increase in the mid-morning. Taking advantage of that information is easy: ask local fitness establishments if they would be willing to host your material and then schedule your content to post during those peak traffic times.

Viral content is hard to create, yields results that are impossible to predict, and usually has very little to do with the actual business.  A cute blog with trendy topics can attract viral attention if you hit the right note at the right time, but that attention won’t really be for you or your company.

For real, consistent results, focus on the needs, wants, and interests of the core demographic of your target market: the people to whom you want to sell your products and services.

Quite frankly, other than relying on sheer luck, it’s the only recipe for success.