It’s a simple question, but one that is often overlooked. And, the truth is that if a company hasn’t figured out who they are writing for, their content is very likely going to miss the mark. Perhaps the subject of the next blog has been chosen for its keywords, or to coincide with a new product launch or a topic that’s trending. But, if it’s really going to grab attention, content must start with the reader. Every piece of content has to address something that resonates with that reader, that inspires, solves a problem, makes them laugh or simply teaches them something they didn’t already know. And to know what will resonate, not only does a company have to know who they are talking to, they have to know that reader in depth.
It’s easy to get carried away by what you think will be popular. So a company produces a great piece of content that is perfect for twenty-something city-dwelling singletons, when the market they really need to engage with is made up of forty-year-old parents. Sure, it could be sharp, witty and accompanied by a stunning video. Then it gets distributed on the company’s platforms, shared, and perhaps, because it is a killer piece of content, it goes viral. A ton of twenty-something city-dwelling singletons visit the company’s website. But here’s the catch. They’re not interested in what the company offers and the company is not interested in them. There may be a little office back-slapping at the number of shares, likes, etc, but if the company is also tracking the conversion of visitors to leads, they will be sorely disappointed. They just made a lot of effort for nothing.
To avoid wasting time and resources on content that misfires, the first step in any content marketing strategy is to define exactly who you want to talk to. Most companies will have several client groups. Each of these groups will have different backgrounds, challenges and motivations, so each piece of content offered must be tailored to one specific group. Different content will appeal to different groups.
Define each client group
How many client groups does your company have? The simple answer is as many as it needs. Depending on what your company offers, these groups could have very different profiles, from teens to retired people, low-tech to high-tech, local to international.
Create an in-depth profile for each type of client
It’s time to go into detail. So, imagine one client group is working mothers. What else do you know about them? Where do they live? How old are they? What do they do at the weekends? What’s their job? What products do they usually buy? How much do they spend? What questions do they ask? What are their priorities in life? Don’t stop searching until you have a very complete picture of the client’s thinking and lifestyle.
What can my company do for them?
And now, ask yourself the most important question of all. What can your company do for them? What challenges and desires can your company answer? How can you help them? Here is what you need to be writing about. It’s time to brainstorm some ideas.
How does this client speak?
So, you know exactly what you need to write about to engage that client. But, before writing, bear in mind that your content needs to be delivered in language that is familiar to that client. If they are unlikely to be unfamiliar with technical language, avoid jargon. If they are millennials, avoid formal, stuffy speech. If it’s a professional group, make sure the delivery is appropriate to that group.
A language school in a big European city offers intensive summer courses for visitors, and long-term courses for people living in the city. The first client group are mostly young students from affluent families. The second group is professional foreign people who live in the city and need to learn or improve their language skills.
Although ostensibly both groups want to learn the language, some careful scrutiny reveals entirely different motivations and aims.
The students often consider many different cities and are likely to make their final choice based on social life and cultural offerings. When they choose a school, the quality of teaching is important, but they are also looking for a welcoming place that encourages friendships with other students and introduction to local life. They want to know that the school offers free wifi, day trips and social nights.
The second group is older. They don’t need to choose a city, but they need to choose a school. They will choose a school with classes that fit with their schedule, as well as a school that understands their challenges as foreign residents.
For the first group, the school creates content about why this is such a great European city to visit, including videos and eye-catching photos for Instagram. They also offer in-depth practical information about finding accommodation and getting around, lists of the best nightspots and plenty of tips for enjoying a wonderful summer in the city. They give personal accounts from previous students who have attended group trips outside the city or to a neighbouring country. Through content, they show how truly fun the overall experience is for students who attend their school.
For the second group they provide information about using language at work, tips about cultural differences in the workplace, local networking and language exchange events, and plenty of tips about language learning.
And, of course, once the future students come through to the website, not only do they find a plethora of interesting and relevant content, but the school is ready to convert those visits to leads. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. Click here for The 5 best ways to convert web visits to leads.