As a content marketer, I rely on data and analytics to create robust strategies for our clients. However, when I talk to fellow professionals, I do not need these tools to guess what perhaps is the biggest obstacle we face: how to create content that your customers will love to read.
The research backs me up. In 2018, SEMRush and Content Marketing Institute surveyed over 1,800 content practitioners to identify the 15 top challenges of content marketers. Thirty three percent of strategists identified developing pieces that ring true with their target audience while 38% of content marketing writers identify understanding the target audience as an issue.
Understanding other people, especially when we do not know them, is challenging. This makes creating content they find valuable even more difficult. That said, we have tools and strategies to help you alleviate the struggle and ultimately give your target audiences what they want.
- Research your audience in depth before you create content.
- Use tools to help you research keywords and analyze traffic to your digital platforms.
- Your sales team will have a great opinion on what your customers actually want. Base your content strategy on this information.
- You need to create content in a variety of different formats if you want to reach a wider audience.
Research Before You Create Content
A doctor would not treat a patient without researching their symptoms and the best ways to treat them. Content marketing is no different.
First and foremost, we start with our target audiences and answer the following questions: Who are they? What do they like? Where do they consume media? Where do they live? The list goes on.
While it may seem daunting to answer these questions, we recommend you use these tools and strategies to help you get to know your audiences better.
Keyword Research for Content Creation
Keyword research helps inform you about the language your target audience is using to describe your product or services. You can take the information you gleen to help you craft your content.
- Google – The most popular search engine has several free tools to assist you in your keyword research. Google autofill provides clues as to what people are searching for around any topic based on the number of searches performed. Google Trends allows you to see how many searches there have been for a keyword or term over a period of time. The Keyword Planner takes it a step further and gives data on each search term you are targeting and how much competition you will face if you decide to use it.
- Answer The Public – This free resource scrapes Google to identify and categorize the questions people ask around a keyword.
- BuzzSumo – With a limited number of free searches, BuzzSumo allows you to search for the best performing content based on social engagement. Not only is it ideal for generating content ideas, it allows you to see how your competition’s content has performed.
- Google Analytics – For brands with an established website, Google Analytics is a robust tool that can help identify who is already visiting your site, how long they are staying, and what existing content resonates.
- Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics – Similar to Google Analytics, brands can look at their existing social media platforms to see the demographics of the current followers and the days and times they are most active.
Check out how I used my own Google analytics to create this article about the Storytelling Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Game of Thrones:
Engage the Sales Team
Now you have done your research. You analyzed the data and decided on your keywords. There is one more step you need to take to truly understanding your target audience: talk to those who know them!
This is an opportunity to engage with your brand’s sales team as they have interacted with your audience and have an understanding of their desires and pain points. This step will likely give you the best idea of what you need to include in your content.
What to Consider While Creating Content
Now that we have given you resources to help identify your target audiences and where they consume information, let’s talk about strategies to use when creating content.
Content creation is on the rise. The results from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 Content Marketing report indicated that 56% of brands with a content marketing strategy plan to increase their creation efforts. With so much content being produced, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting lost in the shuffle.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind in order to avoid getting lost.
Creating Content Requires Empathy
A 2015 study by Dr. Johannes Hattula discovered that when 480 experienced marketing managers were asked to use empathy to predict how their customers would reply in a market test, they failed.
They used their personal biases and preferences to make their predictions instead of getting to know their target audience’s desires. This result suggests that empathy will make them a better content marketer because they’re able to identify with their target audience.
B2B Lead Blog founder Brian Carroll writes “… empathy is a superpower. It’s a super power for sellers to connect – to understand another person’s feeling and experience. If we can do that we can relate.”
How can you use empathy to create more engaging content? Carroll identifies several considerations to keep in mind.
- Build a connection with your audience before focusing on conversion.
- Check your assumptions and biases before you do any new marketing efforts.
- Ask yourself if your message will resonate with your audience.
- Understand what motivates your customers.
- Craft messages and experiences that resonate with customers.
Create Different Types of Content
We can use empathy even if we move beyond the written word. It is a common mistake to think of content only as written content. It’s not. The internet affords us the opportunity to create other content forms such as infographics, white papers, and video. While it requires the integration of graphic designers, videographers, and additional production time, indications point to the fact that it pays off. According to a 2018 HubSpot survey, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business.
Here is to Winning Content Creation
If nothing else, I hope this helps you understand how critical understanding your customer is to creating effective content. Through the use of the the right tools and strategies listed in this article, I hope it makes the the process more enjoyablel for you.
Need help with your content creation? Contact us today!