Who are your customers? Why are they your customers? What do you offer that your competitors do not?
More importantly, what sort of content is your audience interested in? What do they enjoy, and what do they find compelling? What questions do they want you to answer, and what topics do they want to learn about?
These are among the most important questions that you need to address. Understanding your audience is critical to your content marketing efforts. Without this knowledge, you cannot effectively target your content.
Let’s talk about where you can look to learn.
Spend Some Time On Social
In addition to being among the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal, social networks like Facebook are an incredibly valuable source of information on your audience.
Examine who is interacting both with you and with your competitors. Take a look at their likes, their dislikes, the kind of language they use, and their primary demographics. Look at your social analytic data to see who’s currently engaged with your brand.
There’s bound to be a fair bit of variance, of course. Your goal here isn’t to understand every single individual consumer, but rather to put together a picture of the common threads between each and every person. And as an added bonus, you can also get a more complete picture of what kind of content really resonates with people and generates the most engagement.
Check Your Metrics
Although it may not always provide you with comprehensive information, your Google Search Console can nevertheless give you at least a partial picture of your website’s visitors. If you manage a digital storefront or use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, you can augment your search and traffic data with information from both of these platforms. You’re looking to learn a few things here.
First and foremost, obviously, is who is visiting your website, and why — what search terms they’re using, what platform they came from, and what they’re doing after they arrive. Second, when they’re visiting your site, what time of day do you generate the most traffic? Finally, what they do just before they leave, whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up for an email, or simply bouncing.
Ask Your Customers Directly
Last but certainly not least, have you considered just talking to your customers?
If there’s one type of audience research we see consistently overlooked, it’s surveys and interviews. Businesses either assume they don’t have the time and resources to handle survey data or else it just never occurs to them to ask their audience what they want. Done right, however, this can be one of the most valuable sources of information you’ll ever collect.
Note that in order for your surveys to be as effective as possible, you’ll need to offer some sort of incentive for people who answer. Maybe they’ll get a temporary discount code, or get information about an upcoming new product. Maybe they’ll be entered into a contest or raffle.
The point is, you need to give them a reason to answer beyond “I want them to.”
Listen. Learn. Grow.
A thorough understanding of one’s audience is the foundation of a successful business. By understanding who your customers are, what they want, and what type of content interests them, you can execute a more focused, better-targeted, and ultimately more successful content marketing strategy. At the end of the day, it’s easier than you’d think to do that, too.
You simply need to know where to look, and how to listen.