As brand marketers, it’s only natural that we approach our marketing from a brand perspective. After all, we have brand messaging that we want to get across to our audience. We have products and services that we want to sell. We want to see measurable results and a great return on investment, and we generally want it all now!
This is all well and good, but, when it comes to content marketing, we need to reframe our thinking. We have to stop thinking about what we want and instead put someone else first – our audience! What is it that they want to see and hear? What media are they consuming? What are their interests and lifestyles? What pain points do they experience? What pushes their buttons and will invoke a response from them? Once you have answered these questions, you can attempt to wrap your brand around your discoveries.
This approach to content is much more akin to that of a publisher than that of a brand, but if you want to create content that engages your audience on their level, then you will need to start thinking in this way. Sadly, what your audience are interested in hearing about is unlikely to be your brand sales pitch. You need to dig a little deeper to unearth topics that will hit their sweet spot. The big question is – how do you discover these valuable gems?
You could visit your local tarot reader to extract some wishy-washy insights, or you could take a more data-lead approach to gathering these nuggets. I promise you it’s not voodoo! By using cold hard data to create your content strategy, your content is much more likely to hit home with your audience and therefore also much more likely to achieve your KPIs. Here’s a few tips to get you started in your quest for audience based insights.
- Social Listening
Tools like Crimson Hexagon can provide you with gems of data about your audience that would otherwise be left glimmering at the bottom of the ocean! With the right series of Boolean searches and a knowledgeable data scientist/marketer behind the tool, you can uncover all sorts of valuable information. For example, you could look into what your customer base are saying about your brand and your competitors. This data could help to shine a light on holes in your competitor’s armour. Then your brand could gain competitive advantage by producing content that plugs that gap. To learn more about the benefits of social listening, click here to read one of my past blogs on the subject.
- Social Media Insights
The insights section of your social media channels can provide you with oodles of useful data about posts that are performing well and it’s a lot more complex to navigate than social listening. Start to analyse this data to form mini hypotheses about why certain content performs better than other content. Then test out your hypotheses and if they prove to be correct, then tweak your content strategy accordingly.
- Look Closer to Home.
Your existing client database is a fantastic resource to pull data-led actionable insights from. You can (and should) use the data you already have about your past customers to pull together customer profiles. This segmentation will serve you well in understanding their different personalities, buying habits, consumer journey and what flicks their switch. Suitable content can then be created around these insights.
- Google Analytics
By digging around G.A. you can discover a vast range of helpful insights. For example, you can learn which webpages perform best on your website. Once you’ve discovered this, you can start to look at why they perform so well. Is there a theme with the type of content that is published, if so then try and establish what the theme is, learn from this and then take your learnings into account when planning new web content.
Hopefully these tips will help you to discover more about your customers so that you can start to make that shift away from brand-centric marketing and towards consumer-centric content creation. Keep in mind that it’s not always easy to make that shift. In fact, I would say that creating content that really resonates is actually a bit of an art. It requires the ability to go diving for data-lead insights and then the lateral thinking and creativity to wrap the brand around these insights. However, once you start making the shift towards customer-centric content and begin reaping the results, there’ll be no going back!
Good luck, and as always, we’d love to hear how you get on.