Strategic content marketing: understanding your audience
What is the value of knowing your audience? This article gives a step-by-step guide to identifying your audience and outlines how to incorporate your audience insights into your content strategy.
You’ve built your brand, you have an online community established and you’re ready to create your first big campaign; but what exactly does the audience you’re wanting to target look like? What makes them tick? What do they talk to their friends about? The definition of your audience in developing your content strategy is paramount to the entire campaign. It is the foundation on which the content pillars you devise will support each of your future campaigns.
How do I identify my audience?
Pinpointing your audience can be a challenge. It requires hard statistics and reliable data to back up any assumptions or educated guesses. If you have a large enough online data pool, use your Analytics accounts to evaluate Google’s Audiences, Facebook Audiences and your other social media and web analytics accounts. If you have CRM data, this can provide useful insights into your existing audience’s purchasing behavior. If you have the resources, it is advised to compare these insights with third party data provided by data aggregators such as respected publishers and ad networks.
Next, carry out desktop research to build out your audience further to collect statistics on your audience. There are many statistics published online that are publicly accessible. When referring to online statistics, we recommend ensuring they’re from a reliable source and have been published within a reasonable time frame.
Lastly, from the information you’ve collected coupled with your own learnings, you should have a relatively comprehensive indication of your audience. Use these insights to create two to three personas to bring your audience to life. These personas will guide your content pillars which as mentioned earlier, will serve as the foundation for your content strategy.
Depending on the outcome of your research, we’d recommend developing one or two ‘established’ audiences, and one ‘emerging’ audience. More on this later.
Audience Identification – Step by Step
1. Evaluate your first party data (e.g. Google, Facebook and other Analytics platforms)
2. Assess in line with trusted third party data from respected sources
3. Validate your audience insights further with desktop research
4. Build out two to three personas to put a ‘face’ to your audiences
Why do I need to Identify my Audience?
There are multiple benefits of shaping your content strategy to a clearly researched and defined audience.
Firstly, this approach allows you to develop robust content pillars in which you can identify key goals for your content. Is your primary aim to entertain and engage? Are you looking to inform and inspire? Or is a branch of your content strategy to alleviate a recognised pain point amongst your audience. This goal identification ultimately allows you to test and learn with your content through measuring how successful each asset was at achieving its primary objective.
Secondly, you can map any planned content assets to a stage of the consumer funnel. By doing this, you can ensure your strategy encompasses a content plan for existing customers, from whom you’re looking to ignite loyalty and advocacy. In order to achieve this, it’s important to reward them with engaging assets that increase their connection with your brand and its values.
You can also ideate for content pieces that will help to drive customers who are in the research and consideration phase closer to purchase. At this stage, your content should be designed to ensure that your brand will be front of mind as your audience moves to the conversion stage.
What we like best about this approach is the opportunity it creates to identify and attract new customers. Remember earlier in this article we mentioned creating one or two ‘established’ audiences and one ‘emerging’ audience? Your ‘emerging’ audience is your top funnel group who may not yet know about you. This is where you can introduce your brand by speaking directly to potential customers through the development of a targeted, resonating content campaign.
One of our favourite benefits of an audience led approach is the content strategy. It’s efficient! Not only does a clearly defined target audience give you a spring board at the ideation stage by providing a focus, it also gives you validation for each campaign or asset you propose as well as the opportunity to measure its effectiveness. This can be a huge benefit when you need to justify content budgets to stakeholders.
Targeted Content in Action
We’ve outlined the theory, now let’s see what it looks like in practice. Here are three campaign examples that have been created with a specified audience at the heart of their execution.
A History Lesson in Australian Culture
This campaign was developed with the aim of rallying Australian pride. The intended audience was the Aussie homeowners who had a strong cultural affinity to Australia. This infographic has a subtle affiliation to the Australian telco and broadband provider Optus, and the campaign aim was to reaffirm the message that Optus is a brand aligned with the Australian people and their values through the production of an engaging, entertaining and relatable content asset.
I’ve Been Everywhere
Targeting Australian millennial travelers, this campaign held a clever tagline that was memorable, emotive and relevant to the audience:
“No one travels like Australians, and no one takes you to the world like Qantas.”
Again, this campaign is targeting an audience that has a cultural affinity with Australia, creating a sense of belonging and immersing the Qantas brand at the center of this community.
Responsible Investing Explained
Created by Australian investment company nabtrade, this infographic communicates statistics on responsible investing in regards to ethical issues that may cause a dilemma during the decision making process. This information piece is targeting Australians from Generation X. They are successful, intelligent and socially responsible Australians. The statistics delivered in the infographic are easy to digest and practical for this time poor audience.
Reflecting on these three examples you can see how identifying your audience and talking to them through your content strategy can support in your overall business objectives. The more relevant the content is to your audience, the higher the reward for them, and subsequently for your brand. When your content meets your audience’s needs, it has a higher value as they are more likely to retain the information and recall your brand at future stages of the consumer funnel. Do you have any campaign examples that you remember really speaking to you? We’d love to hear about them!