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Creating Content to Reach Your Target Audience

Content is only as effective as the audience it speaks to. For content to go viral and drive conversion rates and sales it needs to be directed at the right people. Once an audience has invested their time and built a connection with your content this effect will only extrapolate over time. Here’s how to ensure all the effort that’s put into content marketing yields profits.

Determine Your Audience
The first step to making awesome content is targeting the content. The most important aspect of inbound marketing is determining the target audience. This will provide a direction for all the content ideas that are brewing.

Before creating content, decide whom it’s meant to reach and be very specific. The audience should be as easy to describe as a close friend or family member. Here are some basic questions to kick-start the narrowing process:

Demographics:
· How old are they?
· What type of home do they live in?
· Where do they live?
· Are they single or married?
· What’s their typical income range?

Psychographics:
· What are their top three favorite interests and hobbies?
· In their free time are they relaxing or trekking through the wilderness?
· What’s their first pet’s name or at least what kind of pet do they have?
· What’s their fashion style?
· Do they keep up with current events?

This list can extend well into the inconceivable abyss of the human mind, which is a good thing. The more we know about an audience, the more we know what interests them, inspires them, makes their life more enjoyable and, truly, why they should care about your content versus the rest.

Once all the information is gathered and questions answered, create a brief customer profile. Then ask one more question before moving on: Does the product still have an appeal to the target market? The answer must be a resounding yes.

Ensure the Topic is Specifically Geared to the Proper Audience
Once the target audience is confidently established creating content is much easier. Every time there is a proposal for new content simply evaluate its relevance by using the customer profile.

For example, let’s say the goal is to reach conservative urban-based millennials with disposable income to invest. It’s proposed to create content based off a new study published on the effectiveness of an S&P 500 Index Fund. While the topic has an overall connection, the customer profile can be used to determine if that investment follows their values. With the information it’s easy to determine if the audience would prefer to use their income in a higher risk higher reward investment or something fairly risk averse.

Even manipulating content for existing customers plays a large role. Consider a $50 vacuum and a $500 Roomba. They’re both vacuums but the information the owners of each one find valuable are highly distinct. An audience who does their own cleaning compared to an audience that has a robot do it for them won’t have the same interests. The benefits of cleaning versus the benefits of cleaning a certain way may seem trivial and highly specific, but it’s a paramount distinction in reader interest.

To stay true to the product and market, you should always use the customer profile as a standard of content value.

Style To Meet Style
The next step beyond honing in on the target audience is styling the content to their personalities and backgrounds. Tone, grammar and word selection play huge roles here.

The content should be distinct and recognizable. Depending on the reader, they may enjoy content that grips them with a relatable story or prefer a jarring fact to kick things off. The audience should feel it’s written for them. Basically it needs to appeal emotionally to readers in order for them to keep coming back for more.

There are a few general styles to follow, similar to holiday decorations. Some people may prefer a very simplistic traditional layout like white icicle lights. Others might like to see a few bold highlights without the fluff such as a few blow-up characters in the front yard. Finally the extravagant detailed décor that leaves no stone unturned appeals to the critical analytical mind that starves for detail.

How the content is consumed affects the structure and layout of articles as well. Using phones instead of computers and reading at home instead of on the subway are important factors to consider.

Evaluating and Aiming Content Reach
The target market has been well developed, the right content is appropriately styled and now comes spreading the content to make sure potential customers see it. Aside from the home site and search engines, social media has become the most prolific way to spread content.

Knowing the audience plays just as much of a role here. With the profile, determine which are the most appealing platforms, the times to share content and how to grab attention. Using visual and infographic content has been shown to be very effective. Visuals are making up a huge percentage of posts and are more likely to be shared by your target audience to your target audience. Social media also tracks the reach and spread of your content, even breaking down the type of people that engage in it. This makes an excellent tool for constantly evaluating if the content is reaching the right people and engaging them.

Content shouldn’t solely be judged by the amount of people who read it, but by who reads it. Reaching 5,000 readers that fit the target audience and will continue to click through content is much more valuable than 15,000 readers who only spend 20 seconds on a page before closing it.

To make the most of content, you should develop a specific target market, mold the topics and style it to their personality. Then spread the content through specific mediums in a thoughtful manner and watch the fruits of your labor grow.

 

 

By Raphael Konforti MS

Reduce Frustration and Create Effective Content Workflows

There is an ongoing debate when it comes to content over what’s more important, quantity or quality, but if you ask Jesse Noyes over at Content Marketing Institute it’s the consistency that really needs to take center stage. According to him the most important thing is to make sure your audience knows what to expect, and what they get should be good content at a regular cadence. A lot of companies end up losing steam and abandoning their blogs after a period of time, which is a huge mistake. Here are more ideas from the site about how to create effective content workflows, by making it repeatable.

Gather Your Stakeholders

To make your workflow repeatable for different projects, there are a few different things you need to do. One is gather your stakeholders. You need to understand who the people are that are involved in content strategy, not just what it is. Gathering internal stakeholders ensure you have people to make your content, distribute it, optimize it, analyze it, and approve it as necessary. At the very least having a list of tasks and people checking them off to ensure that you’re staying true to larger organizational goals.

Document Your Distribution Points

Next you need to document your distribution points. People come first but the points where content is distributed need to be documented so that it’s clear where everything is going. The sales team should be in on it, and you should be regularly sharing through all of your social media channels.

Align the Process and People

Once you have the stakeholders and the distribution points in place you have to merge them. If done right this should speed up the process but also stay at a high quality. As new elements are introduced, the workflow might change so staying flexible is going to be important as well. Small changes shouldn’t completely throw you off balance when you work this way.

Refine Your Deadlines

Deadlines are key to keeping accountability within the company, whether the tasks are large or small. Your process can become streamlined when people remain accountable to you, or you can figure out who isn’t really working well for you. Creating consistency is key.

Make a Visible Template

Just telling your team one time what to do doesn’t always work, people respond better when they have a visual template they can refer back to. This provides a visual representation of your process and allows people to see the process, which will keep them feeling more connected. Make them accessible for your team even as they may vary across departments. The more people can understand why they’re doing what they’re doing to help the company at large the more cohesion and hard work you’re going to get out of them.

The workflow will continue to change as the company changes and grows, so revisiting it should be done quarterly in the best case scenario.

Have you found the key to making workflow an easily repeated process? Let us know your experiences on the subject!