Content marketing's primary goal is to attract and retain customers. It achieves this by knowing how to frame products and services correctly, highlighting how these can solve the consumers' desires. Marketing aims to bring people what they want, something they share with search engines.
It's easier said than done. Often, researching and attempting to understand readers takes up more time than writing social media posts or blog articles. If you struggle with figuring out how to speak to your audience, or if you don't know how to create content for your target market, here are some tips that can help.
Ask Them Outright
The most straightforward way to gather data about what your market wants is to ask them. If you've established a level of trust with them and they see you as an authority, you will find it easy to gather information.
Reach out to them through social media or email and ask them what they want to know about, their preferred channel for content, and other questions relevant to your marketing efforts.
People consume plenty of content online, so they'll appreciate getting targeted messages that speak to their wants.
Read Articles About Them
Many marketers overlook this method of learning about an audience, but it is one of the most effective ways to start writing more relevant content. Read feature articles, news reports, journalistic think pieces, and even scholarly articles about your target market. Although the insights in these pieces are filtered through the writers' lens, it still helps to learn different perspectives about the consumers you want to attract.
Develop User Personas
Creating detailed representations or personas of your target market is one of the first things you can do to uncover what your customers want. If you have existing, real-life customers you can identify, you can base your personas on them. Give them personalities and demographic information, and use these to figure out their motivations and challenges.
When you create a persona, you'll have more prompts for content, which lets you easily identify the topics and tone that will resonate with them more. With enough data, you'll even know what messages will convince them at different stages of the funnel.
Start building your profiles by liking, following, or subscribing to authoritative content creators in your niche. You'll find inspiration for your target market among followers of other brands in your niche.
Ask for Engagement
Another direct and honest way of collecting feedback is by asking for it outright. If you want to improve your content or take it in a particular direction right away, don't be afraid to ask readers or customers through comments and reactions on social media.
Adding share buttons, "Click to Tweet" links, and other ways to easily amplify your content will also boost engagement. You can get many replies from a simple CTA like "comment the best part of this video."
Validate the personas you create through the data you gather on your website. Google Analytics provides a breakdown of what you can learn about your visitors through their website. Although this might not apply to all your visitors, you can use it to validate assumptions you might have made when planning content for your market.
Other data like scroll depth, bounce rate, and time on page can also help you understand people's behavior on your website. With this information, you can determine popular pages and content types on your website, monitor paths people take through your content, and topics that your target market likes.
Study Their Questions
Keyword research is an effective way of knowing your market. You can start from your website data—under Queries on your Google Search Console report, you'll see which phrases bring the most number of impressions and click-throughs to your website. Note keywords that line up with your target topics as well as those that represent content gaps.
You could also mine your website's search data for content people look up on your website. Look for question-based searches, phrases related to your offerings, and keywords with the potential for in-depth discussions.
Use Research Tools
Content research tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and BuzzSumo help you conduct external content research. You can use this specialized software to identify trends and questions people ask about keywords you want to know about. You can use insights from these tools to create content that addresses these topics. Often, platforms like these offer free trials. If you don't use them yet, you can try them out for a short time.
Identify Your Competitors
The brands which develop high-quality content and rank well for your target keywords are your online competition. Your competitors may or may not offer the same products and services as you.
Study the content these groups create, where they publish, and how people receive their content. It will help to group the stories into idea clusters and find gaps in the content. You could also brainstorm topics that the clusters have not covered.
One of the benefits of social media is it is easy to see likes, shares, and comments on any public page. You can check out what people say about your competitors online and identify gaps you can address based on customers' reviews.
Engage in Social Listening
People can also "tell" you what they want from your brand through the way they post updates on social. Listening tools like Brandwatch, Agorapulse, and Meltwater can help you monitor social mentions of your brand. These tools can also guide your content strategy—it lets you catch trends or topics you haven't covered on your website.
Social listening tools also help you determine the level of engagement your competitors get. You can infer how valuable and relevant each post or story is based on the audience's interest. If your competitors have posts that do incredibly well, you can deconstruct these to see why they are effective for your target market.
Don't create content in a vacuum. Always turn to your audience—study the keywords they use, talk to them, and interact with them on social platforms. A brand is only as memorable as its voice, especially online. If you don't resonate with your market, they won't respond to you.
Let Ranked help you reach your audience and build an online presence for the long term. We are an SEO platform and service optimizing websites for enterprises and agencies in more than 40 countries. Book a call with the team to learn more or start your free trial today!