What Do I Write About? Finding your Audience and Solving your Customer’s Problems
One of the first stumbling blocks that a content marketing campaign runs into, is knowing what to write about. We all know content is the backbone of a successful campaign, but how should you shape your content? What should you be publishing?
Before you begin pumping out posts or aimlessly writing articles, it’s helpful to outline a few steps first.
First, who is your audience? What are they interested in? What are their problems?
Next, what are the main issues surrounding your industry? What are the problems that your customers are trying to solve?
How do your services fill the need of your customers? What are your services and why should your customers care?
And finally, what are the keywords that your campaign is going to rank for? What are your keyword targets?
Once you know the answers to these questions, it will be much easier for you to clearly and cogently establish your campaign’s content.
Who is your Audience?
Knowing who your audience is, is a vital part of your content campaign. Before you can hope to write to your audience, you must know who they are. What is daily life for your audience? What are the challenges they face that can be solved by your product or service?
Building a persona for your customers, either as individuals or as blocs, can be helpful for visualizing their needs. For example, knowing the demographics or socioeconomic status can help you zero in on what their lives might look like. Look at the publications and media that is influential in your industry, and see what the reading audience is like. There is a good chance your audience will have significant overlap.
The persona above is from HubSpot. As you can see, theirs includes things such as employment background, demographics, as well as personal identifiers.
Also, don’t be tempted to only include your current customers as your audience. Also keep in mind your potential customers, or even competitors. You’ll want your content to target anyone who has the potential to be your customer.
Once you know your audience, you’ll be able to develop the proper tone of your content. Engaging conversational tones may be better suited for some industries than others. Writing for consumer athletic apparel will be very different than writing white papers for the financial industry.
What are People Talking About?
As you begin to take note of who your readers are, it is also helpful to track what they are reading. Knowing what the major concerns of your customers are, will be invaluable as you craft content to meet their needs.
Luckily, there are a ton of different tools and platforms you can use to see what interests your audience.
The first is Google’s keyword planner. Google’s keyword planner is great for seeing the traffic and interest that a particular topic or keyword generates. For example, we see that content marketing is generating nearly 100,000 search queries a month. This lets us know that content marketing, and likely content marketing related topics, are generating a lot of buzz and interest via search.
Google’s keyword planner also gives you the relative competition for a given keyword, if you’re interested in bidding on it with paid search advertising. Using the keyword planner can give you a good read on how popular a topic is on search. If there’s lots of search traffic being generated around a topic, it’s safe to assume that there’s going to be an audience for related content as well.
But what if you don’t know the keywords or topics that you should be targeting? If you’re looking for totally new topics to write about, question boards such as Quora, can be great resources.
Quora is a question/answer site that lets users seek answers among a greater Quora forum. Quora generates quite a bit of internet traffic on its own, meaning the questions and answers that you find here are likely legitimate.
Here is a look at the first page of results for content marketing. We already see some people asking for the best tips, as well as discussing the benefits of SEO over content marketing.
Other sources for inspiration are blog platforms used by your audience. One of the most popular blogging communities is Medium. Medium pulls from writers across different industries and sectors to bring an impressive collection of arguments and insights.
Searching for content marketing in Medium brings up results catered towards the different issues circling it. Here, an article analyzes the future trends in content marketing. Using Medium, you can read up on the same topics that your audience is seeking out.
As you begin to shape your content to fit your audience, it’s important to see the conversations that your audience is having. Platforms such as Medium, or Quora, can be great places to find the questions that are being asked in your industry. If you find the same question reoccurring on Quora or other question boards, you can safely assume that content revolved around it will draw both interest and engagement.
Become on Expert on Yourself
An overlooked aspect of understanding your audience is understanding your own business. If you don’t know the ins and outs of your services, how will you know if you can solve a customer’s challenges?
Study your products and services, and acquaint yourself with even minute details. Accompanying your sales team on calls and meetings can also help you better understand your internal sales processes. Developing an expertise on your industry will not only make you a better informed and persuasive marketer, it will also give you a window into the particular challenges that your customers face.
For you to be a persuasive marketer, you need to thoroughly understand your customer’s needs, problems and challenges. This will enable you to target those concerns with specific solutions. The only way you will become acquainted with both your customer’s challenges as well as solutions, is to know your own services and the relationship they play within your customer’s lives.
Watch your Content
Finally, when you are looking for topics to write about, pay attention to the successes of your own campaigns. If a post or article is drawing traffic, continue down that topic’s path. A single post can become a topic series, a white paper, a webinar, or even the center of its own content campaign. You can often find what interests your audience just by measuring the engagement of your own content.
Staying active on your own content can also help you maximize the returns of your already published work. Editing and republishing older posts can keep your portfolio modern and relevant, as well as produce evergreen content.
Finally, keeping your content clean and polished will help break down writing fatigue. You don’t have to constantly be pushing out new pieces every couple days or weeks. Create content that is valuable and relevant to your audience. If you have a piece that is beloved by your audience, republishing it with additional information can be more beneficial than trying to publish a new piece on the subject.
Tracking the success of your current campaigns can also give you insights into where your industry is heading, further launching new ideas to write about.
Replenishing your Campaigns
Continually producing quality content can be a difficult task. Knowing what to write about and why, can go a long way towards bringing you closer to your campaign goals. Whether you’re just starting out, or need some help polishing off a campaign; using marketing consultants can also help. Consultants can bring fresh ideas to an ongoing creative process, or can even handle your next content campaign from start to finish. At Affirma, our consultants are well equipped to handle all your content marketing needs. Contact us to begin your free initial project consultation.