It’s not you, it’s me…
So there it is, the future of your content marketing success, defined by the lamest breakup line of the past.
Welcome to a new kind of audience relationship building, where your message is less about what your product or campaign does, and more about the way your message is conveyed and how it engages your target audience.
Put more simply, it’s not about you, it’s about the me(s) comprising your target audience, aka your target me(s), and how well you craft and seed content that appeals to the needs of those target me(s). This means creating usable, shareable, sticky, content that the prospective buyers within your target audience won’t just embrace and identify with, but will want to use and share because it responds to their informational needs.
Getting your marketing to the point where you are truly creating content that is engaging and building a relationship with your audience isn’t easy, but it’s nowhere near as tricky as most marketers fear. In fact, we can even break down the basics of audience engagement in five simple steps (or close to it).
1. Identify your target audience’s core digital buyer personas.
The face of traditional buyer personas is changing. The ever-increasing availability of new technology and personal communication channels is further broadening Seth Godin’s outlier curve — delivering a new normal. Now powered with a host of new knowledge and tools, your traditional, or previously identified, buyers will more than likely look and behave differently online than elsewhere. People are making more direct choices, and voice opinions and preferences individually. And as a result, in order to reach buyers, you need to focus on getting to know them—the me(s) that comprise your target audience. Engaging your target me(s) and transforming them into message/brand advocates requires drilling down to the big data nitty gritty of your targets’ digital buyer personas. Studying and applying audience research and online trends to help you understand who your target me(s) are, who they want to be, what they want, what they need and how/where they use the Internet to fulfill those needs, is critical to crafting and channeling content that sticks and spreads.
Don’t have time or resources to dive into your buyer data? Then at the very least, work through traditional tried and true buyer persona development as part of your overall messaging.
2. Create a content marketing plan.
Meticulously identifying your target me(s) plays a critical role in the development of this plan.
What does the plan involve? Like most plans, a series of interdependent steps.
Very. Important. Steps.
We could go on and on about this.
And we have.
Because it’s not something you can’t do.
3. Drive messaging through need-based content.
Craft your messaging into content that fuels the personal and professional needs of your target me(s). Whether it’s creating smart infographics that me(s) can use to prop themselves up as industry experts, or useful checklists that me(s) can implement within workplace teams, your messaging and content must offer useful and tangible takeaways for me(s) and must respond to their needs.
4. Hustle your content.
This is the oft-neglected critical last step. Get out there and HUSTLE your content.
What a waste it would be — and what do you do — if you build it and they still don’t come? Posting content on your company’s website and social media channels is not enough. Even having your employees, friends, and family repost your content on their social media profiles is not enough.
Throughout the previously listed stages in this process, you will have, at least generally, identified where your target me(s) live online beyond just broad channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Plus you’ll have gained a bit of information on their behaviors within those channels, such as the groups they participate in, pages they identify with, and the kind of things they find interesting enough to watch, read, and repost. Seed your content there, and then dig a bit deeper to find other appropriate outlets for that carefully created and remarkable content, and push it further out into the world, growing your engaged audience.
The more you seed the right content, in the right places, the more your brand and message increase their reach with the right audience.
5. Automate. Test. Assess. Refine.
Even a content giant like The New York Times has, much to its own detriment, failed to institute thorough measurement and testing. In order to truly build a lasting, blooming relationship with an audience, content marketers must be vigilant about continuously assessing what’s working and what’s not to best respond to the needs of target me(s).
One way to really drill down on what your prospects target me(s) are doing when they engage with your web properties is with a marketing automation platform, now almost a must-have to measure audience engagement. Marketing automation can help you truly understand your target me(s), and will assist you in nurturing and ultimately converting them into clients. And it’s easier to implement than most folks think — it doesn’t always require complicated set-up effort. In fact, a phased launch approach prioritizing key aspects can have you up and running with CRM integration and your first campaign out the door within a of couple weeks. Then, simple techniques can be employed to help you capture basic data that gives you the power to follow the digital footprints of your prospects.
So sure, building audience engagement takes some doing. There are more than a few steps within those main five. But essentially, turning me(s) into advocates is pretty simple. Find out who your me(s) are and what they need. Create a plan based on those learnings. Build messaging that responds to those needs. Channel the content so it’s unavoidable and make it easy to use. Engage your me(s). Learn from what worked and what didn’t work in past engagement efforts. Watch what spreads, and where it spreads. Seed there. Automate. Do it all again, but better, with ever-evolving best practices based on what you’ve learned.
This is how advocates are born, and more importantly, how your message is magnified.
Get more details on all of the sub-steps within the five above in our free eBook: “How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.” Or better yet, contact us directly, because for us, it’s all about you, and helping you get your me(s).