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5 ways to personalise your content

Helen Frear, PR, social media and content executive at The CommsCo, presents five ways B2B marketers can make their content go further through personalisation

I like to walk into my regular coffee shop to be greeted by the barrister asking if I’d like ‘my usual’ – a latte, as it happens. It’s usually pre-9am, and always convenient not to have to place an order. It’s also nice to be remembered – they know what kind of coffee I like and how I like it. It’s personal, just like content should be.

For digital marketers, the ability to personalise content is fundamental to the success of their online strategy. But in a world where we’re bombarded by hundreds of messages across multiple forms of media, how do you cut through the noise and really capture your audience’s attention?

Here are five key things to consider when creating personalised, engaging content that inspires people to keep reading and take action.

1. Who are you?

The very first step towards creating personalised, effective and engaging content is to identify your audience. Think of who your target is and what their pain points are. What is it they want to know? How can you help them? Once you know who you’re targeting, you can create persona-specific experiences.

For B2B marketers, the audience tends to be more specific than in B2C. Potential customers are an obvious target, but important industry figures such as leaders, influencers and journalists make up an invaluable part of your following. Identify who these people are and create the content they want to see.

2. Where are you?

Identify which platforms are going to work best for you and tailor your content specifically. Here’s a rundown of the types of content that work best for each of the five major social media platforms:

Twitter

Twitter is the best platform for up-to-the-minute news, engaging with influencers and sharing other peoples’ content. It’s a great platform for ad-hoc, immediate usage and bringing a personal element to social sharing. Keep your tweets short, snappy and include a link or call-to-action.

While Twitter is primarily a text-based medium, tweets that include an image receive twice as much engagement as those without. Likewise, Twitter doesn’t place much emphasis on video but it is still a great platform to share teasers of full length content.

Facebook

Over the past couple of years Facebook has made a huge push towards video content, so it’s vital that marketers recognise how the platform uses and promotes video in order to get the best return on their content.

Upload short, original video clips directly to Facebook instead of linking from YouTube or other hosting platforms. Facebook gives algorithmic priority to video content – even more so to direct uploads.

Facebook videos automatically play without sound, so make sure your videos are visually appealing from the offset to keep your audience engaged.  

Make the most of Facebook’s live video broadcast feature – this is a great was to cover events or behind the scenes moments in a raw, authentic way without the need for professional video production.

Instagram

Since it’s difficult to get Instagram users to click on a specific link from an image or video post, the platform is more about engagement than leads. Use it to build your brand by posting looped videos to create micro-teasers of behind the scenes content or upcoming campaigns.

Leverage hashtags to maximise the exposure of your posts – do some research around the tags your competitors are using and which are the most popular in your community.

YouTube

People go to YouTube to watch videos, so the chances are their attention span is a little higher than those who come across a video on Facebook or Instagram – video watching on these platforms tend to be more incidental since they offer text and images as well. This makes YouTube an ideal platform to build a repository of longer, more in-depth video content such as ‘how to’ guides, webinars or Q&A discussions.

Snapchat

With over 100million active users per month, Snapchat is taking the marketing world by storm. But while it’s easy for big brands and celebrities to gain a following, it can prove more difficult for smaller businesses. Use snapchat to share fun, timely content that gives followers a taste of brand experience.  

3. Where did you come from? 

Optimise your content based on the referral source. Knowing where your visitors are coming from is key to knowing how best to present information to them. For example, visitors coming to your site via social media are likely to have different motives and interests than those coming from an email marketing campaign.

In addition to social media and email marketing referrals, there are two other types you’ll need to analyse to get a complete understanding of your sources: referring domains and individual referrals.

Referring domains focus on the external websites that are sending visitors to yours, which is useful for measuring paid advertising efforts. If, for example, a particular site is already sending lots of traffic your way, you may want to consider placing an advertising campaign on it to take advantage of an audience that is already interested in your business.  

On the other hand, individual referrals point out specific pages that are driving traffic which is a useful way of measuring PR efforts: you’ll be able to see if an article that references your business is bringing in a new audience.

4. Thanks to you…

Credit your sources and reference your influencers – it’s just good etiquette! Giving credit where credit is due will position you favourably and could encourage wider sharing.

When researching new B2B solutions, potential customers often look to whitepapers or thought-leadership content and they want to know that these pieces are credible. Ensure you cite the entire source so that readers can easily find the original information, and try to use the most recent source possible – nobody wants to read old news.

5. Only you…

Cut the corporate jargon and create content that has personality and, in turn, you will be rewarded with brand loyalty. Audiences want to feel they have been considered as an individual rather than part of a mass audience, and that you’ve put in the effort to find out who they are and where they are coming from.

Keep it personal, keep it concise and keep these five points in mind when planning your next content strategy to inspire a more engaged and loyal following for your business.