Is audience research the most important aspect of content development?
Content marketing is a key way to connect with your audience and to position your business as an expert in the field. However, to make sure you connect with the right people it’s important to understand what questions your audience has so you can provide the solutions.
Audience research therefore is vital and here we will look at four ways to gather the data you need.
Being able to talk to potential clients or those you feel fall within your target market is a great way to find out more about what their interest is in your niche; what their questions are; and how you can best serve them. Try to approach a cross section of people in different demographics to get a fully rounded picture. Also remember that the number of people you are going to be able to speak to will be quite a small sample, so only use the data they produce as a guide.
Surveys can be another valuable source of information, not least because they can be completed anonymously and therefore respondents are often more willing to be honest about their thoughts.
Think carefully about the data you want to gather during the survey and don’t make it too lengthy as that can deter people from completing it. You can then circulate the survey to people on your mailing list; to clients; and through your social media platforms.
If you already enjoy a large social media following this can tell you a great deal more about your audience’s interests and what type of content they interact with the most.
Look at the questions people ask; the comments they make about your products and services; and see which of your previous content has received the most attention in terms of likes and shares. You can also make use of the analytics which each platform provides. For example, Facebook Insights offers important feedback on your audience’s demographics; times when they are most active; and what content is most popular amongst them.
Don’t discount the wealth of knowledge which is already present in your business. Speak to pre-sales staff, business development managers and customer support to find out the questions they get asked on a daily basis. You can believe you have supplied all the material people need to make a purchase but if you are consistently being asked the same questions it means something is missing from your copy. You can then address these questions on your sales pages or reach out to a wider audience through your content marketing.
Once you have gathered the data from your audience research it is important not to use it in isolation but to give your content as wide an appeal as possible. This guide to the Global Impact of Transportation from Truck Locator Online is a good example. Not only does the content appeal to those who are researching purchasing a new vehicle, but it is also highly relevant to contemporary audiences as it addresses the concerns many people hold about climate change. The constantly updating figures also give it longevity as it is information that people will want to refer back to. Add to that the fact that people can embed the content in their own site and it has the potential to spread virally.
Some businesses will find from their research that there is a lack of understanding about what they offer. This can be particularly true if their services do not form part of the mainstream or if they deal with technical issues. This lack of understanding can make sales more difficult and therefore it’s important to address any knowledge gap. Twin Systems have done this very successfully by outlining not only what business connectivity is, but how it can directly affect their audience. By outlining key statistics about the sheer scale of daily business communication, plus what can happen if you don’t put a disaster recovery system in place, it makes it highly relatable.
In the example above you can also see they have then gone a step further and condensed the material into a short video. The method of delivery should be the final aspect you take into consideration when you are creating content and the reason for this is that people absorb information in different ways, some like to read, some listen and some watch. A percentage of your audience will be visual learners while others will gain much more by interacting with the content. By reaching out in multiple ways you are addressing not only your audience’s questions and concerns but you are connecting with more people by allowing them to digest content in different ways.