There’s one word entrepreneurs and businesses sometimes miss as they’re putting together their content marketing plan. That word is targeting.
For instance, let’s say that you offer water filtration systems for residential use. So, on your blog, you begin covering every topic imaginable related to water.
On the surface, this may appear to be a wise decision. But if you thought that your visitors were interested in learning about the molecular structure of water, the average rainfall in Chicago, or the size of the Atlantic Ocean, you might be a little off-base.
It’s more likely that your prospective customers would want to learn about the health benefits of water, the downsides of drinking tap water, how your filtration system can improve their health and life, and so on.
Does your audience fit your content marketing plan? Consider the following points.
The Scope of Your Content Marketing Program
The above example on the water filtration company illustrates the importance of scope. One of the reasons audiences sometimes don’t fit neatly into a content marketing plan is because companies tend to cast too wide of a net.
If you have the resources, personnel, and the patience to become the world’s authority on water (or any other topic), then this approach might work given enough time. But most businesses are interested in ROI, and you’re not going to see much short-term ROI if you don’t focus.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, or if you have a small marketing team, you should be going niche. You should answer common questions your customers and leads have with your content. Talk about how your product can benefit their lives. Also, offer tutorials and how-to articles to teach them how to get the most out of your product.
Limiting your scope in the early stages of your content marketing initiative can help you attract an immediate audience. You can always branch out later. Going too broad too soon could end up costing you.
How Well You Understand Your Audience
Another reason audiences sometimes don’t fit into a content marketing plan is that of a lack of research. You haven’t talked to your target audience, and you don’t know what language they use to describe their challenges, or how they think.
Making a lot of assumptions about your audience is easy. Sometimes, those assumptions can even be right! But if you go into content marketing thinking that your target audience thinks just like you do, you’re probably wrong.
Unlike the issue of scope, this is not a matter of biting off more than you can chew. The cause of not knowing your audience is often laziness, arrogance, or ignorance.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to get your content marketing program off the ground. If your intention is to ready, fire, then aim, then know that constant adjustment will be par for the course. But even if you take your time to research and start a year from now, it’s not as though search engines won’t still be there, indexing new content.
Knowing your audience will help you develop better content to serve your audience’s needs.
The Mediums & Channels You’re Using to Communicate
What content types do your audience members like to consume? How do they get the information they’re looking for?
Even if you have great content, if it isn’t presented in your audience’s preferred format (i.e. video, podcast, blog post, PDF, slide deck, etc.), they might not consume it as readily as you would think.
Another issue that can sometimes affect reach is marketing through the wrong channels. Facebook and Twitter might seem like no-brainers, and for the most part, they are, but if you’re trying to reach musicians, shouldn’t you prioritize sites like YouTube and SoundCloud as well? If you’re in a B2B business, shouldn’t you be taking advantage of LinkedIn and maybe XING?
By ironing out the kinks in your plan, and by getting the right kind of content out to the right places, you can drive quality traffic to your site. It will be much easier for you to convert highly targeted traffic as opposed to high volumes of low-quality traffic.
It’s entirely possible that your content marketing plan is already underway, and you’ve recognized some of the mistakes you’re making. That’s fine – it’s how a lot of companies begin.
But now that you’ve identified what your problems are, you can start addressing them. You can tweak the scope of your content marketing, get to know your audience better, and find the right content types and channels to market through.
What challenges have you encountered with content marketing? What would you change if you had to start over?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.