There is value in telling the truth well. As Ann Handly describes in her book, everybody writes. "Embrace the idea...that your words are your Web currency: they are a proxy, a stand-in for the important things you want to convey to your customers, and the world."As Ann expounds on the importance of clarity and truth, I would like to take a step back. Let’s go back to before your fingers hit the keyboard or your pen meets the paper.
Knowing who you are creating content for is just as important as the content itself. Think about it this way: You can serve a 4-year-old a top-quality, perfectly seasoned cut of prime rib, with a freshly baked potato and, while they may eat it, they most likely will not appreciate the value of it in the same way an adult who loves beef and potatoes would.
Knowing what your content strategy should be is knowing the audience you are trying to reach. Regardless of how great you think your content is, if you are not serving it up to the right audience, it will flop. The flop will happen inevitably because you are not reaching the eyes, ears, minds, or hearts of the individuals who care and matter most to the success of your community.
There are a few reasons your content may not be as successful as you had hoped:
Your target audience can't find your exquisite content.
It is presented in a manner that is not appealing to your buyer personas.
You are not telling the story they want/need to hear.
Think about your content as a reward for the individuals who visit your website. This can be a great way to test its relevancy to your product, service, or content offering, and the value the website visitor places on the content.
Honor your audience by providing the information, background, and advice they want and need. Provide answers to your audience's biggest questions.
Focus on what problems your visitor is looking to solve. Address how and when they prefer to approach pain points. This will play a major role in the success of your content.
When you are creating content, it is important to be transparent and informative. This is a blanket rule that should apply across platforms—whether you are distributing a product launch video, a blog, or a freemium—keep it clear and to the point.
I think you get the idea here. Sure, content should be high impact and well developed. The point is, if your content is not speaking the language of the intended consumer then you are wasting valuable time and resources.
But how specifically can you avoid wasting time on your content marketing efforts?
First, you have to establish the core buyer personas for your particular content niche or community.
A persona is an internal tool used to help streamline your content production efforts. Persona profiles are multifaceted living documents that will help shape and keep your marketing efforts on track. "Because more and more consumer decisions are happening prior to the first touch from anyone within a particular company, it is imperative to understand what is going on in the decision process prior to that crucial first contact." (DII)
Once you have chosen the different types of personas you want to attract to your website, you can begin to research them.
You can use the following questions to help better develop your buyer personas.
Read more about buyer persona development here.
Blog posts, contests, videos, and guest posts are all great ways to increase your content marketing advantage, there’s no denying that. But, persona development and targeted content publishing are incredibly valuable practices that not enough companies and marketers are taking advantage of today. Give your business a leg up on the competition by perfecting and utilizing your buyer personas. Start today!
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