What's an Audience, and Why is it Important in Content Creation?
In the 1890s, tractor manufacturer John Deere began publishing The Furrow, a news magazine for farmers. They dedicated the magazine not to advertising their products but to providing helpful and entertaining content. From scientific breakdowns to humorous stories about life on the land, they understood that the publication would drive sales even though customers weren't being directly sold on a product.
Fast forward to today, and the concept of content marketing is still the same. As a content creator, you need to understand who your audience is before you even begin writing.
- Who are they?
- What do they want?
- What would interest them?
- How does your product or service solve their problems?
Answering these questions will help you craft engaging and compelling content.
What is an Audience?
An audience consists of anyone that interacts with a brand. It includes:
Superfans: loyal customers who are most likely to recommend your company and products and will buy anything you put out
- Customers: People who have made a purchase in the past and might be interested in new products or updates
- Potential customers: those who may have heard about your company but are still researching and learning more before making a purchase
- Influencers and thought leaders: individuals with large social followings or connections who can help you spread your message to a larger audience
Why is it Important to Know Your Audience?
Knowing your audience is essential because it will help you target the right people, create content that speaks to their needs and wants, and ensure your message resonates with them. It's much more effective to create content for a specific audience than to try and spread your message far and wide with little thought into who you're actually targeting.
For example, a business selling kids' toys will likely have an audience primarily composed of parents and grandparents. They would create content that speaks to the needs of these people: reviews on products, helpful articles and guides on parenting tips, kid-friendly recipes etc.
A product or service may have different audiences. For instance, a restaurant may have a customer base consisting of locals and tourists. To reach each audience, the restaurant would create different types of content. For instance, local customers might be interested in getting updates on specials and events. Tourists may be more interested in learning about the history of the area and local attractions.
By understanding your audience and their needs, you can create content that is tailored to them and will have a greater impact on sales. You'll be able to provide solutions to their problems and show why they need your product or service. This targeted content will help you gain more customers, increase loyalty, and ensure your content resonates with readers.
What Should You Know About Your Audience?
Things to consider when learning about your audience include:
Demographic information includes age, gender, location, income, and education. This information is essential when using paid advertising because it allows you to target the right people. For example, if you're selling golf equipment, it would be most effective to target people who live in areas with a high concentration of golf courses.
Psychographics looks at the values and interests of customers. This could include hobbies, what they're passionate about, their lifestyle choices, and their values. For example, if you're selling health supplements to help athletes reach peak performance, you should focus your content on topics like training tips and nutrition advice.
Goals and Needs
It's also important to understand your audience's goals and needs. What do they worry about in the middle of the night? For example, if you're selling a security system, your customers may have worries about the safety of their family or property. Your content should focus on providing solutions to their concerns and reassuring them that your product can help them reach their goals.
What does their day look like? Who do they interact with? How do they feel when they go to bed? What are their responsibilities? This information will help you create content that speaks to their daily lives and needs.
Where does your audience go to look for information? Who do they trust? What content are they looking for when researching a product or service? For example, many people check review sites before making final purchasing decisions. If you know which review sites your customers check, you can ask buyers to leave reviews on those sites. Or, if your audience loves consuming videos on TikTok but rarely uses Facebook, you can focus on creating content for that platform instead.
How Can You Find Out Information About Your Audience?
One way to find out information about your audience is by doing market research. For example, you could do surveys, focus groups, interviews, or review customer feedback.
You can also learn more about your audience by using analytics tools like Google Analytics. These tools will provide data such as page visits and session duration, giving insight into the types of people visiting your website.
You can also learn more about your audience by monitoring social media conversations and engaging with them on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. By asking questions and interacting with potential customers, you'll be able to better understand their wants and needs.
Developing a Buyer Persona
Once you have all the information about your audience, you can create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is an imaginary customer that represents your target audience and provides valuable insight into their needs and wants.
Imagine you own a company that sends pre-styled wardrobe options to busy professional men.
You might develop a buyer persona called Jeff, a 36-year-old IT analyst who earns $120,000 a year. Jeff's primary goal is to focus on his job and his next promotion, not agonize over what to wear each day. He knows the value of quality clothing but doesn't always have the time or energy to find or shop for it. Being in IT, he is tech savvy and open to innovation, looking for services that can free up valuable time and energy spent making decisions about his wardrobe. Jeff is single, so he needs clothes that are appropriate for work and dating. Because he doesn't have much time to shop, he worries that his wardrobe will look dated and unprofessional.
As Jeff's persona reveals, he is looking for quality clothing with minimal effort on his part. You can create content around topics such as looking professional with minimal effort and curating a stylish wardrobe without spending time shopping.
Having a buyer persona can be a huge help in any marketing plan, as it allows you to put yourself in your customers' shoes. By researching and outlining the demographic characteristics of your ideal customer, you can envision and better understand their wants, needs, motivations and interests, all critical elements for setting up an effective content creation strategy.
Generate More Content Ideas with These 5 Simple Steps
Here are five steps that you can take to make sure your content is always audience-driven.
Explore the Current Market Demand Through Keyword Research
Keyword research can help you discover what people are searching for, giving you a great starting point for creating relevant and valuable content. By researching the keywords your target audience is using, you'll better understand what topics to focus on in your content and which ones will likely get more views or engagement. Use tools such as Buzzsumo, AnswerThePublic and Ahrefs to research popular keywords and content in your industry.
Know Your Competitors' Content
It may seem counterintuitive, but keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing can help you create better content ideas. Knowing what topics they're covering and the approaches they're taking gives you insight into what might work well with your shared audience. Plus, it gives you an idea of what gaps in coverage still exist so that you can fill them with your unique spin on things.
Act on Customer Feedback
We all know brands that react defensively whenever negative feedback comes in. But customer feedback can spur product improvements and be an invaluable source of content ideas. What are people dissatisfied with? What do they wish that your product or service could do? Keep an eye on customer reviews and use them as a jumping-off point for creating new content.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Place yourself in the shoes of your customer before brainstorming new content ideas. This simple shift in perspective can make all the difference when creating meaningful, empathetic content that resonates with consumers on a deep level.
Brainstorm With Larger Groups Outside Your Team
Brainstorming isn't just for small teams anymore. Inviting larger groups outside of your team into the brainstorming session can open up the conversation further and generate some great ideas from different perspectives. These include ideas that would not be possible if everyone was typing away at their computers alone without having access to each other's thoughts and opinions in real time.
Anyone creating content must take the time to understand their target market before writing anything. Remember to consider the value of investing time into defining your ideal customers. Knowing who they are, what motivates them, and what kind of language resonates with them will work together to help you craft compelling content that speaks to their wants and needs.