You’ve likely got a content marketing strategy right now.
But there’s one question that’s hanging over it:
Does it fit your audience?
If it doesn’t you could be wasting a lot of time and energy creating content – through blogs, tweets and infographics – that doesn’t really do anything.
That’s before you’ve even put in the hours to distribute it.
It’s important then that you can make every stage of your marketing strategy fit your audience.
That’s where you get viral hits, boost your traffic, make more sales and see real growth.
In this article you’re going to learn how to do just that.
You’re going to get an actionable guide to help you build a content marketing strategy that’s tailored to your audience – no matter how weird and wonderful they are – so you can make sure you’re
- Getting high quality traffic
- Seeing lots of social media shares
- Adding value
- Converting better
- Reaching more people
3 Questions for Content Marketing Success
There are three important questions that your content marketing plan needs to answer:
- Who are your audience?
- What content are they looking for?
- Where do they go to find it?
If you know who your audience are; you know who you’re writing for.
If you know what content they’re looking for; you’ll never run out of ideas to write about.
If you know where they go to find it; you know where you need to be sharing your content.
So write these questions down somewhere – or just keep them in the forefront of your mind – because by the time you’re finished reading, you’re going to have an answer for all of them.
Who Are Your Audience?
Michael Brenner at the Content Marketing Institute said something powerful recently:
“We have to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”
And if you look into the research of what he’s saying, he’s right.
For example, 86% of adults skip TV Adverts and 84% of 25-34 years olds have left their favourite websites because of irrelevant adverts. Which goes to show Marketing is no longer about interruption, it’s about value.
That is, creating a connection with your audience based around content that they love, want and need.
But in order to find that out, you need to find who your audience is.
Finding Your Audience (And What They Want)
I’m going to assume you (or your company) already have a blog that’s being used and updated. But, if you don’t, don’t worry – you can follow all the steps in this section using a competitor’s blog, too.
Now you may have an idea of who your audience is. That is: who your blog, product or service is aimed at.
But what we’re looking for here is who your audience think they are.
And the best way to find that out is to look at the content that they’re sharing. In fact the Design Blog, Canva used this method to boost their blog traffic by 226% in three months.
Here’s how you can get inside the mind of your audience.
Step #1: Search for Your Site in BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo is a tool that all content marketers need, so I suggest you sign up for an account if you haven’t already.
It shows you: how many times an article has been shared, where it’s been shared, who shared it and shows vital information about those people that you’re going to use right now.
Put the link to your blog in the search field right here:
And it will take you to a page that shows you a list of the most shared content on your site throughout the last year:
And what you’re going to want to do is take note of your top three shared articles, and look for themes between them:
- What topics do they cover?
- Do they fit into a specific niche or topic?
- Are there any similarities? (List post, case study, etc.)
Now don’t worry if you can’t quite figure this out, because you’ll find even more topics in the next sentence.
Step #2: Look At Who Has Been Sharing Your Posts
There’s a little button here that is a complete game changer for your marketing. Take a click on the view sharers button, right here:
It will come up with a list of everyone who has shared that content on Twitter. Which gives you a real insight into your audience. Because now you can see exactly who is into your posts:
- Are they a specific gender?
- Do they have a particular job or work in a specific field?
- Does anything tie all of these people together?
For example, if you look at the E2M sharers, most of them work in either content marketing teams, as social media managers or in digital agencies:
You might be thinking, “Well, duh!” at the last point. But you’d be surprised how many people follow this method and find a subsection of people they’d never even thought about.
Step #3: Look At the Other Posts They’ve Shared
Okay, this is the stage where you have to do some thinking. But it’s where the content you’re going to create – more on that next – is going to be decided. Because, here is where you crawl inside the mind of your readers and see what they want.
Go ahead and click the view links shared button:
This will bring up a page that shows you all the content by your competitors that they’re sharing. Which will give you a deep insight into the kind of content they’re looking for.
Look around the list at 10-15 people (at least) and read some of the articles they’ve shared that relate to your industry.
You want to collect information like:
- Length of articles
- Headline styles
- Style of content (List post, case study, tutorial etc.)
- Structure of posts
Which would leave you with a grid that looks a little something like this:
This is a time consuming process, but it’s worth it in the end.
The productivity tool Share As Image has seen traffic increase by almost 2,000 views a month every month after employing this strategy – and so could you.
Once you’ve gathered this information (you don’t have to do it right now!) it’s time to move onto the next section…
What Content Are They Looking For?
You sort of answered this question in that last step.
And if (or when) you create that grid how you write and choose content will become a lot easier.
But now it’s time to choose content that you can be almost certain your audience will love. Because, my friend, in this section you’re going to learn how to steal your way to success.
Wait, Did He Just Say Stealing?
I did; but it’s not what you think.
It’s well documented that originality on the Internet will be the death of you. Your blog – and you as a marketer – can’t survive on original ideas.
Because, people like the familiar.
They don’t like music they don’t know. They don’t like TV Shows they’ve not seen before. And, they don’t like blog posts that don’t excite them.
Don’t get me wrong, your writing style and the angle of your blog will make everything create original.
But the topics you choose need to be grounded in content that your audience know and love. Which is where the stealing starts…
Enter the Skyscraper Technique
Okay, you’re not really stealing. You’re taking someone else’s idea (that they got from someone else), reworking it, improving it and making it fit your audience.
This technique comes from the brilliant mind of Brian Dean over at Backlinko, and has been used to help hundreds of blogs create more traffic for themselves – including his own, which got 110% more traffic in 14 days.
In order to do this, you’re going to choose a competitor’s blog, and search it in BuzzSumo:
Then you’re going to look for their highest shared content – over the last year, six months, one month and week – and find an article that resonates with you or your audience.
You could find this information from looking at the content other people shared in the last section, too.
From there, create a list of five to ten blog posts that would fit your audience. Then wash, rinse and repeat with four or five more competitors.
By the end of it, you could have ideas for at least 20 new blog posts for you to write. That’s nearly six months content!
Now, Let Me Be Clear…
You’re not copying and pasting these articles and passing them for you own – trust me, I’ve seen that done. Instead you’re going to take the article and rewrite it in your vision.
- Expand it
- Make it shorter
- Include new and updated research
- Add your own case studies
- Make sure it all fits the chart in the first section
But by the end of the article it should be a 100% new, improved and in-your-style piece based on a topic that has performed well in the past.
Where Do They Go To Find It?
Publishing your blog post isn’t the end of your job.
Now it’s time to put it in a place that your audience can find it, read it and share it.
This phase – also known as the distribution phase – is a funny one, because it can be really subjective to your audience. Because your Tribe, as Seth Godin calls it, is completely unique to everyone else’s.
But there are a few ways you can hack into where your audience spends their time, that we’re going to cover right here.
Look At Where Your Articles Are Most Shared (And Rank Them)
I know I keep bringing up BuzzSumo – and I hope you can see how valuable of a tool it is – but this is the last time, I promise.
All you need to do here is search your site and see where your content gets shared the most often.
Look over a number of articles and see where you’re being most consistently shared. Then, rank them in order of most shared platform to least shared.
So if it looks like:
You know which platform you need to optimise your posts for, because your audience is spending the most time there. This can also help with finding out where to set up paid adverts and promotion, too.
Look At Your Site Traffic
If you run a WordPress blog, you can get the Jetpack application, which will show you where your blog traffic comes from. So you can see exactly where people are clicking through to each individual post from.
This is worth keeping a close eye on, so you can find trends and sudden spikes in traffic too.
Forums and Groups
This is something you’re going to have to research yourself, but can pay off well in the long run.
Ask yourself the question:
Where do people in my niche go to find their answers?
Chances are, when you find the answer to this, you’re going to find a source of a lot of high quality traffic.
It could be a Forum:
It could be a Question or Message board, like Quora:
Or it could be a Facebook Group or Twitter #Hashtag:
Do your research here and get involved in conversations that will add value to your readers. If you can answer their questions, they’ll turn to you for other solutions too.
Follow the Rule Of 3
Once you have found where your audience spends their time, there’s a little rule of distribution you should follow:
Within 24 hours of posting a blog share it to three different places.
That can be any mix of places that you’ve found your audience; but know they won’t come to you just because you posted a blog – they need to be prompted!
Everything you just read might sound simple.
But the simple plans are always the effective ones, right?
The most important part of this plan – and whatever variation you choose to do – is that you:
- Connect with your audience
- Have thorough research
- Add value at all costs
- Tailor your approach to the people you want to reach
After that, everything else is up to you. So, only one question remains:
Where are you going to start?
Let me know in the comments…