How many times have you come across an online post that made you go, “The writing is wonderful! Let me read this once again.”?
The Internet is abound with varied content and I bet you’ve read articles that also made you think, “What a waste of time!”
Another common reaction to posts that seem done-to-death and repetitive is, “I could have written better than that!”
While every content marketer hopes to elicit the first response from readers, the other two are hardly helpful in figuring out what takes a post from being a “waste of time” to becoming “wonderful”!
This is where this post comes into the picture.
In order to prompt the “Wow!” response every time, content marketers need to know about:
- Defining and understanding the target audience to clearly figure out who they are (and aren’t) writing for
- Strategies and tactics to collect audience data
- Using collected information to produce content that meets audiences’ needs and interests
Understand Target Audience
Most content marketers have a hard time understanding their target audience. While this task is tricky, it can be achieved with careful consideration of the below factors:
A. How Well Do You Know Your Offerings?
Before you can explain to your customers what your company and its offerings are all about, you should know about them thoroughly.
- Think about the problems that your products and services can solve.
- Ask yourself the purpose behind the existence of your offerings. Keep this aspect in mind when creating your content.
- Focus on the purpose of your products/services and steer clear of redundant and irrelevant factors because if they don’t concentrate on your mission, they should stay out of your content marketing strategy.
B. How Well Do You Know Your Customers?
One of the first things to know when you start a venture is who your current customers are. After all, these are the people who will buy your products and services, and recommend them to others if they’re happy with them.
- Ask your company’s sales and marketing teams to provide you with this information.
- Segment the type of your customers and decipher buyer personas to serve them better.
- Focus on what your customers can gain by choosing you over your competitors. Is there something you offer that others don’t? Is there something you can do better than the others?
C. How Well Do You Know Your Competitors?
Last but not least, it is important for every business to know who its competitors are. You’re probably aware of your obvious competitors. However, dig a little deeper with the help of Google and social media to identify new competition that you may not have known about so far.
- Look up keywords that are commonly-used in your industry.
- Once the names of the businesses are displayed, check out their ‘About Us’ pages and product descriptions.
- This way you learn a lot about your competitors in less time.
Understand What Your Target Audience Expects of You
Finding your target audience is only half the job done. In fact, the real work begins after that. You need to know their expectations, so you know what you’re working towards. Here are the three key elements that your target audience will look forward to regardless of the industry you’re in:
A. Valuable Content
Customers typically go in search of products and services when they have particular questions or problems in mind. Your offerings are supposed to be the answers or solutions to their predicament. Your content, therefore, needs to be useful to your target audience, otherwise creating it will be futile.
You need to look at content as more than mere words put together to fill a blank space. Creating material just for the sake of it will lead to the production of low-quality content that audiences will instantly reject. This, in turn, will have repercussions on your reputation in the market.
Instead, consider the following:
- What your target audience is thinking about
- What kind of information they will find useful
- What thought leadership can you provide to establish your authority
Also, keep promotional content to a minimum and focus on providing quality and value to your target audience, if you’re serious about capturing their loyalty.
B. Attractive Design
According to Statista, “The statistic shows the total number of mobile phone users worldwide from 2013 to 2019. For 2017 the number of mobile phone users is forecast to reach 4.77 billion.”
- Between December 2013 and December 2015, tablet Internet consumption grew by 30%.
- Between December 2013 and December 2015, Smartphone Internet consumption grew by 78%.
- Between December 2013 and December 2015, desktop Internet consumption dropped by 1%.
- 13% of adults access the Internet via mobile only. 11% access the Internet via desktop only.
- Also, 33% of consumers start mobile research with a branded website.
Apart from that, you also need to consider the design of your website, where the content will be published. This means that it should be in keeping with your brand’s image without being dull. It is also a good idea to keep updating the website’s design every few years as trends keep changing.
C. Easy Navigation
Here are a few interesting statistics:
- Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.
- After reaching a company’s website via a referral site, 50% of visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves.
Your website should be easy-to-use for visitors. Putting up a wall of text is not recommended either. One page of content should serve as the entrance to your website, which should make it easy for visitors to browse and ultimately convert.
Remember, regardless of how great your website content is, a poor user experience and an unresponsive website will just drive visitors away. This will prevent your posts from being shared on social media, and neither will your pages get linked in other people’s content.
Find Your Target Audience
As a startup owner, your most important jobs will relate to planning and building your business. When you begin to plan, one of the most pressing questions you’ll be faced with will be deciding who you want to direct your marketing efforts towards. You may think that your offerings appeal to a lot of people, but marketing to everyone can get you in hot water later.
Every entrepreneur wants his/her business to be known and recognized by a large number of people, but this can get extremely costly and time-consuming. It is, therefore, better to decide on your target audience by choosing who you want to spend your time, money and other resources on. Further, finding a group of people who may be interested in buying your products/services will enable you to connect and communicate with them more deeply.
Mentioned ahead are a few tips on identifying your target audience correctly:
1. Be Specific
A great way to understand who your ideal target audience is by creating an audience persona. Typically, doing so entails knowing the answers to the whos, the whats, the whens, the wheres and the whys.
Other necessary details include covering the audiences’ gender, age, demography, family life, profession, income, needs, pain points, and challenges.
Have these details in place and you will be able to conjure up audience personas that will reveal exactly what will appeal to them collectively.
When used correctly, Google Analytics can be tremendously helpful as it has a treasure of data about your audience. All you have to do is find it.
- Google Analytics focuses on ads and gives you this information to help you buy ads and not create content.
- Even if you do not use this data to buy ads, you will still be able to figure out the topics your readers want to read about.
- Google Analytics also makes it easy to find your best and worst posts every week/month.
One cannot deny that knowing the specific kinds of topics to write about is tremendously helpful. This way you can stop worrying that audiences outside your demographics may not like your content. Some might skip your content anyway, and you do not need to make everyone happy. Focus on delighting your target audience.
3. Facebook Can Bring You Insights
Facebook can provide a powerful set of insights on analytics too. The best thing about them is that they’re free to use. Using this feature, you can know about the demographic of your most active users and also find out the topics they have in common.
- When using Facebook, read through the comments on your posts to get a better idea of what your audience expects of you.
- Do respond to every comment/message you receive. This way, you will know more about them from every interaction.
- Look for groups and communities that are relevant to you and partake in discussions by providing opinions and insights that are important to them.
4. Take a Look at Your Twitter Followers’ Dashboard
Don’t stop at Facebook; make Twitter your ally too. Use the Twitter followers’ dashboard by signing up for a Twitter Ads account. Accessing this dashboard will tell you what your followers want from you. This includes common topics, demographic followers, and more.
- Publish posts that elicit answers from the audience regarding the topics that interest them.
- Ask them about their problems and what do they like to do outside their working hours? Are there any products or features that they can use for their leisure activities or entertainment?
- Here are a few topic ideas that can easily be turned into Twitter polls to get you started.
5. Get on YouTube
You can get basic insights into the audience of a YouTube video if it has enough views. It means you can check out different demographics such as age group, gender, and the geographical locations of the audience interested in your business videos. It will also allow you to determine the outreach of your existing marketing strategy. In short, a simple analysis of your company’s or competitors’ YouTube video can be used to create meaningful video marketing content for your target audience.
6. Carry out Customer Surveys
Customer surveys allow you to perform real-time analysis of your target audience. These surveys are not limited only to products and services. Your content marketing strategy can benefit from a periodic survey of its readers. Most bloggers are aware of the fact that some posts have much better following than others. Conducting a blog reader survey can help you fix this problem. The following are a few benefits of a customer survey:
- It will allow you to identify your most dedicated readers and gain a better perception of their interests and needs. You can also focus on creating content that resolves their top concerns.
- It is the best way to show your target audiences that you care about their opinions, making them feel more involved in your content marketing strategy.
- Instead of running ahead with a story, you can get direct insights on the topics they enjoy reading from you.
- The biggest advantage of conducting a blog reader survey is that it allows you to determine if your readers are your actual end-customers and devise a marketing plan accordingly.
Once you understand the mindset of your target audience, you can create better content in future. You can acquire exclusive data for your intrinsic content strategy and marketing research by conducting a blog reader survey.
7. Use Automated Emails
No online marketer can deny the ability of automated emails to connect with potential customers. You can use these emails to get valuable feedback from your target audience. For instance, you can set up an automated emailing program that pings your registered users about 30 days after the signup to find out if they liked your content.
These tools allow you to communicate with your target audience on a personal level and provide you with a better insight of their mindset. Here is a list of automated email tools that you may find useful.
HubSpot remains one of the most popular automated email platforms. It allows you to send personalized emails to your clients and comes with advanced list-segmentation capabilities.
This sales and marketing automation software is exclusively built for small businesses. It allows you to build Web forms and landing pages without the help of developers.
Apart from an impressive email automation program, this tool also comes with an inbuilt SEO audit tool. Act-On also has all the APIs you need to connect with different CRMs.
ActiveCampaign is an excellent marketing automation tool for small sales and marketing campaigns. It comes with its own its own CRM system, making it easier to manage potential leads.
This easy-to-use automated email platform comes with over 500 mobile-friendly email templates. The GetResponse API also comes with excellent custom integration capabilities.
8. Analyze Customer Data
This may sound surprising, but your online consumers, including blog readers, newsletter subscribers, and social media followers may not be the end customers who buy your products or services. Usually, there are two reasons behind this outcome:
- More groups of people are interested in buying your product and service
- The content is attracting the wrong group of consumers
In either case, you need to redesign your marketing strategy to pull in the right audience. However, the first thing you need to do is identify the right target audience, which can be achieved by analyzing customer data. Backed with a thorough customer data analysis, you may be able to create a thriving online presence. Check out this guide on where to find this data and how to analyze it.
Create Engaging Content Ideas
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned content marketer, the biggest challenge you are going to face is coming up with great content ideas. Once you have created a dedicated following, your audience starts to expect more from you. Over time, you need to create plenty of high-end content. Without impressive content ideas, you run the risk of losing the hard-earned target audience in a matter of weeks.
So, how do you generate great content ideas? The Web is full of different types of tools designed to create epic content ideas. But, one tool outshines all others and delivers consistent results. This tool is called BuzzSumo.
How to Use BuzzSumo to Create Unique Content Ideas
BuzzSumo is not just another blog title generator. This tool also gives you data on what is and isn’t working in your niche. You can find this information using keyword-based or domain-based search. Use keywords to search for the most popular content shared within your industry. The domain-based search tool allows you to analyze competitors’ domains.
BuzzSumo can be used in three ways to create unique content ideas.
1. Find Most Shared Content
You can use domain-based research to find the most shared content on your website.
- Head over to the BuzzSumo site and enter a keyword to find the most shared content within your industry.
- For better results, use different filters such as the date and the type of the content, among others.
- Analyze content with the maximum social media shares to come up with some brilliant content ideas.
Check out the following video for more information on using this tool.
2. Reprocess Most Shared Content on Your Site
You can use the domain-based search tool to come up with unique content ideas.
- Enter the domain of your or your client’s website to find out the most shared content.
- Reprocess the most popular content and build it further for attracting target audience. For example, you can repurpose a popular blog post into a quick infographic.
- Share the same content on a different social media platform in a different format for wider publicity.
3. Engage with Sharers for Outreach
BuzzSumo users can access information about influencers or people who are sharing their content. You may be able to find people who actively share your content using the ‘View Sharer’ button.
- Try to get in touch with these influencers as some of them may be interested in writing a blog, sharing a Tweet, or being cited as a source within a post for you.
- Use insights from leading influencers in your niche to create brilliant posts.
Design Body Content and Body Elements
So, you have identified your target audience and understood what they expect from you. You have also spent hours researching a couple of brilliant ideas for your blog. However, it takes more than just a brilliant topic idea to write a successful blog post. Consider the following points when writing a well-structured post:
1. Use a Killer Headline
For most bloggers, getting the attention of a potential reader is a challenge. Unfortunately, humans have a very short attention span, which makes it even more difficult to get people to read your post. This is where a catchy headline comes in.
What Makes an Outstanding Headline?
- It should look promising with a crystal-clear message or assurance made using choicest words.
- It shouldn’t be misleading. The body of your post must convey the message or assurance given in the headline.
- Make it as compelling as possible without exaggerating.
- It should be SEO-friendly.
The Rest Can be Covered with a Few Tools
Fortunately, several title-generator and headline-analyzer tools can help you write a catchy headline. The following handpicked tools can help you create a killer headline.
This free title generator tool comes with a key feature called a description indicator for your keyword. You can choose a descriptor for your keyword from the drop down menu for better results.
This tool is one of my personal favorites. It can generate compelling titles in just seconds and it’s free.
This tool will help you determine the emotional quotient of your title. Just copy paste your title and hit the enter button. The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer will display the results with an overall score out of a 100, and a grade. The higher the score, the greater is the impact of your title.
This free headline analyzer tool will help you determine how engaging your headline is. It provides you with an engagement score and an impression score. It also provides helpful tips and suggestions for improving your headline.
Example of a Catchy Blog Post Title
Take a look at the following headlines for a blog post on content writing.
“10 Content Writing Secrets Revealed”
Though the above title looks good, it fails to make a huge impression on the readers. As you can see, the ShareThrough Headline Analyzer tool has given an overall score of only 69 (out of 100) for this title.
Now, let’s check the Headline Quality Score for the following title.
“10 Content Writing Secrets That You Can Learn in Under an Hour”
2. Start with Compelling Introduction
People don’t want to be tricked into reading a boring story. So, a catchy title needs to be followed by an equally compelling introduction.
- Avoid using a lengthy sentence to write the opening line of your introduction.
- Instead, open the first paragraph with a short and punchy sentence that piques the interest of your readers.
- Make sure the introduction sets the tempo for the rest of the post, while getting the reader to the point quickly.
3. Use Proper Formatting
Though a killer introduction can hook a reader, he/she can quickly lose interest in your post if it’s not structured properly. Verbose and long-winded paragraphs can put readers off.
- Use bullet points, numbered lists, subheadings and high-quality images to keep them engaged.
- Make sure to use sentences that can sum up a concept neatly and use the right punctuation.
- Your readers are more interested in reading a fascinating story. So, make it worth their while.
Remember, the more consumable your blog content is, the more hits it will generate.
4. Aim of the Post
The one question you need to ask yourself at every point when creating content is “Why am I creating this post?” The answer to this question will help you create persuasive content that is relevant to the subject matter of your post.
- Stick with the subject matter of your post.
- The call to action should be clear and located at the key positions within the body of text.
5. Use Multimedia to Strengthen Your Message
A well-written blog post is the perfect blend of compelling text and multimedia elements. So, make sure to include high-quality videos, images and audio in your post wherever possible.
- Embed the media in one or more prominent positions within your blog post.
- If you use the right image to convey your message, it will make your post visually appealing to readers.
- On the other hand, using an image or a video just for the sake of it will increase the bounce rate.
6. Craft an Epic Conclusion
The end of your blog post matters as much as the introduction. If a good introduction can prompt your audience to read the entire post, an equally compelling ending may encourage them to comment, share and come back for more. Here are a few tips on ending your post emphatically:
- Summarize the introduction or the key message in your post to conclude your writing.
- Come up with an ending that encourages readers to take action.
- Be sure to use humor, wit or any other form of writing that incites emotional responses from your readers.
- Remember, the conclusion is your last chance to connect with your audience; so make it count.
7. On-Page SEO
On-page search engine optimization (SEO) is an important factor in creating a successful blog post. It will help your post rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher your blog post ranks, the more traffic it gets.
On-page SEO is no rocket science. Just make sure to include the right keyword in the following:
- Title Tag
- Body Text
- Image Alt Attribute
- Meta Description.
8. Categorization and Tagging
Make sure the post is categorized and tagged appropriately. This may seem like a trivial point, but using the right category and tagging for a blog post is crucial for a satisfying user experience.
If you have tons of information on a particular topic, classifying the blog posts into proper categories will make it easier for your audience to find a specific post. Proper tagging, on the other hand, helps organize the information in a concise manner.
9. Pay Attention to the Subject Matter
The headline and the body copy are the two important parts of a blog post. They need to be in sync with each other. The body of your post must deliver on the promise made in the headline or the introduction.
- Stick with the topic of your blog post till the end.
- Describe your call to action in a crisp, clear, and precise manner using multimedia, data, quotes, and examples in the right places.
- Recheck your post to avoid double-ups and commissions.
- If necessary, modify the headline or re-write body of your post.
10. Be Consistent
Consistency may not be a big deal if blogging is your hobby. However, if you are considering blogging as a business, consistency is key to becoming a successful blogger. You must remember the following points.
- Make sure all your posts are in accordance with the information published on your website or blog page.
- Every time you publish a post, ensure that it doesn’t conflict with existing information on your blog or website.
Considering the above ten points, we have evaluated three posts from our blog. For each grading element, points were allotted using the blog post audit tool developed by Digital Marketer.
Links Used for Blog Audit:
|Grading Element||Industry Experts Thought||Local SEO Audit||Local SEO Tools|
Out of 40
|Exceptional (4 points)||4|
|Competent (3 points)||3|
|Needs Improvement (2 points)||2|
|Unsatisfactory (1 point)||1|
Ideally speaking, all the grading elements above should be considered when creating a blog post. However, as the design of a post also depends on the subject matter (what you want to cover), it is sometimes not possible to consider all the elements.
What Have We Learned from the above 3 Examples?
The Local SEO Audit and Local SEO Tools links showcase the power of exceptional categorization, completeness, and consistency. However, the third post also shows exceptional search and consumption elements, making it popular among readers as well as search engines.
Broadly targeted articles can significantly increase the social reach of a blog post as people like to read or watch expert opinions. On the other hand, a popular post may not necessarily be optimized for SEO (see the SEO and link building).
I. Put More Time and Effort into Creating Quality Content
The quality of your content will determine the popularity of your blog post. Make sure to create content that your potential readers want to read and take your time to do so.
II. Don’t Be Obsessed with SEO
Though SEO is an important part of a post, don’t go overboard with it. As you can see from this case study, not all SEO-optimized posts are popular. In the end, a compelling title and consumable content will attract more traffic compared to the one focused on a keyword.
III. Readers Love Marketers’ Thought and Opinions
It’s a well-known fact that people love to hear from the experts. However, make sure to add quotes and opinions from the known experts in your niche. Adding too many opinions or expert roundups can be viewed as a desperate attempt to get links and social shares.
IV. Broadly Targeted Articles Can Increase Reach
Though most marketers recommend creating content for a narrow niche, broadly-targeted blog posts can lead to better social media reach, particularly for increasing brand awareness.
It is not easy to elicit a “wow” response from your readers in a world where the Web is overflowing with content. Creating meaningful content for your target audience is a process that requires in-depth market research and immaculate writing skills. The process begins with understanding and identifying who the target audience is.
Then comes collecting useful data from the target audience such as determining their real problems and offering ways to solve them. You need to learn as much about your consumers as you can before writing any content. Finally, you have to up your game by using the latest and the most reliable information in your content and present it in the most appealing format possible.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you create the right content for you target audience. Go ahead and create great content that ranks!