April 27, 2016
7 Simple Tips For Tailoring Your Content To Your Audience
Content marketing is one of those things that everyone knows they need, but often struggle to figure out. According to a 2014 report from Content Marketing Institute, organisations in America spend an average 28% of their annual marketing budget on content marketing, with 55% of organisations surveyed saying that they planned on increasing their marketing spend in this area.
Despite this, the same report showed that 54% of B2B marketers found it challenging to produce the engaging content that their audience was looking for. 49% of these marketers also said that they found measuring content effectiveness particularly difficult.
These are fairly worrying stats when you think about it. If you’re spending a significant portion of your marketing budget on something you know you need, but struggle to see or measure in any meaningful way, something has clearly gone wrong.
So with that in mind, let’s address the elephant in the room. How do you tailor your content to your audience?
Unfortunately there’s no single solution and no quick fix to this problem. The correct way of doing this is going to vary from business to business, industry to industry, sector to sector. The good news, however, is that we get this question asked of us a lot here at Absolute, and there a few simple tips we can give you to help you get yourself on the right track.
1. Figure out who your (actual) audience is
While you may have an idea of who it is that you’re talking to when you’re writing, there’s no guarantee that the people reading your blog are what you would expect. There are a few things to keep in mind here – are you writing for a local, national or international audience? Because this will make a huge difference in how you write your content. You wouldn’t tell your audience they’re in a Barney if they’re not familiar with Cockney rhyming slang, for example. Step one of the solution here is simply knowing your audience.
So how do you figure out who your audience is? This may be fairly obvious for some – a DIY store in Northampton will have a fairly narrow client base, for example. On the other hand, some companies, such as multinational corporations or companies offering a range of services, will likely be trying to pull in a much broader readership. Fortunately there are a few ways you can go about figuring out who your audience is, from their age and gender to their geographic location. The first, and most obvious perhaps, is Google Analytics – a properly set up Google Analytics account will be able to tell you all you need to know about your audience demographics, and then some.
If you’re new to this, or if you’re a small start-up without a properly configured Analytics account, there are other ways you can check your audience demographics. Sites like WordPress have basic stats checking through plugins like Jetpack, and sites like Alexa.com can offer a surprisingly deep view into how a given readership looks. For example, did you know that just 9% of Moz’ audience comes from the United States?
Image source: alexa.com
Whether or not you choose to adapt your content to these stats is entirely up to you – some businesses will see that the majority of their readers live in America, and may consider switching to American English; other sites may see that the majority of their readers are male graduates who are browsing their site from work, which may help them draw inspiration for their piece of content. As the old adage goes, the more you know…
2. Figure out why you’re writing
This, again, may seem like a fairly obvious question, but stop and consider the implications for a moment. Why are you writing content in the first place?
Question: Why do you write?
a. To drive awareness?
b. To increase customer engagement?
c. To drive sales?
d. All of the above?
Each of these will require a slightly different approach. Bear in mind that “all of the above” is an acceptable answer – it’s important to realise that you’re naturally going to have multiple reader/buyer personas among your audience. You’ll have the kind of reader who comes to your site looking for information on how to do something, the kind of reader who comes looking for a specific product, and the kind of reader who is just looking for something to read.
On the same note, you’re going to have different buyer personas approaching your site looking for help with a product they’ve bought, looking to buy a specific product, or just check your site for the price of whatever you’re selling. Your content, just like your marketing, shouldn’t be aimed at just a single person. Take Men’s Health Magazine as an example – they don’t just focus on men looking to lose weight, they write for men looking to lose weight, gain weight, pack on muscle or simply up their fashion game. Target your writing to your entire audience, and you’ll see your entire audience grow.
3. Figure out what makes you unique
If I were to ask you what your USPs are as a company or as a service provider, you’ll probably be able to tell me. If you were to ask your audience what makes you different from all the rest, how do you think they’d answer?
Obviously you’re going to want your audience to know the answer, but they won’t know if you don’t tell them. If your USPs solve a certain problem for your audience, make sure you shout it from the rooftops, because these USPs, along with your other core values as a business, are going to tailor how you write your content. If you’re a B2B company working in a serious, sensitive area, your tone of voice and the style of your writing is going to be very different to a site which sells wetsuits.
Figuring out your tone of voice is a very important step in tailoring your content to your audience. If your USP is that you’re friendly and approachable, your content should refiect this. If your USP is that you’re highly experienced and a fountain of knowledge in your industry, your content should refiect this.
4. Set your goals
Once you’ve got the basics down, you can set yourself the goals you want to be measured by. The key word here is ‘measured’ – measuring is the quickest, easiest way to target your audience. While your goals will likely differ depending on your services as a company, the standard goals here are usually fairly similar:
- to increase readership (measured through page views)
- to build engagement (measured through return visits, bounce rate & social media shares)
- to generate leads (measured through the number of new visitors or signups)
- to increase sales (measured through conversions)
Don’t be afraid to ask the audience. Short customer satisfaction surveys and asking your customers for reviews are great ways to keep your goals on target. Not only does this help you measure your goals over time, but it can help you pinpoint any goals you didn’t know you needed to hit. Just remember that if you’re sending out surveys, you’re going to want to keep the questions open, or you may wind up leading your customers’ answers.
5. Do your research
You’re almost ready to start writing your tailored content. Before you start writing, however, you need to know what you’re writing about. If you’ve been writing blogs and other content for a while, cast your eye over what you’ve written before. Did it work? If not, why not?
There are plenty of things which could have stopped your writing reaching from your desired audience, some of which we’ve covered above. If you’ve varied your tone of voice or style of writing in the past, you may find that a certain way worked better. Likewise, you may find that highly opinionated pieces worked better than industry news, or vice versa.
If you haven’t done any writing in the past, now’s the perfect time to start experimenting – try your hand at different styles, from how to guides and infographics to listicles and industry news. This will let you see what works with your audience and what doesn’t; if you find that listicles work best, don’t be afraid of publishing more ‘Top 5 XYZ’ lists than normal, and see what happens.
It’s all fair and well saying this, but what do you do if you can’t think of what to write first. If you’re struggling for inspiration, here’s a couple of tips to help you ind the right kind of topics for your audience:
- Keep an eye on what’s topical – social media and sites like BuzzSumo offer a fascinating insight into what works, both for your site and for your industry
- Keep an eye on sites like Quora – people may be asking questions you can answer with your content/blog
- Keep an eye on your competition – if your competitors are seeing a certain level of success, look at how their content compares to yours
6. Start writing
The penultimate step of this process is the actual writing process. Again, there are a couple of tips here that can help you tailor your content too.
- Keep it short and sweet – long articles are great, but long blocks of text put people off.
- Break up long sections of text with visual breaks for your readers – headings, images, videos and bullet point lists are great for this. There haven’t been any images in this article for a while, but the piece doesn’t look boring – bullet points are a powerful thing!
- Keep the jargon to a minimum – jargon may make you feel clever but if it makes your reader feel stupid, you’re not helping anyone.
- Make sure you spellcheck and proofread your content. There are few things that put readers off like obvious spelling and grammatical errors. They just look unprofessional.
Last but not least, make sure that your content is properly optimised. SEO and copywriting go hand in hand, and fitting the right keywords into your content in the right places can have a dramatic effect on the number of people your content reaches. It’s much easier to tailor content to a larger audience than it is to tailor content based on a very small set of sample data!
7. Watch the stats
With your first set of newly targeted blogs written, it’s time to look back over the stats you’ve generated. Nothing online is static – your audience is as fluid and dynamic as anything else online, and you’ll quickly ind that the way you tailor your content will naturally evolve at the same pace your business does. That being said, once you establish a core audience you’re going to find that certain things work better than others.
Analytics tools such as Google Analytics and in-built social media stats tools you’ll see once you share your content let you keep an eye on what works & what doesn’t. Use this to your advantage, and when you’ve found what works with your audience, shout it from the rooftops. Celebrate these things, because after all, your audience is a big part of what makes your company what it is.
To find out more about perfectly tailored content for your brand, call 01245 287 864 today.