Think about how much content you take in every single day. You read texts, emails, websites, push notifications, blogs, news articles, billboards, and much, much more every minute of every day. Everyone wants you to pay attention to them—whether they are multi-million dollar corporations or even just your mom. (We recommend giving your mom attention before anyone else!)
That being said, how does anyone break through this barrier set up by everyone vying for consumers’ attention?
The truth of the matter is that most businesses in the world are NOT multi-million dollar, national or international companies with huge budgets and a stacked marketing team. Most businesses are smaller, requiring them to be thrifty and smart with how they reach an audience.
So, how do they do it? Content marketing.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a few decades, you’ve probably heard about content marketing before reading this article, but let’s break it down to the basics. According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is:
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Basically, content marketing is the creation of quality content distributed consistently in order to capture your audience’s attention and encourage them to act.
You’ve probably dabbled in content marketing before reading this article. But a lot of businesses—especially the smaller ones—are not able to break through all the noise bigger businesses use to drown out the competition.
So, how, oh how, can you use your content marketing to swim to the top of the flood of content out there and reach your audience?
In this article, we will explain how personalization in content marketing can set you apart from all the other fish in the sea and share insight and tips on how to approach this personalization.
Let’s dive in!
Research Your Audience
As explained above, content marketing is completely focused on reaching out to a specific segment of your audience, getting their attention, and encouraging them to act (usually, purchase your service or product).
The number one thing to remember when trying to reach your audience is to remember that they are unique and want to be treated as such. If your audience feels like you are lumping them all together, then they are going to lump your business in with the others they plan to ignore.
When thinking about your content, really dive in deep with your audience. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are their interests?
- What makes them tick?
- What are their goals?
- Do they have pain points? If so, what are they?
Also, do your homework and make sure to gather demographic information such as if they are mostly male or female, their typical age bracket, etc.
The better you know the nuances of your audience, the better, more targeted content you can write for them.
Research Competitor’s Content
This might sound like cheating, but it really is not. The information is there for you to see, so why not, well, see it? And if you are going to see it, why not gather insight from it?
Chances are, if you are a business that has been around for more than a few days, you know who your competitors are. Check out the type of content they are writing and see if they have thought of topics and content strategies you haven’t.
Also, most importantly, try to see the ways they personalize their content. Is it obvious who their audience is and how they tick? Does the content target prominent experts your audience would find helpful? Do they ask for audience participation for quotes and anecdotes? All of this information is important and can give you more ideas for personalizing your content.
Once you see what your competitors are doing, you will be able to do it better—because you are a rockstar.
Speak Directly to Your Audience with an Assessment
As covered above, everyone likes to be acknowledged for their uniqueness. But how, as a business, can you do that for them?
One way to accomplish this seemingly impossible (or not) feat is with an assessment.
Let’s be honest—you can conduct all the research you possibly can, but that information will always come second to just simply talking to your audience. Open up two-way communication with them! That’s exactly what assessments enable you to do.
In your assessment, ask your audience about their experience, pain points, goals, and anything you possibly want to know about them. Everyone loves talking about themselves, so this is their chance for someone to really listen and help them out with all of the above!
Most importantly, though, make sure your assessments include features such as question logic so that the quizzes are as personalized as possible and can provide the respondent with a detailed, personalized report with insights and tips at the end.
Promote the Heck Out of Your Content
So, you have spent all of this time collecting personalized insights from your assessment, done your research, and written some amazing content. You are a rockstar! So why isn’t anyone reading it? Don’t they know how utterly and undeniably awesome you and your content are?
The harsh truth is that your content could be the best content that ever existed in the whole entire universe, but it will not provide you any value if it doesn’t get eyes on it.
That’s where promotion comes into play.
You have all of this important information about your audience, and hopefully, a part of that information is where they are spending their time digitally. Are they heavily engaged in specific forums, Facebook, or LinkedIn groups? Or are they constantly reading from a blog where it’d make sense for you to publish your content?
Make sure you are promoting your content anywhere your audience is spending its time in order to get the most value for your hard work. Because we know you’re awesome, and your mom surely does, too. But unless you show others this, they won’t believe it!
Collect Feedback and Results
Finally! You have spent so much time researching, creating your assessment, writing, and promoting your content. So now what?
Well, friend, you start the whole process over again, but with some very important insight.
After you’ve done all of the above, look for feedback from your audience. Read the comments on the blog and social media. Also, make sure you are tracking its success in Google Analytics. See how specific types of content are performing and then use that insight for writing future pieces of content.
In content marketing, you are constantly learning!
Content marketing is not as simple as coming up with random topics to write about. Instead, it is a detailed, laborious process where you need to be in constant communication with your audience so you can write content that they respond to and (hopefully) encourage them to purchase your service or product.
While in the process, make sure you are treating your audience as unique individuals, researching competitors’ content, speaking directly to your audience, using an assessment, promoting it, and collecting important feedback and results.
Now, get to work!