Knowing your audience has never been more vital than in content marketing. Although writing corporate blog posts or website content seems easy (at first), all successful content shares one key element – targeting.
Writing blog posts seems quick and instantaneous. Write an article, publish it. Viola! But then, no one reads it. You get sad, even depressed a little. Your boss begins to wonder: where is all the promised traffic? You’ve put in all this time…and nothing. What to do?
Target your articles to make them relevant
The key to a successful blog post is quite simple: know your audience. Despite this simple rule, many people don’t realize that without a fully developed “persona” an article might be a flop even before it’s published.
It’s not that the article is bad, or doesn’t contain useful information. It is just written in a way (and it is exactly how the article is written that matters most here) that does not catch the eye of anyone who might benefit from the information provided.
It's content, not news
Unlike news articles, which are written for information of the general public, content marketing pieces work best when they are written for a very narrowly targeted audience. In fact, one person.
Every article should have an “audience persona”, a realistic person who is interested in the kind of information the article conveys. Without an audience persona the article will feel generic. Even if the right person reads it, they will be less likely to share it (and shareable content is, after all, the holy grail of content marketing).
Create a realistic one-person audience
For example, an article about latest trends in IT outsourcing should not only be targeting “CIOs”, it should be written for a 45-year old man working in the retail industry who is trying to develop a new application to integrate his online and physical store inventories.
Similarly, an article about different kinds of hairbrushes isn’t just written for “people with hair”, rather it is written for a woman with long hair, who just got off the plane and realized that she forgot her hairbrush, but who also has no time to figure out whether a round or rectangular hairbrush is better for her scalp. The point is: without a detailed audience persona, the article will have slim chances of succeeding.
Dig way deeper
Take some time to get to know who might be interested in the content you’re writing. Do this in two steps: identify your general audience, which will help you decide on the tone of your blog and most of the articles (like: “CIOs”).
Second, tailor each article to one person whose question the article will answer (“CIOs who are creating a new a software application to integrate retail functions”). Once you got this, revise it, add details, and finally, make sure that it’s a realistic problem and that this person can really exist in the real world.
If the writing of the blog is outsourced – convey the persona to the writer when you give them the topic. Without a persona, the content writer might as well be blind.