Are you producing content, but not getting the traffic or engagement that you desire? It could be that your content is simply too generic.
The problem with generic content is that it targets too wide of an audience. As a result, it simply fails to resonate with anybody. And this, sadly, means it will fail to convert anyone.
Instead of creating engagement, increasing traffic, improving branding, and increasing conversions, milquetoast content barely registers and is rarely remembered.
Your audience craves content that is relevant, helpful, interesting, and that is written just for them. Your job, and it’s not an easy one, is figuring out what that means.
If you are successful, you will see optimize engagement and conversions alike, so it is well worth the effort. Here are a few tips for identifying your audience’s sweet spot when it comes to creating and curating personalized content.
Revisiting Your Customer Personas
Are you sure you know your customers as well as you think you do?
It might be a good idea to rethink your customer personas. First and foremost, the target customer persona you created when you first created a marketing plan might not be who your customer is today. It’s possible that your audience has aged with your company, for example. It’s also possible that your brand has found its home with a demographic group that you haven’t considered.
Think about video gaming or Lego. Although the above ad was featured in 1980, these companies neglected women and girls in their marketing strategies for decades. Even when it became clear that girls and women were interested in these products, they were largely ignored by any marketing efforts. Worse, the few efforts made to target women and girls was pandering at best and sexist at worst. It has only been recently that marketers in these niches seem to have come around.
Don’t let old data or old assumptions cause you to cluelessly miss out on opportunities to reach your true target customers. Do some research. Is your content being written for the right audience? If your audience is the same, figure out how their needs and tastes have changed.
Check Out Your Competition
You should make it a regular habit to check out your competition, especially those competitors who are having better results with their content. There are a few different ways to approach this.
The first is to visit your competitor’s’ website and social media pages. Figure out where they are posting, when they are posting, and the content that is creating the most engagement. Of course, you should also be cognizant of the content that is failing.
An easier way to approach this is to use a tool such as BuzzSumo to find the content that is trending on your competition’s websites and social media sites. All you have to do is enter in a URL, and you will receive an aggregated list of the content on these websites along with how many social shares that content has earned. BuzzSumo can be used free as the website, however there are also subscription based services for professional bloggers, agencies, and enterprises that come with more bells and whistles. That could be worthwhile if you are in a particularly competitive space.
Whatever method or combination of methods that you use to stay on top of your competition, you will gain some very valuable insights. This can help you to frame what your content will look like moving forward, allowing you to attract and convert relevant web traffic.
Visit Product Support And Review Sites And Q & A Sites Like Quora
The most engaging content is content that answers your audience’s questions and solves their problems. If you want to find out what those pressing questions and problems are, go to the places where those questions and problems are being asked.
Specifically, go to websites where your customers are discussing the products and services that you provide. You will be able to learn about the questions, concerns, and problems that are most relevant. Then, you can address that in your content. As a result, your followers will be more likely to engage, and to share.
Q&A websites such as Quora are places where people can ask questions and seek help on problems that they are having on a variety of subjects. Content marketing guru Jeff Bullas recommends quora as a great resource for blog topics. You can search for keywords related to your business, and get some great leads on content ideas for the future.
Get on Top of Trending Topics
To truly get your audience engaged, one of the best things that you can do is find trending topics that are also relevant to your audience. There a few ways you can do this. The first is to use tools such as AllTop, KeyWord.IO, and other online utilities to help you find articles that are trending on certain keywords, and the latest headlines.
In addition to doing this, you can search Twitter and other social media platforms for trending topics. You can then find, and participate in conversations where your expertise is relevant. This is a great way to increase your audience, build trust, and establish some thought leadership.
Are You Due For a Content Upgrade?
When you check out your competitor’s content, as mentioned above, you might notice something beyond your subject matter. Your content offerings might also seem dated. If you are simply blogging, tweeting, and posting Facebook updates, you could be losing out on opportunities to really get your audience engaged even if you do write perfect content. Even worse, if your competition is already doing this, you could be losing your followers to them. Here are a few things that you can do to get your content to come alive.
- SnapChat Stories: Get your audience engaged by creating and sharing SnapChat stories with your followers. This relatively new, yet popular feature is a great way to share information about yourself and your brand.
- Periscope and Meerkat: These are two livestreaming apps that you can use to get your audience engaged in real time. Imaging being able to take your followers on a behind the scenes tour of your operations, or taking them along with you on a trip to an industry event. Not only can people who follow you hear you and see what you are doing, they can also engage in real time. They can ask questions, make requests, and leave feedback on what they are seeing through your eyes. Best of all, once you are done, you can save everything and upload it to Vimeo or your YouTube channel.
- Interactive Content: Surveys and polls are great, but there is so much more that you can be doing. You can create social media quizzes, develop interactive infographics on topics that are relevant to your followers, and write and post interactive white papers. Some brands are even using gaming to keep audience members engaged. Look for virtual reality content to become a consideration in the near future as well.
Source Content Ideas From Your Audience
“Tell me what you think.”
It is a simple request, but it can yield powerful results and insights. Even better, there are several different ways that you can source content ideas and opinions on your current offerings.
First, pay attention to comments, shares, and other forms of engagement. If you are getting a reaction, and starting conversations, that’s a reliable predictor that topic is something your followers appreciate you addressing.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to get feedback is to ask for it. You can post polls or surveys asking your audience members what posts have been most useful to them in the past, and what they would like to see in the future. You can also get some good ideas by crowdsourcing some of your content. Ask your followers for pictures or personal stories relating to your products and services. This is almost always popular, and it can give you some ideas for future posts.
Finally, don’t dismiss the value of analytics. Information such as bounce rates, heat maps, video click through rates can give you a pretty good picture of what is getting attention, and what is largely being ignored.
Don’t be a Lightweight
There is nothing wrong with shorter posts, ‘listicles’, and other content that makes for quick and easy reading, nor is there anything wrong with the occasional light-hearted or humorous content. It’s just that if these things make up the lion’s share of your content, your followers might be craving something a bit more meaty.
Have you considered delving into white papers, or writing an eBook for your subscribers to download? This meatier and more long form content might be really appreciated by your ‘power users’. Even longer blog posts are more likely to get the attention of people who have the power to make decisions and authorize purchases. A good rule of thumb is to publish a variety of content that meets the needs of everybody who might use your products or services.
Everybody wants to feel important and is their time and problems are important. This is true when it comes to face to face transactions and online transactions. This also applies to the content that you create and share with your followers. The more your followers feel as if you are in tune to their needs, the more likely they are to continue to build positive relationships with you.
By following the suggestions outlined above, your content will become more tailored for your customer personas. The results that you will see will include more engagement, improved trust, and ideally more conversions.
How do you personalize content to target your audience? Let us know in the comments.