In 1939, a radio newspaper was invented. The device received newspaper via radio transmission and the machine printed it out on a nine-foot paper that was then cut or folded.
The radio newspaper didn’t catch on though. Why? Because the device didn’t resonate with its target market’s needs or pain points. This is something you need to be careful with when creating content too. The content you create should either resonate with your audience or it would be just as successful as the radio newspaper.
This is why this blog post is dedicated to ensuring that you write for your audience. Let’s get started:
Writing for your audience – does it help you succeed?
Yes! Because that’s how 90% of the successful B2B content marketers satiate their audience’s informational needs. When you write content for your audience, you do the following:
- Provide them with the info they are looking for
- Offer a solution for their pain points
- Put yourself forward as an authority
The Content Marketing Institute’s research also suggests that by putting your audience’s needs first, you’re attempting to create a bond with them. 96% of the successful content marketers agree that by doing so, their audience views them as a trusted resource.
Luckily, trust plays a crucial role in converting your prospects into customers. So that’s an all-round win for your business.
But how can you ensure that you’re writing content that addresses your audience’s needs, untangles their problems, and puts you forward as a hero in the story?
Here’s how to write for your audience:
Collaborate on content ideas with your sales team
Do you know who knows your target audience as intimately as the back of their hands? You guessed it right, the sales team. They spend half the hours in their day hearing leads yammer about their concerns. The rest of the day, they answer queries that people have before they place an order with you or purchase your software.
“When you talk to your sales team, you can understand some of the objections that they were able to overcome or weren’t during the sales process.”
Take advantage of this and learn what questions people have. Then convert them into content topics to cover. “That way you can make sure that your content strategy reflects an understanding of the obstacles that your organization has to overcome to make the sale,” Heald elaborates.
Gather your audience’s demographics and interests from your website analytics
73% of the marketers CMI surveyed ranked website analytics second to sales team feedback for getting audience insights. Here’s the fancy chart proving it:
WordStream is one the champions who follow this practice. Their analytics show that the major chuck of their audience is aged between 25-34, comprising mainly of men:
This information is gold as it has allowed WordStream to fine-tune their voice to a chatty one with emojis and memes. Resultantly, the audience feels that the team behind WordStream is actually talking to them.
Similarly, WordStream’s interest data reveals that their audience’s interests rotate around tech, movies, and more:
This data enables them to add personality to their content – one that resonates with their audience.
Do some keyword research
Remember when Hansel and Gretel were lured into a trap by the evil witch, they left a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way back home in case they got lost? Keyword research is the same. It’s the breadcrumb trail that shows the steps that your audience takes when they browse a problem.
The simplest way to start off is by using Google itself. Let’s suppose you own a social media management tool and are planning to create a content strategy that addresses your audience’s concerns.
The first rung on the SEO ladder here is the Google suggest bar:
These suggestions tell you what people are searching for. For instance, you can pick ‘social media management tools,’ then zoom further into this topic by clicking on it and looking at the Google related results at the bottom of the page.
These can help you dig deeper into the search breadcrumb trail. Let’s pick ‘social media management tools free’ as a content idea since we’ve seen it twice by now.
Now pick up an SEO tool such as SEMrush to learn what the search volume of this keyword is. The search volume tells you how many people are searching for this keyword, helping you decide whether its’ a viable topic.
In the next step, use AnwerThePublic to unearth what people are searching related to social media management tools. You’ll get the entire search history in front of you:
Create content based on these findings.
Party with your audience to learn their lingo
In other words, hang out where your audience is. For instance, if you’re targeting 65-year-olds, your best way to find them is Facebook, but if you are selling to women aged 18-49, then Instagram is your best bet.
Spending time with your audience will give you an idea of the language your audience uses.
These insights will allow you to hone your brand voice accordingly. Subsequently, you can “actually talk to your customers,” as Jay Acunzo advises. Acunzo further highlights,
“Use the language that they use. Talk about the things they talk about. Never feed salad to a lion.”
For instance, PicMonkey uses creative language for its target audience of creatives:
Ask your audience directly to learn what your audience wants to talk about
Another way to get into the heart of your audience is by asking them directly. This doesn’t require a megaphone. Survey forms can do. Create a content form online (here are tools to choose from) and send it to a voluntary group of your loyal customers. Ask them to pop in suggestions of the topics that they’d like you to cover too.
Or, take to social and ask your followers to suggest what content they’d like to read on your blog. Austin T. Byrd, UX designer at Microsoft, did just that as he asked his Twitter followers to share ideas for Microsoft design team’s weekly blog.
Hey friends and frenemies,
My design team at Microsoft is starting up a weekly-ish blog. What are some topics you're interested in reading about?
We put together a Notion page of ideas we'll probably hit on. Speak up if any stand out.https://t.co/49WlaKi9X0
— Austin (@AustinTByrd) July 3, 2019
Listen to what interests your audience on social
You can also get a whiff of your audience’s interests by jumping into Twitter chats. Be mindful that these chats that you join are those in your field. And don’t just join them, actively participate as well.
As you dive deeper into the chat communities, you’ll learn the common friction that impacts your target market’s life. I’ve done this 2-3 times for crafting blog content for my site. For instance, this post on content creation was born from a Twitter chat.
I learned the topic interests readers. The response on this on Twitter further confirmed this observation for me.
And it has one hell of a timeline:
— Masooma | Content Writer (@inkandcopy) July 2, 2019
Start everything from your readers’ perspective
The pointers above will give you a good idea of your audience’s pain points and a content strategy that promises to address and solve their concerns. But before you get down to creating content – think about your audience again.
As you chalk out your outline, think from your reader’s lens – what questions would he have about a topic? How can you possibly solve his concern? Plan answers to your audience’s questions accordingly.
Let’s say you are telling your audience (productivity enthusiast in this example) how to use Trello. In such a content piece, you need to answer every question that a new user can possibly have when setting up and using Trello. This post does a good job of explaining the a-z of using Trello:
So you need to address what Trello is, how it can help with managing projects, how to set up a board on Trello, how to personalize it, how to add cards, deadlines, project descriptions, checklists, and so on.
In short, aim to address all questions that a reader can have in his mind related to the topic you pick. Don’t leave your readers wondering how they can apply the advice that you share. Instead, they should have the answer right away so they can easily take the next steps without having to look further into the topic.
Use simple language
Over 4 million blog posts are published daily, and the ones that stand out are the ones which use simple language.
People are short on time, and they don’t want to add another task of deciphering your content on their plate. They’d rather leave the page then stay. Even if you are in the B2B space, stay away from the industry jargon.
By keeping your content simple, your audience is more likely to feel that you are talking to them.
End with readers’ perspective
Once your draft is ready, do what you did at the start – think about your reader again. View the content you create from a reader’s lens to see if there’s any step missing or any question that has gone unanswered.
Jenna Scaglione of Lady Content, shares,
“write the article first and then go back over it as an objective reader and look for areas where the reader might want more advice. Can you provide a tool or resource where they can get help? Can you provide screenshots of how you have used the tool or resource? Have you provided takeaways or actionable advice our readers can walk away with immediately and apply to their business? The more detail, the better.”
Fill any holes that you note in your content immediately.
The key to writing for your audience is understanding them completely. Analyze their interests, demographics, and pain points. Tune into social listening and trace your readers’ search steps with the help of keyword research.
Not to forget, write in a simple language and in a tone that captures your readers’ interests and the language they use on a daily basis.
In short, remember these three pointers:
- Develop content around your audience’s needs for max ROI from content marketing
- Adopt a tone that resonates with them so that they know that you are talking to them, not at them
- Add references that coax emotion from your readers
Not sure how to execute all this? Connect with me and let’s see if we can work on writing for your audience together.