Are you producing content for your website, blog or social media but not connecting with your audience? Spending hours agonising over your copy, finally defeating the terror that is the blank page / blinking cursor, only to find that your comment box is empty?
There is a way to produce content that:
– resonates with your audience
– gets your content to the top of search engine results
– is easier to write
It starts with getting to know your audience. And I mean really getting to know them.
When you get under their skin and into their lives, you create content that speaks to them, sounds like them, and goes to where they are by appearing on platforms that they are already using.
I have some good and bad news about audience insight. The bad news is that it takes time. It’s not a quick fix that happens overnight. The good news (and bear with me on this) is that there is no one right answer and the process never ends.
Why is that good news?
Because it is ok that your first round of audience insight is guess work, hunches and assumptions, and the fact that it never ends means that all you need to do is start the process. Start the process and then allow what your assumptions to be tested, challenged, added to, and underpinned as you build a relationship with your audience.
It is all about relationships.
You are going to hear this a lot from Lucy and me… effective communication is all about building and maintaining relationships.
“You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise”Patricia Fripp
If you set out to get to know your audience with the intent of really understanding their problems, their lives, their habits, their dreams and fears, then you can create relationships. You sit in the space where their lives, problems, needs and wants meet your product or service.
You create relationships that last beyond the transaction. You become the person that adds value to their lives and they provide you with insight that helps you to grow your business.
Talk about a win-win. And doesn’t that feel a whole lot better than learning just enough about your customer to can find the key word that might get you to the top of a google search? (I say ‘just’ because, not going to lie, that bit is still important – but it’s not the be all and end all.)
So what can you do right now to start the process? Here are five suggestions…
I want you to shift your perspective. To gain insight into your audience you need to think of them not as customers of your product or services, but as people. Fully rounded people with fully rounded lives (work, home, friends, family, dreams, hopes, fears, aspirations, commitments… etc.) They will be influenced by various aspects of their lives when they make a decision about buying your product or service. The more you think of them as people rather than just customers, the more likely you are to get to their heart of their world… and then produce content that speaks to that world.
Use what you already know
Chances are you already have a lot of information you can use to start this process.
Take a look at:
- website traffic (how are people coming to your website? Via a search engine or through social media links?)
- social media (who is following you, who else are they following, what posts do they like and/or comment on, what times of day are they showing up, what are they posting on their own channels)?
- your assumptions (what is your best guess in terms of the lives they are living, their income, their hobbies, interests and aspirations, where do they shop, what TV/films/books/YouTube content do they consume)?
What kind of picture can you start to build with what you already know?
Learn from other aspects of their life
This is what I like to call healthy competitor analysis. I want to you to take your audience profile so far and consider where else your customer shops (not just for products/services like yours, but for their groceries, clothes, cars, holidays, etc.) Then look at the content that those companies use, their language, tone of voice etc. Is there anything that you can take from what they do that will enrich what you currently do?
Find what they are looking for
Google Adwords are a great way to find out what key words and terms your audience are using in relation to products and services like yours. There is real power in speaking to people using their own language, but the first step is to find out what which words they are using.
You don’t actually have to get the point of buying the GoogleAd to see the keywords, by the way, but you do need to create an account.
Generally speaking, we like it when we are asked for our opinion. So ask your followers, audience or customers what they like, what they don’t like, for their opinion on your product, etc. Contrary to popular opinion, this doesn’t highlight the fact that you don’t currently know enough about them, it shows you care (see tip 1).
We’ll be sharing more tips on getting to know your audience here on the blog, so if you’ve any specific questions or areas you would like help with, please comment below.