Growing your audience is important for growing any business. But what exactly does that mean? Does growth simply mean the number of people exposed to your business, or the number of people engaged with your business?
Content marketing done the right way – catering to a specific audience – is like an attraction model. The more relevant you are to a well-defined set of people, the more you will attract those that have the same beliefs.
It’s important to not only reach new audiences, but to also make sure those audiences are noticing you. Content marketing can help with that. In fact, one of its many definitions is the process of delivering content your audience is seeking in all the places they are searching for it. So, a documented content strategy built solely around your audience and their pain points is the perfect way to accomplish this goal.
Here’s the trick: don’t build your content marketing strategy around your company. Don’t build it around SEO, online advertising or marketing automation. Don’t even build it around your channels (like your website, social media networks, blog, etc.) Build it around your audience. Base your entire content strategy off who it’s for, and it will grow your business.
Introducing a Growth and Audience Development Framework
An effective documented content strategy starts with the audience and continually revisits it throughout the process. Every step – from initial research to persona development to content mapping and distribution – should go back to this question: who is our audience, where are they online and why would they care?
Company-Centric Marketing: Step 1
To do: Outline your company differentiators and value propositions.
Question to ask: why would someone choose us?
Audience-Centric Content Marketing: Step 1
To do: Outline your ideal target audience and their motivations.
Question to ask: What emotional triggers affect customers who are considering buying our product or service?
Notice the difference? Let’s move on.
Company-Centric Marketing: Step 2
To do: Examine your website and conduct a content audit/gap analysis.
Question to ask: what’s missing on our site?
Audience-Centric Content Marketing: Step 2
To do: Conduct market research by examining online conversations happening on social media, blogs, traditional media (news outlets) and forums.
Question to ask: what is our audience saying about us online?
These two examples show a huge difference between content marketing focused on a company and content marketing focused on an audience.
Whether you’re in the research and discovery phase, the strategy and planning phase, or the implementation, promotion and measurement phase, it should all begin and end with your audience.
Businesses in all industries need to think (and act) like media companies. That means growing a targeted audience and delivering content that’s useful, informative and solves problems. Content that aligns with the buyer’s journey and guides the audience through, one step at a time. Content that compels people to share, engage and absorb.
“Remember that the goal with content is to ‘move’ the customer in some way,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, in Epic Content Marketing. “We marketers need to positively affect them, engage them, and do whatever we must to help stay involved in their lives and their conversations.”
There’s a lot of noise online, but somehow you have to stand out from the crowd. You have to push your way through the clutter and into the hearts of your audience. You have to be more compelling, more relevant and more engaging than your audience’s closest friends and family (who are, after all, your competition on social media.) And you can’t do all of that by talking about yourself.
So that brings us back to this question: What makes your business grow? No, not money. Not websites. Not showing up first on Google.
People. Grow your audience and you grow your business.
For more information about Fathom’s approach to content marketing, contact us today.