Remember the last time you met someone who would only talk about things that didn’t interest you? While you tried to be polite and concentrate on what they said, did they really hold your attention? How long were you able to listen to them before you “heard someone calling your name”? Probably not for any meaningful amount of time. The same is true of content. If you don't engage your audience, they are going to stop listening.
Most people think of writing as a purely creative process. But, great content is only created through understanding real data about your audience. It shouldn't be surprising then that buyer personas make content 2-5 times more effective when compared to companies that don’t use them.
How can you captivate your audience before they tune you out?
First, you need to get your hands dirty and dig into your customer research. As you look through your customer data, ask questions like: Why do my customers buy from me? What results were they looking for that led them to my company? Can I create content that will help them get closer to these goals?
Questions like these will help you determine what your target audience wants to read and how you can provide real value. When you provide real value to your readers, you'll build trust with them, and they'll start to view you as the expert.
Use a voice that’s clear, consistent, and resonates with your audience
After you’ve done the work to understand your audience, it’s time to decide how you will communicate with them. The right voice can be just as important as telling the right story. For example, if you're talking to a group of tech-savvy software developers, you can’t communicate with them the same way you would with software engineering students. These guys know their stuff. If you try to communicate with them as a teacher instead of a peer, you may lose your audience.
Apart from resonating with your audience, your voice needs to be clear and consistent. What does this mean? Readers should be able to distinguish your brand from how you communicate easily. This is a result of using language, grammar, and images that fit your voice. It gives your brand a personality and helps you avoid cookie-cutter writing your readers can find elsewhere.
Consistency is important because it’s how people get to know and like your brand. Building brand loyalty is like developing a friendship. Friendship doesn’t happen overnight but over multiple interactions. Regular communication about things that you have in common, your values, and interesting topics only attract you more to that person. And that’s very important because you’ll only invest your time with someone you genuinely get along with.
As you continue to communicate, your friendship grows, and so does your trust and the value you place on their opinions. You’re more likely to listen to their opinion than that of some stranger. Therein lies the power of communication — it helps you build trust and communicate in a way that contributes to your marketing’s success.
Is it enough for your audience to trust you? Or do they need more?
Tell your readers something valuable — it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking
Often we hold back from creating content because we feel like everything we say has to be groundbreaking. That's not true. Content doesn’t have to shake the world; it just has to be valuable.
Imagine your reader is working on a home improvement project. If you need a saw, couldn’t you benefit from a 2019/2020 article on the best saws under $100? Or maybe you’re looking for articles on completing small home projects that include tools needed for the job. These examples aren’t groundbreaking, but for the home handyman, they are super valuable.
The key may not even be creating new content, but instead thinking about using what you already have in different ways. If you’ve already invested in a significant content library, how are you using those articles today? Are they just sitting on your blog as a static piece of content?
The same blog post that helps a reader build a new shelf for their garage can be used for an email newsletter, as a downloadable guide, or even as a customer service tool. When you treat your content as dynamic instead of static, the value of your content investment skyrockets. This will help you justify new, exciting content initiatives and engage your audience like never before.
The worst thing you can do is stand still
You may worry that you don't have enough research to communicate with your audience in the right way or that you don't have the resources to do it consistently. Don't let that stop you.
Set reasonable goals that help you get in the practice of creating valuable content for your business and then use those resources like crazy. You might set the goal to write one article per month that you could post on your blog, email to customers, and promote on social media. Starting small will help you build momentum for your marketing program.
Start captivating your audience by working to understand their needs, creating a brand voice they love, and sharing valuable insights consistently. You may not have the in-house capabilities to be the next HubSpot, but if you give readers what they want, you’ll engage your audience and bolster all your marketing efforts.