Creating content for your business is an essential part of simply being in business, but how do you know what content to create…and what platform to publish it on? Your own goals are a part of the formula but an even bigger part (and one you can leverage if you’re struggling with ideas) is by talking to your audience.
Yes, that’s right; your audience is the most important factor to consider when you’re planning your content.
But there’s an art to gathering the right information from the right people.
This week on the podcast, I’m sharing more about why understanding your audience is so crucial, what matters most when surveying your audience, and how to gather information from your audience outside a formal survey or Q&A.
And don’t forget to get access to the free Ask Your Audience challenge below!
Mentioned in This Episode Podcast
- Ask Your Audience challenge
- Your 90 Day Content Plan
- They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan
- Schedule a call with me
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Follow me on Instagram
Welcome to The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for service-driven business owners who are ready for some real talk when it comes to marketing.
There’s so much buzz out there about marketing and content strategy, from people who aren’t actually doing the work themselves. And there’s us…the true small business owner who is simply trying to make an impact in their own small circle of influence.
I’m Abby Herman, fractional marketing officer, content strategist and podcast manager for business owners who want to make their marketing feel easier and more streamlined so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. Here we talk about REAL marketing strategies for those who are in the weeds and doing the work, not outsourcing it to big teams. You’ll hear from real business owners just like you who are marketing on a budget, looking for easy-to-implement strategies, and want some guidance from people who are accessible and real.
Thanks so much for being here!
Our last few episodes have been around content strategy, developing content ideas, creating a content plan, and different types of content. But none of that even matters if you’re not creating content with your audience in mind.
Your content is for your audience. Yes, you want it to work for your business and help you sell your products and services. But it can’t do that if you don’t create what your audience wants. You have to create content that resonates with your audience.
How do you know what that content is? If you’ve listened to the last few episodes, you already know: You talk to your audience to find out.
I do have a free five-part challenge to help you build an audience survey, complete with templates you can copy and make your own. You can get access to it at thecontentexperiment.com/shop. But I’m going to walk through some of it here too.
The concept of Ask Your Audience came from a book I read years ago, They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. I highly recommend it as the book really changed my perspective on what we can share in our content.
The idea is THEY ask (meaning your audience asks) and YOU answer (you provide the answers to their questions) in your content.
Sometimes those questions and answers feel really straightforward. Other times, you might wonder whether an idea is really in your best interest. Like when you call out the way a competitor does business. But honestly, there’s so much space in this online world that yes, there IS room for everyone. And what you do and the way you do it isn’t for everyone. So it’s okay if you don’t land every single client.
Back when I first went full time in my business, more than a decade ago, everyone was talking about the ideal client avatar. We went through a whole process of mapping out their demographics, psychographics, behavior, preferences, and needs. And while yes, SOME of this information can be helpful, it’s not really helpful to map out and name a fictional person as your ideal client. Because they’re not real.
And do we really care what their job is, what kind of car they drive, how many pets or children they drive, where they live, and so on? Maybe for some businesses who are selling to pet owners or luxury car drivers. But for most of us online B2Bs, it doesn’t matter.
But there ARE things that DO matter.
Why Understanding Your Audience is Crucial
- Relevance: Knowing your audience ensures the content you create is relevant to their needs, and pain points. Content that feels relevant to someone is more likely to engage and retain their attention.
- Engagement and Loyalty: When your content speaks directly to your audience’s interests and needs, it creates deeper engagement and loyalty. This connection is key for building long-term relationships with your audience.
- Conversion Optimization: Understanding your audience’s behaviors and preferences allows you to tailor your content to guide them through the customer journey more effectively, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.
- Brand Trust and Authority: By consistently addressing the specific concerns and questions of your audience, you can establish your brand as a trusted authority in your field.
How do you go about analyzing your audience so you can create content for them?
Honestly, I think it’s a lot easier than some people would have you believe. I don’t think you need to go through long ideal client avatar analyses. Especially if you’ve worked with a few clients already. You know who you like to work with: what industries fit your skillset and what types of work you want to do.
Now you just need to figure out how to reach those exact people.
For me, this is where the Ask Your Audience system comes into play.
Like I said before, I have a free challenge that walks you through the process of surveying your audience, complete with survey templates, that you can get at thecontentexperiment.com/ask. I’ll quickly walk you through some of the most important pieces here.
- Define Clear Objectives: Before doing your survey, be clear about what you want to learn from your audience. If you’re surveying them to help gather content ideas, learning more about their pain points and content consumption habits is an important objective.
- Know Who to Survey: When trying to find out specific information from audience members, it’s important to only survey the right people. Don’t survey your entire email list, and don’t post a random question on social media like, “what do you want to know more about.” You don’t know that the people who responded to your survey are actually your ideal clients. So hand-pick them from people who you’ve already worked with or who you would love to work with. (But don’t survey anyone who you don’t already have a connection with.)
- Ask the Right Questions: When designing surveys, ask specific, straightforward questions that are easy to understand and answer. Don’t make the survey too long.
- Offer an Incentive: I love to include a drawing a week after sending the survey out and giving away a $50 gift card to one of the people who took the time to fill it out. People are much more likely to respond if there’s an incentive.
- Survey Regularly: Audience preferences and behaviors can change over time, so regularly survey your audience – maybe twice a year – to keep your content strategy relevant.
- Act on the Insights: Use the insights gained from your survey to inform your content strategy – from the types of content you produce to the channels you use for distribution.
Strategies for Continuous Audience Understanding
Monitoring Social Media Conversations:
- Engage in your social media and the social media accounts that your audience members follow.
- Use social listening tools to track what your audience is discussing, questioning, or complaining about on social media.
Analyzing Engagement and Interaction Data:
- Regularly review analytics from your website, social media platforms, and email campaigns to understand what content resonates with your audience.
- Track changes in engagement patterns, like increases or decreases in shares, comments, or time spent on content.
Staying Informed on Industry Trends:
- Keep up with industry news, reports, and publications to understand broader trends that might affect audience interests and behaviors.
- Observe how your competitors’ content is being received by similar audiences. This can provide additional insights into audience preferences.
Of course, through all of this, be sure to keep track of the content ideas, pain points, and needs of your audience. You should have an ongoing spreadsheet of content ideas that you add to often to help you guide your content strategy and content plan.
And if you’re ready to start building your 90 Day Content Plan, you can get a private mini podcast with an accompanying workbook, at a tiny offer price, at thecontentexperiment.com/shop. It’s ready for you right now!
If you found value in what you learned here today, I would be so honored if you would leave a rating and review. And don’t be shy about sharing the episode with someone who might need it. The more you share this podcast with others, the more we can get it into the earbuds of more business owners, just like you, who are looking for easy-to-implement strategies, and want some guidance from people who are accessible and real. That’s what you’ll find here. Thanks for being here.