Effective content is to your site what great body language, dress and effective speech is to your personal communication. Effective content first makes people believe and then helps convert them into ambassadors on your behalf. Follow these steps to create an effective audience-building strategy.
Obtain A Clear Understanding Of Your Audience
Who is your audience and what exactly do you want them to do? Know as much as you can about your audience; their needs, who they are, how they spend their day, what inspires them, what are their pain points, and what will they look for in your content. The focus is not on why your audience needs your products and services. Rather, the focus is on why they need to care about you at all.
Understand Your Audience’s Persona
Use your knowledge of your audience to build an audience persona. Your content audience is not the same as your product audience. What kind of content are they likely to engage with? What causes do they care about? What kind of information will grab their attention and make them care?
Define Your Content Marketing Mission
Include the core audience target, the content you plan to deliver, and the audience outcome you desire into your mission. You should come out with a content strategy mission statement that reads like this:
Target Audience: Fashion designers looking to partner with international design houses to showcase their talents at a global level.
Planned delivery: Insights, fashion resources, design inspiration, useful information, advice, fashion show videos.
Audience outcome: Expanding network, growing reputation and creating better designs.
Your mission should help you position yourself as an industry trusted expert. It should help to move your content strategy forward, and create a framework for your content creation process.
Make Your Mission Available To Your Audience
Put up your content marketing mission on your blog, social media updates and even in your email newsletters. It’s an audience-based mission, so your audience should be able to find it easily. Your audience should be able to relate to it and appreciate your interest in helping to improve their interests, business and opportunities.
Create Awareness Among Your Team Members
Hand over the mission statement to everyone on your content and marketing teams. Print it and paste it on the wall in every team room. Let your freelancers have a copy as well. Everyone in your company should be aware of your overall content mission, so that their content efforts are in synch.
Run All Content Against Your Mission Statement
Whenever your team creates new content, they must run it against your mission statement. This will help you to set aside content ideas that won’t benefit your core audience. Companies that don’t have firm content marketing goals, well-defined audiences and consideration for audience’s pain points don’t succeed in obtaining and retaining audience sympathy.
Convey Strong, Simple Ideas
For example, use one core idea to create a single piece of strong content. Focus strongly on that core idea and arrange your content beautifully to create the complete picture. Don’t be vague or ambiguous in your statements – you will only cause confusion. Avoid using multiple keywords or subject matter in one piece – break it up to provide more clarity.
Apply More Focus On Headlines
Your headlines are read by 5 times more people than your copy. So try to get 80% of your content value into your headline. Ask yourself the following questions:
Is the headline relevant to the reader?
Will it prompt the reader to read the content?
Is it negative, or cheerful? Does it make the audience curious enough to engage?
Avoid using acronyms, nicknames and short forms of words in your headlines. Keep the headline reasonably short – long lines are distracting to readers.
Use A Style Guide
Your content must be formatted properly. Keep everything short – words, sentences and paragraphs. Elaborate one idea per paragraph, and break up the eyeflow using images and lists. Don’t use the ‘Bold’ effect for sub-headers – just a different font size will do. Use infographics to grab more eyeballs.
Most readers just scan copy, so using imagery is critical to grabbing user attention. Imagery such as pictures, video and applications add additional dimensions to your content as well. Take your own pics instead of using stock photos. There are several apps that help you improve content and make it more engaging. Apps such as Infogr.am, Quipol.com, Poll Daddy and Visual.ly are popular in this area.
Play It Safe and Build Confidence Slowly
70% of your content should be low risk,while 20% should be innovative, and 10% should comprise of high risk ideas that will become your future core content. Start with safe content and add a bit of risky stuff now and then to test your audience. This method will attract other audiences to your content as well.