In the information age, consumers do up to 75% of their research before making contact with a business. They identify providers, compare features and prices, check out websites and social media accounts to get an impression of the companies, read user and expert reviews, and so on.
Populating your business website with helpful, high-quality content serves many purposes. Just a few include bringing targeted traffic to your site from people researching a purchase, making a good impression by freely sharing some of your expertise, and cultivating the trust of these leads.
But for content marketing to pull all this off successfully, you have to know who you’re talking to and what they’re looking for. As with any branding or marketing effort, a smart content marketing strategy is built on a solid understanding of your target audience, but even more so on useful insights into its buyer persona.
Being Relevant to the Buyer Persona
Effective content marketing boils down to one principle: you need to know what your buyer persona needs and wants to know.
The core of your library of content has to be based on a firm grasp of what problems they face that you can solve; the obstacles that prevent them from solving these problems; what they value most in a solution; which words, emotions, and benefits compel them; and even how you can best reach them and integrate smoothly into their typical day.
But as with any strong relationship, content marketing isn’t just about meeting the buyer persona’s basic needs. It’s also about giving them what they want.
The more you flesh out a detailed buyer persona, the more detailed a picture you get of what else your target market likes, dislikes, and seeks out. A serious content marketing push expands into topics tangentially related to—but not necessarily directly part of—your business.
By covering other subjects your target market is interested in, by delivering supplemental information, entertainment, inspiration, or other value, you create deeper appeal, foster greater customer loyalty, increase social media sharing and engagement, and build your brand into something bigger and better.
What Works and What Doesn’t
Of course, if you want to see an ROI, content marketing calls for more than just publishing relevant, useful, high-quality content and forgetting about it. Results have to be tracked and analyzed, and strategies have to be tweaked based on those findings.
By monitoring traffic patterns and bounce rates (what percent of visitors quickly leave after landing on a page) on your content, you get an increasingly accurate idea of what your audience does and doesn’t care about, what content styles and subjects they prefer, and most importantly, what specifically they want to see more and less of.
This is further aided by a coordinated social media marketing strategy. If you share content via your social media accounts, you get lots of additional analytics to help you. By examining which content gets the most click-throughs, likes, shares, comments (and of course what the comments say), and other engagement, you get an even better picture of what your buyer persona does and doesn’t respond to.
Applying Buyer Persona Insights
Obviously, this all provides guidance for refining your content marketing strategy. But it does so much more. If you’re paying attention, you learn a great deal about the motivations and taste of your target market.
The implications and applications are incredible. The new, increasingly detailed insights you gain into your existing and potential customers bring to light ways to modify all your branding and marketing efforts.
You can adapt your social media and email marketing strategies, hone your advertising design and placement, alter your website for improved user experience and more successful calls to action, and even change aspects of your operations and make improvements to your products or services that boost customer retention, word of mouth, lead generation, and sales.
Ultimately, a well-thought-out content marketing strategy isn’t just about sharing some blog posts or articles. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but it provides invaluable glimpses into your target market that drive your brand to new levels of success.