Audience Profiles: Why They Matter And How They Elevate Your Content Marketing Efforts
If you’ve been reading our content marketing blogs regularly, you probably have a pretty good idea of why you need a content marketing strategy and how to get started. But a strategy and great content are only part of the solution. For content to deliver the results you desire, it has to resonate with your audience.
Just like a print ad or sale offer has to be matched to the right buyer for a sale to actually happen, content has to be matched to the right audience (i.e. your “buyer”) to be successful. That means getting the content in front of the right buyer at the right time.
The single most effective way to make this happen is to develop an audience profile.
How An Audience Profile Supports Content Creation
Audience profiles help businesses better understand their customers – their needs, their wants, their buying habits, and their location in the buyer’s journey. Knowing this information allows organizations to create extremely targeted content that resonates with their audience at different points in the buyer’s journey – from basic awareness of your company to the end result of making a purchase.
In other words, when you know who you’re writing for, it’s much easier to create content that resonates with them and either pushes them along on their buyer’s journey or convinces them to make a buying decision.
Developing An Audience Profile
To create an audience profile, you need to develop detailed profiles of your buyers. You’ll likely develop several profiles or buyer “personas”. This can be done using a combination of demographic and behavioral data that you likely already have access to. The end goal is to develop a picture of your audience, at all its’ various points in the buyer’s journey, that shows:
- Who your buyers are,
- What your buyers’ pain points are,
- What they care about,
- And most importantly where they are in the buying process.
Once you have this information you can tailor your content to reach certain audience members at specific points in their decision-making process.
Developing an audience profile requires a lot of information gathering. Start with the basics that you already have on hand, which may be purchase histories, web analytics, and sales lead lists. This will give you a broad overview of what kinds of buyers you’re attracting and what of your offerings they are most interested in.
To develop more detailed profiles consider:
- Interviewing your existing customers;
- Talking to your front line people who interact with customers regularly;
- Mining the comments on your social media pages;
- Studying your competitors’ case studies, articles, or blog posts about their customers;
- Gaining insights from colleagues in your professional networks.
From this information, you should be able to collect valuable demographic and behavioral data. Such as the typical buyers’ needs, pain points, motivations, and understanding or awareness of your products and services.
Then, it’s just a matter of using that information in your content marketing to address your audience’s needs, interests, and concerns to pique their interest, gain their trust, and, ultimately, encourage them to become a customer.
Don’t Ever Stop Developing Audience Profiles
One more thing: don’t ever stop developing audience profiles. Over time, you can build on the data you’ve already collected. When you become really good at developing audience profiles it’s possible to create highly detailed buyers’ personas that may be as specific as job title and function, company size and budget, industry, and even the specific persona’s role in the buying process.
If you’re just getting started, though, it’s enough to develop a few broad profiles such as buyers who are in the awareness phase vs. actively researching solutions vs. ready to commit and make a purchase. Ask yourself what kind of information buyers at each of these phases need, then provide it.