Knowing your audience is important for any writer or marketer. Without taking the time to understand your audience, all your hard work and effort will be wasted. You may have a vast audience base in mind to target, but how do you target each and every one of them?
Before you start any blogging or marketing campaign, it will help you to know that any member of any audience wants to feel like they are understood on a level more personal than you trying to sell them something. So, you’ll first need to take a step back and really assess your audience to connect with them and make their interests and concerns part of yours.
Below, we’ll look at defining your ideal audience so can better aim your efforts toward a successful marketing and content campaign.
Define Your Audience
How would you feel if you were told to give a speech to an audience you knew nothing about? There is a high chance you would not captivate that audience. The likelihood of you really connecting with that audience would be significantly impacted if you did some research on them first.
Wouldn’t you like to know that your blog post is going to engage certain members of your audience? Imagine if you could put out consistent content that will connect with your readers on a personal level. Social listening can elevate your content strategies and is a great way to determine many things about your audience.
People go to social media to share their many opinions and values. This information is extremely valuable to you as a blogger or marketer who is trying to define your audience. Using a bit of social listening, i.e taking the time to listen and see what people are saying about you and your blog/brand on various social media platforms will help you better grasp the needs and wants of your followers.
Every tweet, mention, like, and comment that is about you or your brand can essentially be taken as a review. These social media tidbits are great indicators about how your brand or blog is doing, where it should be going, and what exactly it is that your audience expects from you. Social listening is a great way to gain a better perspective of your audience. Social listening and social media monitoring (more about this later,) will allow you to do most of the steps below.
Influencers and Competitors
If you look closely at who’s talking about you on social media, you might find that one, or a handful, of your followers are being retweeted and shared more than the others. These followers are your audience’s influencers — the people that most of your audience members respect and whose opinion they value. If you can connect to an audience’s influencers, your reach will expand to the many people they have sway over.
A little social media analysis of your competitor can reveal some things about your audience as well. You can see what competitor content is being well received by their audience and try to create something similar — or if a piece did not go over well, you can avoid making the error yourself. Competitor research doesn’t necessarily have to be conducted on your bitter rival; just doing some research on the followers of blogs or brands in your same niche will shed some light about how members of an audience in your niche think, act, and what they generally prefer.
All the information above is great knowledge to have, but you might have a tough time if you try to sit down and craft content without the segmentation of your audience. A segmentation of your audience can help you gear certain specific content or marketing efforts that will engage members of your audience on many personal levels.
You can segment qualities of your audience into different personas — fiction people to whom you’ll be writing your content or directing your marketing efforts. Writing with a specific person in mind who possesses qualities that are similar to the qualities of your audience will increase the success of your marketing and content strategies. So, what qualities should you look for when segmenting your audience? Here’s some great segmentation qualities by GetMerit:
Targeting Your Audience
Coming at your audience with content that is especially crafted for them will create a personal bond between you and the reader. It may seem like a smart idea to deploy blanket content marketing strategies, however, you’ll miss much of your audience. The University of Southern California quotes Nido Quebin to sum up targeting your audience, “No company can satisfy everyone, and any that tries is likely to satisfy no one.”
Now that you’ve got a comprehensive understanding of the specifics of your audience, you can begin to create content that is going to successfully land with your audience. Without social listening and segmentation, you are creating content is basically the equivalent of throwing a dart at a dartboard while blindfolded. With the information above, you can now pinpoint the specific elements for a better success rate of your content and marketing.
For example, if a significant portion of your audience consists of males attending college, ranging in age from 18 to 32, you’ll now know that a blog post about senior care is not going to be well received. A more engaging blog post might provide information about how to minimize student loan debt, or best schools to attend for your money. Defining your audience through social listening and segmentation will take your writing and marketing from very general and targeting no one, to focused on the audience you want to target.
One thing to keep in mind when creating content for your audience is the medium you choose to present your content. An elderly audience may enjoy the traditional text of a blog post, but a younger one is showing to engage with video content — or a combination of the two. If you’ve done your social listening correctly, you’ll know what medium to use to better target your audience.
Social listening also involves conversing with your audience for a variety of reasons — it shows that you are interested in their concerns and interests and you can get to the bottom of these questions quicker when speaking to your audience. These factors are especially useful for a marketer trying to make the sale.
Conversational commerce embodies the idea that in order to connect with your audience or customers, you must establish a personal relationship — or the closest thing to one. Ohio University can best explain the benefits of conversational commerce when they say that:
By providing direct access to an online representative, the business empowers the prospect or customer to do all of the following:
- Get immediate product support
- Receive personalized recommendations
- Read reviews relevant to their purchase
- Ask questions about the brand or product
- Conclude a purchase in the chat interface
Knowing your audience will aid and assist all of the above advantages of conversational commerce, prompting customers to make a purchase they will feel good about because all of their inquiries have been met. The conversation commerce of today is very effective and mostly conducted by humans, but is slowly being integrated into an automated concept with the advancements of analytics and chatbots. You aren’t a machine, but you can still use basic analytics to better target your ideal audience.
All of the information above is great, but if you don’t know how to quantify the segmentation of your audience, how and when people are talking about you on social media, and what content is successful or not, you’ll find yourself at a standstill. Google Analytics is a great way to put all of this information into a format to let you know how to charge forward with content and marketing efforts, and give you an understanding of how you are doing in general.
Social Media Monitoring
Social media monitoring often gets mixed up with social listening. However, social media monitoring is a little different. Social listening is actively paying attention to what your followers say on social media. Social media monitoring is taking it a step further to put all of this information into data that can be be assessed for a very accurate view of social listening.
Google analytics can provide you with a daily view of how many people visit your blog, new visitors, what pages were viewed, and how long those pages were viewed for. If they were viewed only for a very short time (bounce rate) it may mean that it was an accidental click, or that they didn’t like the content.
Other metrics can be viewed such as tweets, mentions, likes, and other social media chatter to make assessments on your content. Here, we see that December 10th was high in visits, in the instance of a blog, you could take this information to come to the conclusion that your post for that day was successful with your audience. Additionally, if you were to look at your like, share, and mention metrics and they were also high, you could chalk that piece of content up as a win and look to recreate it in the future.
Google Analytics can range from beginner to very advanced. However, it is a very powerful tool to master if you would like to gain an all encompassing view of your audience. Your content and marketing methods will better engage your audience. Furthermore, you will be able to understand where you are lacking to improve your content and marketing strategies. Google Analytics is a way for you to monitor and keep your efforts successful.
Understanding your audience is essential to any blogger and/or marketer. The information above will not only help you to understand your audience, but to consistently create content that is relevant and will connect with them on a personal level. Your audience deserves great, engaging content and now you will be able to captivate them while maybe even bringing in new new members.