7 ways to create content that your audience actually wants
The key to success in content marketing is relevance. Your content needs to have a purpose and provide real value in order to earn your audience’s trust and keep them coming back for more. And creating content with a purpose means understanding what your customers really want — what’s important to them, what challenges they face, and what they expect from your product or service.
Getting to know your customers in this manner isn’t hard. It requires some effort, but the insight gained is more than worth it. The following tactics can help you strengthen your relationships with your customers and give you a greater understanding of their priorities and pain points.
Connect in real life
The best way to understand your audience is to personally connect with them. Many companies don’t realize how open customers are to providing feedback. Reaching out to customers to initiate a conversation helps strengthen your relationships and makes them feel like their opinions matter.
As a marketer, you may not have direct access to customers or prospective customers. What can you do to change that? If possible, arrange to meet with trusted customers face to face. Buy them a coffee and have meaningful conversations about their frustrations, the challenges they are facing, and the things they care about. Ask what you can do to improve. Offer online chat, surveys, and other methods that make it easy for your customers to provide feedback. Tag along on sales calls to find out what’s important to your customers and to determine key sales blockers.
Talk to your customer service staff
By the same token, talk to the people who spend the most time interacting with customers — your customer service staff. What are the questions or complaints they hear most frequently? Listen in on some customer service calls, or take some yourself to see what insights you can gain.
Monitor social media
Your audience’s behavior on social media can reveal a lot about them. Use a social listening tool to find out what questions people are asking, what content they are sharing, which influencers they listen to, and what sites they use as sources of information. Monitor topics related to your service on sites like Quora to learn people are asking about, then develop a content marketing strategy to answer those questions.
Look at negative reviews
No one wants negative reviews, but you can use them to your advantage to find out what customers expect from your services in particular or your industry in general. Many customer complaints stem from a misunderstanding about the nature or the capabilities of a product or service. If customers are making assumptions about what results are possible or what a product can achieve, use these insights to create educational content. And don’t just read your own reviews — look at your competitors’ reviews as well.
Dig deeper with your data
What can you learn from your metrics? Don’t just glance at your email open rates or CTA click rates. See if you can determine why a particular email or call-to-action performed the way it did. Split test different elements on your website to see what your audience responds to. Watch your negative metrics, too — a jump in unsubscribes could mean that you’re missing the mark.
Understand your customer’s buying journey
Do you know how long it takes a lead in your industry to become a customer, and what hurdles they have to overcome along the way? What stakeholders do they need to get buy-in from? Give your audience the materials they need to address their functional, rational, and emotional needs at each stage of their journey in order to move them closer to a buying decision.
Be your own customer
Go through the actual process of buying your product or using your services to see what the experience is like from the other side. You may be surprised by the pain points that emerge when you’re the one needing to make a decision.