Forget everything you learned about content marketing. Your ability to identify and reach your target audience is the first step to create content that slaps in all the right places.
No, I didn’t mince words.
But it’s unfortunate. Because unlike you, a lot of content creators are not even aware there’s such a thing as identifying your target audience. Yet, there is.
And for many years, it’s been helping some content writers and creators to generate better results for their effort.
Like most content creators, when I started out writing my blog at some point, I was more concerned about creating content. Getting things published on my blog, just for the traffic.
Instead of missing a day in my publishing calendar, I’d rather write just about any kind of content, regardless of who will read it or who will not.
And I suffered for it. Badly. In fact, for some years I couldn’t get any returns on investment with my content. It was more like a waste of time.
But along the line, something changed. As I gained more experienced with content marketing, I began to realize that sometimes getting your outcomes achieved with a limited audience is far better than achieving nothing with a large audience.
But even at that, I also reckoned that no matter how hard you work, you can barely achieve anything if you’re yet to identify and target the right audience with your content.
This realization changed a lot about my content marketing approach. And in no time, I was able to sort out my audience, create content that drive actual sales and collaborate with top brands in my industry.
And today, the exact steps I used are part of what I will be sharing with you in the following paragraphs…
Consider your Marketing Goals
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So, what do you want to achieve with your content marketing? This is one of the first questions you have to answer in your bid to clearly identify your target audience.
Usually, content creators have different reasons for trying to find their target audience. For some it could involve reasons like trying to create more rewarding outcomes with their content, trying to run a better targeted campaign and for others, it could simply be an attempt to overhaul an existing target audience.
Regardless of your reasons, you have to figure out exactly what it is you want to achieve with your content marketing effort going forward. After that, you can then think about ways to choose a suitable audience that can help you achieve that goal.
Let’s take for instance, if your content marketing goal over a particular period of time is “to drive more sales using your website“, then your primary choice of a target audience should revolve around people that can actually get you to achieve this goal.
So, whether you’re a content writer, business owner or artiste, your first step to finding a target audience is to identify your marketing goals within the set period of time and then go ahead to build your audience, based on those goals.
Analyze your Ideal Audience
Like I already mentioned in step one above, as a content creator, you’re out to achieve a specific goal with your content. But to achieve this goal, you’ll have to identify your target audience, clearly.
So, after identifying your goal, instead of going for just about any audience, target the kind of audience that will easily be converted, after they come in contact with your content.
Now, let’s assume that after reading step one above, you’ve been able to figure out the exact marketing outcomes you want to achieve with your content…
In that case, your next step is to find out this audience whose contact with your content will help you to achieve your desired result.
With the above in mind, you can then go ahead to ask yourself the question; Who is this person that can help me to achieve the thing I’ve spelled out in step one, after they come in contact with my content?
To get this right, you’ll conduct a mini market research to find out some helpful data about your existing audience and your preferred targeting audience so you can understand them better.
If you’re running a paid campaign, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc. can give you insights on user data that will guide you in adjusting your targeting with specific details such as;
Where you’re running a social media campaign, with the data you realize from this research, you’ll be able to segment your target audience into demographics that will easily match your closest set goals.
After that, you can go ahead with identifying and targeting the ones that’ll be specifically useful to you during your campaign.
Where you’re targeting organic traffic from web search, you can start with researching your competition and other successful businesses who are already achieving your set goals, with their websites.
Using tools like Google Keyword Planner tool, Similarweb, Alexa site info tool, find out data on the audience for those competing businesses, including their audience demographics and other important details.
The data generated from these tools will give you some more insights into your target audience and how to go about getting them over to your website.
Locate your Target Audience
At this point, the next step to identify your target audience is to locate where they are.
The reason you need to know this is so you can take your content to them, right where they are.
To make this quite easy, we’ll divide our audience into two sections, based on targeted content platforms viz: social media and websites for a better result.
- Social Media
If you’re creating content for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc., the easiest way to locate your target audience is to look through sub groups and forums on these platforms.
For example, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn specifically have niche group functionalities with a good number of highly targeted audiences based on specific niche areas.
For a start, search for a group with your targeted niche key word or hash tag.
After that, work on making yourself a member of the groups most related to your area of interest. Sign up for the particular group, acquaint yourself with their content styles and then create engaging content just as it’ll be suitable for them.
Over time, begin to build a natural following from these groups, using strategic content marketing, storytelling and other content marketing strategies and then get them over to your website.
To make things more effective, repeat the process and join a handful of other related sub groups and forums.
- Website and Blogs
For websites and blogs, you start your research to locate your target audience, right on blogs and websites offering similar content like yours.
So, if you’re creating content about African food for example, your research will be about websites creating content about African food.
Find out, how do they create their content and where do they get their audience? The tools I mentioned in step two above will be very helpful for your research at this point.
Specifically, Alexa, Wordstream, Semrush etc. will give you insights on a website’s audience, demographics, and popular keywords etc.
Find Ways to Reach Them
Of course by now, you have been able to identify your target audience so it’s time to find out about how you can reach them.
Now, there are several ways to reach your target audience and get them over to your website. And one of the most popular ways to do this is using content marketing.
So, going forward; your major concern right now is to decide on ways to get your target audience over to your website by the use of content marketing. And the following are the strategies you can use:
- Create Content that Matters: Since we have decided that the best way to find your target audience is to use content, to create a better result, you want to create the kind of content that matters to them. Find ways to create content around their needs in better ways than others are doing it.
- Post where they are: Do not limit your content to your website alone, take it over to your audience, right where they are. This could be the social media sub groups and forums you identified earlier or the other competing websites. Your primary goal is to get off your website right to where they are, so you can get them over to your website.
- Promote to reach them: To get an even more expanded reach, you can deploy paid advertising as a way to get a better reach. This can involve Social Media Advertising, Search Engine Advertising or Advertising on top websites.
Doing this will increase visibility for your content as well as get it over to a more targeted and warm audience.
Optimize for Visibility & Conversion
To really identify your target audience and attract them to your website, one of the most important strategy that cannot be ignored is optimizing your content for search visibility and conversion.
This is very important because regardless of the quality of your content, without search optimization, there’s no way you can get that content to reach the right audience.
There are two things you want to consider while optimizing for search visibility viz, search engine optimization and on site optimization. I’ll explain these two briefly…
- Search Engine Optimization: This involves the use of key words and other search engine marketing strategies to optimize a post for optimum visibility to the targeted audience. Search engine optimization will require you to understand the key words that matters to your target audience and other marketing strategies, as well as how you can strategically use them in your content, to enhance its visibility.
- On site Optimization: In this context, on site optimization involves the use of powerful words, hooks, persuasive adjectives, strategic call to action buttons, compelling offers and other marketing strategies to create irresistible content that will drive your audience to take actions as expected of them.
Both SEO and On site optimization will get your website ready for the visibility it deserves. Learn more about search engine optimization here.
Use Paid Promotions
Another important and even faster strategy to identify your target audience is to use paid Promotions.
There are a handful of paid promotional strategies you can use out there which can include; Social media advertising, Pay per click or search engine advertising, Banner advertising etc.
Depending on your potential target audience, either of these paid advertising strategies can work for you. However, you can also try to use more than one of these strategies and then figure out what works best so you can focus on that.
The good thing about paid promotion is that gives you better analytic insights that can aid you in targeting your audience accordingly.
Although paid promotions can be quite expensive, it comes with an even faster delivery of results, compared to organic promotions. It also delivers faster returns on investment, compared to other marketing strategies.
As you can see, identifying your target audience is very critical to your content marketing effort, especially if you really want to create a content marketing strategy that will deliver a successful outcome.
So, instead of working on creating content without identifying a specific target audience, you need to clearly figure out your target audience before creating your content strategy.
Doing this will help you to create the best content for the right audience while driving your ROI.
So, there you have all the important steps you need to take, in order to create the right target audience for your content.
Want to learn more? Join the Smart Content College and learn the bolts and nuts of content marketing that drives results, including getting all the mentorship you’ll need, to create outstanding content.
So, now it’s your turn! What’s the biggest step you ever took towards identifying your audience? Let’s hear you!