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Just about every writer has experienced it.
That nerve-wracking moment when you share a blog post, crossing your fingers in the hopes that it’ll help drive traffic to your website.
You wait and wait, and your blog post doesn’t get one single comment. No shares on social media either.
You dig a little deeper, look at your Google Analytics account, and realize no one has viewed the post at all.
And you’re devastated. All of that hard work feels like a waste of time because you didn’t get the results you wanted from your blog post.
Now, a lot of writers might give up after going through this a few times, but not you. You’re curious to learn how you can improve your blog posts so they drive traffic to your site, help you build a better brand, and establish you as an authority in your industry.
Write content your audience cares about.
And that’s doesn’t just apply to blog posts – it applies to everything from website content to whitepapers, and it’ll make all the difference in the results you see from content marketing. So, let’s talk about a few strategies you can use to figure out what specific content your audience wants to read and write content that meets their needs.
Marketing personas are simply fictional representations of your target audience members. They should include a picture that represents your target audience member and other things like:
You may also want to include other information (political preferences, career path, etc.) depending on the kind of content you’re creating and who you’re targeting.
Either way, if you don’t already have marketing personas, it’s time to create some. Today.
You can get the information you need to create personas by looking through your current customer data (start using Google Analytics for this if you aren’t already), taking surveys, or interviewing your customers and prospects. If you choose to perform interviews, use this list of questions as reference.
Your final persona might look something like this example from Buyer Persona Institute:
Once you’ve got your personas (you’ll need one for each ideal customer group you’re targeting), keep them handy every time you create content. Then, before you write something, you can ask yourself these important questions:
Will my content resonate with this target audience member? What benefits will this person get from reading my content?
If the content won’t resonate with your target audience and they won’t benefit from it, change the topic you’re writing about to something that is relevant and beneficial.
Tip: Keep in mind that not all of your content necessarily needs to appeal to all of the audiences represented in your marketing personas. For example, you can create two separate lead nurturing emails if you have two different target audiences and tailor each email to fit the correct persona. By doing so, you’ll see better results from your marketing efforts because all of your content would be more targeted.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have a decent-sized email list of customers you send blog posts, newsletters, and other information to. (If you don’t have a list, read this post to learn how you can start building one up!)
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can’t use email for other things too. What I’m talking about is customer surveys.
That’s right – using this method, you’re going to figure out how to write content your audience cares about by simply asking them.
Seems like common sense, right?
It is, but far too few businesses are using this method to their advantage. Don’t be one of those businesses.
All you need to do is send your email list an email that asks this question:
“What is the #1 obstacle you’re facing in business today?”
Of course, word it in your own way, and elaborate on why you’re asking the question so you’ll improve your chances of getting lots of responses.
Why are you asking your audience that particular question?
Simple. Once you know what challenge they’re facing, you can create content that helps them learn how to overcome that challenge.
Let’s go over an example.
Say you’re running a consulting business, and you specifically offer consultations to freelancers so they can learn how to make good money at their craft. You ask your email list the question above, and a lot of people answer like this:
“I don’t know how to set good rates because I’m not sure how to calculate what I should charge.”
With that knowledge, you could create content that helps them overcome that challenge, like:
See how that works?
And you can bet that your audience would find that content useful since they’re the ones who pretty much asked for it in the first place.
So, start surveying, and use your most popular answers to create content your audience cares about. You’re sure to see a better response when you know you’re giving them exactly what they’re asking for.
Maybe you skipped over that last tip because you don’t have an email list. That’s okay – you can write amazing content that targets your audience even if you don’t have a list right now.
Figure out where your audience is discussing their pain points online, and start hanging out there.
Now sure how to go about that?
Well, let’s say you’re a real estate agent, and your primary target audience is home-buyers. You could look around on the Real Estate SubReddit to see what questions home-buyers are asking.
After looking through lots of posts there, you could easily come away with ideas for content. The key is to write content that addresses their concerns.
For example, maybe you’d see someone asking about the best way to buy a house while selling their current home. And maybe you’d see someone else asking about the best way to find a good realtor. And someone else asking what they should watch out for when looking at a potential home.
BOOM – you’ve got 3 ideas for blog posts right there:
Not too difficult, right?
And all it takes is a little bit of digging to figure out where your target audience is bringing up their concerns online. Here are a few ideas for places you should consider looking:
And here’s a bonus tip for you:
Type “forum:yourtopic” into the Google search bar. Not literally, of course – you’ll want to switch “yourtopic” for the topic you’d actually like to find a forum about. Then, when you hit search, Google will show you a list of popular forums where people are discussing that topic.
Buzzsumo is a free tool you can use to come up with content your target audience will be interested in. It looks like this:
See that little white box at the top of the screenshot?
That’s where you type in the topic you’re interested in writing about. Then, you’ll see popular content that others have written about that topic (including social share amounts). You can use the information to brainstorm your own similar topics – just make sure you avoid copying anyone else’s content too closely.
If you want your content to drive real results for your business, you need to be strategic and make sure everything you write is relevant to your target audience. Period.
But even when you’re doing everything right, you can’t expect overnight results – content marketing is a long process that doesn’t provide much instant gratification.
Don’t give up, though. Keep writing that amazing content that gets your target audience talking, and you’ll eventually find yourself landing more clients than ever… all because you took the time to understand and address their needs.
It might take weeks. It might take months. It might even take years. But you can bet that the time and effort you put in will be well worth it.