Gary Vaynerchuk famously said, “Content is king. But context is queen, and she runs the household.”
This is certainly true for most successful content creators. After all, it’s hard to build an audience if you’re not putting your content into context by making it easy for your audience to relate to. If a business blogger suddenly started to talk about computer games, for example, then their audience would be confused by the sudden change of subject matter.
The very best content creators in the business go out of their way to understand their audience. They check their analytics, carry out a little research and create different personas for the people that they’re reaching. Some people are even surprised by their findings – after all, you may be reaching a completely different set of people to those you were intending to reach.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the different steps to take to make sure you’re addressing the needs of your audience.
1. Find Your Audience
You can’t cater to your audience unless you know who they are. The first step is to ask yourself some questions about your company. What challenge does your product or service solve? Why are your current customers buying it? What other companies are out there, and why do customers choose you and not your competitors?
With the answers to these questions in hand, start to dig into your website and social media analytics. You should be able to find data such as the demographics of your readers, the countries they live in, the interests they have and the types of content that they’re consuming.
2. Establish Guidelines
Guidelines are important because they help to ensure consistency no matter who’s creating content. Even individual influencers tend to work with third-party web developers, designers and videographers who help them to bring their content to life, and they need these hired hands to know exactly what their audience is interested in.
These guidelines should establish everything from the way that you speak to people to the types of image that you share. That way, whether you’re working with a freelancer or delegating the work to someone else, your content will all feel consistent to your audience.
3. Listen to Feedback
You’ll know you have an engaged following when you start to receive feedback. If people are taking the time to provide suggestions for your content then it shows that they’re passionate about the subjects you’re covering. This feedback can be the most valuable feedback you’ll ever receive and only a fool would completely ignore it.
That said, it’s also important for content creators to stay true to themselves. If they choose not to take the advice then that’s okay too, as long as there’s a good reason for it.
If you want to build long-term relationships with your audience then you’ll need to maintain constant communication and full transparency. As your reputation grows, your audience will become more attentive – which means they’ll notice if you disappear for a while or suddenly start to advocate a brand without explaining why.
A great way to communicate with your audience is to use social networking sites. We’re not talking about launching a Twitter feed and simply tweeting a link to every article, though – we’re talking about jumping into the community and joining conversations. You can find communities around almost every subject, and you’ll notice that the influencers at the top are usually spending the lion’s share of their time inside that community.
You can’t be everything to everyone, which is why the biggest influencers choose a particular niche and stick to it. You wouldn’t expect a DIY blogger to start talking about beauty products, and you wouldn’t expect a travel blogger to suddenly start reviewing accountancy software.
How you specialise will be determined by your audience. You might even start without a niche and find yourself developing one if a certain type of content starts to outperform all others. You might also find yourself covering several different – but intrinsically related – specialisms, such as sales and marketing or travel and local history.
Getting to know your audience is the easy part. The hard part is building long-term relationships with them over time by encouraging discussion and listening to what they have to say. Whenever possible, include their comments in your content and allow them to shape future decisions about the topics that you cover.
Ultimately, whether you’re successful or not will be determined by the people who consume your content. That’s why it’s a good idea to act upon the feedback that they give you and to use it to improve your content in the future.
The most successful content creators are those who are constantly learning, and a big part of that involves learning from – and about – their audience. Get it right and you’ll be successful. Get it wrong and your audience will start to look elsewhere.
Bio: Carol Henderson is a writer at assignment masters. She is a professional in the fields of SEO, copywriting and online marketing. Over the years she has worked in these fields and now can use her gained knowledge to help others excel in these areas too. In addition she spends her free time reading books and taking part in yoga activities. As a result her experiences and knowledge continue to improve allowing other to benefit too. You can contact her on twitter (@mCarolHenderson).