The key to a successful content strategy is aligning your content with the needs of your audience. But are you clear about what your audience needs?
We’ve all had the experience of wearing clothes that fit us perfectly vs those that feel like they were created for an entirely different body. The experiences are drastically different. If you want your content marketing to inspire and motivate your audience to engage your services, you need the content you create to fit like a bespoke outfit.
Define Your Content’s Goal
Content marketing can accomplish many goals for insurance agents, but trying to accomplish too many at once with the same piece of content can result in failure to meet any of those goals. Content initiatives work best when you first decide what you are looking to accomplish with your content, and then fitting that goal with the needs of an audience receptive to that goal.
Before you even decide on the topic, clearly define what you are looking to get out of a piece of content.
- Are you looking to attract new prospects?
- Are you looking for social brand engagement?
- Are you looking for improved search rankings?
- Are you looking to educate current customers?
Content marketing can work well for all of these goals, but when you attempt to combine several of them, they can actually work counter-productively.
For instance, if your goal is to gain engagement in the form of social mentions, heavily branding your content or pushing your sales agenda is generally going to lead to failure.
Pick the Right Strategy for the Goal
Different goals demand different strategies in regard to a target audience. If your goal is to create content that can drive leads or sales, it doesn’t make sense to create content that is too broad or targets large audiences with an only cursory interest in what you are selling. Whereas if your goal is brand awareness, or perhaps link-building for SEO, taking a broad approach with your content can be an excellent strategy.
Different audiences require significantly different approaches, even within the same niche. When creating content, you must understand what types of information, ideas, memes, and concepts resonate most effectively.
Identify Your Target Audience
If you can’t define your target audience, it will be exceedingly difficult to create content that targets them directly. You will instead be forced to go with content ideas that are more broadly targeted and potentially less useful and less shareable to your target audience.
Not all audiences enjoy the same types of content. For instance, younger, tech-savvy content consumers can be more averse to long-form written content, preferring instead to see visual representations, video, or mixed media content.
Contrastingly, older, well-educated content consumers who are newer consumers of web content often prefer more in-depth, detailed, written content. After you have clearly defined who your audience is within your niche, look to the types of content they consume the most.
Go to Where Your Audience Is
After understanding who your target audience is, the next and most important step is clearly defining where they congregate and interact online. Different demographics engage socially in different ways. By clearly defining your audience within your target niche, you can then get a clear picture of the ways they like to share the most.
If you fail to clearly define this, you will fail to understand the types of content they like, how and where they share that content, and will be unable to construct content based on ideas you know will resonate.
By clearly defining your target audience you will then be equipped to do the necessary research to find out how your audience segments itself across the web, where they go to get their information, how and where they interact with each other, the types of content they like to consume, and how and where they like to share.
This sets the groundwork for coming up with ideas that will resonate with your target audience and be most successfully consumed and shared.
- Does your target niche have many active forums? (Hint: Almost all active niches do)
- What are the most popular blogs in the niche?
- Where are their socially active locations? Reddit? Facebook? Twitter?
If you have several goals you would like to meet with your content marketing efforts, don’t be afraid to segment your initiatives. Relevant useful niche content can convert niche audiences. Broadly appealing viral content can drive links, social shares, and brand awareness. Instructional content can create brand loyalty and customer retention.
It’s more effective to create with a specific end goal in mind. This helps you fine-tune your creativity and play to your audience.