Content Marketing

Targeted Content: The Holy Grail of Content Marketing

target on flickr photo sharing Targeted Content: The Holy Grail of Content Marketing

For any piece of content to be successful, it has to be personalized and speak to a specific person (a potential buyer), with a specific need, at a specific point in his or her buyer journey. Put another way, you have to have targeted content that reflects a deep understanding of who your audience and where they are on their way down the path to purchase.

To create targeted content, you need the appropriate messaging to shepherd that audience through every step in their journey. For example, depending on where your audience is in their buying process, they may need content that:

  • Raises awareness by helping them understand what your company does and that you understand a particular set of problems they face.
  • Promotes discovery by drawing their attention to the fact that your company has the products or services necessary to solve those problems.
  • Fosters comparisons by allowing your company to showcase its knowledge, expertise, and high-quality products and services, thus differentiating you from your competitors.
  • Encourages a sale by providing the right information to ensure that the target has everything he or she needs to confidently purchase your products and services.

The tone of your message, as well as how often you communicate it, will vary depending on where your target audience is in its journey. For B2B content to be truly effective, it needs to resonate with the very specific audience it is intended for. Simply put, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works.

Of course, understanding your buyers’ journey is only part of the equation. To truly create targeted content, you also need to thoroughly understand who your buyers are and develop detailed personas for them.

Developing Buyer Personas is the Key to Creating Targeted Content

To really understand the buyers you’re targeting, it’s critical to take the time to construct corresponding personas, i.e., detailed profiles of those buyers made up of a combination of demographic and behavioral information. Those personas should clearly illustrate who your buyers are, which pain points they share, which factors they care about the most, and where they stand in the buying process. Doing so is often the most important step toward ensuring that the content you create will resonate with your audience. To build those personas, you need to do some research.

Gather Information

Start by gathering some basic information. Interview your existing customers. Talk to your customer-facing colleagues. Mine any databases you may have. Your goal is to identify your customers’ most obvious and important characteristics, bearing in mind the need to focus on the actual people, not the companies they work for. As part of your data collection effort, you’ll be looking for two main types of characteristics:

Demographic information, including:

  • Job title, role, and responsibilities
  • Department
  • Company size
  • Industry
  • Location
  • Budget

Behavioral information, including:

  • Motivating factors
  • Expectations
  • Concerns and pain points
  • Role in the purchasing process
  • Understanding of your products and services
  • Needs met to ensure a purchase

Develop Personas

Using the information you gather, develop a persona like the following that describes who they are:

Jane Doe: The VP of operations at a company with more than $10 million in annual revenue who needs a better e-mail archiving solution. She has an existing service in place that she finds frustrating because it’s too slow and unreliable. She’s in the research phase of the buying process and is the primary decision maker. Although she’s not aware of our solution, her pain points directly align with our product’s core value proposition. While price is an important motivating factor to purchase, she’s most concerned with functionality and ease-of-use.

Be sure to create multiple personas to correspond with the various types of buyers you’re targeting. Doing so will not only force you to think about your target buyers more systematically, but also to craft content that’s more customized for their needs. When you know who you are writing for, what challenges they face, and what expectations they have, it’s much easier to create targeted content that will resonate and ultimately help get them to buy.

Related
  • http://sweetdigital.co/ Chiranjeevi Maddala

    Great advice! This has made me fine-tune my content creation process. Thank you Kevin!

  • http://twitter.com/MarketingUnlock MarketingUnlocked

    Kevin,
    Very valid points. One trap marketers fall into when creating buyer personas; they create who they think an ideal buyer(is) is(are), rahter than doing the right research and knowing exactly who their different buyers are.
    You’re right, knowing their motivations is key, but it’s essential to know what really motivates them, not what you think should.

  • Sarah Bauer

    Thanks for highlighting personas as integral to audience-specific content creation.

    Companies that produce content on a department-wide scale need personas to unify their content efforts and ensure that everyone’s focused on the same goal. Personas are so accessible for this purpose, making the content creation process much more efficient!

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • jeff gonzalez-beauty schools

    So many things about this article completely make sense in regards to its main points, I compare it to a leadership 101 lesson….”who needs to know, who have you told, and did they understand your message”

  • DavidPylyp

    Understanding who your Target Audience is fundamental. Measuring the Metrics by age and demographics is critical. Adding video when you connect and speak to your client prospects is powerful!

    Keep getting the message out and they will find you through the Story Teller Marketing you provide!

    David Pylyp
    Etobicoke Real Estate Agent