Building an Audience-Focused Content Strategy

Generating content that is relevant to your audience is easy; delivering unique content that actually serves its needs is significantly more difficult. That requires a content strategy.

Generating content that is relevant to your audience is easy; delivering unique content that actually serves its needs is significantly more difficult. That requires a content strategy.

These days, it’s not enough to produce loads of content based on keyword research alone. That might have worked years ago, when Google judged a webpage’s relevance and quality by keyword density. Since then, Google has revamped its algorithm and leaned on artificial intelligence to reward content that’s unique, useful and engaging. Focusing on people’s needs — not just their search queries — is the new goal of content marketing. And yes, there’s a big difference.

Does your content strategy really speak to your audience? And, equally important, does your audience notice? Forging a content strategy that achieves these objectives will likely help all of your marketing efforts. Here, we’ll review the basics for building an audience-focused content strategy.

Step 1: Know Your Audience

To build an audience-focused content strategy, you must first understand your audience. Who are they, and what do they need? What are their hardships? Why might they want your help? In terms of your content, would your audience prefer articles, blog posts, video tutorials, infographics or something else?

Listening is the key to answering these questions. Keyword research — specifically long-tailed keywords in your analytics reports — are one piece of the puzzle. There are better ways to get actual human feedback, though. Check websites such as Yelp and Reddit to see how people talk about merchants and issues in your sphere, or read your own social media comments for more insights on customers’ needs and wants. Brick-and-mortar business owners can ask their employees about what’s on customers’ minds.

Only after you truly know your audience can you move on to the next step.

Step 2: Find Your Content Tilt

At the core of this endeavor is finding your content tilt. Don’t worry if this is the first time you’ve heard this term — you’re not alone. Your content tilt is a form of branding; it’s what ultimately makes your content valuable in a way that’s unique to your business. Finding your content tilt doesn’t just mean pumping out articles that are relevant to your customer’s needs. Rather, it’s about diving deep into the core purpose of your business — thinking carefully about what makes your business remarkable — and then understanding how you’ll help your customers in ways no one else can.

Want an example of a content tilt? Think of how Kelley Blue Book established itself as the go-to resource for people who want to buy or sell used cars, or how Consumer Reports became known as the authority on informative, objective reviews. For another example, go to YouTube and watch different videos of chefs demonstrating their recipes. Then, watch one clip of Nadia G’s “Bitchin Kitchen.” That’s one heck of a content tilt!

Most businesses these days produce plenty of content. They barrage customers with online and print ads, coupons, blog posts, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, Instagram pictures, email blasts and more. And yet, still, people in business are often dissatisfied with their marketing.

That’s because content without a tilt is just noise in the crowd. Find your tilt, and you’ve found your voice. Unlike noise, a voice can send a message.

Step 3: Set Goals

What do you hope to accomplish with your content strategy? Your answer to this question depends largely on your website or the type of business you run.

Are Your Videos Champions of Your Brand?

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it’s safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and it doesn’t work, then what do you do? Answer: Consider your branding checklist! Video production is nothing short of being an ambassador of your brand’s strategy. Video, just like with your other advertising tools, is something that has to be maintained regularly. Most times when a campaign has failed, it’s because of confusion with your brand.

If you advertise in an ordinary way, it’s safe to expect ordinary results. However, when you take the extreme and it doesn’t work, then what do you do? Answer: Consider your branding checklist! Video production is nothing short of being an ambassador of your brand’s strategy. Video, just like with your other advertising tools, is something that has to be maintained regularly. Most times when a campaign has failed, it’s because of confusion with your brand.

Let’s ask a couple of valid questions that you will want to consider to help keep you inline with your video production when it comes to using this as part of your marketing mix.

Keep these questions in mind when producing your company’s videos:

  • How are you communicating?
  • What are you communicating?
  • When and how often do you communicate to your customers?
  • Who are the most important people to communicate to?

Video is meant to solve a direct and specific problem. If your project is meant to create more brand loyalty, then that needs to be in your message. How often you solve problems is just as important. If the last video you created on your website was from last year, or before there was digital film, perhaps a fresh new approach could lead to better results. The other element most people forget when branding through video is the emotional aspect. Were people connecting to the video because they could relate to it? If your video has not been resonating with enough people through your campaign, you haven’t given them enough reasons to love you. Your video production needs to focus on that problem and how your brand solves it.

Since your brand helps people solve problems, don’t be afraid to get creative, but remember to stride for champions of your brand. Many things can achieve brand loyalty, use humor, and hire talent that people relate to. Your goal should always be cultivating loyalty. Don’t forget to measure that loyalty by checking your analytics before and after. You can also request a survey by the viewers to see if you’re hitting the mark.

If what you’re doing isn’t working, then don’t be afraid to change it. Don’t get stuck on results of one idea. If the first video didn’t work, try something different. Marketing is an on going process. As a business owner, you have to get used to regularly changing marketing tactics. Don’t be afraid to be flexible and update your videos often. If your competition is changing their video content often, then why isn’t it a part of your plan?

Let’s talk about your competitors for a minute. Are they going after the same business you’re going after? Don’t they have the same customers that you have? If they have video production that clearly defines their brand, then wouldn’t you think your responsibility to your clients is to do the same only better? If the videos that they have on their website are done professionally with clear messages, then why would you cut costs and provide your clients with 3 minutes of you talking in front of a messy desk from your iPhone using a flash light or the lamp you picked up in the 80’s? Let’s face it, you’ll have to step up your game, or you will lose.

If you’re going to recruit someone in video production to help brand you, it is imperative to find someone who can deliver the following:

  • Someone who clearly understands your core values
  • Someone who will be loyal to your brand
  • Someone who can be a champion of your brand?

The more you demand that this is done with every employee and vendor, the more success you’ll have.

Now for your slice of humble pie: Ask yourself if you’re living by these standards?

Do you embrace your own concepts? Are you passionate about your brand? How loyal are to you to your own company? Do you have a solid plan for your brand and are you sticking to it?

Coming up with a concrete knowledge to your brand strategy and gripping your marketing plan will not only bare you results, you will have a more rigid foundation to launch this and the rest of your campaigns with confidence and security.

Manage Your Team, and Answer Important Questions While You Travel

Did you realize that you have a way to communicate with your team right in your back pocket? True or False: Only wealthy companies use video and film production? Statement: It’s impossible to be two places at once. Did you realize that even while you’re traveling you could answer questions, and keep your team informed? If you travel heavily for your company and are an executive or leader, this article will help you by offering some new communication solutions

Did you realize that you have a way to communicate with your team right in your back pocket? True or False: Only wealthy companies use video and film production? Statement: It’s impossible to be two places at once. Did you realize that even while you’re traveling you could answer questions, and keep your team informed? If you travel heavily for your company and are an executive or leader, this article will help you by offering some new communication solutions.

The types of video production companies use now vary considerably. Anything from sales presentations, corporate communications, customer service, tutorials and internal communications are media treasures.

These types of videos can be there to serve both the client and your employees. The other forms of video production include staff training, employee orientation, safety procedures, promotional video and financial reports. The key point to remember here is they can be viewed on several different devices—iPad, computer, and, of course, mobile phone.

Video can be used as a heavy-duty communication machine even while you’re traveling the tundra. Utilizing video platforms like Skype, Livestream and Google+ Hangouts will put you in front of your employees so you can continue to disperse your companies propaganda, even while miles away. This allows your employees to be not only informed, but to have an emotional connection to you as if you are still present, even when absent.

Some types of video production can cost next to nothing to create. For example, Instagram, Vine, Skype, Facetime and Google + Hangouts. These are simple to use and can be viewed individually or as a group; which allows you to continue to lead your team even if it’s in a busy airport. These platforms give you the ability to promulgate to a tailored crowd. You can choose to speak to one person, several or the entire staff.

The other benefit here is that you can be in several places at once. I bet you wish you could clone yourself so that you can be everywhere at the same time. With telegenic devices, you are able to be in multiple locations, which can save you time and money.

HR Professionals are finding these assets invaluable to effectively inform their troops and train their employees on important factors such as safety, company policies and procedures. The same message is given each time to each individual, allowing more control over the communiqué distributed among the new and existing hires.

While any of these types of television programs would be effective and work, here are some more advanced ideas for the use of video in communicating to your present crowd. Use a thumbnail video in your email signature. This could be a general message from the CEO, President or possibly an HR Supervisor.

One of the best devices that I’ve seen this used with is a USB stick. Placing your corporate mini movie on this type of device is sure to get people interested in what’s on it. We can’t help but be curious when a gadget is in the palm of our hands.

What’s the best way to get started by utilizing these simulcast luxuries? This would be some solid hypothesis; Ask the people that have the most questions directed to them at your company. Have them write up to 10 topics that these videos could address. Do this with the answers to those questions, and Voila!, you have a script created for your first production.

Next, decide who will be your audience. Directly address them individually or within the group. Make the dialogue interesting, as if you were right there in the same room—because technically you are.

Then decide what the best way to distribute this message should be. Should it be Live? Do you want to ensure that they will see it? Do you want this to be measurable and traceable? Consider the style as well. Do you want it to be comical, motivational or serious in nature? A financial report to your stock holders may need to be handled with kid gloves, while a safety video that is going to be viewed by the group and needs to be remembered, and comedy can often be more memorable, even on serious subjects.

I hope that this discussion has sparked a few new ways for you to interface with your peers. If anything, perhaps it’s helped answer the question of how can you communicate with the team while abroad? Either way, I’m sure you will remember that the use of video isn’t always obvious but still effective.

Any further discussion or ideas to be added can be sent to me at egrey@hermanadvertising.com.