Stevie Kane is Director of Audience Development at The Drum. for drum Focus on content marketingIn this article, she shares her top tips on how marketers can research their target audience so that their content can effectively reach and engage with them.
It can be hard to know where to start when looking for your target audience. If you give it a quick Google, you’ll see many tools vying for your interests and offering insight after insight. But where do you start?
Well, I’d recommend avoiding gadgets, at first. Think instead about the reasons for your research and what you want the outcome to be. Other than that, it is very easy to fall into a data pit without knowing how to use it to advance your goals.
Your target audience should be the specific group or groups of users who are likely to be interested in your product, services or content. Some may know they want it and are ready to buy, while others may have a problem they didn’t know your product was there to solve. Understanding these different audiences can help you craft your content. For example, if they are ready to buy, they may need to know why they should buy from you, but if they are in the problem-solving stage, they may need content that explains how to solve their problem, with reference to your product/service thrown in.
What is the difference between personalities and target audience?
People are useful to understand your users, what they want, what their pain points are and to dig into the details. But for your target audience, it’s a good idea to be less concerned with that level of detail. Sure, you still want to think about niches, interests, and intent, but use broader boundaries.
What are 5 things to consider for your target audience?
Understanding your target audience may seem like a daunting task, but with these five action points, you can begin to get a fuller picture of who they are and how to reach them.
1. Think about what you want to do with research
Audience research is itself a broad topic that can be used for various purposes. The first thing to do is find out why you are doing this.
The purpose of your target audience research will influence how you do it. If this is the basis for your SEO content plan, you’ll want to keep keywords in mind. Think of the words that appear most often in these areas of interest and combine them to use as keywords for further research.
If you want to use it to support your social media, research the wide range of interests that apply to users and how these different markets engage them. Your niche may not be gaming, but if there is a significant overlap of interest, it is worth looking at how gaming accounts can best engage their users.
You may even have a different target audience for each platform.
For example, Target’s Twitter and Instagram accounts target youth and families, respectively. If they target the same users across both accounts, their content will generally be less interactive. Instead of publishing their content narrowly across audiences, they have chosen the best audience for each platform.
2. Don’t just aim for quantity
It’s tempting to go after a larger audience, but it’s easier to target target areas and lure them back in. From an SEO point of view, these niche or “long” keywords are usually much easier to rank for and more likely to attract relevant users. They have lower search volume, but you can combine closely related keywords within the content.
a Study by Think With Google I also found that users are more interested in advertising or branded content that is relevant to them and their interests, something that is difficult to do with broader, more general topics.
Niches can also form the basis of target market segmentation. This involves dividing your audience into smaller groups, allowing you to adjust your marketing message for each group.
3. Look at the neighboring interests
The people you want to target will have a whole host of interests and needs, if you only search for one or two that apply to your business, you may lose a relevant group. Find My Audience is a good place to start looking for overlapping interests. You may find that your audience absolutely loves good coffee, which may allow you to create engaging content with this niche in mind.
4. Use a set of tools
All Premium Tools have great guides to get the most out of their products. Both SEMRush And the AHrefs It has great research capabilities and guidelines to help target audience. I especially like the depth you can dive into searching content on AHrefs, especially on competitor sites. YouGov is a great tool too, and they have a free premium plan.
Although you may have to drop some cash to get the best options, there are plenty of great free audience research tools that are ready to provide their insights:
5. User intent
This is the key to search engine optimization research. Some users may be looking for information, with little or no intention of buying anything. Others are willing to spend, but they may not be sure exactly where they want to buy. Who do you care most about reaching? When doing target audience research, take a look at the intent. SEMRush will record user intent alongside keywords so you can collect keywords your target audience is using and avoid those that may have a high volume, but are not the right users for you.
Finally, it is important to conduct research for the target audience regularly. Trends and the ways in which users interact with content are changing constantly changing.
Visit The Drum’s Content Marketing in Focus For more news, insights and strategies on content marketing.
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