Forbes.com, one of the largest and most respected business sites on the web, tried to get itself estimated at $400 million dollars and find a buyer that would pay that much for the brand. According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, that didn’t work out so well. The reason? Lack of targeted content marketing.
According to Joe, while Forbes intended to target the world’s business leaders, it ended up publishing content for just about everybody. “Not only can you find what to wear to a regional small business conference, but you can also find which historic cemeteries have outdoor music performances. Hmmm,” he wrote.
“It’s incredibly hard to monetize an audience of everybody,” he added.
What can you do differently to make sure your audience is profitable?
How to Create Targeted Content Marketing
The answer is simple – you have to drill down and create a targeted content marketing strategy. Then, you have to create the kind of content that your specific, niched-down audience can relate to.
It’s not always easy to get started, but it’ll be easier to get a return on your investment on content production and advertising once you do this.
Figure Out Who’s Your Ideal Customer (and Go Beyond the Obvious)
At the very least, you need to know your ideal customer’s age, gender, marital status, location and budget. If you’re targeting a business buyer, you also need to know the buyer’s industry, company size, role in the company, her place in the decision making ladder, and how your product can help her. That’s called developing a buyer persona.
Just look at the independent travel blog niche. So many blogs target “everyone”, or at least drill down to “everyone who’s young, wants to quit their job and travel the world, but doesn’t really have a lot of money”.
Adventurous Kate serves this audience too, but she goes deeper than that. She targets intelligent, adventurous, single, urban women in their 20s and 30s, almost 80% of which have at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s why, between location-focused blog posts, she writes about her experience of turning 32, seeing the cultural phenomenon Hamilton on Broadway, standing up to a racist on a work trip, and about love stories from her travels.
Her audience responds. Just look this post – it got 130 comments:
Adventurous Kate gets results with content targeting because she goes beyond what’s obvious. Yes, everyone who’s looking for travel information online wants to travel the world, and many of them are trying to figure out where to go and how to do it on a budget. But her audience is looking for that something extra.
By engaging this audience in a deeper conversation, Kate draws in more accurate readers for herself, which helps her draw in sponsorships from tourism brands who want access to this exact audience.
Figure Out Where Your Ideal Customer is On Her Buyer Journey (and Develop Relevant Content)
When Pat Flynn, founder of Smart Passive Income, created a video tutorial about setting up a blog in 4 minutes back in 2009, he knew exactly who the video’s ideal audience is: beginning entrepreneurs – wantopreneurs, in fact – who were looking for the simplest, fastest way to get started despite their fears.
This audience wasn’t ready to buy expensive courses about conversion optimization. They didn’t have a budget to invest in advertising. But they were looking to buy a domain name and start making their dreams a reality. So Pat created a tutorial that fit their place in the buyer journey exactly, and added an affiliate link to site hosting service BlueHost, the one he featured in his tutorial.
Fast forward to 2016, and Pat’s website now has content for almost every step of a reader’s entrepreneurial journey. That’s why he lets you filter posts according to where you are with your business.
This is what happens when you click on “filter posts”:
If you’re just starting out, maybe your website design is less sophisticated, or you don’t have enough content to cover all stages of the buying journey. That’s OK. Just be clear, with every piece of content you create, which stage your content targeting is aiming for.