Lily Tomlin’s much-loved character, Ernestine the telephone operator, immortalized the line, “Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?”

People conducting content marketing are asking the same question, “Who is my target audience and is my message getting to them?” Have you reached the party to whom you are speaking, or is it just “one ringy-dingy” and a hang up?

Targeted audience vs. general audience

target_audience_CMXContent marketing is not about flinging content out into the social media world and hoping it sticks, nor is it like cold calling.  Content marketing is creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire and engage a targeted market with the ultimate goal of driving profitable customer behavior.  You want to be sure you’re reaching the people who are actually going to be interested in your product(s) or service(s), and then tailoring your message to that specific market segment. But first, you have to clearly identify them.

Some ways to help define your target market:

  • Profile your current customers; who are they?
  • What need(s) does your product or service meet?
  • Where do your customers live online; what social media do they use?
  • What mediums do they prefer; text, video, podcasts, images, etc.?
  • What questions are recurrent with your customers; what do they want/need resolved?

Knowing who your customers and potential customers are will enable the creation of content that will resonate with them and meet them where they are, both literally (such as on Facebook or Twitter), and figuratively (needing your information or product or service). Providing valuable information with accurate solutions will assist in meeting your target audience’s needs, and helps to build your company’s reputation as a trusted thought leader.

True engagement is a two-way communication

communication_CMXTalking with, not at, your customers and potential customers is the goal of social engagement.  Along with providing information, you need to be authentic and open, truly caring about what your customers think and feel. Your content needs to be fresh, relevant, accurate and engaging, drawing in your users and making them want to spend time with you, reading, watching video, live chatting, etc. By providing quality content across all your social channels, you’ll keep customers coming back for more content as well as sharing your content with their own networks and introducing you to potential customers.

Building touch points or calls to action into all your content will keep the conversation going. As your content engages users, they will respond with questions, comments, purchases or subscriptions, and you need to be prepared to respond in each instance.

  • If it’s a question, answer it
  • If it’s a problem, solve it or provide best assistance
  • If it’s a purchase or subscription, fulfill it quickly and as offered
  • If it’s a comment, acknowledge it
  • If a customer engages, be there; you may not get another chance with them

Content marketing is about relationship with your customers and potential customers, providing content that will reach the party to whom you are speaking and, hopefully, drive profitable behavior that benefits both you and your customer.

View all of your content as an opportunity for two-way conversation.
Step 6 - Engage - Content Marketing Lifecycle

  • When people engage with your brand, they want a response, they want to know you heard them.
  • You must be vigilant to respond to all engagement – good, bad or indifferent.
  • Keep the conversation going with fresh, original content focused on your target audience.
Join the Conversation:

  • How did you define your target market so you know who they are, where they are and what they need?
  • Is your content conductive, meaning do you get good engagement from what you create and do your followers/friends/customers share your content?
  • What tools or processes do you use for maintaining consistent dialogue with your customers?