Know your audience.
It’s a phrase that I heard from my journalism professors over and over and over. One of those phrases that, upon graduation, I hoped to never utter or absorb again.
Life has a way of bringing things back around.
“Knowing your audience” is, admittedly, a piece of expertise that has resonated with me into my career. Geometry, however, has not proved to be a very useful skill (which is great considering my level of skill in geometry).
No matter what type of content you are creating, knowing your audience is key. Beyond an idea, it’s the first piece of the puzzle you need to start assembling the bigger picture.
When content doesn’t deliver the results you were looking for, there’s likely a disconnect between the static content you’re putting forth and what your audience is hoping to find. A lack of results means a lack of engagement—your reader or user has walked away without a significant or positive impression of the messaging they’ve received.
Here are three steps you need to fix this problem. It starts with doing your homework (I promise it’s not as bad as those geometry proofs), and it ends with engaging experiences that allow you to understand your audience in a more strategic and meaningful way.
Step 1: Research, Research, Research
Ah, research. Many of us began our relationship with research through the vehicle that is the research paper. We spent hours in the library, mapping out factoids on index cards and eventually bringing those factoids together to create many pages of information on a single topic.
Research in the digital age has definitely evolved, though when it comes to researching your audience, the concept remains the same. We begin broadly, and narrow down our search as we discover more about the topic. In this case, your topic is your audience, and the “factoids” you gain are their pain points, their interests, and their opinions of competitors on the market. Create a conversation with your sales team to discover more about what customers are looking for, and understand how users are engaging with similar content from competing brands.
Step 2: Use Interactivity to Create Engaging Content
If your main goal is to create engagement, and your customers are craving education and conversation—interactivity is your missing link. After all, what resonates with a user more than a captivating experience? Data and opinions are around every corner—interactivity can make your messaging truly stand out.
Our recent study with Demand Metric showed that 90% of respondents found interactive content effective in educating the buyer. The audience wants to take away value from the content they are interacting with—education is a fantastic place to begin creating value for your user.
Step 3: Measure Your Results
Interactive content gives us the capability to measure results in a way that static content cannot. Interactive infographics, assessments, and white papers (among the many other types of interactive content) have data-points and tracking built in, which allow us to understand exactly where the user engaged.
Tracking these data points is crucial to your content success. Measure not only the number of views, but engagement rates, drop-off points, and social media sharing metrics. Together, these metrics enable you to create an informed impression of content performance and content effect on the buyer.
Once you’ve measured your results, you know your audience even better than before. You can see where their interests have been captivated, and you know where your content has fallen flat.
Ready to start resonating? Watch our “Better” Series on Creating Better Content to learn more.