Audience development strategy – Content marketing part 7

Audience development strategy

So hopefully if you’ve followed the previous 6 steps you’re up and running publishing great content! Sadly that is only half the job done as it would be a pointless exercise if no one can find, read and enjoy all this great content.  You therefore need an audience development strategy to help your targets find your content.

I’m leaving aside email at this stage as we’ll come back to this when we look at the automation aspect of content marketing. So as far as audience development is concerned we need to focus on customers who are new to us rather than existing ones or those that we have email contact details for.

The most important target for audience development are Influencers.  Influencers, as the name suggests, are the people that have a lot of influence in the market that we are targeting.  So how do we find them.  Start with researching the topics that you think that your audience are interested in.  Go onto Twitter and search for the topic.  It will be quickly become evident who the regular contributors are.  Look them up and see how many followers they have. If they look like they have influence then start by following them, re-tweet their tweets, respond to some of their tweets and begin to engage with them.  The purpose being that when you have something to contribute then they will do the same for you.

Do they same on LinkedIn. Discover if there are any groups that specifically cover your area of interest.  If so, do the same as you did on Twitter – join the group, look for the influencers and engage with them.  Then you can start your own discussions and get people to respond to you.

If you do this you will soon find that you are engaging with a number of influencers across a range of topics that will help you reach out to a much wider target audience than before.  The better you understand the influencer and their audience then the more targeted your message can be and therefore the more likely that they will share it with their followers.

Secondly you need to need to think about Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is no longer a “black art” and the major search companies are having to be more transparent about what ranking methods they use.  The more links that you have from influencers then search engines will improve your rank and drive more traffic.

Make sure too that you understand the search keywords and phrases that your personas will use when searching for a particular topic.  If you understand those then make sure you use them in the content that you are publishing.  You need to give them every chance of finding your content. And make sure to monitor the results of your efforts.  Check if your keywords are having an impact on your traffic and search engine ranking.

Don’t forget that Paid is still a relevant tactic for inbound marketing.  That could be a PPC campaign on search engines, ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, sponsored Tweets etc. The main difference with content marketing however is that the purpose of the advertising is not to drive traffic to a product or service page but to the content that is of interest to the target audience.  It’s about engagement at this stage. That of course can make the Return on the Marketing Investment (ROMI) a little trickier to justify but we’ll look at how we can qualify a lead later on that will help with this calculation.

Syndication is the final area for audience development. The trick is to get your content published on the the sites where your target audience visit.  Just remember to have some links back to your site too.  You’ll know when your succeeding in content marketing when you start to develop a relationship with your prospects before they even visit your site.  Remember the new buying mantra “Third parties first, vendor last”.

Next week I’ll look at lead nurturing and conversion.

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts you can always catch up: Content marketing – What is it ? Part 1,  Why Now? Part 2,  10 steps to creating great content. Part 33 sources for content ideas. Part 4Turning content ideas into great content. Part 5A content team is essential for creating great content. Part 6


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