Creating content minus a clear view of your audience is like throwing darts blindfolded; you might get lucky and make a bullseye, but chances are you’re hitting everything BUT the target. There’s a strong probability you aren’t even hitting the board. Planning a powerhouse content strategy begins with identifying your target audience.
“Target audience” is another term for your ideal customer. It’s made up of the exact type of client you want to attract, the type of individual or profession who will benefit from your product or service. When talked about by a content creator or copywriter, target audience refers to the primary audience you want to reach with your message, and it branches out into secondary audiences.
Creating a Consumer Profile
Chances are you’re already sitting on a boatload of information about your target audience. Business comes down to supply and demand. A smart business owner will not invest resources into supplying a product or service lacking in demand.
Instead, they will research the market to determine if there is a large enough demand for a particular line of business. If you followed this course of action, you are already sitting on at least a partial consumer profile.
Lee Polevoi, an award-winning business writer and author for QuickBooks.Intuit.com, says one way to identify your target audience is to create a customer profile. It is essentially a snapshot of your target demographic. It includes an ideal customer’s:
- Age: An important demographic because it influences how and why people spend money. For example, young buyers are often more impulsive than older buyers. The calls to action placed throughout content will vary based on the age of your target audience.
- Gender: Remember the old saying opposites attract? It’s no wonder so many men fall for women and vice versa. They are often opposites of each other with strikingly different needs, goals, and desires. The men of your target audience will be attracted by different things versus the women. So be sure to identify if one or both are your ideal customer.
- Income Level: If you’re selling a high-end product, you don’t want to waste your time (and the consumers’) by attracting low-end income earners. Define the average income level of your ideal customer. It will affect the angle your writer uses to craft content.
- Location: Online commerce and marketing have turned hundreds of local companies into national and international businesses. You need to identify the primary location of your audience. It affects everything from the tone and voice of your content to the overall presentation.
Five Steps to Defining Your Target Audience
A consumer profile is a good stepping stone, but it’s one of many. A content creator (or creation company) will want your take on five distinct steps to defining your target audience:
1. The Problem You Solve: What are you selling, and what problem does it solve? Rarely do people buy just for the hell of it. They buy because a particular product or service offers them a solution.
2. The Value You Offer: Value is all about benefit. It’s about showing the audience why they should choose your product or service over any other. What makes it unique? What long-term value and benefit will it provide?
3. The Niche You Call Home: We live in a world of niches. Gone are the days of being held hostage by television schedules and advertisements. Audiences pick and choose what they view, when they view it, and how they view it. Identifying the niche your target audience calls home will give your content direction. It will give your copywriter the ability to personalize everything, thereby capturing greater attention and action.
4. The Local Chatter: Think about where your ideal consumer hangs out. They likely frequent online communities and forums where they rant, rave, and chat about everything from the problems they face to the solutions they’re finding. Give your content creator the ability to find and see this chatter so they can tailor your content for the secondary audiences within your primary.
5. The Go-To Gurus: You know better than anyone who makes up the gurus of your industry. Chances are they’re covering hot and trending topics. They might even be your competition. Discuss the go-to gurus in your field with your content creation team. Let them know who can be referenced, who should be left unmentioned, and who to watch to keep a thumb on the pulse of the industry.
Why You Shouldn’t Skimp
Here’s the thing: as the captain of your company, you know your ideal customer blueprint best. You know who you want to target and why. Therefore, you should be taking the time to provide your writers and teams with complete, detailed buyer profiles they can refer back to as needed. AND you should be updating these profiles as your business evolves.
Skimping on the process of identifying and defining your target audience is deadly. It’s a content quality killer. It’s like putting on that blindfold after ten shots of Tequila and throwing darts. What do you think will happen?