“How to effectively target using content marketing?”
Target content marketing effectively by identifying the right audience of buyers – the tribe that craves your content. Find out which information they need to become smarter buyers in your market.
Then, provide the best information buyers can find on key topics, in the places they hang out.
1. Find out which content your tribe wants most
To become even more successful, which information do buyers need most?
For example, John Deere’s magazine The Furrow teaches farmers how to make their farming business more successful. Farming’s a tough business, so this information is absolutely vital.
The Furrow, published since 1897, has grown to become the number one agricultural magazine in the world. How?
By understanding and serving its tribe’s needs best. Since The Furrow teaches exactly what farmers need to know, the rest of John Deere’s marketing can address its informed and loyal audience.
Another example: Arrow Electronics operates dozens of trade websites that teach electronics engineers everything they need to know. As Robert Rose observes, Arrow’s content provides all the answers engineers need.
Because it offers so much useful content, Arrow can gather data and analytics on the topics that engineers are most interested in, then link it to their buying behaviors.
To find out which content your tribe of buyers needs most:
- Perform buyer persona research by interviewing one buyer at a time. Learn buyers’ interests, their information needs, and where they go to find information when it’s time to buy.
- Research buyers online, capture their questions, and learn from analytics which of your content they use most often. Tools like BuzzSumo can show where buyers turn on social media, helping you identify influencers.
- Meet customers face-to-face at trade shows and events, in your demonstration room, or in retail stores. Learn how customers use content to solve problems.
- Build a content marketing mission and strategy for each tribe of buyers (details below). Strive to offer better content then buyers can get elsewhere today.
Great content educates buyers and encourages them to become subscribers who give you permission to keep sending informational content. When you target content marketing effectively, subscribing to your blog or magazine is the first thing buyers do to convert.
As you teach buyers what they need to know, they grow to trust you more and more. When it’s time to buy, your brand holds a clear advantage.
2. Give tribes content about the topics that matter most
In the case of carefully considered purchases with a buying committee, different people bring separate and different content needs to the table.
It’s tougher to sell to a buying committee, because the average-sized committee sticks with the status quo more than half the time!
For example, let’s say your company sells IT infrastructure to B2B buying committees.
On the committee, the IT buyer wants to know all about your new technology and its backwards- and forwards-compatibility with existing and planned IT systems.
The purchasing manager wants to save money and make a safe choice.
And the green buyer wants to learn how the product will save energy, to help the company take credit for being greener.
That’s why you must serve up separate content streams to address each of these three separate tribes – IT, purchasing, and green buyers. Since their information needs vary widely, create:
- 3 buyer personas (IT, purchasing, green buyers)
- 3 content missions, one for each persona
- 3 content strategies, one for each persona.
Yes, you need to build 3 separate content streams of highly relevant content – one for each persona’s tribe. Why?
Because IT buyers have different information needs and habits compared with purchasing agents and green buyers.
When you identify separate tribes, address each one separately. Successful content marketing brings each tribe content about its own topics, in its own language, and in the media used most.
That’s a key to target content marketing effectively.
3. Show up in the media each tribe uses most
Showing up on a purchasing agent’s website won’t help you win over IT buyers – or vice versa. Choose media by buyer persona and tribe.
Keep the end in mind:
- First attract, borrow or buy the attention of your tribe in rented or earned media.
- Then convert tribe members into subscribers, who give you permission to send them useful information in the future.
- After teaching subscribers to become smart buyers, offer sales content to convert subscribers into customers.
- After you win customers, focus on creating content for users. Ensure users get the most out of your product to become happy users.
- Ask happy users for testimonials and social proof to include in your marketing.
- Create content that turns first-time customers into repeat customers by cross-selling, upsetting and renewing subscriptions.
Point all your earned and rented content to your owned content, that which you completely control. Owned content includes your website, email list, print subscriber list and blog.
Here’s a way to visualize how earned and rented media should point to your owned media, from author and marketer Rusty Shelton.
To target content marketing effectively:
- Find out which content your tribe wants most.
- Give tribes content about the topics that matter most.
- Show up in the media each tribe uses most.
Taking this approach will ensure that you target content marketing effectively.
“How do we target content marketing effectively?” and “How to effectively target using content marketing?” are two of marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing. Here are the answers.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.