Content marketing allows you to connect with your target audience and build a relationship of trust. However, it’s important to understand the wants and needs of your readers so you can provide them with relevant content which provides solutions to their questions.

The first step therefore should be research, but just how do you find out more about your potential customers?

Ask Questions

This can be done via individual interviews or by asking people to complete surveys. The latter may get you a greater level of in-depth information as people are often more willing to be forthcoming when they can remain anonymous. In addition, keep the surveys relatively short, so as not to deter people from completing them.

If you already have a social media following this can be a great resource for gathering information about your audience. You can ask your followers questions; add polls; and look at your and see which content people are interacting with the most.

Survey Your Staff

Your staff, especially those in pre-sales and customer support roles, will also hold a great deal of knowledge about your audience. Ask for their feedback on the questions they get asked regularly by people either looking to purchase from you or who require further information post-sale. This is all valuable data on the information your audience is seeking.

Content Creation

Once you understand a great deal more about what your readers are looking for it becomes easier to create content to cater to their needs.

It’s important to remember that people absorb information in a wide variety of ways. Therefore, the greater the range of content you can provide, the more people you will appeal to. Create video; audio; images; interactive updates; written posts; infographics; how-to guides and tutorials amongst others.

Even if your content is text based always include images as these will attract more attention initially, especially if people are scrolling through their timeline on their mobile. The most shared content on Facebook is image based updates, attracting an 87% interaction rate.

Creating content which people can embed on their own sites, such as infographics and videos, gives you a much greater potential for your material to spread virally. You might feel that whoever posts your content to their site is benefiting from your hard work, but you are getting in front of a much wider audience plus you have people linking directly back to your site.

When you are creating content it is vital you research keywords and make the material as search engine friendly as possible. One reason for doing in-depth audience research is to gain an understanding of what is being searched for online, so you increase the likelihood of potential customers coming across your content. Following good SEO practices are therefore an important element in making sure you get found.

Content Promotion

Once your content has been created it is important to get it in front of as many people as possible. Explore all the different options in terms of social media but ensure you make your content relevant for each site.

If you produce a newsletter for your business it is often worth mentioning your posts in your regular updates so that readers head to your website to read the full article or watch the video.

In addition, always make it easy for people to spread the word about what you offer. Include share buttons next to every piece of content, so that readers who have enjoyed a post can share it with their friends.

The further benefit of creating strong content marketing is that people will often return to your website to learn more from you. This means that over time their trust in your business will grow and your relationship will strengthen, often so much they will be eager to refer you to friends and family.

Gone are the days when people were happy to be marketed to through various forms of advertising. Today’s audience wants to hear not just from a business but from real people behind the face of the company, and this can be achieved much more easily when they have formed a strong bond with you through the content you share.

Image: Photospin

Author Bio:

James Timpson writes on behalf of Sign Firm, a well-known sign making and printing production Company. With Sign Firm situated in the branding field, they know how to cater to a target audience.