This article is all about content marketing strategies that can help you better connect with your target audience.
Whatever industry you are in, the strategies here can help you create content that resonates with that audience, and can turn them from visitors into customers.
We are going to break down a few things in this article, including:
- Research tools for coming up with content topics
- Creating content for people in different stages of the buying funnel
- Other resources for getting content ideas
We can’t talk about niche without doing research first
If you have a specific target audience, you’ll need to know what exactly interests them, so you can help them easily find your content and website.
But, to post for a relevant audience, you need to understand what interests that audience.
Sometimes, you get so focused on the main idea of your brand, it becomes quite tricky to notice the small details that make your business unique.
For example, let’s say you want to create a vegan blog. So, you build a website, start creating recipe articles on content that you think might interest that audience. But, the traffic just isn’t coming… What gives?
Is there any way to make sure you nail your niche right from the start?
Yes! Here’s how:
Tools can help you find your target audience
Using research tools is necessary, especially for the early stages of your web presence. And not only then. Staying relevant over the years and constantly engaging with your audience helps you stay ahead of the competition.
So let’s talk about different methods to streamline this process.
SparkToro is a business intelligence platform that helps you better understand your target audience.
In particular, it has a special feature called Audience Intelligence and it’s exactly what you think it is – a complete analysis of your audience. Sparktoro’s tool gives you access to lots of insights about your audience, helping you customize not only your content but also your marketing strategies. Here’s a complete review of this software that covers everything you need to know.
Ahrefs is a powerful tool for keyword research and analysis for helping improve your organic search engine rankings.
This tool focuses on keyword analysis to help your website rank better. Ahrefs finds all the relevant keywords that your target audience is interested in. This way, you know exactly what words you need to target to make your business more visible on the Internet.
SEMRush is another research tool, similar to Ahrefs. Though, it stands out in that it has many other areas of focus in addition to organic search, like paid search analysis (e.g. Google Ads). Similar to Sparktoro’s Audience Intelligence feature, SEMRush offers an interesting analysis report called Audience Insights. With its help, you can compare your business to your competitors, find who is the leader in your niche, and even find the least noticeable competitors.
Coming as a less-expensive alternative to SEMRush and Ahrefs, Ubersuggest is also easier to use. It offers you a complete review of your competitors, the keywords you’re targeting, and your website altogether. Ubersuggest is very focused on content in particular – so it does not have some of the features SEMRush and Ahrefs have. But, if your primary interest is content and search rankings, it should be sufficient.
Frase is a great topic research and editing tool to help you find good content ideas and write better articles.
In short, Frase compares your website to your competitors’. If by any chance, you forgot to mention an important keyword, or if there is a big gap that makes your website rank lower, you’ll know! Plus, to save you some time, this tool also generates a summary of the content you’re interested in.
By using AI and natural language technology, Marketmuse analyzes the top pages on a given search term to give a better overview of what high-authority websites look like. By emulating their model, you can better plan your marketing strategies and craft your content in such a way that benefits your business.
Personalized content for everyone
Not everyone in your audience is at the same stage of the buying process. Some people are done with the research stage and they are ready to pay, so you don’t have to do convincing work anymore. Other people are in the consideration stage, they don’t want to buy. They’re just screening your offers. And some people, well… haven’t even heard about your brand.
So let’s see how you can personalize your content to appeal to everyone.
TOFU, MOFU, BOFU – what are these, and why do they matter?
According to how ready your potential customers are to pay for your services, the sales funnel is divided into three main parts.
- TOFU (speaking of vegan restaurants). Jokes aside, this refers to the top of the funnel and it’s also known as the awareness stage. People in this stage are not yet aware of what your business is, so content in this stage is meant to be more broadly applicable and educational for people in your target audience. An example of TOFU content would be a broadly educational article. Let’s say you are a marketing agency targeting restaurants. A TOFU article topic could be something like, “Tips to improve your restaurant’s online presence”
- MOFU – the middle of the funnel is the stage when potential customers are interested in your type of services. A MOFU article topic for this same example as above could be something like “How to build your restaurant’s website to get new customers”
- BOFU – the bottom of the funnel is the stage where your customers are ready to buy. The only thing you need to do is show them that you’re the best option. A MOFU article topic for this above example would be something like a case study, like “How our agency helped this restaurant bring in a ton of new customers.”
In a real shop, you won’t approach customers with the same line over and over again, so why do it online?
That’s exactly why you should have a variety of content based on different funnel stages. Generally speaking, most businesses tend to focus on BOFU because it is the most profitable stage.
However, you should expand your content and make it more accessible to other people in different stages too (like TOFU or MOFU).
Also, TOFU content can be less competitive for ranking in search, and also has a ton of traffic opportunities.
A wider audience doesn’t necessarily mean more sales, that’s true.
But, posting constant, relevant, and informative content will draw people’s attention, and even if you’re not converting 90% of them into leads, they will still see you as a high-authority presence in your niche. Over time, due to this popularity, even people that are just discovering your posts will be more inclined to buy your products.
“How do I make sure I correctly target my audience?” you might wonder.
Let’s say you’re a marketing agency focused on eCommerce brands, but your content is very BOFU. For example, you’re focused on ideas like “how to hire a digital marketing agency for your eCommerce business”.
Sounds great in theory, but it’s very specific. You’re targeting only people that are ready to buy – which, let’s be honest, is a small audience.
Now, if you address topics like “eCommerce software reviews”, that’s a more TOFU-like approach and it’ll attract a broader audience. You don’t promote your product right away, but you’re talking about your opinions, and some people want to read that.
This way, your content is both BOFU and TOFU-friendly and you’ll attract a wider audience. The more people relate to your topics and are curious about them, the more they will come for your expertise.
Once they see your content and they get into your funnel, it’s easier for you to convert them into potential customers and help them make a decision.
So, before you publish content, the very first thing you should do is study what your audience is interested in. After that, make a list of keywords and topics that you can talk about.
Are there any other ways to generate content ideas?
Sure! Here are the most efficient methods that drive visible results:
Competitor research is a great option to see what topics they approach and, most importantly, how they do it.
Investigate what they’re doing, and notice how their audience is engaging with them:
- What do their most popular posts look like?
- What are their least popular posts about?
- How do they reply to negative feedback?
- Are they professionally replying to their customers, or are they choosing a more casual tone?
Ask Your Customers
Alternatively, go straight to the source and ask your customers what topics they are interested in.
Whether you use different polls, plug-ins on your website or you contact them individually to respond to a questionnaire, it’s up to you. But make sure you create content related to that. Look out for interesting insights like:
- What are their interests?
- What are their challenges?
- What kind of content would they like to see more often?
- How much would they be willing to pay for services similar to yours?
Review Your Website Data
Last but not least, analyze your website and content. This way, you can see:
- What posts did your audience like most?
- How many shares on social media did you get and about what topics?
- What keywords did people use when they landed on your website?
- Do they access your website through mobile devices or desktops?
- What are the age, gender, and location of your audience?
Anything you find, put it to good use. The more you know about your audience, the better you can customize your services for them.
Don’t forget to check other platforms too!
Researching blogs’ competitors is a good idea, but it’s not the only good one. There are also a lot of platforms that can give you useful insights about your audience and how you can optimize your content:
- Social media
Most of these platforms let their users customize their profiles, so you can use this to your advantage. By using the audience research tools we talked about and integrating them in your strategy, you can find valuable information like:
- Who does your audience follow?
- What websites do they visit?
- What podcasts do they like to listen to?
- How does your audience describe themselves on social media?
Personalized content gets you a wider audience
Getting too specific can be detrimental to your website’s traffic.
And that’s when content marketing strategies come into play – to help you “nail your niche” and create helpful content made for your target audience.
But keep in mind that there is no “one-size-fits-all” way to build an audience. Try different strategies and tools until you and your audience are happy with the results.
One thing is sure – whatever stage your public is at in the buying cycle, make sure you catch their eye and get them into your arena. This way you’ll get them familiar with your brand, and eventually, they will use your products or services.
Co-Founder at Postaga
Personal Twitter: @andycabasso
Company Twitter: @PostagaApp
Andy Cabasso is a digital marketing professional, speaker, and lawyer. He is the co-founder of Postaga, an all-in-one platform for link building and email outreach. Prior to Postaga, he started, grew, and then successfully sold a digital marketing agency.