A Genius Content Marketing Strategy Starts With Audience Research

6 tips on researching and creating content marketing campaigns that will resonate.

Content Marketing

A great content marketing campaign isn't about creating something catchy and popular. To really create content that will resonate, brands must gain a detailed understanding of their audiences – their particular needs, touchpoints, and interests. But it doesn't stop there. Brands must then support the content with marketing activities that will help consumers discover it.

A great content marketing campaign is unrivaled in its ability to reach, engage, and even thrill consumers. The way digital media enables global sharing and interactions means content now has the potential to snowball and go “super-viral” (I like to call it the “Gangnam Style” phenomenon). The best examples of content marketing are so powerful, they can end up defining a brand’s identity.

Swedish artist, Haddon Sundblom’s paintings of Santa in the 1930s commissioned by Coca-Cola helped cement his modern day image, as well as a lifelong association between the brand and the celebrated figure.

Other campaigns can result in the rejuvenation of an entire brand, refreshing the perception of a product and making it accessible for new generations and audiences, such as the “new” Old Spice.

Brands can reap huge rewards from a genius content marketing strategy. What does it take to enthrall consumers with the most enticing digital content?

6 Tips To Research & Create Content Marketing Campaigns

For brands looking to take on the challenge of architecting and running the next hit content campaign, here are seven tips to ensure your strategy starts on the right foot.

1. Do Your Due Diligence

When embarking on a content campaign, check out the competition and the kind of content your target consumers are browsing and sharing.

What types of content from competitors in your niche or vertical have achieved success in the past? Just be careful here, because a used idea can tire quickly.

For best results, focus on creating original, creative campaigns that offer consumers something unique and valuable.

Also, look at other niches for inspiration. You may be able to translate content from another industry into something relevant to your audience.

2. Build Audience Personas

Building personas of your audience is a great way to understand the interests of your consumers. Persona-driven marketing is as great way to make sure your content remains relevant for consumers.

It requires a bit of sleuthing, but these days there is plenty of information on social media about what customers like and share. By checking out what consumers like, follow, pin, or tag, you can create detailed composites of target audience personas. Again you can also check out the audiences of your competitors and target groups if you’re looking to grow audiences, and shape your content accordingly.

TGI from Kantar Media is also a fantastic tool for identifying audience personas. It enables you to define, understand, and effectively reach key target consumer groups by providing you with comprehensive “who, why and how” insights into consumer behavior.

3. Choose Your Weapons (And Use Them)

The P.O.S.T method of social strategy (People, Objective, Strategy, Technology) outlines the order of priorities for conducting a social campaign. Technology comes last, and indeed, choosing the platform on which you operate should only come after properly assessing your audience, objectives, and overall goals.

Several tools will help you research and gain a better understanding of your audience. For example:

  • Google AdWords Display Planner lets you view the sites, topics, and apps consumers are interested in.
  • Facebook Power Editor allows you to identify what other things users like based on the ones you already know.

Using these tools helps you understand which platforms consumers find useful and engaging, and better informs decision making when it comes to the technology with which to serve and promote your content.

4. Think About Technology & Apps Like Your Users

Be respectful of the way customers use technology. Consumers expect their experiences to be simple, purposeful, and seamlessly integrated with other platforms they use.

For instance, people are loyal to apps that add genuine value and simplicity to their lives. They don’t use apps to connect with a brand or because they offer a one-time discount or incentive for their purchases.

Mobile represents a crucial part of consumer experience, so some brands may feel the pressure to be present as part of a consumer’s mobile experience. However, the key to using mobile technology as part of a content marketing strategy is to approach it with the same attitude that consumers do: use them intuitively, and make sure you are providing something useful and valuable for your consumers’ lives.

5. Tap Into Shareable Niches

A few years ago, most content marketers worked generically across a range of verticals. As content campaigns have become more saturated, marketers have started targeting specific niches.

Content that serves specific niches can be appealing to that specific audience, and can naturally lead to sustainable content-led PR and digital marketing strategies. Working out which niches are suitable can often mean looking at your audience as a whole, and finding the path of least resistance in running and promoting a piece of content.

6. Amplify Content With Paid Media

Content creators generally view content marketing campaigns as something to promote via organic channels (after all, aren’t budgets best spent producing the best content possible?).

However, consumers are browsing digital channels interchangeably. Paid and organic media can, in certain scenarios, complement each other. Don’t be afraid to use both channels; after all, if your consumers don’t differentiate between them, then neither should you.

What are your tips on researching and creating a great content marketing campaign?