Creating Effective Content for Your Target Audience

September 8, 2023

mark gillespie director of content

Written by
Mark Gillespie

copywriter working on content creation service

“Content is king,” wrote Bill Gates in 1996, and his prediction has certainly come true. Anyone with something to promote is likely thinking about how to create effective content.

When we’re online, we encounter posts on social media that link us to articles on websites where we sign up for newsletters. We follow influencers, celebrities, idols, and mentors who serve our appetite for fresh content.

Americans spend almost eight hours a day consuming digital media. This includes blogs, social media, podcasts, streaming music, and video-on-demand reels. People often discover traditional media productions through social media, such as books, movies, and TV shows. Let’s look at how to develop a content strategy.

1. Find Your Target Audience

Your target audience includes people you want to engage with, and because they have an interest in your area of expertise, they are more likely to click on a link to your blog post or other piece of content.

Understanding target audiences often starts with identifying traditional demographics of your target audience, which can include age, gender, income, education, race, and geography, along with psychographics, such as their attitudes, behaviors and goals.. Demographic and psychographic data have helped shape advertising and traditional media production for decades.

A deeper way to think about your target audience is through marketing personas, which are research based fictional characters used to represent segments of your target audience. Imagine having your marketing personas in a room as you present your message to them.

Let’s take a national florist network as a scenario, and assume you know a certain percentage of your customers purchase gifts for their significant others’ anniversaries or other special occasions. You can create a marketing persona called “Thoughtful Spouses.”
Consider the products sought by Thoughtful Spouses, their spending habits, demographic profile, and any other relevant considerations. Create a new marketing persona for other significant audience segments such as Decorator, Hospital Visitor, Prom Date, and so on.

Marketing personas can help guide designers in developing creative assets and content producers for inspiration and tone in copy. Personas can help your team develop targeted content or ads for different segments of your audience, creating a more personalized experience. It will help make sure the right message goes to the right audience, which in turn can lead to increased engagement and sales.

2. Choose Your Content Channels

Your content channels dictate each post’s content type, frequency, and alignment with your specific content objectives and goals. At least one channel should be a place other channels link back to. Here’s a typical content portfolio:

Blogs

Blog posts are sequential writing pieces. You can post blog content on large publishing platforms like Forbes, Medium, LinkedIn, or Substack. Blog posts are effective in attracting organic traffic from search engines.

Your blog should be an audience resource rather than a personal diary. Content creation should center on offering advice and answering questions. If you do search engine optimization (SEO) keyword research before you write, you can find topics and questions people are already looking for.

Some of your topics can be reactive “newsjacking” opportunities, where you relate your thoughts to an emerging opportunity or trend. Some can be proactive, anticipating challenges, aspirations, or helpful resources your audience asks about.

A call to action (CTA) should invite your reader to learn more about you and/or your services. Include a CTA at the end of each post. It can be a subscription to a regular email newsletter, registration to an event, or a direct link to a related page on your site.
A blog’s success is often defined with two vital metrics: organic search traffic and lead generation, often via email subscriptions, free downloads, or coupons.

Social Media

Social media posts make your message part of your audience’s digital media habits.
Don’t leave social content creation to chance. Create a content calendar packed with posts, memes, video reels, and other branded content to get people to slow their scroll. Use hashtags that connect to popular interests.

Mention the social accounts of your colleagues, mentors, or guests to gain visibility with their followers. Use a similar composition, story structure, setting, and personal appearance each time.

You’ll also need to know the social channels your followers prefer. LinkedIn is most popular with professional networkers. Consumer audiences flock to Facebook for older-skewing audiences, Instagram for Millennials, and TikTok for Gen Z. Consult studies, such as this one from the Pew Research Center, for more in-depth information.

To gauge the overall health of your social presence, keep an eye on your number of followers within each social platform, and monitor the trend over time and how they engage with your posts.

Podcasts

Podcasts are audio or video programs that harken back to the golden age of the radio. They usually involve a host interviewing guests, but some podcasts are scripted with music and sound effects.

Podcasts engage listeners who might otherwise be unable to consume visual media because they’re driving, jogging, hiking, working out, or folding laundry.

You will need access to recording equipment, editing software, and a hosting platform with access to popular subscription services offered by Apple, Google, and Spotify. Many podcasters hire a production company to engineer their programs.

Subscriber numbers help you understand how wide of a reach your podcast has attained. While it’s impossible to click anything in an audio program, keep an eye on your direct traffic numbers on your website to get a general idea.

3. Build an Effective Content Strategy

Content marketing strategies tie everything together, including target audience, content goals, content creation, and success metrics. A long-term content plan describes how you produce content on an ongoing basis—meanwhile, a content calendar lists specific posts with time for planning, production, and review.

Here are the components of an effective content strategy:

  1. Target audience: Be specific and visualize personas. Your target audience’s assumptions will guide imagery, advertising filters, social media channels, hashtags, and the wording and tone of your presentation.
  2. Branding: Beyond logos, fonts, or colors, branding is also about how you present yourself. Are you in a suit, a uniform, or casual clothing? Do you use language that connects well with your audience? Do you incorporate themes that resonate with their values?
  3. Content Channels: Think about where people will encounter your content. Are they sitting at their computer, relaxing with their smartphone, listening through earphones, or scanning a QR code from a poster? Be comprehensive.
  4. Content Assets: List each type of content you’ll need, how much you plan to produce, your release schedule, and how you distill your central message into several formats. This section will guide the creation of your content calendar. It will also help you plan your time or budget for outside help.
  5. Audience Journey: Chart how your audience will move through your content from discovery to conversion—then think about measurable actions. A typical list would include organic search results, advertising clicks, printed QR codes, lead capture, scheduled events, and purchases.
  6. Success Metrics: Create a list of which numbers matter most to you. Include metrics from each stage of your audience journey. Use UTM parameters in your call-to-action links to attribute audience movement to specific actions.

Final Thoughts

Advantage Media can help you create an effective content strategy to delight and engage your target audience. Contact us today for a free consultation.

mark gillespie director of content

Mark Gillespie

Director of Content

Mark leads a team of full-time content developers and ghostwriters who amplify our Member voices through all available communications channels.

Mark’s background includes two degrees in English and more than 30 years of professional e...

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