In a Digital world, implementing a content marketing strategy is a must-have for most BtoB companies. An effective content marketing strategy means a regular high-quality content to a specific audience with the aim to fulfill their needs (and not yours). But what is a specific audience? And how to define it?
I read books on Content marketing, attended courses and conferences and I learnt a lot. It is time for me now to carry out my theoretical knowledge on this topic into a concrete action plan for my company. As one of my teacher at GEM often says ‘Learning by doing”. Following this golden rule, I jumped into action with a lot of enthusiasm by writing my plan. And one of the most important steps in your content marketing plan is to define your audience which as to be specific.
“The more audiences you target, the more likely you fail” (Joe Pulizzi)
Joe Pulizzi writes in his last book Content Inc. “Your idea of the who doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be detailed enough. […….] The more audiences you target, the more likely you will fail. Focus on the most defined audience possible. As you get started, don’t get bogged down focusing on more than one audience. Choose one audience and become the indispensable expert to that audience.”
Defining a specific audience may be tricky
Following this advice and thinking of the definition of my specific audience I was rapidly stuck. At first sight you may believe it should be easy to define it but I can tell you it is not. In fact, you realize you can reach different targets and the one you may prioritize (i.e. your clients or prospects) is not necessarily the one to target. So, first I listed all my different targets who may have an interest to read our posts.
What really matters about your audience?
As Anna Handley writes in one of her book: “Think of your content, then, as any medium through which you communicate with the people who might use your products or services”. Here is the point, she did not write “with your clients” or “with your prospects”, she wrote, “communicate with the people”.
And I fully agree with this when you create content you should consider anyone who may interact with you. Of course, you should define a specific target especially at the beginning but at the same time, your readers are not necessarily the people you might think of. Let’s come back to my current problematic as a concrete example.
Are clients/prospects my specific target?
In my current company specialized in market research for the healthcare industry, we need to consider different audiences in our communication. Our mission is to help marketers in their decisions by delivering insights and high-quality research based on physicians or patients data collection.
So the first audience we could consider here as our main target is marketing departments from pharmaceutical companies. Besides this target, you have also two other targets (i.e. physicians and patients) which are at least as important as marketing department. Why? Because physicians and patients are our scarce resources and thanks to them we are able to deliver valuable data to our clients.
Broaden your vision
With Content marketing, you have the opportunity to deliver insights to physicians and patients highlighting the importance of market research. This way you show that their opinions matter and are even critical to improve and develop therapies or medical services (just as an example). By doing this, you create a deeper relationship with them with many positive effects:
↑ involvement ⇒ ↑ data ⇒ ↑ accuracy ⇒ ↑ quality ⇒ ↑ insights ⇒ ↑ client satisfaction ⇒ ↑ better decisions ⇒ ↑ health care improvement.
Think about other audiences with whom you may interact
Influencers and journalists specialized in healthcare are two important targets for us to spread our content. “A great way to develop your audience is to ensure that your writing appeals to industry influencers”, says Buffer CEO Leo Widrich.
Students in medicine, statistics or marketing must be considered as a valuable audience especially for the future as they are potential respondents, clients or co-workers. During their studies, they may browse our websites to find information on market research in healthcare.
Another target to consider are job applicants. A qualitative content marketing can attract talent by showing the company expertise. But not only, unveiling the company atmosphere is important too. This is also true for our clients, prospects or people we interview as we show who we are, this is a way to humanize our relationships with our audience.
Now, let’s talk about our competitors. With a content strategy implementation, you have to keep in mind that your mission is to help your specific audience. And with a qualitative content be sure your competitors will keep a close eye on it and this will stimulate the content from your industry. Why? Because your competitors will do the same by publishing even more qualitative content which is great. Once again the aim of an effective content is to bring something useful to your audience. We could even imagine merges on content by bringing to the clients different expertise or experience from different companies, different people. In addition, you will learn from your competitors.
Your employees are also part of your audience. All the company staff may be involved in the content strategy implementation and it is desirable. And some of them will even ask to contribute in the content writing. By including your current employees in your target, you will create a positive flow as they will be proud to get involved and to show their companies expertise. They will be your first ambassadors to create and share content. And do not underestimate the power of their networks. Based on 100 employees with 100 Linkedin contacts, you can easily reach 10.000 people. This is the snowball effect.
“Write for your audience’s audience” (Leo Widrich)
As a conclusion, I would like to say a specific target is not necessarily a specific person with a specific position. It is more about an audience who has specific needs linked to your business. So from our side, our specific audience could be described as people with a high interest in market research for the healthcare industry. And this way, we “don’t limit ourselves to just a certain audience as we want to make sure that our content is relevant to our audience’s audience at all times.” as Buffer CEO Leo Widrich says.