How do you effectively reach customers and prospective ones? Through content. Specifically, relevant content. Only relevant content is visible to your audience. We always talk about content marketing to attract audiences but it’s amazing how many businesses actually lose sight of the audience.
They produce content they believe are important. That’s why you get white papers, product sheets, list of partners, and company anniversary news on the website and social media.
We go through every day with heaps of content delivered, some of which lie unopened in our inboxes, much less opened. We’ve all gotten adept at ignoring irrelevant content. They’re just noise. We ignore the noise.
You don’t want your content to be ignored. So create relevant content.
What makes you open an email amidst the constant barrage? What makes you pause scrolling on your social media feed and actually read content from a business?
- It has the kind of entertaining content you like
- It has something useful and applicable personally or professionally (or both)
- It has an offer that can solve an issue relevant to you or someone close to you
In the age of AI, there’s no excuse for poorly executed content without a single one or a combination of those three.
Unless you create relevant content — relevant for your audience, not your internal people — you risk invisibility.
Relevant content = effective reach
Invisibility is what happens when nothing much seems to happen to your campaigns. If you’re wondering why you’re not getting traffic or clicks despite your consistent and promoted posts, take a hard look at how relevant your content is.
54% of B2B marketers do find that producing engaging content is their biggest content marketing challenge.
Is it the right content?
Is it in the right platforms or channels at the right times of day?
A lot of marketers create content they believe is important. However, they’re not the target audience. And they’re not always to blame here. Marketers often have to navigate requests to build content from other teams (product team, customer support team, the bosses) who believe they have important information to disseminate.
They often do! But there should be a team effort to make sure the messages are relevant, or delivered to the right audiences with the right angles.
For example, a company selling household cleaning products wants to release a whitepaper about household bacteria. That’s a bore.
Using data from their audiences, marketing and content teams can make that relevant in several ways:
- An infographic for a specific segment — moms with toddlers — about the surfaces they should always wipe down to make everything clean for crawling and curious kids who taste everything.
- A Pinterest post or a video on Facebook for another specific segment– working professionals, mostly millennials — on 7 Eco-Friendly Commercial Cleaners That Actually Work (and are Really Eco-Friendly).
Product features or scientific facts don’t appeal as much to new prospects as a clear and engaging post addressing their pain points. When you demonstrate that you see them and their pain points, they see you.
Moms are exhausted and they can’t always clean the whole house, so you give them a list of areas to concentrate on when they do have time during the day or evening for a wipe-down.
Millennials are busy so they can’t batch-mix vinegar solutions but they are eco-conscious, so you give them a list of cleaners they can use with good conscience.
A quick glance at top articles in platforms like Buzzsumo will show you that your audience wants solutions to soften the impact of their pain points, or make them go away altogether. But they don’t want to be sold to.
Stand in your customer’s shoes, a.k.a pay attention to their data
In the above example, you just happen to sell one or two cleaners…but you don’t sell, you help with relevant content they can apply.
Would that infographic move the needle? Probably. You have data to make sure that infographic works. Platforms like Hubspot can give you the keywords with the highest search volume.
Would that video exceed the number of views you expected? It might. Omnicore research found that video is 50% more effective in driving organic search results than plain text.
You no longer have to imagine yourself in your target segment’s shoes and make guesses. That’s a thing of the past. AI enables you to collect and look at customer data to find huge clues on what they find relevant, the specific pain points they have so you can build messages and campaigns that address those pain points, and in what channels you can reach them most effectively.
A data culture can help with content creation
When it comes to what prospects want, marketers and company decision-makers need to create and operate from a data culture.
Once data culture is established, marketers won’t have to struggle with assignments that don’t serve the customers’ demand and expectations for relevant content.
In a data culture, other departments would:
- Know what’s at stake in communicating with prospects and current customers based on their data.
- Cooperate to align content with their goals (informational goals, not just sales goals) and target segment interests.
- Cooperate for outside-in insights, surveying customers and prospects or looking at data to determine customers’ go-to sources, why, and how you can be one.
Everyone should be aware about the goal of meeting the buyers’ needs at every micro-moment in each stage of the buyers’ journey.
Relevant content saves you time and resources
Customer needs include the channels where your target audience can see and make the most use of your content.
Are they on Facebook or on Pinterest? Are you getting more responses on SMS than in email? Is that specific asset — for example, an alert to restock your customer’s organic hand soap — great on SMS and useless on email?
The number of channels available to us today is overwhelming. When you use the angle of relevance, it narrows down your choices instead of using the outdated spray and pray method and turning off your audience.
Omnichannel marketing is great, but it can be tricky to implement without a platform that stitches it all together for a smooth experience and gathers clean, complete data from them all.
How to make your content relevant
1. Get that outside-in insight. What are your target customers looking for? Do you have the answers they’re looking for?
What are your target audiences asking on Quora, Reddit, Yahoo Answers and pertinent Facebook groups and community pages?
2. Based on the above findings, create a segmented, micro-specific content strategy.
- A detailed buyer’s journey map
- Asset to buyer objectives in each stage/specific spot on the map
- Preferred channels
- How to measure success
3. Delete or re-optimize what’s not working, content and channels. Omnichannel, yes. Omnipresent, no. If your teams aren’t getting results from certain channels, drop them. If content is serving no buyer needs, delete it or rework it. You have the information in that content — now transform it into a helpful piece, instead of simply topical.
4. Maximize what’s working, content and channels. When you do step 3, you’ll notice:
- Content in the wrong format (long-form articles that could be shorter, or turned into videos).
- Content not getting the push it deserves (it’s great but no one’s seeing it — it needs to be marketed in the right channels).
- or content you could turn into a hundred Tweets — if you’re strong in Twitter.
There are AI tools and platforms which can analyze your existing content into preferred formats, like captions and tweets.
5. Incentivize user-generated content. After all, the content that’s most relevant to you comes from your peers, not businesses who are in it for the sale. Social media is social. Promote your reviews and testimonials. Reward people who review. Comment on the videos or posts of people who review your products, and then repost their content.
User-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate than all other forms of content posted on social media.
Relevance is content that answers a question and solves a problem; you have data to make that possible
Creating content according to user intent, matching your content to specific segments, creating content to delight existing customers and successfully cross-sell or upsell — these can be systematic and huge, requiring a whole process to achieve it at every stage, but it boils down to solving a problem or answering your customer’s questions.
Identify and assess your customers’ pain points so you can create relevant content that they stop and click to see and utilize, because it’s about them and their needs, in the platforms they already use.