4 Tips for Generating Successful Audience-Centric Content
1. Sell Your Product, Not Your Content
Content marketing provides marketers with a way to engage consumers with articles, blogs, videos and more through which they can integrate their brand message as well as specific products and services. But if that content doesn’t speak to the interests of the consumer or contain information that the consumer is seeking out, then marketers end up needing to sell both the content and their products and services.
For content to be relevant to consumers and attract their attention, marketers need to know the interests of their audience. Online search data is a great resource for this critical insight. Not only can search tell marketers what topics consumers are looking to learn more about, but search success rate (a metric that reports how often a given search term resulted in a click) can help marketers identify undeserved topics or topics for which there is a dearth of content.
A marketer in the pet space was seeking to engage pet lovers through owned content hosted on their site. Analysing thousands of variations of online searches that included the words “cats,” “dogs” and other common household pets using the Hitwise® online intelligence tool, several common themes emerged. One of the themes that appealed to the marketer was that of consumers seeking content related to pet consumption of human food.
To help the marketer prioritise the development of specific pieces of content to support that theme, Hitwise identified common human food-related search variations that had below average success rates. The result was the identification of food types for which consumers were seeking information, but for which they struggled to find content. For instance, searches related to chocolate, while common, also had a high success rate. Searches related to garlic, avocado and various nuts, on the other hand, were less likely to result in a click, as people were interested in this content but not finding the information with great success.
By developing and hosting content around the foods with below average success rates, the marketer was able to attract a large share of clicks on related searches. Those clicks mean more opportunities to engage their target consumer, introduce them to their brand and convert them to customers.
2. Understand how consumers speak about your products
Marketers can sometimes get so caught up in industry vernacular and expressions that represent either the traditional or the ideal way they feel consumers should search for their products and services that they lose sight of how people really speak. In addition to simply stepping outside of their bubble from time to time, online search reports can provide an eye-opening level of detail into both the common and uncommon ways that consumers search for information in their vertical.
Reports can track thousands of search variations, such as those that include important product or service-related keywords or those that successfully drive traffic to select sites. Marketers can also keep tabs on the competition by examining the search terms driving traffic to their sites and whether they are paid or organic. Monthly, weekly or daily reports comparing trends can further help marketers stay a step ahead of shifting consumer tastes as well as vernacular.
Having just wrapped up the Christmas and Boxing Day season where deals were seemingly everywhere, a retail marketer was looking for data which provided insight into the different ways that consumers look for deals.
An analysis of the Hitwise data revealed that when it comes to deal-oriented searches, the word “rewards” is by far the most commonly used followed by “deals” and “sale.” “Promo” and “vouchers” are searched less often. So if you were looking at a campaign to promote a sale, you might use “sale” and “deal” the most without giving notice to the fact that there are some pretty important gender skews behind those consumers using these terms. Using AudienceView, we were able to take a look at the consumers behind these searches. Overall, we observed that 60 per cent of the most common deal-seeking searches were conducted by women. However, men, interestingly enough, make up the majority of those consumers searching for “coupon” and “vouchers.”
As such, marketers seeking price-conscious men, would do better then to use keywords like “coupons” along with “vouchers” while those seeking price-conscious women may be more likely to use “deals” and “sale.”
3. Generate Content and Messaging for Key Audience Segments
Knowing what interests an audience and exactly how they search for products and services is important, but successful marketers know that they need consumer insights that extend beyond their business and their vertical in order to create meaningful interactions. To successfully tailor content to today’s complex, always-on consumer, marketers rely on high-definition audience profiles drawn from rich consumer insights layered on top of their own transactional and behavioural data. These profiles deliver vivid insights that tell marketers how their target audience thinks and behaves as well as their purchase history, channel preference and the optimal mix of media.
Maximising the benefit of the high-definition profiles requires a specific tailored approach for each targeted audience. It would be a huge waste if an audience is specified but there was no attempt to personalise the content and messaging to suit their individual interests. Marketers that take that extra—and necessary step—are able to create that meaningful and personalised connection that consumers demand, which leads to higher conversion rates and, ultimately, greater ROI.
A property company struggled to develop an effective content strategy due to a lack of understanding of key audiences beyond their basic demographics. By examining search variations driving traffic to property sites, Hitwise aggregated terms along similar themes and then used those themes to create four distinct
audiences of property buyers in AudienceView. The audiences included: First-time buyers, Movers, Investors and Refinancers. A high definition profile containing demographics, life stage, media preferences and interests was produced for each audience.
Two key segments of particular interest were the First-time buyers and Investors. First-time buyers tended to be younger women with aspiring careers and a desire to settle down. Investors were wealthy, middle-age men with an eye on retirement and financial security.
Clearly a one-size-fits all content strategy would not be able to effectively engage these two different audience segments. As such, Hitwise advised the property company to develop different sets of content as well as unique messaging strategies that would take into account the insights gleaned from the high-definition audience profiles.
Furthermore, knowing when these two segments are most active is also key in getting the best results and the analysis found that First-time buyers are most active in search during the months of January and February. Coincidentally, activity among Investors, while generally stable throughout the year, drops during the summer months.
4. Know the Preferred Channel for Your Target Audience
Knowing the preferred channel of a target audience is necessary before any specific content can be designed or created. That’s because the channel has a significant impact on the format and style of content that is most easily consumed.
For instance, print media allow for much longer-form content, but virtually no ability to customise or adjust the content once it has been “put to bed.” On the other hand, mobile is a channel that is garnering an increasing share of consumers’ attention, but often in shorter intervals. As such, mobile content needs to be “snackable,” meaning it can be consumed in a few minutes or less. But because mobile is a digital channel and enables geo-location-based targeting, it can be more highly customised to the reader and their location.
In fact, when marketers awaken to all of the different elements that need to be considered when choosing the content delivery channel, they realise just how important channel preference is to the entire content plan. High-definition audience profiles, like those discussed in the previous pages, should always include a focus on each audience’s cross-channel media consumption. This insight will help marketers make informed decisions about the best channels around which to optimise their content.
The same property company cited in the previous case study needed to identify the best channels through which to reach their two key audience segments with personalised content and messaging. The high-definition audience profiles developed by Hitwise not only identified the types of sites First-time buyers could be found visiting, it also revealed that these consumers are digitally-inclined and savvy users of mobile devices.
As such, the content would need to be easily consumed on mobile devices and in short periods of time. Infographics, quick investment tips and short videos with high visual appeal were the content format recommended for successfully engaging this segment through smartphones and digital tablets.