Content Marketing has become a hot topic over the last couple of years as social media has exploded and placed significantly more control of brands in the hands of consumers. Take a look at this five year chart of searches for “content marketing” from Google Trends.

Content Searches

Effective content marketing requires brands to watch, listen, and learn what content and messages consumers find engaging and where it is capturing their attention. But gaining insights into these two aspects of content marketing only gets marketers two-thirds of the way there.

The third and arguable most important key to effective content marketing is identifying the target audience. Marketers must know who is in their target audience in order to know whether or not the content they’re creating (the “what”) and the places it’s being shared to and engaged with (the “where”) are in fact resulting in greater brand awareness among the target audience and demand for the product or service.

The need to develop a deep understanding of the target audience is nothing new to marketers. Best practice has traditionally involved creating target personas at which brand positioning, marketing programs and campaigns are targeted. All too often, marketers fail to compare the attributes of their actual audiences against those of their target personas in an effort to answer important questions like:

  1. Is my content reaching audience segments that closely match my target personas?
  2. If yes, then is this effective targeting driving higher performance including lifts in brand perception and awareness and/or sales conversions?
  3. If no, then what does the audience my content is reaching look like? Do these differences signal opportunity in the form of promising new market segments or doom in the form of time and money wasted on content that isn’t performing?

So, if you are investing time and money in content marketing and expect it to deliver measurable business results in the form of increased reach, awareness, engagement, and sales, then integrating target personas and actual audience data into your planning and measurement processes is critical.

At our free WOMMA webinar Thursday. Aug. 14th, I will provide an overview of the opportunity for audience data to drive content marketing performance, as well as a few best practices and technology tips for collecting, analyzing, and acting on this data to make not only content smarter, but also advertising work better.

To register and find out more about the webinar, How to Create Brand Buzz Using Social Audience Data and Smart Segmentation, click here.

Originally posted at Effective Content Marketing Requires Deep Audience Understanding