For a long time the goal with content marketing was to reach a specific audience.
Your homepage is for your target customer.
Your service page is for your target customer.
Your blog posts are for your target customer.
Your guides and downloadable pdfs are for your target customer.
And so on…
Now things are getting a little more advanced.
Different content may have different target audiences even if the end goal is still to get your target customer to buy what you’re selling.
What Influences Your Target Customer…
Think about the last time you purchased something.
Let’s say a lawn mower.
You probably went online to do some research. Most people do that.
When you search for information about products online you’re looking at things like:
- Blog posts
- Social media
- And more…
You’re looking at all kinds of information. You want to make sure you’re making the best purchase.
Sometimes you might just go on Facebook and ask your friends for their input. Maybe you’ll just text one friend and ask them, “What lawn mower do you have? Do you like it?”
They might even respond with something like, “My parents have an XYZ. They love it. I’ve been thinking about getting one too.”
And that might be it. You trust their opinion and experience. It’s quick for you. You make the purchase.
So you then go online and search for “XYZ Mower”. The first result comes up and you quickly make the purchase.
The point here is that your target customers are influenced by all kinds of people and information when making purchases. You don’t need to just win them over with the content on your website. You need to win over everyone and anything that influences them…
Building Brand Signals
Brands are as important as ever.
Brands are what people remember. It’s what they recommend. It’s what they want. A brand is something that can be trusted (or mistrusted). A brand is something easily remembered. A brand is easily shared.
That doesn’t mean you need to come up with a clever brand name.
Some of the best advice I ever got was from a consultant. I was part of a team that was working on launching a new brand for a company I worked for at the time. We were struggling to come up with a name and the consultant said:
It doesn’t really matter what the name is. Just pick something that doesn’t offend anybody and over time your work will determine what the brand stands for.
Talk about a light bulb moment.
An example of a brand signal in the online world is a link. Say someone writes a blog post called the “10 Best Lawn Mowers” and they include 10 brands. That’s a signal that these brands are good options.
Even if that post didn’t include any links it’s still a brand signal just because they were mentioned.
Reviews are another example. So are videos that mention brands or podcasts that mention brands. Even things like employees on LinkedIn or employees on social media or a photo of a brand on Instagram.
They’re all signals.
The goal with your website content is to create brand signals.
The trick, and mindset change, is to focus on creating content that attracts all kinds of potential brand signals and not just from your customers, but from anyone that influences your customers.
If you only create content for your customers you’re missing out on a larger audience. A larger audience that has influence over your customer.
Bloggers. Journalists. Family and friends. Neighbors. Celebrities. Local celebrities. Business owners. Mentors. Kids. There are so many.
Have a brainstorming session with your team. Write down anybody that could have influence over your customer.
From there, think about all the content you could create that would be valuable to all those people. Blogs, videos, podcasts, guides, checklists, etc.
This is a big mindset shift for a lot of brands. It’s going to be strange if your customer, for example, is a 40-year old man because you sell mens jeans and occasionally you’re creating content for 25 year old men because you know that 40-year old men sometimes see themselves as 15 years younger and they look at what the 25-year old thinks is cool.
But that might be an example of how you approach content in the future.
Obviously you still want to create content for your customer. You want your selling pages to be targeted for your customer. But when it comes to other content…it’s not all about your customer anymore. At least not directly.