Many businesses understand the importance of creating content to support an SEO campaign; they know that more, high-quality content will boost their authority, provide more text that can be optimized for target keywords, and will attract more inbound links from offsite authorities. However, writing “good” content isn’t enough to guarantee you the best results for your campaign. You also need to ensure that your content is targeted for a specific audience.
Benefits of a Targeted Audience
Your initial instincts might lead you to believe that a broader, more general audience is better to target; after all, targeting a wider audience means you’ll have a bigger range of potential readers and customers. However, narrowing your range has a number of benefits that general audience targeting can’t match:
- Brand differentiation. Choosing a specific audience to target immediately differentiates your brand from those of your competitors. This means you won’t be facing stiff competition on the SERPs, and you’ll have an easier path to gaining visibility. For example, offering investing advice for beginners will instantly make you stand out from other investing companies targeting more experienced investors.
- Higher audience relevance. You’ll be working with a smaller audience, but the content is going to be more relevant to them. That higher relevance means you’ll see higher engagement rates and hopefully, higher conversions as well. For example, writing an article about relieving student debt will be more relevant to students facing student loan debt than a general article about paying down debt.
- Clearer long-term goals. Finally, choosing a specific target audience gives you clearer long-term goals. Instead of focusing on general goals like increasing traffic, you can zoom in on getting a specific demographic to your site and converting them.
Choosing and Writing for a Target Audience
So how are you supposed to choose and write for a specific target audience?
- Know your candidates. First, sketch out all of the possible demographic segments that you could target. Consider things like age, economic status, marital status, genders, geographic locations, and other factors that might make someone want your product. Some initial market research can help you understand which demographics will be most profitable (and easiest) to target for your brand.
- Look at the competition. Before finalizing your decision, you’ll also want to look at the competition. What target demographics are they writing for? Where are they lacking? If your competitors are focusing on highly general content, you should have no trouble optimizing for the best audience for your brand. Otherwise, consider optimizing for a segment that your competitors aren’t covering.
- Conduct surveys. Once you have a target audience in mind, you can understand what they need in a blog or resources section by conducting market surveys and evaluating their needs. Ask your prospective readers what they currently read, what they think of it, and what they’d like to see more of. Use this information to fuel your subsequent keyword research, and put together an initial editorial calendar. This shouldn’t form the basis for your entire campaign, but it will give you a good starting point.
- Create a customer persona. Once you learn a little more about your customers, you’ll be able to put together a customer persona, which will give you a formalized description of your target audience. Learning to write in a tone that this audience will appreciate may be challenging, but you can use their wants, needs, and perspectives to shape the direction of your content.
- Evaluate your content’s performance. Once you’ve published a handful of articles directed to your target audience, make sure to take your audience’s pulse. How are people reacting to this content? How is your audience starting to grow? Use this as a diagnostic to direct your efforts further.
With targeted content, you might work with a narrower range of readers, but you’ll likely see higher traffic and more conversions, regardless; you’ll also face less competition. If you’re skeptical about the benefits of your specific targeting strategy, consider segmenting your content efforts and evaluating which segment performs better. You can always hedge your bets by targeting multiple specific audiences.