Content is King, but Knowing Your Audience is Bae
You’ve heard it before. You may have said it yourself. And who knows – you might even have it tattooed on your lower back (we won’t judge).
CONTENT IS KING!
These words were first uttered by Bill Gates way back in 1996, when most of the Vertbags were still in elementary school, but it’s come to define a lot of what we do on a day to day basis. What Gates said then still rings very true today; the modern Internet is indeed “a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.” (via)
However, a few things have changed since 1996. Publishers now have opportunities to customize content to attract and engage very specific audiences – and even to customize how the content is presented to one audience or another. And on social media, everyone’s a publisher. So how do you take advantage of these opportunities, as a user or as a brand, with or without your own buzzing newsroom?
Knowing your audience is bae. To build an effective content strategy, Before Anything Else, you’ve got to know who you’re talking to.
You can create dozens of insightful, well-researched, visually stimulating pieces of content, but if you don’t push them out with the right messaging on the right platforms to attract the right people, you aren’t going to get anything done. Before you start putting the time and effort into developing great content, think about this:
Who are you talking to? Note that there’s a big difference between who you WANT to be talking to and who you’re ACTUALLY talking to (unless you’re exclusively pushing content out through targeted paid media, which is a whole different conversation).
What platforms are they using? Targeting your content toward teens or millennials? Facebook probably shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your social content strategy; Snapchat or Instagram might be a better option. If you’re talking to baby boomers, though, perhaps Snapchat isn’t the best fit.
How do they want to be talked to (and how do they talk to each other)? Get a feel for the ways in which your audience communicates both with brands and with each other, and use that knowledge (although in many cases, you’ll want to do so sparingly). It can be tough to maintain your brand voice and identity while also speaking in a way that your target audience will find authentic and engaging, but the most effective messaging strategies have found a sweet spot between the two. Pro tip: limit your “bae”s and “on fleek”s and “lordt”s.
So yes, content IS king – but knowing your audience is bae. Do your research first and use it as the foundation for every tweet, headline, and infographic you publish. It’ll pay off, I promise.