Many marketers struggle to create the right content for the right audience. Casting the net too wide, they end up missing their targets and alienating the people they’re meant to be engaging. So how do you create unique content for a niche audience? Björn Owen Glad investigates.
In one of his most widely-shared articles, content marketing guru and CMI founder Joe Pulizzi writes about a problem that many marketers face. Their content – failing to stand out from the crowd – disappears into the ether, leaving no lasting impact or impression upon its intended audience. Low website visitor numbers, high bounce rates and low open rates are unfortunately an everyday reality for many marketers.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Joe Pulizzi poses an interesting rhetorical question: “Is the content you are creating and distributing for your customers any different than anything else out there?”
The answer for many marketers is (embarrassingly) ‘no’. Creating unique, relevant and engaging content takes time, resource and a well-considered content marketing strategy. Many brands instead opt for generalist content that isn’t unique to a specific audience – content that they hope will instead appeal to the masses.
This is the same approach that leads brands to set up blogs for the sake of it, rather than focus their energies on producing content that adds value. Publishing a whitepaper every quarter becomes more important than thinking about what it should focus on. Writing a blog becomes a perfunctory task, devoid of any strategic planning or insight. The writing’s on the wall before you’ve even begun.
Content marketing author and strategist Robert Rose says that content marketing is about creating ‘the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of impact’. In other words, it’s about create content that prompts the desired response – quality over quantity. But the difficulty is knowing what this content should be.
By asking these three questions before you start, you’ll be setting yourself up for content marketing success.
1. Who is your target audience?
Many brands make the mistake of categorising their audience too broadly. ‘Women between 35 and 45 years old’ is not a target audience. ‘Women between 35 and 45 who have a doctorate in political science and work as managers in the public service’ is a target audience. The narrower you can be with your personas, the more targeted your content.
2. What’s your area of expertise?
Whatever your service or product, there are probably other brands producing content on similar topics. To engage your audience, you must either be so good that the audience abandons your competitors or so niche that you fill a gap in the market. Think about how to nail the latter.
3. Which channels are right for you?
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s time to find the right channels for your messaging. Depending on what your audience’s content consumption habits are, some channels will be more useful to you than others. At the same time, channel selection in itself can help you differentiate. Perhaps there are hundreds of blogs on your area of specialism, but very few podcasts? Or maybe your competitors are all about e-books and no-one’s producing YouTube videos? Your channel and format choice can really boost your appeal to your target audience.