Content Strategy: How to Find Your Target Audience

When it comes to content marketing, your first step should be to figure out your content marketing goals and who is your target audience. Content marketing goals could include one or more of the following:

  • Positioning your business as an authority in your industry.
  • Attracting new clients through informative content.
  • Attaining more traffic from search engines.

All of these goals require you to first determine the audience you want to write for. And no, search engines should never be your target audience – people should be! If you’re having trouble figuring out who your content’s audience should be, then continue reading to find some valuable questions to ask and strategies to use to narrow them down.

Internal Clues

Obviously, your marketing team has some good insights into who they will be targeting. But don’t forget about other team members and departments within your business as they can give you some great insights into the kind of content that would be fitting for the types of people they work with.

Your Sales Team

If you want your content to be a lead generator for new business, then your sales team can help in defining the perfect customer profile as your target audience. They could tell you…

  • The types of businesses and industries you could create content for.
  • The level of information (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) needed to impress the decision makers at these types of businesses.
  • The topics that the perfect customer would be most interested in reading.
  • The blogs that the perfect customer is probably already reading.

Besides the perfect customer, your sales team could also tell you the different types of customers that you are already working with so you can tailor your content to attract more just like them.

Your Customer Support Team

If you want your content to be helpful to your current and future client base, then your customer service, help desk, and support team can help in defining the right content for your target audience. They could tell you…

  • The content topics they would most likely direct their many support requests to.
  • The level of information that most of the people they communicate with would want to read.
  • The different ways the content could be formatted to help your customers (ebooks, video, whitepapers, etc.).

As an added bonus, potential clients might be more willing to work with your business if they see that you have lots of additional educational content about your products or services easily accessible on your website.

Analytic Clues

Next, you can use various analytics tools to find out more about your current audience. These tools include the following.

Google Analytics

If you have goals set up in Google Analytics, then you can see some information about the type of audience that already either purchases from you or signs up for lead generation tools like your mailing list. If you don’t have goals set up on your website, be sure to read these articles in the Google Help Center (About Goals and Set Up Goals) and come back to this section after you’ve gathered some data.

With goals set up, you can go to various areas of your Google Analytics to learn more about the traffic on your website most likely to convert.

Simply click on the corresponding Goal Set (usually Goal Set 1) under the Explorer or Map Overlay tab of your Google Analytics data (as shown above) to see the conversion rate for the following traffic data.

  • Location - Find out where your biggest converting audience comes from under Audience > Overview > Location. This will help you tailor your content with information specific to different regions. For example, a social media marketing business in the UK might realize most of their converting traffic comes from the U.S. Hence, they could use U.S. related statistics in their content when talking about social media networks.
  • Technology - If your business is interested in creating mobile content, you should look under Audience > Technology > Devices. This will help you tailor your mobile content to the types of technology your main audience that converts uses. If your business plans on developing a mobile app, you might find that the majority of your leads / buyers use iPhone over Android (or vice versa), or iPad over iPhone. Hence, you will know which platform to build your app for first.
  • Traffic Sources – Take a look at your conversions in relationship to your Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic. Here, you might see that Facebook traffic tends to convert the best. Hence, you will want to create content that resonates best with a Facebook audience.
  • Landing Pages – If you already have content on your website, you can go to Content > Site Content > Landing Pages to see which content draws in a converting audience. Continue to create related pieces to bring in more of the same kind of audience on your website to increase conversions.

If you don’t have goals or a website where you can implement goals, then your next bet is to look at the above areas of data to see which traffic has the lowest bounce rate, most time on site, and most pages viewed. This is another good way to determine what type of audience is the right kind for your business.

Facebook Insights

Assuming that you’ve never purchased likes for your Facebook page, your Facebook Insights should give you a good look at your target audience demographics and location including age, gender, cities, and language.

To see this report, go to your Facebook Page > Insights > Likes. You can also look at demographics for the people who interact with your updates on Facebook by viewing the Reach and Talking About This sections of your insights.

YouTube Insights

Did you know you can see basic insights into the audiences of any video on YouTube, assuming the video has enough views?

This means that you can start look at videos made by your own business or anyone in your industry and check out demographics to see the top locations, genders, and age groups that tend to enjoy the content. It also might help you determine if there is a good audience for your business’ video marketing content.

Using Competitors

Last, but not least, there is some information that you can glean off of your competitors using the following sites. This can help you further pinpoint the type of audience you would be creating content for.

  • DoubleClick Ad Planner – If your competitors have a big enough website, you will be able to see some demographics data including age, gender, education, and income by visiting Ad Planner and entering their domain in the search bar. Beneath the demographics, you will also see a list of audience interests by topic and related sites that their audience visits.
  • Facebook - If your competitor has a Facebook page, visit it and click on the number of likes the page has. You won’t get the full insights data, but you will see the most popular location of the competitor’s fans as well as the most popular age group.
  • The Competitor’s Blog – Want to know what content is working for your competitor? Find out by visiting their blog and seeing which posts have the most engagement. If the competitor’s blog comments allows links, you can even click through to the comment author’s website to learn even more about their community.

What are your best tips & tools for finding the right audience to cater your content towards?

Image Credit: thinkmedialabs



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17 thoughts on “Content Strategy: How to Find Your Target Audience

  1. Barry Adams says:

    Great stuff Kristi. I would add LinkedIn to the list of information sources as well. While it’s naturally biased towards the internet-savvy, it can be used to see what kind of industries and companies have specific needs & requirements (especially the Q&A section and group discussions can be very useful for that).

  2. Very nice list indeed. Google actually has a lot more you can use, once wrote about that here: http://www.stateofsearch.com/how-to-research-your-target-audience-with-google/

    I love how you call it ‘internal clues’. I often have this discussion at training sessions I do, students don’t realize that the target audience you can start off with is usually right around the corner.

  3. Great post Kristi

    Your point about You Tube – you may want to add ‘read the comments’ and ‘assess the sentiment’ of the feedback from the video.

    Just because your demographics say they watch it, doesn’t mean they like it.

  4. Neil Walker says:

    Nice post Kristi, I like using demographic data to define your audience. I also like using yahoo answers, you can set up a feed and use ifttt to auto email you any new questions asked about any keyword(s) you choose, great for content ideas and to find out more about what your audience could be, good read.

  5. Claire says:

    Asking the support team is simultaneously brilliant and so obvious that I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of it.

  6. Kristi Hines says:

    Can’t believe I didn’t think about LinkedIn – great reminder Barry! :)

  7. Kristi Hines says:

    Good point Pritesh! :)

  8. Kristi Hines says:

    Any of the answers sites (Quora, Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn Answers, etc.) make for great places to find content ideas! Thanks for adding that Neil! :)

  9. Kristi Hines says:

    No need to be embarrassed! A lot of companies overlook easy to tap resources. :)

  10. Yoav Burger says:

    Great post, Kristi. Lots of great information on content marketing and figuring out your target audience. You combine internal company information, the marketplace and analytics – along with LinkedIn discussion here. This is a great resource, and like your post on ‘8 Tips for Creating a Great Case Studies’ I am including it in Best of the Web, http://bit.ly/j3bestweb and Facebook http://ow.ly/cMCDn. Thank you.

  11. Brilliant idea, really appreciate for your information , from now on will use your strategy for my business .thanks a bunch for sharing this informative post

  12. Nicely laid out, Kristi and very practical too. Thanks!

  13. Kaushal Shah says:

    I like your point about asking Sales Team and Customer Support Team because they really know about what actually clients and visitors wants. Thanks for reminding me this approach when I have created first website, I used to update FAQ section of my each and every landing page. So that if visitor has any query it get solved immediately. I have not updated it since last one year.

  14. Velda says:

    Cool story on Content Strategy: How to Find Your Target Audience!! It is surely amongst the most useful that I’ve read
    in a very long time. We’ve been seeking this information.

  15. Swamykant says:

    Hi Kristi

    I usually check the Google Adplanner, Facebook insights and google Analytics.

    Do you know how to create personas ?

    Nice post.

  16. susan mernit says:

    Excellent post, thanks!

  17. Nice post kirtsi,

    I think it’ll be helpful for us for making best content strategy.

    thanks

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