Whenever the discussion turns to content, I hear more and more marketers complain, “no one is reading my content.” Sometimes it feels like that next blog post—or worse, that next ebook, video or other high-dollar piece of content where you’ve got to prove ROI—is a crapshoot. Will it work or not? Here’s a secret to help you load the dice before your next throw.
The odds are stacked against you
According to DigitalBuzzBlog, over two million blog posts are written every day. Nearly 300 billion emails are sent each day. Almost five million minutes are spent on Facebook, and 864,000 hours’ worth of video is uploaded to YouTube… each and every day. In other words, it’s awfully hard to be a special snowflake when there’s so much snow, or to take the house when the odds are so stacked against you.
The answer isn’t to stop doing content marketing. Those blog posts, ebooks and videos are going to make an impact on your business. You need infrastructure, and you need content that gives an interested user something to read, view and listen to. But you’ve got to get those users to your website before they can start to digest and enjoy all your amazing content. You can’t have the conversation if they’re playing at a craps table across the casino. You’ve got to get them to come to your table.
Write for an audience of TWO, not one
Lots of writers, writer’s resources and even content agencies and marketing consultancies preach the idea of writing for an audience of one. Typically, I couldn’t agree more; you need to have a clear picture of your target audience, and write content in a way that is provocative enough to move just one person into action. Because if you can’t move one, you can’t move more.
But if everyone in the world is writing great content—and they are—there’s got to be a differentiator to catch the notice of even one person. And, especially if that one person is not your existing customer, but someone you want to become one, then you’ve got to approach content marketing from a new perspective.
Instead of writing for an audience one, how about writing for two? You have a specific target audience in mind—now add to it a specific channel of distribution, too. In other words, don’t just write to the person you want to be your customer. Write to the person who wants to tell people why they should become your customer.
Load the dice before you throw them
The key to taking great content and getting it read is promotion. And the key to promotion is data.
The person who wants to tell the world about your amazing content isn’t likely to just stumble upon it, any more than your prospective customer will. You’ve got to use data to find out not just what your audience wants, but what the people your audience trusts want, too.
Whether it’s the perfect domain to talk about your product, or that special industry influencer whose word is gospel, you have to appeal to more than just your prospective customer. You can do this by using search to find out who and where online is talking about the things that are relevant to your target audience, and start to collect that data to inform your content marketing efforts.
For instance, if your audience is interested in role playing games, then websites like RPG.net, DNDInsider.com, and Paizo.com would certainly be influencers. Furthermore, blogs like Gnome Stew and The Iron Tavern are the perfect places for content promotion—whether it’s an earned media placement, a paid or promoted article, or an endorsement from one of their writers in an online forum or social medium.
You can use search, web scrapers and social metrics to dissect what content is most popular on those domains, which authors are most prolific, and who is posting comments. All of that data amounts to good signals to help your content creation.
Google is still a giant resource, with information relevant to you, your audience, and where your audience hangs out. Before you create your next blog post, video or eBook, decide to load your dice before you gamble—get the data you need to write for an audience of two, your prospects and the people and places they interact with.
Want to learn more about using search to maximize your content marketing? Sign up for my November 14th webinar and learn how to load the dice for your own campaigns.
Image credit: zoomar