In this blog I will help you to understand how to create authentic content that will engage your target audiences and drive more traffic to your website. The desired outcome is simple, you want to increase the number of leads and sales on your website! The key is to know your target audiences and provide them with the right type of content that they want to see, which answers the questions they need answered.
You often hear the term “CONTENT IS KING” – well folks… it’s actually true! The best content should be interesting, relevant, engaging, educational, downloadable, sharable and memorable and provide genuine value to your target audiences – your customers.
So, let’s get started…
1. Build Customer Personas – Understanding Your Target Audiences
Customer Personas help you to create a representative sample of a particular target audience. They are based on the analysis and research of real customers – your existing customers and your potential customers. Much of this information can be collected from your existing customers. However, to build a picture of your ideal customer you should carry out a number of online surveys using your existing customers and your potential customers.
Use your social media channels and your existing email lists to carry out your surveys. Here you can invite your audience to participate in your surveys and entice them to do so with some kind of reward at the end – possibly a draw for a free product or service that you provide.
This helps you to build a much clearer picture of your ideal customer through better quality information such as their personal motivations, what kind of communication they prefer, what social media channels they use, and, most importantly, the type of content and interaction they like and respond to. You need to generate an understanding of their demographics, needs, wants, desires, likes and dislikes, and in particular, what channels they use on a regular basis so that you can reach and connect with them online.
Some of you may already have this information at hand, but why not do a quick exercise and review your Customer Personas. For those of you who don’t have any customer personas created at this stage, then you need to START NOW!
Connecting your ideal customer with what you sell [service or product]
Understanding your current customer and your ideal customer is really important. You need to know exactly who you are selling to and what you are selling to them. Believe it or not, many businesses do not spend enough time to really understand their target audiences and often fail to communicate with them effectively.
One of the main reasons for this is that they are not answering the types of questions that their audiences are asking. And if you are not answering the types of questions they are asking, then WHY should you expect them to buy from you? So, understanding your target audiences is crucial.
Let’s look at what’s involved in creating authentic content.
2. Create Authentic Content
I genuinely believe that content is the most important aspect of any digital marketing strategy. It is the glue that holds the entire process together. If you consider each area of your digital marketing strategy, the one overarching component is content.
Authentic Content is the glue that holds your entire digital marketing strategy together.
At every stage of your online interaction with your target audience, the one thing that matters most is the quality of the content you provide. This is your voice and your conversation. The authenticity of your content defines you and your business.
When audiences engage with your content you need to make them feel confident, supported and valued. They need to immediately perceive you as knowledgeable, supportive and generous with the information you share. You need to make your audience see you as the authority in your specific area. You need to reassure them and convince them that they can trust you.
So, to do this you need to be creating authentic content that provides them with an overall interpretation of who you are as both an individual and as a business. You need to build a level of trust so that your audience now perceives you and your business as trustworthy, thus providing them with the confidence to buy into your services or products. With online audiences being subjected to so much information and advertising, they are becoming better at spotting fake from truth.
Let’s face it folks, authenticity = honesty! And a smart audience will be able to separate the faker from the real deal!
Your ultimate aim is to have your brand recognised for its quality, service, honesty and transparency, and why… because you want your target audience to remember your business through these values when they are ready to make their decision to purchase the services or products that you provide. Being fresh in their minds at the point of purchase, for all the right reasons, greatly enhances the prospect of a sale!
3. Authentic Content Builds Reputation
The benefit of good quality, authentic content is that it has a major impact on your online reputation. And reputation is everything! So, how does this work? Well, there are a number of factors to consider. To start with, reputation is built on how your audience reacts to your content. If they like what they read and see [blogs, infographics, video, podcasts etc.], and the content is sharable or downloadable, then they are more likely to share it with others. If they don’t, then they won’t!
The more your content is shared, the more visible you become online. By building up these online interactions, engagements and relationships through your social media channels, your business stays afresh in your audiences’ minds and can influence their buying decisions.
Customer Experience is the key to good Online Reviews
Customer experience is an important factor in building your online reputation. After all, if your customers are happy then they are more likely to applaud you for meeting or surpassing their desired outcome. And how do they do this? By writing quality 5-star reviews on Google or using a platform like Trust Pilot! Simple as that!
NOW – when your target audience is searching online for a service or product that you provide, and they see that you have a 5-star review from one or more of your existing customers, then they immediately build a level of trust in what they see and are more likely to click on your website link to fulfil their search.
Influencing your Customers’ Buying Decisions
Good customer reviews, whether it’s on Google or testimonials on your website, will have an impact on how your target audience perceive you online. If you get a 5-star review then your potential customers will see this as “more trustworthy” – and of course, that’s what you want.
Your audience will be influenced by what they read about your business online. Therefore, by building up good reviews online you are influencing your customers’ buying decisions, which means they are more likely to buy from you.
By the same logic, bad reviews online will also influence their buying decisions – so you really need to avoid this at all costs! Remember, emotion and relationships play a major role in the users buying journey online.
Here is a step-by-step approach you should consider:
- Create good authentic content
- Share your content by distributing it via the social media channels your audience use most frequently
- Entice your audience to share your content via their social media channels
- Sharing content equals increased online visibility
- Increased online visibility means that your business will remain fresh in your audiences’ minds
- Being fresh in your audiences’ minds will help to influences their buying decisions
- Once a customer has bought into your services or products and experienced the level of service you provide, [customer service and experience], then they are more likely to provide a positive online review via Testimonials, Google Reviews or Trust Pilot reviews etc.
- Good quality, positive reviews – 4 star and above – will influence other potential customers who are searching for the products or services you provide
- Positive reviews build trust and confidence and is an important factor in driving traffic to your website for increased leads and sales.
- Finally – Google sees positive reviews as a measure of how well you serve your target audience and use this as a factor in determining your online reputation, which in turn will boost your Google ranking. After all, your ultimate aim is to get Google to present your website on page one of the search results pages, as a “Best Fit” to answer searches for products or services that you provide in your immediate location, nationwide and further afield.
4. Authenticity Equals Honesty & Trust
With so many selling techniques online, the user has to be able to be able to distinguish between businesses that are there to take your money at all costs and businesses that aim is to provide you with a genuine quality buying experience that you want to share with others.
So, when it comes to getting your message out in front of your target audience, don’t focus your attention on creating content that mainly advertises your business from a selling perspective as this only tells your audience that you are pushing sales!
Instead, start an authentic conversation with your audience, focused on answering the questions they need answered and providing the solutions they require to make their lives more productive and enjoyable. This tells them that you are interested in them, that you are trustworthy and that you are interested in the life time value [LTV] of that customer.
So, avoid the hard sell approach. Think about what your audience desires and provide this to them. Your content needs to focus not on selling your business but on responding to the needs of your customer and providing solutions to the questions they are asking and the problems they are facing.
5. So, what makes your content Authentic?
Authenticity is simply honesty. Being honest is the best approach. Provide your audience with honest answers to the questions they are asking. Avoid patronising to them. Speak to them from their need’s perspective. Don’t shout down their throats or barrage them with useless data that is too hard to consume. This will only isolate them from the conversation.
Instead, treat them with the respect they deserve. Be kind and inviting. Your content should be engaging, interesting, relevant, educational, sharable and downloadable. And above all else, your content needs to be of value to your audience.
Tone of Voice
Tone of voice is important and builds consistency in communication with your audience. Maintain consistency in your message and in how you address your audience. Be authoritative at all times but perhaps introduce humour or will where required. Avoid monotony and repetitiveness. Satire may work, depending on your specific target niche. Write as you see things in a language that your audience understands.
Be the Authority
By writing from the perspective that you are always answering your audiences’ questions and providing valuable information for them, tells them that you know what you are talking about. This will provide the confidence and reassurance that they are looking for. The honesty and transparency they need to believe that you are indeed an authority in your specific field.
Spending a considerable amount of your time engaging with comments on your social media channels also tells your audience that you are there for them. You make yourself available to respond to their comments and in doing so you build your level of engagement and make your audience feel valued.
Build your reputation by seeking reviews and testimonials from your audience and publish these throughout your website and social media channels. When your audience sees that you have customers commenting positively about your business or services then they will perceive this as positive, honest and trustworthy.
Focus on the Customer/User
The content you create needs to be focused on your ideal customer and their buying journey. Being visible at all stages of their buying journey by providing engaging and sharable content provides them with a valuable end-user experience.
Research Your Topics
If you want to be considered the expert in your field and build the trust of your audience, then you need to make sure the content you provide is reliable and accurate. Make your content factually correct and reinforce important areas with references to sources where you obtained good quality data. This shows your audience that you have done the ground work and carefully researched the information you have provided. This builds reputation and trust.
6. The Value of Authentic Content
I have included a quick summary of the value of authentic content and what this means to you and your audience.
- Your audience builds up a trust in what you have to say
- Reliable and engaging content increases trust
- You become recognised as an authority in your area – the place to go to get your questions answered
- You reach the audience you want to work with and build conversations with them
- Your message and your brand remain fresh in your audiences’ minds when making buying decisions
- You build brand loyalty and customer retention by providing valuable content that answers your audiences’ questions
- Authentic content is more sharable within your niche audience as they will value the content and feel confident in sharing it
- Creating the right type of content, which consists of good research, valuable information, text, video, infographics, podcasts etc – will provide more engagement and sharing opportunities and reduce monotony
- Become the influencer! Your Brand and Authenticity is paramount to building trust with your audience. By being authentic you will build lasting loyalty, interaction and confidence with your audience and existing customers. Provide them with the user experience they deserve.
As I mentioned at the start of this blog article, the purpose of this blog article is to help you to understand how to create authentic content that will engage your target audiences and drive more traffic to your website. The desired outcome is simple, you want to increase the number of leads and sales on your website! The key is to know your target audiences and provide them with the right type of content that they want to see, which answers the questions they need answered. Become the authority and the influencer!
Now you need to ask yourself the important question… can you do this alone or do you need to build-in a support structure to make this happen for you and your online business? Remember, you are the expert in your field of business but are you prepared to put in the time to become an expert in content marketing?
Or, perhaps this blog article has helped you to better understand where you can use your current skills to carry out various parts of the workload involved, while also identifying where you will need to factor-in support to achieve the outcome you desire.
If you need more advice on how to move forward with your Content Marketing, then click here to get in touch with us. We are here to help make it happen!