How you tell your brand story depends on two things: what type of business you’re in and who your audience is. The image you project and the brand you are developing must correspond with who’s in the market for what you provide. Once you determine the audience for your offerings, you need to know how to speak to that audience. You may offer products, services or information that your audience wants and needs but if you don’t undertake effective content marketing and communicate in a way to which they’ll respond, your message falls on deaf ears.
In my line of work as a content marketing consultant, I monitor alerts to discover content that pertains to my clients. I recently came across multiple articles about a New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) “gender pricing” study documenting the cost of women’s products vs. men’s products. Namely, that virtually the same product, targeted to women, cost 7% more, on average, than that targeted to men. The study evaluated over 800 products; the male/female price difference was reflected in everything from razors to jeans to toys. In some cases, women paid 42% more for the same product!
While the results of the study made me cringe (about how much I’m over-paying), what I found particularly interesting were the headlines that various online publications utilized to draw readers.
10 ways 10 companies pitched to 10 audiences:
- ‘Gender Pricing’ Means Men’s Products Are Cheaper, New York Study Suggests (Huffington Post/Canada)
- Why you should always buy the men’s version of almost anything (The Washington Post)
While each article contained generally the same information; some, like their headlines, were a bit more inflammatory and indignant. Notably, each headline skewed the content towards the perceived audience.
You can see from the headline examples that there are many ways to entice readers: from a “just the facts” statement to an offering of helpful advice or purveying questionable logic — even evoking fear or revulsion.
When you engage in content marketing, it’s one thing to understand who your audience is, quite another to understand what your audience wants to hear. Advertising guru David Ogilvy famously said that only one in five readers ever reads past the headline. Content creators have one shot to encourage readers to continue beyond the headline and delve into the “meat of the matter” which, hopefully, leads to interest…and a purchase.
Before you tackle your content marketing, invest time defining your audience, ascertain what is of particular interest to them, define what you offer and then decipher how to best reach them both verbally and visually.
Creating content marketing that speaks to your audience is the difference between an epic fail or F**king awesome.
Let’s talk about how content marketing can reach your audience. Click to Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing and social media expert. Using traditional and online marketing to start, grow and sell businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Martha is the author of the content marketing ebook: The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.