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It’s no secret that creating relevant and valuable experiences for customers is key to the success of content.

But why do so many brands struggle with regularly creating content that engages their target audience?

I believe it has something to do with the fact that there’s a major difference between having a customer-centric mindset versus a customer-centric content strategy.

Sure, the brands that are successfully creating content that delights customers have a keen understanding of who their target audience is. But they also know exactly how to apply that information to content (like a blog post or email) in a way that makes it possible to build connections and relationships.

Thankfully, creating customer-centric content is easy! But it does require time and effort – not to mention, commitment – to get it done the right way.

Building the right foundation

There are two parts to creating content that’s focused in on customers.

The first is to cover topics that both interest your audience and are relevant to your business.

A clothing retail company targeted towards millennials, for example, might create an email that highlights outfit ideas for summer music festivals. It’s timely, and relevant.

The second part of customer-focused content is to present the information in a way that’s appealing to your audience.

In the email about summer music festival outfits, for example, one might include photos of millennial-aged individuals wearing the clothes outdoors to visually capture their interest. Embracing a laid-back, conversational tone would also allow the email to feel more relatable.

Once you’ve adopted these two basic principles into your mindset and content strategy, you’ll be able to take the steps necessary to help fill in the blanks: What topics are interesting to your audience? What’s the best way to speak to them?

The 5 steps to take to create customer-centric content

To get answers to your questions and discover what your audience is interested in, here are 5 steps to follow:

1. Talk with customers.

Whether through email, a survey, or in-person chat, open up communication with your customers so you can directly learn about their needs. You’ll want to ask questions about their interests, things they don’t like, hobbies, challenges, and what their interested in as it pertains to your business. This will give you insight into how to talk to them and what to talk to them about.

The goal here is to get a super clear picture of the individuals you’re speaking to via email, blog posts and other content.

Creating a customer persona is a great way to organize your learnings and help you focus on the individuals who make up your target audience.

(Check out this persona worksheet from Digital Marketer as you build your own!)

2. Get a clear understanding of your customer’s challenges.

This can be done as you talk with customers, but I wanted to add extra emphasis to this because this information will be key as you position your products/services to customers.

Knowing the challenges your customers face each day give you an opportunity to create content that will help them. Or if you’re launching a new product, this insight can help you position it in a way that solves a problem they have.

For our clothing retailer, for example, they might have learned from talking to customers that they struggled with purchasing trendy, yet work-appropriate attire. As a result, this could feed into an email or social post that shares ideas on what to wear to the office.

3. Determine how your product/service is the solution to their problem and brainstorm content topics.

As you go through common customer challenges and interests, you’ll want to strategically brainstorm content that aligns with them.

Instead of just highlighting products that will solve an immediate problem (such as what to wear to work), consider opportunities to educate your audience. In addition to sharing outfit ideas with links to purchase each piece, you could send an email with advice that enables readers to build outfits of their own.

This will position you as not just a retailer trying to sell your products, but as a helpful and trustworthy resource that has the customer’s best interests at heart.

4. When creating content, reference your persona.

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing your content is your persona or target customer. As you create your content, whether it’s a social post or email, always picture the individual who will receive it.

Since you’re writing as though it’s only going to one person, it can make your content feel more personal.

Also, consider the ways in which your target audience likes to communicate. While a laid-back, conversational tone appropriate might not be appropriate for a financial company, it might work for a clothing retailer instead.

5. Ask for feedback and improve the process.

Creating customer-centric content isn’t a one and done deal. People change, and your customers are no exception. As a result, it’s important to stay up-to-date on their challenges and interests.

Collecting feedback and continuing through this cycle of learning about your audience will serve as a litmus test for the content you create. Is it still aligned with your customers’ current needs? Or does it need to change to keep up with their development?

If you can answer those questions every year, you won’t have to worry about whether or not your content is relevant to your audience.

Delivering value every time

As long as you keep your target customer in mind, you can’t go wrong when creating valuable content. Just keep an ear to the ground and be empathetic to their experiences, and they’ll love you all the more for it!