If you want to build an organic web presence, then you need to develop a content marketing regimen. Often times, marketers create arbitrary content that is based on their own level of knowledge.
Before you determine what keywords you want to rank for, you need to understand the core desires and needs of your customers. After you do your customer research, you need to do your market research. This will allow you to tailor your content to accommodate the unique style of your audience.
Once you’ve done your research, you need to figure out a content regimen that focuses on the specific keywords that your audience is searching for online. Below is an aligned step-by-step process, one that you’ll be able to use to produce a sustainable source of organic traffic.
Step 1: Creating A Customer Avatar
Whether you’re an experienced marketer or a novice, it’s absolutely essential to use a customer avatar to attract customers. An avatar is a fictional representation of your ideal customer, designed to help you understand the different behaviors of your audience. Having a profile makes it easier for you to tailor your products to the specific desires, needs, and frustrations of your customers.
Your content needs to correlate to the things that your buyers want to learn from you. Although you are positioned as the expert, your prospects are most likely beginners. If you create products that are centered around your knowledge, chances are that they won’t resonate with your target audience.
Creating a customer avatar requires you to garner some information. The fastest, most efficient way to understand your customers is by calling them. This may sound a bit intimidating, but it’s mutually beneficial for you and your buyers.
When you get your customer on the phone, make it known that you appreciate their business. Express the fact that their opinions matter, and that you want to help them achieve their goals. You’ll find that the majority of your customers will appreciate your efforts. Often times, they will tell you everything you need to know when creating your customer avatar.
Every niche is different, and some customers will obviously be different than others. Your goal isn’t to dissect the various and sundry attributes of each customer you call. Instead, you want to figure out the specific behaviors that they have in common.
Here are some questions that you can use to garner this information:
- Why did you purchase from our company?
- What is the biggest benefit that you were looking for?
- What’s the number one related obstacle/challenge with which you’re dealing?
- What other companies (competitors) have you bought from, and what did you like/not like about their products?
- If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your age (or give them an age range)?
Again, your audience demographics, wants, and problems-to-be-solved will ultimately determine the type of content you create. If you ask these questions, you’ll gain a much deeper understanding, as opposed to guessing or making inferences.
Some other ways you can garner this information is by surveying your email list. To maximize the response levels, you can entice your subscribers to fill out a survey by offering them a free piece of content or other benefit.
Step 2: Determine What Content Format They Like Best
The purpose of a customer avatar is to determine what types of content your audience wants and to figure out the best format for delivering that content to your core audience. Businesses employ a variety of different content format for marketing purposes. Although you should be willing to experiment with each format, you need to determine the ones that are conducive to your niche.
Here is a breakdown of the most common types of content formats:
- Social Media: Every business should be leveraging social media in their content marketing regimen. Your target audience is most likely hanging out on two or three specific platforms. When you find out which platform they frequent most often, you can tailor your content to fit the unique context of each channel. Always engage with your followers, and entice them to visit your blog. This will allow you to convert your fans into potential leads and customers.
- Blogs: A blog will essentially serve as the hub spot for your marketing. When you dial in your customer avatar, you can create educational content that aligns with their needs. If you optimize your blog with banners and pop-ups, it can be a primary source for organic leads.
- Email: This continues to be the primary source of revenue for most online businesses. Email marketing allows you to segment your subscribers based on the benefits that they are looking to glean. By creating educational and promotional content, you can market your products through a series of autoresponder and broadcast sequences.
- Video and Visuals: Some niches are more visceral than others. If you are in the fitness space, for example, the majority of your content will likely be created through video and image. This means your potential customers will most likely be hanging out on platforms with a visual appeal, such as YouTube and Instagram.
- Podcasts: Some might argue the peak of podcasts has passed, others believe they’re growing in popularity. Regardless, podcasts as a format for delivering content are still very effective. They allow you to create content from a multitude of experts in your field, providing your audience with a unique perspective and adding a bit of a “human” connection to the business image.
Regardless of what niche you’re in, your inbound marketing strategy should incorporate social media, blogs, and email sequences. Your audience will favor certain types of formats – text, video, audio, or a combination of them all, and content format may also depend on what stage they’re at as a potential consumer. As a profitable business, in most every case you should allow the consumer to dictate what form of content you create.
Step 3: Create A List Of Keywords
Once you’ve done your customer and market research, you should choose a series of keywords used most by your key audience. In general, refrain from using abstract words or phrases. For example, the word “fitness” is not a good keyword; it’s too broad of a term that appeals to the masses. The phrase “bodyweight workouts for men” is more of an actual niche. This will allow you to target a demographic that is looking to attain a specific goal.
Begin by choosing 5 to 10 long-tail keywords for which your audience is searching. When you expand on a topic that your audience loves, you can afford to serialize your content. Typically, long-tail keywords such as “bodyweight workouts for men” can give you a lot of great options to work with across content formats.
Step 4: Create A Content Regimen
So far, you’ve figured out who your audience is and what they want. The final step is to determine how frequently they’re going to take advantage of your product or service. This will ultimately depend on the format of your content.
In general, the more time and effort required to create the content, the less frequently you’ll be producing it. Examples of high-effort content include white papers, eBooks, and videos. Blog posts and audios typically require less time and should be created more frequently.
Your content regimen should also reflect the behaviors of your audience. What is the optimal time for them to access your content? How often do they want to receive it? Is it convenient for them to consume your content during their lunch break or after work?
Once you have determined the frequency and general behavioral routine, it’s time to create a regimen that you can follow. Consistency is the key to building a sustainable source of organic traffic, and one of the best ways to execute consistently is by scheduling your content.
There are several tools and apps that allow you to automate your social media channels. Create a document that tracks the format and frequency of your content. Each week, dedicate a couple of hours to scheduling your content. Having a visual record of your efforts will help keep you accountable over the long-term, rather than depending on the changing and invisible nature of willpower.
After you have completed this step-by-step process, go ahead and repeat it a few weeks or a few months later. Getting to know your audience and market doesn’t happen overnight. Building a web presence through content marketing is a “slow-and-steady”, cyclical process.
Continue to engage with your customers and always be willing to refine your approach. You can never know “too much” about what your customers want from you.
What are some techniques you use to generate organic traffic?