Recently, I came upon an article all about how BPA has created a new brand comparison tool. BPA Worldwide verifies audience and media knowledge. Founded in 1931 today the not-for-profit organization audits business and consumer publications throughout the world as well as websites and events. Their new brand report provides media buyers with a report showing verified audience data across all of the publisher’s media channels.

We use BPA audits often in our work and I confess to being quite the BPA geek. On top of that, Larry, the president of our agency, is on the BPAWW board. I was just about ready to write a blog post all about this new tool and how giddy with excitement I was. But then I remembered something. As important as that news is to me, for your company this would likely not be a blip on the radar. BPA audits? Great. Tell me how I can increase my sales.

This issue of catering to the audience comes up again and again, perhaps most especially in the online world. When you start a company Facebook page, you gravitate towards content that you as a company find interesting and/or important. On Twitter, you tend to want to tweet your own blog posts and join chats that have to do with your line of work. We got a question from a client recently asking if we thought it was a good idea to post news about a certain product to their Facebook page even though the product would not be of real interest to the audience they are trying to build there. Our answer was no. Posting product information is interesting to you. If you are worried it wouldn’t interest your audience, you are probably right.

No matter what your business, as you enter this world of increased content creation, you must keep your customers and prospects front and center. What do they need to know? How can you help them? If you are a metalworking company, your customers probably want to know things like how they can increase their manufacturing efficiency and how your products might help with that. If you are a plumber, your customers aren’t going to find a poetic ode to pipes fascinating. They are going to want to know how to diagnose problems, when to call you, when not to try to fix things, and more. Your customers don’t really care about your sales meetings, your company outings, what your company cafeteria served for lunch, or other details relating only to you and your business.

How can you make sure your messaging is on target? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

1. Does this content address a customer’s problem?

2. Does this content answer a common customer question?

3. Is this content being circulated because I find it interesting or because I think our audience will find it interesting?

4. Would I bring this up at a meeting with a customer or client?

Not only will asking those questions of yourself ensure a higher interest on the part of people who may eventually buy from you, but concentrating on these issues will also serve as incentive to get to know your customers better. Understanding what problems your customers are concerned about can help you serve them better. It might even give you inspiration for a brand new product or service.

So, always remember – when it comes to content, no matter if it is an ad or a blog post, your audience should come first. They are your compass. Follow where they lead.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thinkmedialabs/6176869823/ via Creative Commons