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Defining and understanding your target audience is the first step to writing content for them. Attracting just anyone to your website isn't so hard. It's attracting the right kind of people and offering the right topics in the right tone and style that's a challenge. A good way to start is to simply ask the question, who are the people that we want visiting our site and what roles would they play in an organization? From here we can go through the exercise of understanding how they're using online channels and where we might be able to message or engage them.
A great tool to start off with is the Forrester Technographics Profile Tool. This tool can help provide insight into how your end consumer uses different technologies today. For example, if we were targeting a group of US males between the ages of 45 and 54, we can see that the majority of them are what we call spectators. This means that they often spend their time on blogs, videos, podcast, forums and reviews, but they're reading, and not necessarily contributing. Knowing this, we might tailor our content to these formats, and we know we'll need to work harder to get any user-generated content from these folks.
Once we know what kinds of content our target audience is consuming and we've identified who they are, we'll need to dive in and look at our topics. Ultimately, users are typing keywords into search engines. And keywords remain the core and foundation of SEO. So when it comes to choosing topics, we'll want to tie them to the keywords we've chosen, based on relevance, search volume, and competition during our keyword research process. You'll also want to look at tools like Google Insights for Search to monitor industry trends and understand what's popular among your target audience.
And what's being searched for and discussed. Matching your topics to what's popular and being searched for will maximize the size of the potential audience that you're catering to. Next, you can employ the concept of filling in the gaps. Odds are good that someone else already wrote something about your topic. And the last thing the Internet needs is more pages talking about the same old thing. Instead, figure out what's missing out there and fill in those holes. Monitor what your competitors are writing about, but more importantly, monitor what they're not writing about.
These are great opportunities for you to offer unique perspectives and even more value. Once we've identified who we are writing for and what we are writing about, the last thing we need to do is define our content angles. This is really nothing more than the approach to writing your content, and it should be consistent and appropriate to the audience that you're speaking to. Are you writing technical articles for rocket scientists to read, or lighthearted commentaries on the state of the entertainment industry? There are very different tones for each. And above all, remember that while we're doing all this to support our business objectives and ultimately some kind of sales, no one wants to read a blatant sales pitch. We need to offer up something of real value, content that's compelling and useful to the reader.
When you're deciding how to angle and position your content, you will want to consider a couple more areas of importance. First, be original. Whatever you write, take the time to make sure that it's unique and that it comes from your own voice. You want to bring something new to the table that will excite your readers, that they can't find anywhere else. Whether you decide to be humorous or put a creative twist to your content, it needs to keep them engaged or even entertained from beginning to end. When they're done reading it, they should be thinking, I now know something interesting that I didn't know before. Or even better, they'll be thinking, I need to share that with my friends.
From a format perspective, you'll want to think about the style of content that you're putting together. Will you be writing a blog post or informative-style articles? Are you taking a comparative style where you contrast product A with product B? What about discussing a before and after scenario, or a how-to walk-through? And remember that content isn't just text; pictures are worth a thousand words. And you can even use video to capture sights and sounds to convey complex concepts or to make something more tangible to a user. By understanding who you're writing for, what you're writing about, and what style you are writing in, you'll be cementing the foundations of thoughtful, unique, and relevant content that will wow both human readers and search engines alike.
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